Sunday, January 29, 2006

Essay of Place: Prewrite #3

David Lyons
Period 5
Prewrite #3

The sun is setting over the giant ridges of rock that lie to the west like an ominous barrier marking the edge of my world. Silky plains of grass ripple under a breeze that holds me in an effortless glide, taking in the surroundings. A black strip divided by two lines of yellow carries only a few of the giant shining monsters that gleam and speed through this world without ever stopping to take it in. The gentle incline to the east hikes grudgingly up to a plateau where a dirt path winds through the environment, like the clumsy flight of a fledgling. Strong trees, evergreens and pines and aspens, stand with their callus bark and firm arms ready to support the slumber of their inhabitants. As the sun admonishes its last flare of brilliant fiery magnificence, the nocturnal life begins to warm up for its chorus in a raucous array of voices. A chilling updraft brings to me the sweet scent of life like the smell of the first day of spring when the entire world comes to life. The mountains finally swallow up the sun, leaving this world in a twilight zone, and I think its time to settle down for the night. I drop down to a little stream that runs out of the foothills that flow like waves out of the grassy plain. The water is a delicious juice that cools and relaxes my body as it courses to my stomach. As I settle down on the welcoming branch that holds my home and fade away into a slumber, I smile at the perfection and beauty that surrounds me.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Essay of Place: Prewrite #2

David Lyons
Period 5
Essay of Place: Prewrite #2

The fear of waking up one day and realizing that I’ve lost everything that is dear in my life, those simplistic beauties which make life bearable, keeps me in trepidation of taking anything for granted. Just a taste of that loss can change a person for the rest of their lives, leaving them scarred and torn by their ignorance of the things that are most important to them. Just ask the man who lost the love of his life at Daniel’s Park, and he tell you how that loss feels, like an infection that spreads slowly until nothing can stop it from its toll. The history of Daniel’s Park goes like this
There they were, just the two of them standing upon the plateau like Adam and Eve caught in the setting sun’s gaze. He looked at her and saw her beautiful curves like the waves of the plains and the rolling foothills above. Her hand was in his, like the gentle caress of a goddess who knows not the power of her touch, so gentle and smooth. The man, Daniel, was enraptured by her beauty and grace, her ever present poise. A kiss, a final bittersweet goodbye, like tasting a wild berry from a bush nearby, savoring the sweet juice just one last time. Her voice flows to him, the gentle melody of a slight breeze whispering through the space that divides them,” Goodbye.” As she turns to leave, the wind catches her hair and sends Daniel the captivating scent of crushed pine needles and spring flowers. The man stood motionless, transfixed by the sudden pain he feels. Looking out on the beautiful landscape below him, Daniel realized how much the woman that had left him meant. He had thought they would always be together, and now she was gone from his life, disappeared like a sweet dream that begins to fade as soon as you wake. The beauty of that park reminded Daniel of his lost love, the simplicity and perfection that can only be created by the hand of Mother Nature, and for the rest of his life, Daniel would hold this place in his heart as a reminder of the love he had lost. He often visited here to reminisce on the times they had had together, and to try to fill the hole in his heart that had been left to bleed when she had gone away. This park was named Daniel’s Park because Daniel had but one piece of his love left to him, and that was this park.
To this day Daniel’s Park exists, and its beauty is evident in everything around it. To keep this treasure as it was meant to be, future generations should consider the following as words of advice about this park:
1. Take time out of your life to appreciate the beauty and simplicity of nature. Nothing can substitute for seeing this place firsthand and taking in the view.
2. Don’t take this park for granted. In our lives we take far too much for granted, and don’t take time to realize the importance of the small things in our lives.
3. Help preserve the area. Whether it comes to not littering or to fighting to keep this expanse of untamed wilderness from being tainted by humanity.
4. Teach your kids to appreciate the beauty and grace of nature to help insure the protection of wilderness like this in the future.
5. Remember that even with all the technology that we live with today, nature is still the one that created us. Respect nature and its power.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Emily Dickinson

Although all three of the poems we read by Emily Dickinson struck me as odd, "I died for Beauty-but was scarce" had the most effect. on me. The way Dickinson writes as a dead person makes me wonder how she thought of herself. The common theme throughout her poems was death, and this one especially seems to point towards the possibility that she felt as one dead. As Aaron told us in class, she divorced her husband whom she had supposedly fallen in love with, and after that she lived in isolation from society. I wonder if Dickinson feels as though the loss of her love was also the loss of her real life, and that she is now merely living as a specter. Maybe this is why she wore white all the time, because she felt like her life she lost and she left as nothing but a ghost in this world. The idea of her "dying for Beauty" especially makes me think that Dickinson believed she "died" after her divorce because marriage and love are usually thought of as beautiful things.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Essay of Place

David Lyons
Period 5

I remember going up to Daniel’s Park about six months ago and seeing a sight that took my breath away. The drive down Santa Fe is a beautiful one, there is no doubt about that, but it’s nothing in comparison to the view from that park. It was about five o’clock in the afternoon, and some friends and I were taking a back road up through the park. Flash! You come around the corner and all of a sudden the entire world is an explosion, a light bulb, a beautiful mural. Why is this place so beautiful? Why did God choose here, of all places, to paint such a beautiful landscape? I remember the sight coming around that corner vividly in my mind. A scenic stop on the side of the road shows a looking glass into a basin of splendor which extends from the plateau to the foothills. The air is like a magnifying glass, emphasizing colors and detail in a vision seemingly as wide as the sea. A glimpse of the mountains towers over the scene, and the foothills lead into a sparsely populated plain of beautiful pines and evergreens and waves of grass. Looking out on this kaleidoscope of magnificence, it hits you. Bam! This is the essence of beauty. Am I wrong to think that such a simple sight can have so much meaning? I know there are others out there who would disagree with me, say that this is just another expanse of untamed land. I remember being a little kid and going camping up in the mountains. I never realized this before, but I took the elegance of nature for granted back then. I’m sure I still do so now, and one day I’ll look back and see how much I missed out on. Up on that ridge, one can see that beauty has a lot to do with nature, and nature has a lot to do with simplicity. How can something so simple and crude have such an effect on me? I think that the simple things in life are the ones we take for granted. Without them, life could never be the same, but we never seem to take notice of them. Is this just human nature, or have we all been raised this way? I know I was never taught to take the time to look at the things I cherish and realize how much they mean to me. That’s one thing that scares me, looking out on this seemingly untouched portrait of perfection. What will happen to the world when there is nothing left? We take and take from God’s cookie jar without ever taking the time to bake a new batch of cookies and replenish the supply. What will happen when we’ve taken all we can before we realize what we’ve lost? I’m not just talking about nature, but all things in life. The fear of waking up one day and realizing that I’ve lost everything that is dear in my life, those simplistic beauties which make life bearable, keeps me trepidation of taking anything for granted. And yet, I take more things for granted than ever even I will realize. So this sight, this majestic painting from God’s hand sends me a message that I hope I will not soon forget. Don’t lose track of what is important in life, or you just might never be able to find it again.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Camp Polk Cemetary

"The memory works on me." "That's all. That's enough. It's nearly dark." "What for immortality? Public proclamations are prey to time. Only the secrets survive."

It seems to me that the author of this piece of writing makes it hard to understand what he is trying to say. He skips around a lot, such as in the above quotes, and makes it very hard to follow his train of thought. For instance, he ends one paragraph with the last of the above quotes, then starts the next paragraph with a series of questions that cause confusion to me. What is the writer trying to tell his audience, what is the point he is trying to emphasize? It was hard for me to follow this piece of writing because of all the quick transitions and somewhat whimsical thoughts. Perhaps the author meant for the reader to be lost in his words, and maybe to find their own meaning within them. Maybe that was the purpose of this piece of writing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I Hear America Singing

The first time through reading this, I thought that Walt Whitman's repetition of "singing" makes the poem bland and monotonous. After rereading it, however, I find that this repetion seems to emphasize the point that everyone in America is taking part in the melody. Each person, by doing their jobs in society, is harmonizing with all the others doing the same to create the melody that is American culture. I think that this is why Whitman is so repitious in his word usage in this poem.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Don't Tell, but Show

"When You are present at the birth of a child you may find yourself weeping and singing.[...] The reader will understand without your ever having to discuss the nature of life."
Although I agree with the idea that Natalie Goldberg writes about here, that we should show our feelings through the scenes that cause these emotions, I'm not sure she has the idea entirely right. While imagery does more for the mind than simple description, I feel that someone must experience something in order to understand it. For instance, I don't think someone can understand the emotions of watching a child birthing without having ever having witnessed the event. We can fake the emotions, and pretend like we understand them, but really all we do is create a mask of reality only to be removed by experiencing the event which we misconcieved.

"We can't always stay with first thoughts, but it is good to know about them."
I think this really applies to my writing style, especially creative writing. When I'm trying to write a poem or something other than a critical essay, I tend to come up with my best ideas when I'm away from the project, and when I come back to it, it seems I can never quite capture that first "glimpse of genius." However, first thoughts do tend to come better to me as I get into the flow of writing, and so sometimes it seems my writing gets better later on in the work than in the very beginning.

Monday, January 09, 2006


Throughout this semester, I hope to gain a wealth of knowledge that I can apply to my understanding of the American culture. First of all, I hope to understand the different eras of American literature and how American literature was effected by the events of the times. Also, I wish to learn more about many of the American authors that are considered trademarks of America. By doing so I hope that I will better understand the cultural ties that bind us together through literature as a nation. Finally, I hope that my peers and I will be able to enhance our understanding of the content we explore this semester. These are my expectations for this class this semester.