This quote states a purpose of man’s life through a religious metaphor and explains the importance of sharing the ‘light’ with others instead of keeping it to oneself. Just as a torch’s purpose is to shed light on other objects, humans are called to be God’s instruments to spread goodness around the world. It is important to not limit one’s virtues to thoughts and ideas, but to show them in one’s actions in life. To continue with the theme of light, having a match in a dark cave and leaving it unlit would produce the same result of not having a potential light source at all. A person with virtues left unshared might as well be a person with no virtues at all.
Republished from English class 2012. Photo courtesy of J. Devaun.
Got dizzy from the little thing called stoichiometry.
Tomorrow after math will feel like I’m in heaven,
Finished (and hopefully graduated) from grade eleven!
I haven’t written much because my mental pencil has been used up making review notes and writing exams this past week. I cannot wait to start reading the pile of books on my to-read list, and of course, to write! Just a few more days until summer!
Two boys are sent to rural China to be reeducated during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. There they discover a suitcase of banned foreign books and befriend the beautiful daughter of the local tailor. That’s it in a nutshell. A charming novel that is easy to read but may be too short and simple to hold much weight in time.
The story reminds me of a folk tale with a fair amount of whimsy in the narrator’s voice and the setting of the countryside and mountains that creates some beautiful imagery. At some points, the poetic language can begin to sound like a fairy tale, but that is often cut short by bits of history and realism in the cruelty of the authorities against intellectuals and the dire conditions the boys must endure to return home. It is also worth noting here that the book contains some graphic scenes in violence and romance that can cause offense or stomach queasiness.
An aspect of this story that has me on the fence is the characters. Our main heroes and heroine, to me, are the typical ‘kind but somewhat misunderstood’ good guys. They are not completely bland but not captivating in a “I LOVE Harry and Ron and Hermione and I want to be their friends!” kind of way. The supporting cast contains an old hermit and a by-the-book friend with glasses who evoke stronger feelings in the reader towards them than the main characters. The overall mildness of the characters, however, does create ordinary voices that we can relate to and make it hard to label a villain, which is true in real life. Still, I think I would’ve liked a little more depth to the characters so I can remember their individual qualities months after reading about their adventure.
The adventure itself, is quite unique and fun. It is a coming of age story, and also one that celebrates culture, specifically literature and music. The discovery of banned books and folk songs changed these characters’ lives and makes me grateful for the range of resources from all over the world we have access to today, especially now thanks to the internet. Although history is not my favourite subject, I think it is important to understand our past because it shapes our perceptions on life and our roles in society. In the end, that’s what this book is about.
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is a relatively quick-paced and enjoyable read, if you like the premise. As I’ve mentioned before, there is an ordinariness to the plot that portrays life as it is without the melodrama, which some like and others don’t. It’s a nice little book and I would recommend it – I recently discovered that they made a movie from it, which may be interesting to look at – but if you asked me if this is one I would read over and over again, honestly, probably not. Except maybe the ending. I won’t give it away, but yeah, the ending is pretty great.
Masters of panto-mime on paper
Skeptical about the regime’s intentions
Mind makes meaning of scribbles
Sneaky interpreters of thoughts that
reveal more than the winning formula
Footsteps in the dark.
Why is the pen mightier than the sword?
Very interesting prompt today. I used the famous saying, “actions speak louder than words” and splitting it in half, plugged it into the Google search engine. From there we were to take any poetic phrases and use them as inspiration for our poem. Coincidentally, nearly every phrase in this poem was taken from result summaries, with a total addition of only three words. So I guess in a way Google is the author of today’s entry.
That moment when you’re only halfway through a test with only twenty minutes left, scribbling furiously at the page and gasping in air to stop yourself from fainting while your thoughts whirl into a tornado of chaos that causes you to forget everything you studied all night and doubt all the learning capacity and self-worth you’d gathered throughout your life?
At this particular moment, I must tell you, just DON’T PANIC (A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy would be handy here). Stop for a couple of seconds and get yourself out of the downward spiral into the pits of darkness – fast! And at the end of writing in scrambled focus, you probably feel absolutely awful. I know that it is even more painful when you have prepared and studied, and can come up with most of the answers in the few minutes after the paper has been handed in. I know failure sucks. But I can assure you, you didn’t fail. It may not be the perfection you always aim for, but it was your best on this day at that hour.
Don’t go over it again and again in your head, torturing yourself by reliving this tragedy, there’s nothing you can do, it’s over. Move on because there will always be something else you need to focus on. And know that these negative feelings will pass, I promise. Just think of other past assignments that made you feel this way, but that you’ve forgotten as they’re completely insignificant (like that A- Grade 3 math test that created floodworks). Keep moving forward. A bad test will not destroy your life. There is much more to explore and an entire future to experience.
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
– Winston Churchill
Well, this happened today. And yesterday. Two giant science tests two days in a row is not exactly the best thing to return to after a break, but what can you do. Sorry for the completely unconventional post, just needed to vent about this for my emotional health before I explode.
“It used to be money for education. Now it’s education for money.” My teacher said this in francais class the other day and the thought has hung around. Gaining insight and making new discoveries is a privilege. Growing up with universal education, sometimes it seems that it’s easy to forget.
My interpretation of the quote: people used to pay for a good education and now people use education to get paid. The focus of school is no longer to learn but to earn bigger paychecks. Maybe that is why many students see school as a burden instead of an opportunity.
In countries such as Canada, students have no limits to what they can learn. The joy of learning is lost when priceless knowledge is quantified to measurements of success and wealth.
Yes, we still pay money for good education, but not really for its own sake, but for the sake of more money. And I think it happens at the other end as well, with the education system providing resources, but also to generate some cha-chings.
Imagine if school was not mandatory. Children would still find ways to discover and explore, because the world is far too interesting. Maybe if education was seen through the eyes of curiosity, learning can be just as fun in senior years as it was finger painting and counting ladybugs in kindergarten.
Time to take out the vacuum, she thought.
Exploded blobs of glittery glue and bits of coloured paper she had bought
For the young Picassos to squish together their masterpieces, everywhere.
Slumped on a mushroom stool, knees up to her chest, at the daycare.
Pulls out a snack, silently grumbling about the splattered table.
Wonders why she nor the parents are able
To teach these kids to be tidy and responsible. Where did they go wrong?
Chews the last bite, gets up,
brushes the cookie crumbs off her lap,
Onto the floor.
She walks to the cleaning closet door,
humming some kindergarten song.
Thinks agreeably of a late afternoon nap.
(Copyright Julian Andrews)
“Actions speak louder than words.” – Michel de Montaigne
Eight of us sat closely around a table exchanging quotes, laughter, and our plans for the coming week of break. The vanilla mint tea latte sat in front of me with its drizzled chocolate sauce, daring me to chug its steaming contents in one gulp. A month had passed of rigorous practice for our ballet exam and after the high rush of performance, the degree of our tiredness was starting to sink in.
Deciding we were all exhausted and unfocused with the idea of a week break to be productive, we spent class stretching for a few minutes, sharing videos including a cat playing piano (link down below), and absorbing our teacher’s enlightening words of wisdom before she brought us here, to Bulldog Coffeehouse, a few minutes walk maneuvering around dog bombs and slipping around mounds of frozen slush. We toasted to a great half a year, relaxing rest, and an even better fresh start to next term. We were only missing each other’s company for ten days, but it felt like the simultaneous conclusion and beginning of something much bigger. Many of us will be going on exchange this summer to dance across the border and sipping our foamy drinks, we talked about traveling the world and the diverse experiences that are waiting out there in our future.
“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” -Charlie in Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Looking at my teacher and all my friends with whom I’ve shed blood, sweat, tears with and whom I’ve shared uncontrollable laughter and encouraging war cries with, I felt so lucky to be a part of a family of such inspirational artists. We may not know where we will end up after we graduate, but we can enjoy every step along the way knowing that there is so much to explore and so much that we can offer to the world as individuals. Life isn’t perfect, but we should never forget why we dance or what brings joy into our lives. Because the more we love life, the closer we get to our happy ending.
Thanks for reading,
Cat piano concert video we watched in the studio, gathering around a little iPhone screen: