Tag Archives: Writing

The Last Blog Post

For my last blog post, I’m just going to give you guys another excerpt from my work. This isn’t the most recent writing that I have completed, but it begins where I left off in my second to last blog post. It’s been an interesting journey this year. Here it is:

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Beginners – Let’s Talk About Loneliness | Cynthia Ruan

Written and directed by Mike Mills, Beginners is a film that deals a lot with loneliness. After his mother’s death, Oliver (Ewan McGregor)’s father, Hal (Christopher Plummer) is diagnosed with stage-four cancer. At the age of 75, he also comes out of the closet and starts living the time of his life. After Hal has passed away, Oliver becomes depressed until he meets a French actress, Anna. They try to make their relationship work while both struggling with issues of their own.11_09_Beginners_event.jpg

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Affirmative Action – Henry

Prompt: Given what your own experience, what are common misconceptions of affirmative action?

Our reading last week was all about education.  The reading focused in on the issue of affirmative action.  The major points relating to defining affirmative action as any preferred admissions statues.  This would include athletes, students of color, and legacies.  The biggest winners in terms of scholarship dollars and acceptances are athletes and legacies. Continue reading

How I Met Your Mother – Defying “The One” | Cynthia

As you can see, this week’s blog is going to be more of a tangent. I procrastinated a little too much last week so I have to do two blogs this week and I just don’t have the time or energy to write two film reviews back to back. (Learn from my mistakes people) I’m currently binge-watching How I Met Your Mother for probably the tenth time around and I thought it would be interesting to share some of my thoughts on the show. I’ve been writing about some pretty sad and heavy films so it’s nice to have a change of direction and talk about the theme of love in one of my all-time favorite comedy.

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Guess what I did? – Will

I wrote a couple of pages. An excerpt from them is below. I also talked to my editor more about the direction of my story and some of the characters. We decided to make my main antagonist more nefarious and cruel, while making my protagonist more idealistic and brave in contrast. Anywho, here’s a brief sampling of last week’s work:

 

“Alright, time for some chow! Cooks got it back at the meeting place,” I called to them.

They both turned and looked at me confusedly.

“You heard me! Go get it! I’m here to watch the position for you while you eat.” I nudged my pack into the shadows behind me and walked forward. The two warriors looked at each other, shrugged, and began to make their way to the meeting place where Warriors converged at the start and end of the day. I walked over to the ditch in which they had been standing and pretended to be on guard. I waited a minute until I knew they were well on their way and then I darted back and grabbed my pack. I clipped my rifle into a pouch on the side of my pack and swung it onto my back. I ran forward, bounded over the ditch, and hurried through an opening in the wooden barricade Fara had pieced together around the perimeter. I kept on running through the woods, not stopping until I knew I could no longer see or hear the camp. When I had finally put enough distance between the camp and myself, I knelt and took off my pack.

I reached deep into my bag and pulled out my compass. I knew that Thane’s mission had headed southwest from the camp and that their path would be a roughly straight line. I turned and oriented myself to the southwest and tucked my compass in my back pocket. I continued forward at a light jog down the decline, knowing full well that the others would soon know that I was missing. I doubted that the Alphas would send anyone after me due to the risk of it, but I wanted to put more distance between me and them just to be safe. The trees and underbrush thankfully weren’t too thick, elsewise I’d be traveling a whole lot slower. I knew that the terrain would open up as I got closer to Thane’s objective, but until then, the woods were what I had to deal with. It was no problem. The woods are home for me. A place to run, hide, get lost, and be found. Despite the trees and ravines, I never lost sight of the path I had set out on. I knew where I was headed, and the trees weren’t so thick as to limit my view of the stars when I needed direction.

The Pack had been encamped on a small plateau. The mountainside I traveled down as I ventured away from the Pack wasn’t terribly steep, but it was long. At the bottom, the terrain switched to some gently rolling muddy hills. It was there that I picked up the tracks in the dark. Six sets of them. I had been trudging through the mud and almost immediately recognized the other depressions in it. I trained my eyes in on their shapes, their patterns, the echo of the rhythm of the steps of Thane, Garrett, Jon, Shane, Summer, and Cooper. I burned the shapes of their prints into my mind and followed them forward. I’d find them. I wouldn’t lose them now.

Following tracks at night, however, is no small task. It requires immense focus. You not only have to keep your eyes trained on the ground in front of you and the tracks you’re following, but you have to stay wary of what’s happening around you. You have to heighten your awareness of all things. Breaking branches, falling leaves, tumbling twigs, you have to know where they are and what caused them. Us warriors had done this kind of night tracking countless times on hunts and in combat, and though we excelled at it, it was slow, tedious work, especially alone. I got lucky that night, as there were few clouds and a bright moon, but I was still in a wooded area when I first began following the tracks, and the moonlight was often smothered by the brush. As I followed the tracks through those hills, I could hear the animals scamper away at my approach. I caught sight of small herds of deer in the dark, my first instinct always telling me to swing my rifle off my back, raise it to my shoulder, get some sustenance. But I never did. Of course I had food in my pack, but I sure as shit didn’t want to give away my position to anyone else out there that night, members of the Pack or others. I kept my eyes on the tracks. They were my lifeline. I’d follow them back to the camp if need be when I found them. Not if I found them, when.
Thanks for reading and here’s a book I just started: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

Blue is the Warmest Color – Where’s the Line? – Cynthia

The first time I watched Blue is the Warmest Color by Abdellatif Kechiche, I was barely sixteen. The legendary, almost pornographic 10-minute lesbian sex scene shocked me to the core. Kechiche took his dedication to realism to a level that I never knew films could go. Continue reading

La La Land-Appreciating its Simplicity | Cynthia Ruan

I decided to write about La La Land by Damien Chazelle this week. It is a L.A. love story between a jazz musician, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and an aspiring young actress, Mia (Emma Stone). The brilliant, Oscar-winning (YAY) Chazelle delivered the story in the form of a musical. It’s very nostalgic; Chazelle pays tribute to many classic ninetieth musicals such as Singin’ in the Rain and An American in Paris, but the story itself is modern and Chazelle definitely made it into his own style.

I have to say that I’m truly surprised by how much I’m in love with this film. I’m not a fan of musicals and am pretty cynical when it comes to romantic dramas, especially ones like this where everything is just so over-the-top romanticized. So it may seem like besides Ryan Gosling’s beautiful face, there shouldn’t be any reason for me to like this film at all. But in the midst of all the dancing and singing and floating in the planetarium, La La Land really touched me, evidenced by my crying hysterically for the both times I watched it in the theater and the many times on my laptop.mv5bzduynzuymwmtyjc2zc00yjixlthlodktyjrmzmizmzllotqxl2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjawmdu5mtu-_v1_sy1000_sx1000_al_

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Progress – Will

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This past week was a mixture of editing and writing new content, so I thought I’d share some of the new content here. This is an excerpt taken from a scene where my narrator is conferencing with the other lieutenants of his group and the group’s leaders. For my narrator, this is an especially stressful time as some of the warriors he’s responsible for are missing.

“If there are no other problems with this plan,” Bazgal looked around the room, “We’ll move forward. Shane, you go back to Johnson as fast as you can and tell him we need him here with all of the Scouts immediately. Thank you for bringing back Thane.”

“Of course,” Shane said, before strapping on a light pack and hurrying out of the tent.

“Aside from that, we need to be prepared for the worst. Fara, how long would it take us to pack up camp?”

“Couple of hours at most, if everyone was told about it now.”

“Good, I think we need to be prepared to move as fast as possible out of here.”

“Hold on a minute,” I said. “We can’t just, just… run away now! How will my warriors know where we are? Even more so now that the Scouts are returning soon. They’ll be completely alone!”

“He does have a point, Bazgal,” Said Sharpe, nodding in my direction. “If they’re still alive we need to be here when they return. Besides, it might be a little dangerous to move Thane now. It could kill him”

“That’s right,” said Junger. “He’s in far too bad of a position to risk that now. The risks are far greater than the rewards here.”

“Alright, so we’re staying,” conceded Bazgal. “Can we all agree that we will not stay any longer than two to three days?”

All of the heads around the table nodded except for mine. I said, “I agree as long as I can take out a search party early morning tomorrow if my warriors aren’t back.”

Sharpe and Bazgal looked to each other for a long moment and both shook their head. Bazgal turned to me and said, “No, we can’t risk it. We’re specifically calling the Scout’s Vanguard back so that we can have a reinforced position. We’re not going to lose some of our strength now.”

“WHAT? YOU HAVE–”

“One more word, Carter, and you’re done as our lieutenant. Do. Not. Test. Me.”

I was fuming. Did they not care about the lives of my warriors? Time and again during this meeting, I had been treated as a fool for wanting to save their lives. Was I really the fool? Truly? Perhaps, but it was them who were heartless. Their brothers and sisters, my warriors, were out there, and I was fighting for them in here. And I was the fool. But I knew that Bazgal was serious. Her threat carried weight. If I offered another word of protest, I didn’t doubt that I’d be demoted into irrelevance.

I nodded to Bazgal and said, “I’m sorry. Please, continue.”

“Right, well, Fara, I need you and your builder working hard to build a defensive perimeter. We hopefully won’t need it at all, and even if we do, we won’t need it for long, but it’s better to have it now. Could you get that done?”

“It’s as good as finished,” said Fara and strode out of the tent.

“Alfred, Junger, and Gormly, return to your to your brothers and sisters and make sure no one ventures outside the perimeter. All necessary supplies are to be pulled from the Cache. And Junger, see that Thane lives.”

The three men stated their compliance and walked from the tent.

“Carter, we want all of the warriors on perimeter watch. If someone must go beyond the perimeter, they will do so only under the guard of a handful of your warriors and they must not go more than a half mile out. Help Fara set up the perimeter if need be as well. Understand?”

“Got it,” I said, and turned to make my exit.

“Don’t leave,” Said Sharpe. “We’re not done with you yet.”

I sighed and turned back to face the Alphas, ready for what was to follow.

 

I hope you enjoyed that excerpt and I just started a new book: A Star Called Henry. If I can learn from the authors lyrical and poetic brilliance, I might stand a chance of improving my writing.

The Hidden Gem of Westtown School – KC

This semester during my Junior year, I am enrolled in the Independent Study Program and having the time of my life diving deep into material that specifically interests me in a subject I excel. After hearing about this unique offer during my Sophomore year, I seized the opportunity. After a proposal, I was accepted into the History Independent Seminar where I’ve been study legislation and sex education in Pennsylvania.

Read More: Pennsylvania’s Sex Education Policy Is Scarier Than You’d Think!

Upon first impression, I thought this class would simply be a time to learn all about the history of legislation and sex education in Pennsylvania and continue my learning in my favorite subject — but it is far more than that.

Westtown’s Independent Study has challenged my writing, reading, researching and critical thinking skills. I’ve noticed considerable improvements in many disciplines as a result of my deep study of sex education and legislation. I’ve worked with the Chair of the History Department, English Teachers, and Health Experts.

This is a unique program I would recommend to all students who are pursuing a unique discipline. Current students should seize this opportunity for next year. Few schools allow for students to explore their interest in a particular subject the way Westtown allows. Not only have I been able to learn more through research, but I also have a plethora of resources and faculty who have been incredibly supportive and helpful.

Read More: Learn How To Contact Your Representatives!

The Independent Study Program is one of the hidden gems on our campus that needs more recognition. I hope prospective students have a chance to hear about how students are excelling in different disciplines through this program.

This week I wanted to hear from all my fellow peers about unexpected ways they’ve improved their academic and research skills through Independent Seminar. What skills have you improved?

Image from Westtown School “Student Life” (www.westtown.edu)