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Telling Stories with: Wendell Berry

The other week in class when my professor was handing out our final paper prompts, he included a reading list. As most of my friends know, I am a sucker for a good reading list. I collect them like some people collected baseball cards, rocks, or rare books. I collect reading list, I have a whole collection of about four and this one makes five. It is about five or six books long. I decided to try one out and bought The Art of Commonplace, by Wendell Berry.

The Art of Commonplace is a collection of agrarian essays about the environment and presents the arguement on how argiculture society would cure with stress, anxiety, ill-health, and destructiveness of contemporary American culture.

Writing it, we shape it with our hands. Reading aloud what we have written- as we must do, if we are writing carefully- our language passes in at the eyes, out at the mouth, in at the ears, the words are immersed and steeped in the sense of the body before they make sense in the mind. They cannot make sense in the mind until they have made sense in the body. Does shaping one’s words with one’s own hand impart character and quality to them, as does speaking them with one’s own tongue to the satisfaction of one’s own ear? There is no way to prove that it does. On the other hand, there is no way to prove that it does not, I believe that it does (76).

The difference between a path and a road is not only the obvious one. A path is little more than a habit that comes with knowledge of a place. It is a sort of ritual of familiarity (12).

We are working well when we use ourselves as the fellow creatures of plants, animals, materials, and other people we are working with. Such work is unifying healing. It brings us home from pride and from despair, and places us responsibly within the human estate. It defines us as we are; not too good to work with our bodies, but too good to work poor or joylessly or selfishly or along (134).

Our bodies are involved in the world. Their needs and desires and pleasures are physical. Our bodies hunger and thirst, yearn toward other bodies, grow tired and seek rest, rise up rested, eager to exert themselves. All these desires may be satisfied with honor to the body and its maker, but only if much else besides the individual body is brought into consideration (147).

I have not finished reading yet but Berry wants us to turn back to the land because we are losing ourself in a society where we can isolate ourself and rely heavily on technology in order for our needs to be met.

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Posted by on April 12, 2013 in Telling Stories with, Uncategorized

 

Telling Stories with: Death Comes for the Archbishop, by: Willa Cather

We have finished Death Comes for the Archbishop in English class today. We spent sometime talking about death and if Bishop Latour died well. My professor said something that really struck me.

To die well is a beautiful thing.

At the end of the novel, Bishop Latour who is know an Archbishop dies. The title suggest it that there is going to be a death at the end of the novel. It was really depressing and sad. Today’s discussion, I just wanted to listen and I was waiting to be called on to talk.

Bishop Latour was prepared for death and was ready for it. He was in good standing with the church and he had accomplished so much in his life. In the novel, his final memory is of a friend and trying to comfort him. I was right (see yesterday’s post). 

So much of Bishop Latour friendship with Vaillant reminds me of my relationship with my best friend. She is always introducing me to new people. I am the quiet one, the one who remains standing still. Latour in french means the tower, while Vaillant means brave.

My professor was also asking question based of the two books that we have read. Why do we read literature and what importance does it have within our society? Is it important to be be a good Catholic/ Christian over being a good American?

Posted by another student during context presentations, Do you think we see problems in our churches today that mirror the problems Latour faced with he first arrived to New Mexico?

“Death Comes for the Archbishop remains the one important work of American literature within the church, though nearly everywhere else occluded from our imaginative version, clearly, and [redemptively] emerges.” -Ralph Wood

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2012 in Telling Stories with

 

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Telling Stories with Phil Kaye

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Telling Stories with

 

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Telling Stories with Stephen King (Why We Crave Horror Movies)

I think that we’re all mentally ill; those of us outside the asylums only hide it a little better – and maybe not all that much better, after all. We’ve all known people who talk to themselves, people who sometimes squinch their faces into horrible grimaces when they believe no one is watching, people who have some hysterical fear – of snakes, the dark, the tight place, the long drop . . . and, of course, those final worms and grubs that are waiting so patiently underground.

If we are all insane, then sanity becomes a matter of degree. If your insanity leads you to carve up women like Jack the Ripper or the Cleveland Torso Murderer, we clap you away in the funny farm (but neither of those two amateur-night surgeons was ever caught, heh-heh-heh); if, on the other hand, your insanity leads you only to talk to yourself when you’re under stress or to pick your nose on your morning bus, then you are left alone to go about your business . . . though it is doubtful that you will ever be invited to the best parties.

If we share a brotherhood of man, then we also share an insanity of man. None of which is intended as a defense of either the sick joke or insanity but merely as an explanation of why the best horror films, like the best fairy tales, manage to be reactionary, anarchistic, and revolutionary all at the same time.

Why bother? Because it keeps them from getting out, man. It keeps them down there and me up here. It was Lennon and McCartney who said that all you need is love, and I would agree with that. As long as you keep the gators fed.

Why do we go to horror movies? As Stephen King puts it we are all a little insane/mentally ill. If your like me, you dread them but I still go ever once and a while. Do we enjoy the suspense or the actually what the heck is going on? Do we watch other people, made up characters, experiencing something out of the ordinary for our own entrainment? Is there something about watching something that we know is not real but to us as we leave the theatre, we know deep in our soul that what we saw could really happen.

(author’s note: Should I continue with this series? I feel like a lot of it is me taking quotes and trying to make them make sense. I just feel like I have done a lot of these lately. I don’t really know how much research I need to come up with an answer to my question, on why we tell stories? I don’t put a lot of thought into these post anymore. Any thoughts?)

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Telling Stories with

 

Telling Stories with John Green/ VlogBrothers (Part 2)

When do you feel most alive?

I feel most alive when I have finished a good book or long periods away from my computer like when I go for a run or to yoga class. Other times it is when I am drinking tea or coffee and having great conversations with friends and family.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Telling Stories with

 

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Telling Stories with Tinker,Tailor, Soldier, Spy (movie and book style)

Close friends know that I have a code name. The code name is used after important information is given as typical with any code name. Last year, I played the role as the mole and finding out important information about my roommate. My ex-roommate and I have a complicated relationship. My code name is Tinker-Tailor. Originally, Tailor after the mole himself and Colin Firth. Tinker was add because my friend liked it.

From Wikipedia:

Control, the Circus Chief, assigns the code names “Tinker,” “Tailor,” “Soldier,” “Poorman,” and “Beggarman,” to the five senior intelligence officers under suspicion of being a Soviet mole, with the intention that should an agent called Prideaux uncover information about the identity of the mole he can relay it back using an easy-to-recall code the mole is unaware of. The names are derived from the English children’s rhyme “Tinker, Tailor”:

Tinker, Tailor,
Soldier, Sailor,
Rich Man, Poor Man,
Beggarman, Thief.

The codename “Sailor” was not used as it sounded too much like “Tailor,” and Control drops “Rich Man” resulting in Toby Esterhase being code-named “Poor Man.” George Smiley is “Beggarman.”

Control:  All I want from you is one codename: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier…

George Smiley: …Spy.

It’s the age-old question. Who can spy on the spies? (Oliver Lacon)

We’re not so different, you and I. We’ve both spent our lives looking for the weakness in one another’s systems. Don’t you think it’s time to recognize there is as little worth on your side as there is on mine? (George Smiley)

“The old Circus is gone now, so what does it matter? That was a good time. It was the war. A real war. Englishmen could be proud then. If it’s bad, don’t come back. I want to remember you all as you were. (Connie Sachs)

This movie and book answers the question on as Lacon said, “Who can spy on the spies?”. The book and movie are both confusing. It took me a while to get it and understanding who all the characters are. I honestly thought that Tinker was the mole throughout the whole movie. The book and movie tell a story about how far would you go for love, trust, and knowing who your friends are. I keep thinking about Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch) and how he was more of the younger child within the Circus, one of the characters mentioning that he should come to the grown-ups but yet he plays an important role in helping Smiley. Peter trust Smiley even though Smiley can never offer any protection from the ringleaders of the Circus. Prideaux and Tarr both play an important role in the overall spying, even though they are minor characters. Their role is what helps plants the idea that there is a mole, they both know that something is wrong. Prideaux ends up killing his best friend in order to have full closer that his friend is the spy. There are no minor or major characters in this novel and movie.

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2012 in Telling Stories with

 

Telling Stories with Sherlock (BBC style)

 I can open any door, anywhere with a few tiny lines of computer code. No such thing as a private bank account now. All are mine. No such thing as secrecy. I OWN secrecy. Nuclear codes? I could blow up NATO in alphabetical order. In a world of locked rooms, the man with the key is king. And honey, you should see me in a crown. (Jim Moriarty)

You … you told me once that you weren’t a hero. Umm… There were times when I didn’t even think you were human, but let me tell you this. You were the best man, the most human … human being that I’ve ever known and no one will ever convince me that you told me a lie, and so … there. I was so alone … and I owe you so much. But please, there’s just one more thing, one more thing, one more miracle , Sherlock, for me, don’t be … dead. Would you do that just for me? Just stop it. Stop this! (John Watson)

My brother has the brain of a scientist or a philosopher, yet he elects to be a detective. What might we deduce about his heart? (Mycroft Holmes)

John Watson: You serious?

Sherlock Holmes: It’s this or Cluedo.

John Watson: Ah, no. We are never playing that again.

Sherlock Holmes: Why not?

John Watson: Because it’s not actually possible for the victim to have done it, Sherlock, that’s why!

Sherlock Holmes: It was the only possible solution!

John Watson: It’s not in the rules.

Sherlock Holmes: Well then the rules are wrong!

My family has an obsession with the BBC when it comes to television. Personally, I prefer British shows over American ones. I watch both, I could never give up The Office or The Big Bang Theory. My favorite nights are when I lie in bed and watch Masterpiece Theatre or when I am at home getting to watch BBC America. My mom and I recently finished watching Season Two of Sherlock, a modern version of the Sherlock Holmes stories. I have never read the books, I am not a big fan of mystery stories but I love watching it on the Telly.

This got me to thinking about why do we tell mystery stories or detective stories? Do we enjoy the thrill of following the case and hearing the detective thoughts throughout the case? Can we somewhat relate to the characters? For example, can we look at John and understand his frustrations with Sherlock. Does Sherlock provide us with life lessons such as thinking outside of the box or that problems can be solved in many different ways? Does Sherlock also teach us about friendship and love?

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2012 in Telling Stories with

 

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