• 1 entry for a “C”; 2 entries for a “B”; 3 entries for an “A”.
  • Length:  Each entry must be a minimum of 3 full paragraphs
  • Paragraphs:  Each paragraph must be 5+ sentences.
  • Any entry that is less than 3 paragraphs — and entries with paragraphs less than 5 sentences – are not guaranteed credit.

Challenge: Pick one of these quotations about writing that catches your eye.  Offer a reaction:

Quote 1: Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps you’ve made sense of one small area.” – Nadine Gordimer

Quote 2: Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us. In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals.” – Don Delillo

Quote 3: If you know what you are going to write when you’re writing a poem, it’s going to be averageDerek Walcott



  1. I completely agree with this quote: “Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps you’ve made sense of one small area.” – Nadine Gordimer

    Writing is selfish. I do not mean writing essays or projects for class, but simply writing for the joy of it. That is quite selfish :). Writing can only be done effectively if the writer has something they think is very important to say and wishes for their audience to feel exactly the way they do. In this way a story which is the writer’s becomes the reader’s. Eventually this causes people forget that the original act of writing was indeed a narcissistic thought. They forget simply because good writers are really good at being selfish.

    However, writing cannot be the type of selfish action done only for the pursuit of wealth or fame. It is the belief in a good idea and the craving for others to enjoy it that makes writing so magical. Through my little experience with writing, it has allowed me to save myself from whatever was happening in my life and helped me return to the person I know I need to be. Not in a virtuous sense but writing has allowed me to never lose sight of who I am in a sea of everyday life. It is a motion someone can turn to when nothing else seems like it will do—it saves them.

    In speech we are forced to constantly be viewed through our appearance, and the words we say are second guessed by the way we dress or the pitch of our voices. In writing nothing proves a hindrance and finally everyone can have a chance to make others listen…or rather read. As this strange equalizer writing allows each individual to be expressed and offers the most freedom. I do not believe this feeling of freedom can truly be matched by anything else. I also believe that some forget how to ‘let go’ and write because of their day to day lives that require them to structure writing into specific prompts both in work and education. To sum up, writing is the most personal thing one can leave behind, because if done for the pure need of it, it saves that writer and allows for complete insight into the person behind the words.

    Oh and I find the last quote to be very accurate especially after our dive into poetry not too long ago…. Fun times 🙂

  2. When I first read Quote 3, I automatically started trying to think of examples to contradict it. I often hate statements that say something is ALWAYS one way or another, or that something is NEVER this or that. I’m sure there are thousands of poems out there that are absolutely amazing, and their poets knew very well what they were writing when they began. Who is this Walcott to say such a thing about writing, anyway? I don’t think I’ve ever even heard of him.

    Perhaps he’s defending the way HE writes. Maybe his best stuff happens while he’s winging it, or just writing as it comes to his head. Great writing can come that way; it’s sort of abstract, like a report of a dream. Or, maybe this Walcott is just slamming the work of others because their poems actually make sense while his do not. If he’s going to make such a biased statement, he’d better explain it a little better.

    For me, my writing always turns out best when I have a fully-developed plan. The work has more unity that way because I know how it’ll end and can carry foreshadowing and symbolism and stuff all throughout it. But perhaps that is only true for stories and not poems. I am not an expert on poetry, so maybe I’m completely wrong. But even so, there’s still no reason to say that just because someone does not write like you do, that person is doomed to be average.

  3. I am very impressed with Quote #3. This is a very good example of how many people write, I would be one of them. When I write a song, I never know what I’m writing. Some of my best songs I’ve gone back and thought, “I don’t remember writing that!” It’s just natural, everything that you put down on paper is just what you’re thinking about as you write.

    I do understand Student #2’s views and give them credit. However, I personally believe that it’s better to just write than try to write what you’ve memorized in your head. When you think of something to write about and then sit down to do it you won’t have much luck. I think that you feel pressured to write what you thought about and you begin to force your words. Instead of trying too hard to work everything together your going to try and match everything with the original writing as opposed to the original concept.

    As an example, take this blog. I read the last quote and started writing. I think that Student #2 should realize the irony in contradicting the very idea that they used. Every week when we do these blogs we write what comes to mind. We do exactly what this quote says we do: we react!

  4. I look at quote 2 and it’s gets my attention because it gets me thinking about. It get me thinking about how a person expresses his individuality/uniqueness. I mean right now we live in a society where sometimes when you say your opinions you don’t know what the consequences can be. Writing for most writers is a way to break that barrier, and express your idea/opinions. Your thoughts are what make you different from other people and writing it down makes you get these thoughts out of your head. Also I can find some ties with “1984” based on this quote.

    First thing, we are all going to college, and you know Mr.Long that probably we may come to you to help us write our college essays. These essays are a handful and I wish I didn’t have to write one. However colleges need them to help them choose. Thinking abou it, a college will at least thousands of applications from high school students across the nation. There are just so many students that they can’t take everybody. So these essays help them figure out who the person is and why should he come to this college. The essay will either just basically be a generic writing about yourself, or it will make you look more like an individual/unique from the thousends of students that apply. The writing inside shows colleges how you are an individual and different from the other applicants. Now I’m not saying its only college essays, but the stuff that writers write (poems, stories, essays,…) are basically their way of showing their individuality. It shows how they have different thoughts or outlooks at things in life. It shows that they are not afraid to be different.

    Now this quote also get me wondering about “1984.”

    The world is basically one dull uniform group. Everybody has a job, an apartment, and just lives. All because Big Brother is watching you, and he doesn’t want anybody thinking. In way everybody is the same, there is no individual unless you want to say Big Brother. Then you learn about this guy named Winston. He is like everybody else on the outside, but on the inside well thats another story. He takes out a diary, and starts writing in it. The first time he talks about this movie that he saw. Its just writing down his day, but he at least is freeing his mind which shouldn’t even be thinking of this. Then on pg: 18, Winston just writes in that diary, “DOWN WITH BIG BORTHER.” He just expressed his ideas, and got this idea out of his head. Basically he is breaking free from Big Brother and the Party. He is thinking and becoming individual, not another sheep on the hill. This quote just reminds me of how the world in 1984 is just nobody is unique or human. Everybody is the same, but Winston becomes the first individual.

    This is not a poem but its an average blog response.

  5. The quote that caught my attention was the second quote. I did not consider writing to have such a big purpose. To me writing is pretty much something I do when I need to. I never write for myself and I never thought of writing as an act of individuality. This is probably because I didn’t quite see writing to be an expression of individuality.

    This quote more importantly reminds me of ‘1984’. Winston lives in a society with a “mass identity”‘. Any form of individuality is supressed and Winston accordly starts to write in a diary. Just like Don Delillo said Winston is an outlaw of an underculture and trying to survive as an individual. Winston doesn’t care if he lives or dies, he wants to be an individual, not a party member and he uses writing to do that.

    The main reason I never thought of writing as expression of individuality is because I’ve never really wrote any thing that I thought was out there or different. I’ve never had to write anything while worrying about being persecuted. I’ve never had to express really strong opinions or ideas through writing. I may have never had to do any of that and I probably never will. However, thanks to both Don Delillo and ‘1984’ I now understand what it would be like.

  6. I am choosing quote 3

    I like this quote, because I feel it is very relatable. I think that if no one expressed himself or herself through writing we would all be boring drones, kind of like in 1984. I think that writing really does make you free. If you have a problem that you can’t tell anyone about then you can write about it, and it gets those emotions out. Emotions are a big part of writing. Lots of writing is solely based on emotion.

    Another factor I like about this quote is how it says people write to save themselves. Sometimes you can feel like you are drowning in the day to day life, and writing about something that you want to happen can help you to escape, if only for a moment. The ability to write to make the bland go away is a great thing to be able to do. If you can’t express yourself through words, there aren’t many other ways. It would almost be like having no soul.

    I also like how this quote blends together these two topics of expression and salvation so easily. They might not be thought of together normally, but this quote makes the two seem inseparable. If you aren’t going to express how you feel, you will begin to drown in everyday life. You really can’t just keep everything bottled up, or it will drive you crazy. I guess this just shows how important words really are. They are sometimes a matter of sanity.

  7. Quote 2:

    This quote is interesting due to the value placed on the ‘freedom’ writers are able to obtain through their work. Our society places a great deal of emphasis on salary, reputation, status and judges individuals on everything from their occupation to their shoes. These pressures are placed on every member of society and while some attempt to satisfy them others escape from them. In a sense every individual escapes from reality and pressure every time they read a novel or watch a film. It is ironic that some of the most beautiful works of literature spawn from the pressures of a judgmental and harsh society. However it is interesting to wonder if these great works and writers could have come from a culture that was not filled with pressures and responsibilities. This comes back to the idea that we always want what we don’t have and therefore if a culture was more relaxed and laid back perhaps the writers would look at their works as an escape into pressure and judgment.

    This quote also discusses how writers help themselves through their work and this relates back to trends of society. It is emphasized that if you work hard then you will succeed, and therefore better yourself and your family. In order for an individual to reach their full potential in a job it is usually necessary that they receive not only monetary satisfaction but personal fulfillment as well. This quote explains how a writer receives their fulfillment through the freedom they find in their stories. This shows that a writer not only creates stories because they enjoy it but because they need that freedom to be somewhat content. I think that this makes writers completely unique in that they do their job because it is imperative to their existence not just to gain a profit. Though this fact is presumably not true for all authors it seems to be relevant to the truly great and talented ones.

    Though writers are unique in their need to have freedom through their work, there is a commonality between writing and all other careers as well. Writers do their job due to personal motivation or to satisfy themselves. All workers are motivated by this same ideal. Whether it is to gain more money or to simply feel more accomplished, every working individual does so for personal reasons. Many individuals who work are not overjoyed with their occupation but they continue to show up every day and do the job. It is interesting to discover that in order to obtain the salary or improved resume they want many people do things they dislike. And even writers and workers who love their occupation dislike the work at some point. But if there is no hate or frustration in the lives of every individual it seems that true ‘freedom’ or joy would never be relished because it would be ongoing.

  8. I agree with the quote “Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps you’ve made sense of one small area.” — Nadine Gordimer.

    We write because we have something to tell. Writing is a way we tell people our main idea. We only write the important stuff and the things we want people to remember. I agree about the quote, and it is why we are always learning. But it is not like how much you spend and how much you will get paid back.

    There is no correct answer for everyone, because we have different backgrounds. I always spend a lot of time to think before I write. People will spend rest of their life to write because they try to improve themselves. We all try to make our life more sense and write is not just writing the words down. It helps you to think and every time you read you will gain more knowledge.

    But there are too many things to learn and no one can learn all the stuff from the world. People use all of their life to write about what they learn. It is what the quote tells us, it makes sense in one of their small area. It is why we read, because it is the essence of the people’s life. So we can think more and improve ourselves. It will all make sense in one day.

  9. To me, the second quote from Delillo really caught my attention. As usual, I looked up who Don Delillo might be. He is an American novelist whose novels speak of life in modern America. Most of his books have the satirical theme of losing individuality in mega-cities, the rise of terrorists, and keeping a family life in America. Some criticized him for being a “bad citizen,” to which Delillo says is a writer’s job. With that background, it is easy to understand the quote, which describes the liberating feeling a writer experiences.

    Delillio describes the passion of writing as a liberating experience from “mass identity.” It is easy to see that he is saying that writing is what reveals our personality, what defines us from the rest of society. Writing is an escape of the human soul, the place one can fully express their ideas in any manner they wish. Words are one way to articulate thoughts, feelings, dreams, and passions. Without writing, we lose that personality, and thus our identity. All around us, things are defined for us. Whether it is the American consumerism or fear of terrorism or sense of isolationism, the news and media seem to assume that we should feel one way or another about our world. When we write, we are free to disagree and condemn. It is liberating to express what we truly feel as individuals. Delillo speaks of this “personal freedom.”

    In our book 1984, Winston is driven to write. In Winston’s society, it is illegal to have individuality or freedom. His writing something, anything, whether or not it makes sense, gives him momentary salvation. As intellectual beings, all humans have this drive to be free, to be an individual. Winston is not writing to be a hero of revolution against Big Brother, but he is writing in order to find breathing room. He had to write something in order to care if he neither lives nor dies. Delillo accurately describes the human condition in which Winston writes.

  10. Immediately once I read this quote I thought of my self. What I write is so much different from my personality and life. At first it made me a little worried that I had this creepy depressed side of me that I had never seen. I found out later when I talked about it with someone that it was possible that I wrote the way I did because it was opposite of what happens in my life. By writing the way I do I explore things that have never happened to me and in some cases could never happen to me.

    Like this quote says, writing is my freedom. It allows me to escape and explore. When I get really wrapped up in a story, my brain is in a whole other world. I become the characters that I bring to life. Writing gives you the freedom to say and do things that you might never get the chance to do in life. It gives you the freedom to explore anything and everything about the world, sometimes even creating your own.

    Writing does often help people survive. Whether it be a journal or a novel you can escape into. By writing you can express your thoughts and let them out so they don’t destroy you. Or writing could be a stress reliever. It allows you to escape into wherever you wish to go and lets you get away from whatever is currently going on. At least for a little while, but sometimes that’s all you need.

  11. “If you know what you are going to write when you’re writing a poem, it’s going to be average” – Derek Walcott

    When you know what you going to write, the poem that you wrote down was not the best. Because when you writing a poem are not writing something what you think, is writing something what you feel. You write down your feeling with beautiful words than its forms a poem. Not only what you feel, you can be like Shakespeare use the poem to represent or meaning something in this world.

    I am agreeing with Derek Walcott’s idea, because the poem you wrote was the thing that you think of, not really from your mine. If you use thinking to write a poem, the poem was very simple, as the same as the story, so why don’t you just write a story don’t write a poem. In China when the famous poet writing a poem, they just writing theirs feeling down, when they are sad they wrote a poem, when they are happy they wrote a poem. Those poems are very beautiful because they are use “feel” not “think” to write a poem.

    When you read a good poem, you can feel the same feeling as the poet at that time. Because the poet put his feeling into the poem, and that was totally different if you use thinking. If you think a poem, nobody can feel what you are trying to share, not because you have bad writing, because you didn’t put your feeing in there, Maybe the poem that you wrote was good, but that was not “perfect”.

  12. Quote 3:

    If you would’ve showed me this quote before this year I wouldn’t have been able to give you a straight answer. This year I really learned what it takes to make a poem and how much of the draft process you have to go through. My poem wasn’t even very good , but I had to go through so many drafts just to make it that way. My ideas changed so much by the end the poem didn’t really even look the same. It was a very different feeling watching everything that you started with just go away and turn into a completely different piece of work.

    You never really know what you’re writing about in a poem till you’re right in the middle of it. It’s a very different feeling for me to not know really what I’m doing at the beginning and then it all seems to come together in the middle. The draft process is where I really started to understand what he means by the quote. I might have an idea that I think is really good that might not survive the first draft. Once you have someone revise it and look at it as a hole the poem changes completely.

    When I had Mr. Long look at my poem I thought I had a really good idea going in, but after Mr. Long saw it it changed dramatically. Since mine mine definitely wasn’t better than average I don’t really know what he means completely. After going through all of the stuff with our poems earlier in the year I definitely have an idea of what he means. A poem is a very long drawn out process with a lot of drafts. I really do have a ton of respect for the people who are truly good at it.

  13. Quote 2: “Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us. In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals.” – Don Delillo

    This quote happened to grab my attention because I believe it is a strong statement. I have to agree with in in many ways because we do have a mass identity in our culture and whether it’s writing, drawing, or singing, it is a great way to individualize yourself. This quote to me stood out also because I realized we are all capable of writing and expressing ourselves. It’s more about if we chose to or not. It’s about choosing to be an individual because we all have the ability to express ourselves in writing and many other ways.

    We are all taught to write, and we are all taught to talk, but we are not taught how to write letters in certain ways to open people’s eyes. We are not taught to talk in pitches and free our inner voice. Everybody has the basic skill of what talent comes from, but the ones striving to stand out are the ones taking the basic skill and turning it into something remarkably different. Everybody can draw simple shapes, but not everybody has the eye to take those shapes and mold them into pictures. The ones forcing themselves to push their basic skills into artwork are the ones standing out being individualized.

    The mass identity is the basic skill, but the writer is the one with the mind to do something different with that skill. The ones pushing themselves in this way are the ones freeing themselves of their mind. I agree with this quote in the sense that writers do not write to be rebellious or show off, it is just a way of showing a basic skill that we all now in a different way. We as artists can take things everybody sees as an everyday object or skill and twist it into something you could never imagine. We stand out because we can show ourselves through this medium which others can’t. We strive to be different because we don’t our talents to be hidden underneath something that we all have.

  14. “If you know what you are going to write when you’re writing a poem, it’s going to be average.”

    This quote struck me with the most impact. I agree with Walcott, as I have written poetry in the past. Poetry is probably the most simplistic, yet the most challenging, form of writing out there. It’s a method to express oneself, to purge emotions from within that one keeps bottled up during the day. Like emotions, you can’t plan poetry – emotions happen in the moment, right then and there. If you planned your happiness, sadness, anger, jealousy… then life would be somewhat uninteresting and robotic. The same applies to poetry; what makes it challenging is that it can’t be planned without ruining the entirety of the piece.

    Planning poetry and knowing what to write before your pen touches paper ruins the anticipation and the natural feel of it. After all, the most natural thing about life is the ability for us to react to our environment within the moment. Poetry is no exception to this. When I used to write poetry, I never could come up with anything great if I thought about it too much or if I had a preplanned idea. I found that the best pieces came forth when I sat down, clear of all thoughts, and just wrote the first thing that came to mind. It was natural, and it happened within the moment.

    The best part of being a writer is expecting the unexpected. One minute you may be writing about kittens, and the next you might find yourself deviating to unicorns. I believe poetry demonstrates this “quality” the strongest; one thing leads to another in poetry. Emotions link to each other; so does writing. The point is, planning your poetry destroys the ability for it to free flow to other topics and other emotions and feelings.

  15. “If you know what you are going to write when you’re writing a poem, it’s going to be average” – Derek Walcott

    This quote makes perfectly good sense. When writting poetry I feel you should write it with your heart and not your brain. Poetry isnt just ordinary writing it is writing that comes from the soul. It means something deep and it explains a persons life or personality. A poem that will touch someone’s soul will be a poem that someone has put 110% percent of themselves into it. They didn’t just sit down one day and think “hey I want to write a poem.” They put a lot of thought and hard work into it and write about things that mean something to them. Not something they can just throw onto a piece of white paper.

    This quote also shows me how much poetry means to the world. The poetry that is deep and that has meaning is poetry that someone took the time to work on. The poetry is important to them and they want to show everyone how much the subject they are writing about means to them. They take week, months, and maybe even years to write down plans and rough drafts. They do this to plan a head and to make sure they wont be one of those authors who rushes through his writing to just get it done. They know how they want it to come out in the end, and if that means alot of hard dedication they are willing to do it.

    On the other hand, some people have poetry come fast to them. For instance, if they had a sudden death, or they had a break up, or any other situation that would make them sad it could come easily to them and it would come out faster. Just because it does appear to happen faster doesnt mean they just threw ideas out on a piece of paper. It means they had a spark in life that made there emmotions come out easier. I do agree with this quote but then again I do think in some cases of poetry, when your writing your poem you could alreaady know what your going to write about with it still coming out better then average.

  16. Quote 1:

    I find this quote to be very true. I think that by writing you can express yourself and what you think about the world, your world. By writing you “make sense of life”. You always write about something new that you maybe didn’t know about before. It’s like you learn something new every day.

    “You work your whole life and perhaps you’ve made sense of one small area”. There is so much to write about in the world, that there is almost no way to cover it all. By writing about different topics, you always discover new things that interest you. It can help you become stronger in differnet subjects, becasue you are starting to “make sense of life”.

    No one will ever be an expert on everything. But it is possible that you become one if you are really interested in something. If you have established a love for something, then the writing about comes as natural as breathing. Even though you have only made sense of a small part of life, you will have made sense of the part of life that you “adore”.

  17. I thought Quote 2 was very poetic and it really fits in well to 1984. I have a slightly corny ‘inspirational rainbow’ on my bathroom door and on it there is the line: “there never was anyone exactly like you, and in all the infinity to come, there will never be another you.” When a person thinks about all the hundreds of billions of people who have lived on this planet, how is it that no two people are exactly the same? Human DNA is around 99% identical, but it is that 1% in each of us that makes us unique. I guess that the 1% is each of our imaginations, our experiences in life that shape us.

    Every few years there is a certain theme that pervades the writing world, like a few years ago everyone was writing about divorced women returning to their homes in the south. While many authors can write about similar subjects, none of their books are the same. The authors draw from their own lives and experiences to sculpt their own characters. If no two people in the real world are exactly the same, doesn’t that also apply to characters in books? I know I’ve used this example before, but I adore Pat Conroy as an author. All of his books contain portions of his life and he writes not for pleasure, but so that he can save himself. If he did not put his torments on paper, there can be not telling what they would do inside his mind.

    Now here’s the part that ‘reminds’ me of 1984. The government seeks to oppress the people until they are all the same– there is no individuality. But is that possible? If each human is innately unique, then how can they all be compressed into a tiny box? In Oceania, writing is considered thoughtcrime because it restores individuality to the author. But how was that individuality taken away??

    Finally, I liked the idea that authors do not write for glory, or to create epic stories, but simply because they have to survive.

  18. Quote 3: “If you know what you are going to write when you’re writing a poem, it’s going to be average” – Derek Walcott

    This quote is very interesting and kind of made me shrug my shoulders. I have never thought of writing like that, but now that I do I will have to agree completely with this. If you know exactly what you are going to write about, your mind is not able to completely process every possibility there is for the piece of work. Poetry is special in a way that is almost undescribable. True it is good to have a general idea to be able to start writing, but poetry is the one area where not knowing what to write is best.

    When writing poetry, I feel like I have no limits. Sometimes I start off with one idea and finish with a completely different thought. However, I think that that just makes my writing stronger. It is so cool how with poetry you can totally let loose and be able to just let your heart and soul take over what you’re writing about. Anyone can write a poem, but it’s the best poets that write what comes from within.

    The absolute best poems come from poets who let their souls take over what they are writing, in my opinion. Unlike any other writing, poetry is one that requires someone who is able to completely let go and write with emotion. Personally, when I read a poem or listen to a song even, I try to open up as much as I can and listen to the words. Sometimes I even find myself tearing up (like a loser :)), so caught up in the music or in the words on the page. So because of all of these random thoughts, I now can completely agree with this quote.

  19. The quote “Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us. In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals.” – Don Delillo really caught my attention.

    I believe and agree that people express themselves through their works of literature. It gives each person their own individual and “personal freedom”. Each and every person is, in a way, made to be very similar but through expressing oneself through writing each individual can have a different and have a unique identity. We as humans right to “survive as individuals” from the world in which we live in. By writing, we express our ideas and are able to voice opinions that we were not once able to voice.

    To survive as humans in the real world we need some kind of connection to be able to voice our ideas and thoughts. Writing gives us that power to express ourselves whatever way we choose. This quote is a great example of showing individuality and how people can’t live without that. An example of a society against this quote is the society within the book 1984. In 1984, the people in society have to live without thoughts, imagination, and an expression of opinion. This shows how people cannot function without these three main components and how expressing individualism is very important in the outcome of people’s lives.

    This quote describes how writers write to express and save themselves from the world by writing, and not to become a “[hero]” in the art of writing. Writing is almost described as a ‘get away’ from the world but in turn draws us closer to the surroundings. Writing allows an individual to become whoever they want to become and achieve whatever they want to achieve. Don Delillo uses this quote himself to express how he feels about the world and about the people in it. Don’s quote is intriguing and he picks up on the truth behind writing and the emotions that lie with it.

  20. I picked quote two because it looked challenging to answer, something I wouldn’t normally pick. But also, after I read it a few times, it got me thinking.

    Writing has never been a favorite of mine, especially essays; they make my hands hurt after the first page ;). But thats because I always have alot to say. For example, the vocab blogs we do are fun to me because I have such a wide freedom to express my own thoughts, and tell a story creativly. (but at this particular moment, I hate the vocab blogs. Because my computer randomly shut down and I couldnt save the AMAZING story I wrote. I was extremly angry, but I don’t have any other choice but to write another.) SO, im going to use my creativity on another picture and tell another story.

    (Hang in there! Happens to all of us! — Mr. Long)

    Unfortunatly my heart wont be in this story because I’m still pretty angry. Also, another thing I thought about; if writing is a freedom, why are we still grounded by rules such as 3 paragraphs/5 sentences minimum? Just wondering, I mean it doesnt matter to me, on any other night but, hey, I always work hard :). But back on topic, yes I agree that freedom gives us a chance, as writers ,to escape the world and jump into one of our own. It makes a lot of sence. Is that what the Don guy meant buy being able to survive?

    I thought about that sentence alot too. I looked at different perspectives trying to see if he meant; “surviving” by making a living off writing? Or “surviving” as in unable to survive, ya know? But im still slightly confused. Why would you want to “save yourselve,to survive as individual” just from writing? Out of fear, impulse or just the thought of enjoying all the freedom?

  21. Note: Please follow directions re: # of paragraphs/# of sentences to receive full credit for an entry! — Thanks, Mr. Long

    Quote # 2

    I thought this quote was true on many levels. “Writing is a form of personal freedom.” That just makes sense seeing that anyone can write down anything and feel better. Example a diary, when someone does not have another person to talk to, a diary is most likely needed. And when one writes down their feelings or outlook on that day, they would feel better as if there was one less burden in his or her world. Or that quote could mean that writing is a way to escape the reality we live in to create a world more fascinating and interesting in literature. It could be like day dreaming except writing it down on paper.

    But not all writers do that, some choose to voice their opinions against what they think is “evil.” Which they have a right to do, but that is only propaganda. What I think ” In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals,” means is that the truth behind their writing is that they want to be unique among the rest. The one that is above the masses. This could be applied to school work, why do students at least try to write well on a paper or writing assignment, to get that A. That A really means that not only were you right, that you presented yourself in such a way that it was unique.

    I just though this quote was interesting to say the least. It’s a multi- facetted quote that could be applied to a lot of things.

  22. Quote 3: “If you know what you are going to write when you’re writing a poem, it’s going to be average” – Derek Walcott

    This is a tricky quote for me to understand. In one sense I agree with this because if you have too much of an idea in your head about exactly what you are going to say, you miss the creativity that really makes writing worth writing. I kind of picture it as a scene where someone going to be interviewed has their speech all planned out and know what they want to say. They enter the office and the interviewer says that she used to live in the town you grew up in. You have no idea what how to respond now because you lost yourself in all of your words. We are so focused about speaking and making sure we say what we want to say, we forget about our ‘audience’ or reader, and are so focused on our language. That’s why I think some people respond better to artwork or dance. They are both something different that the mind can still interpret and not have to weed through the unimportant or misleading words.

    Also, if we know what we want to say or portray, not only do we become selfish, we become so close-minded it’s almost sickening. The irony is that one word can take us in so many different directions that one could get lost. I want to write a poem now that starts with one word, and ends up in a completely different place; like bunny trails or a kid’s game of telephone. 😉 Sometimes when students are given an actual topic to write on or study about, we immediately consider it ‘work’. If we get to choose to talk about something that interests us, we find it much easier to complete the task. Even that, though, is knowing what you are going to write before you write it, which seems to break the rules of this quote.

    This quote makes me feel like I can do anything, really. It has a free, open-mind feeling about it. I think it means that if we just open up and let the wind, or our own mind, take us wherever it feels like we need to go, our poem will be good. I can just picture myself laying in a field of tall grass with the bright sun on my face and the only thing that can stop me is…well, I guess thinking. As soon as I begin to think, I close myself off to multiple opportunities. For the first time, I feel that not thinking is better (in the composing of poetry or creativity of course) than thinking at all.

    I guess I am a very visual person, because another image comes to mind when I think (or don’t think) about this idea. I guess a poem with a known reason of being written is just a 4×6 photo shot of what actually could be there. If we let anything come into our minds, a panoramic view, of absolutely anything, is possible and capable of being written.

  23. I agree with Quote 1: “Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps you’ve made sense of one small area.” – Nadine Gordimer. I feel that when you write you write about things you know. It may not be about a particular subject you have had experience with, but the feelings you put in your writing come from you. When you write using these feelings you make sense of the tiny aspect of life that those feelings relate to. All of your thoughts and ideas about life go into what you write.

    You may write a great many stories, but each part of life you realize more about by writing is very miniscule, and the world of things that can be learned is infinite. There is so much to learn about life, that even if every person in the world learned all they could about all different parts of life, we would still collectively know nothing. We can’t know everything, but we can learn the small parts of life. Every time I write, I feel like I learn a little bit more about certain parts of life and what they mean to me. And by writing again and again I could grow to know so much more about me and who I am.

    You can never know everything, but you can come to master the knowledge of a small part of your life. Even the best of writes still can only understand one tiny aspect of what life is. Their area of expertise can maybe be described in one sentence, but they know a great deal about it. They have worked their whole life writing to understand only a tiny bit. They have made enough self realizations as they write to know a small part of life.

  24. I completely agree with quote 1. I love that it is short and simple but at the same time it makes more sense the longest, drawn out discussion could have. I love to write and anytime i read something that inspires me i take a chance to analyze it to the greatest potential. I love when something so small can be the biggest surprise.

    When i first read this poem it defiantly stood out to me. I read all the other ones first but i had to chose this one because it seemed to have the best meaning. It was short and simple but full of meaning. I believe the greatest things in life are the small and simple one because they are the least noticeable but most meaningful.

    I love getting to read different quotes it always gives me ideas for my writing. I love that the quote say, “Writing is making sense of life” because to me it is a way to express myself in a way sometimes only i can understand. I love when my writing effects someone but if it doesn’t, at least it helps me express myself. I have loved writing all my life and could see myself one day writing for a living.


    Quote two really stands out to me because I am into writing myself. When you write, nothing is holding you back, no rules or limitations on what you can or cannot say. You are able to explore a whole nother with your imagination. You can pour your heart and soul into your writing, and be more passionate than you’ve ever been before, and no one else has to read it. Writing is the secret get away in life.

    The best part of having a journal or diary is it is the one friend that wont judge, stab you in the back, or tell your secrets. It’ll always be there for you when you need someone to talk to, and will always listen to your problems. writing not only makes you a more creative person but it is a major stress reliever. Writing lets you release the things that you keep bottled up and the secrets that are rotting you on the inside. It helps you from drowning with the pressure and responsibilites you carry with you everyday.

    Writing is found all around you, every day, every where, different styles of it, and yet people rarley notice it. All musicians are writers, because without the beat, the song is nothing but a poem from the artist’s heart. Not everything that you write has to make sense, as long as you understand it. Writing makes you feel better and calms you down, because once you’re done letting it out, you can let it go.This is the one escape from life, just take a pen and start writing.


    Quote 3 reference with 2:

    In quote three what really caught my attention was when it said the poem would be average if you already new what you were going to say. I personally dont think it would be average. I believe it would be worse than average because I believe that a poem cant come from the mind. I believe that a poem comes from the heart. That you cant already know what your going to say because you cant think like your heart thinks. If you were going to write a poem you cant think you need to just write what you feel. If a poem is written like that than that would be a true poem with meaning.

    In quote two it says that writing is a form of personal freedom. I believe this quote is true because i find that it is easier to tell someone anything by writing it down instead of telling them face to face. So to me it is easier to let go instead of hold back. So you can find out more about a person through writing than just talking to them. You can find out about there personality through there handwriting and if its messy or if its neat. Then you have to find the true meaning behind what they wrote.

    But when i say that writing comes from the heart i mean it. It is also allowing your self to be free. What I mean by that is that everyone stays tied up. They never want to come out and share what they are going though or dealing with including me. But on paper when you write a poem or just writing you are coming out wether you know it or not. Which might ease the pressure and relief you alittle. So you might not get mad anymore or you might not be sad anymore. The better part is if you let someone read it you could get advice or help with something you might not otherwise have gotten.


    I personally like this quote from Dereck Walcott because it’s short, simple, and to the point. It also serves a lot of meaning in that it directly focuses on the writings of a poet. Although I am not a poet I can relate to what he is saying and agree 100 percent with him. He’s basically saying to me that most good writers will discover something new about their writing when they are writing. Also I think it means that while you are writing most writers don’t just stick to their blueprint of how they want their story or poem etc to go, they often veer off the path and discover new possibilities.

    Often times when people are writing, everything just comes natural to them making it easier for them to produce quality work. I wish that one day I could become a good writer and be able to convey my beliefs and feelings on a piece of paper. I happen to know and associate with many talented writers. While the vast majority of them would probably agree with this quote, a few of them would probably not. This is true because they feel like whatever works for that person is what works for them. The same strategy may not work for someone else in vice versa.

    Overall I like this quote and I agree with it. This guy must have known what he was talking about to have such a strong opinion. This quote is very open for an argument. He in fact contradicts himself because I’m sure he probably thought about writing that quote. In fact I have no clue if he thought about it or not, I am simply suggesting that he did. It doesn’t make sense to write about something that you don’t think about.

  28. Student Respone #1

    I am responding to Student #13

    I also thought that the second quote was extremely profound. Writing is a great way to express yourself, and I agree with you that it is something anyone can do. In fact, everybody should find their own outlet for their individuality. Finding your voice is very important nowadays, and in today’s society especially it is too easy to get lost in a sea of people who are all trying to find their own voice. This is a very interesting concept to me.

    True, writing in such a way to instigate a thirst for knowledge and a will to learn is something people either have or they don’t. I really liked that you said that everyone has a basic skill and the ones striving to turn it into something distant are the ones with the real talent. I agree that everyone has an innate degree of skill when it comes to writing, and I was very interested in what you had to say about turning it around. It was really cool how you talked about the ones pushing themselves to greater heights.

    I think it’s interesting how you lumped all of the world into one mass identity, leaving the ones with the skill to make something of that base identity to emerge and grow. I think that is a fascinating concept. Writers using their voice to express themselves as opposed to showing off is a cool theory. I like the idea of striving to show what we have hidden inside. It’s a great thing when someone discovers their own voice. I am very interested to see what the “mass identity” has to offer the world when they all uncover what’s underneath.

  29. Student Response #2

    In Response to Student 14

    Although I decided not to do this blog entry for that week, if I did then I would have chosen the same quote as Student 14 had. I completely agree with his/her opinion that poetry, in it’s natural state, should be written with a clear mind. A person shouldn’t think about what he’s going to write because then he begins to set expectations for himself that the poem he writes may not be able to fulfill. By writing the poem as it comes to you, the poet is able to be more relaxed.

    Forcing emotions into the poem, will prevent it from becoming a work of art, it will only become another representation of the poet’s problems and labors it took to bring the poem into existence. No good can come from a poet who attempts to plan every single part of his work. Knowing what you are going to write before it happens completely ruins the entire point of the poem itself. Anyone who looks upon the end result cannot appreciate the poem for what it is. That’s because it was only through a series of mechanical processes and careful preplanning that the poem was able to be created.

    In a sense, that means that specific poem wasn’t actually created. It was merely a copy of what had already occurred in the poet’s mind, draining it of any excitement or spontaneity. Whenever I think of this quote I always imagine something like splatter painting or something that occurs in nature, like trees. That is what makes poems so beautiful, the fact that they are not perfect. Just like the trees found in nature, if every single tree in the whole world looked exactly the same then there would be no profound appreciation for the tree because it’s perfect. Yet because there are flaws we are able to acknowledge that nothing will ever be perfect, enabling us to recognize the true beauty of the creation.

  30. Student Response #3

    I am responding to Student #7

    I really like the way you spoke of writing as an escape. I also thought it was cool how you tied it into being a result of all of the pressures of the society that we live in. I agree with the fact that if these pressure and stereotypes weren’t present, things may not be the same. Whether its writing music, poetry, or a novel our emotions have a huge impact on the end result. Our feelings are always in reaction to something else that happened so it makes sense to wonder how it would be if there was nothing to react to.

    In terms of a profession, satisfaction with your job definitely has a huge influence on how you perform. I think that choosing to write for a living provides a unique experience. You have the freedom to express yourself and say anything that you want to say. You gain a voice that is going to be heard no matter what you say. You can not only speak for yourself, but for others as well. I think you are absolutely right in the fact that writing as a job doesn’t just help others, or make money, it helps the writer them self.

    Again, generally the people who are most successful in the working force love what they do. That is a fact that applies to all professions. Enjoying what you do pushed you to want to be better and to keep learning. You are always striving to do your best. I agree that this is not true for everyone. For some, work is nothing more than a source of income. People do it not because they want to, but because they have to. Still, like you said at the end of the day you have to experience things that you dislike to find out what you really love.

  31. Student Response #4

    I am responding to Student 7.

    I really like how you consider writing to be a relief from the pressures of the everyday world, monetary concerns, reputation, global worries… I totally agree with your line “it is ironic that some of the most beautiful works of literature spawn from the pressures of a judgmental and harsh society.” For many authors, writing is a way to escape from the harsh realities of the other world, like in the Soviet Union (nerd alert!) Right now I’m reading One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, which is based on (shockingly) a day in the life of a man who is working in a Soviet labor camp. It’s interesting that some people, like Solzhenitsyn, try to ‘escape’ the pressures of the Soviet Union by writing about it in a book. While some people escape from reality by writing about a vacation in Florida where they swam with dolphins, other authors address the stress head-on, and actually relieve their troubled psyches by writing about the source of their anxiety.

    I agree with you concerning your line with authors having to have personal fulfillment to be truly successful. In order to do something demanding (like writing), a person has to be fully devoted to it. If you are going to spend so much time working hard on something, you had better love it, or you are going to be crabby 99% of the day. It is curious that like some people are restless and constantly have to move, authors are restless unless they write. When they write, their souls are freed and can soar to all kinds of heights. Writing is a form of art, and lord knows that artists are quite temperamental…

    In your third paragraph, you talk about how some people love their careers while others just continue to show up everyday, even though they get no joy out of it. Why is it that some people choose the careers that they adore, while others pick whatever looks the best? What is the difference between the person who searches until they are happy and the person who complains, but never changes jobs? I guess that it’s just a lazy fear of change; giving everything up to pursue some unseen goal is very risky, and some people prefer the comfort of materialism to the challenges of risk.

    Lastly, I really like the line “but if there is no hate or frustration in the lives of every individual, it seems that true freedom or joy would not be relished because it would be ongoing.” If a person was happy and joyful everyday, then they would forget what happiness is. They would take it for granted, and perhaps their creative soul would suffer. Some of the greatest works of art come from the unhappiest men: Van Gogh, Dostoevsky, Stendhal… If we were happy all the time we would become lazy because we would no longer appreciate what we have, nor strive to be greater…

  32. Student Response #5

    I am responding to Student #11

    Even though I did not choose the quote, I really liked how you approached it. You talked about how poetry is not what you think, but what you feel. You also said when you write down what you think, it’s not always the best poem. I think both are interesting concepts. Both, could easily be argued, but also agreed with on a simpler level. I also liked that you mentioned that Shakespeare’s work was a poem representing something much larger. I feel like you have great ideas on this quote, but maybe you could work on your grammar a little bit. Mine is not perfect either, but I think you should re-read something before you turn it in.

    You talk about how if you write a story from your mind, it’s not what you thought of. Personally, I have to disagree with that. Something from your mind is exactly what you thought of. To think of something is an idea, that idea comes from your mind and imagination. Then you talk about if you think to write a poem, the poem must be very simple. I guess that could be true, but I also feel like any level of thinking is not simple. To put words on a paper requires thought, whether it is from your heart or mind. The difference in writing a story and a poem, is not thinking or feeling. I feel that it’s more about which medium you would like to express yourself through. Like in art, it doesn’t matter whether you paint it or sketch it, it’s what emotion you’re getting across that matters. I think that in a poem and a story you could express emotion.

    I like that you say a good poem will allow to feel what the poet felt when they wrote it. I think that is a very strong concept. I would like to think that is the difference in a good or bad poem, not whether or not they thought or felt. If you are feeling sad, you would think of sad thoughts, leading you to the same emotion as feeling. To feel is to think. So personally, I feel that they are equivalent. To feel someting you must think, and to think something you must feel.

  33. Student Response #6

    Responding to Student 14

    When I began to read your entry I knew exactly what you meant. I completely love the line about not being able to plan your emotions or poetry. I feel the exact same way when I write songs. It doesn’t really matter what you want to write, because something completely different sill probably come out instead. I think that is part of the joy of writing. And saying that it feels robotic if you plan what you write is so accurate. If you try to write something one specific way it is boring and mundane.

    I also like the line about how writing should feel natural. When I write I often forget I wrote something, I just think that I thought it. I guess that your subconscious is really a creative aspect. You wouldn’t really think of it that way necessarily, but when everything just comes pouring out, it is. I also love the anticipation when you write. It’s really fun to wonder what will come out when you write.

    When you say that poetry flows it really makes me think about how the mind works. I wonder why 2 people can go to 2 completely opposite ideas from one that they are given. I guess it depends on what has happened in their lives. I think that that is part of what makes poetry so fascinating. I love seeing how others think, which you can discover while reading poetry.

  34. Student Response #7

    I am responding to Student #23

    I didn’t do this quote, but I really liked it. It makes us see that writing is not only a creative outlet but also a way to learn about ourselves. I think it is a very interesting concept. I like that you said we write about things we know. That is true, and by doing that we learn more about that subject, and discover more about it. I also loved the fact you talked about that we might not write about something we have experienced but we will write about our emotions. Writing about our emotions lets us learn more about ourselves. I really like that you mentioned that.

    Reading your entry let me see writing differently. I agree with you that it lets us learn about ourselves, and I have never looked at writing that way. I think it’s a really cool idea. I also agree that everytime we write we learn only a little part of life. We could never learn everything, but we can know alot about the little things. I also liked that you said by writing again and again we could learn more and more about ourselves.

    The fact that you mentioned even the best of writers can’t figure everything out was a great thing to say. I think that is true also, wrtiers are people too, no matter what level of writing we’re on we are all just writers. I feel like we are all just trying to figure things out, and that writing is a great way to do that. I never looked at writing this way, I’m, so glad I read your entry. Thanks for letting me see writing in an entirely new way !

  35. Student Response #8

    Response to student 2

    I actually did mine on quote three and agreed with what it was saying. It never even came to me to say what you’re saying, but what you’re saying makes a lot of sense. That is avery cocky thing to say, and to say that that’s the only way to write and make it good seems very egotistical. I like the way you put what you said and said he needs to explain himself better, that makes a lot of since. I also just though it was funny that you said you didn’t know who he was and questioned his position as a good poet haha.

    The qoute did make me question myself as ap oet because I usually know what I’m doing the whole time. That quote basically said I couldn’t ever be good at poetry. That seems like a very cocky and rude way to get a point across. I try to do my poetry a lot like you do it with everything thought out before hand. I’m not very good at poetry, but I like to think I’m not horrible with the way I do it. This quote definently says otherwise.

    My writing also seems to be at it’s best when I have a plan. I’m not very good at just coming up with things off the top of my head. I need to think it out and know what I’m doing to make it good. I’m really glad you said that about this quote. It really got me thinking about how it’s actually kind of a rude quote. That put a very interesting twist on the quote for me. I also feel like a lot of what you said makes since, that all made a very good point.

  36. Student Response #9

    I really liked how student number 2 responded to this quote.

    Normally on blogs like these, you choose a quote that you agree with, but student number two chose one that they didn’t which caught my eye. I think it is good that at first they challenge this quote. I agree, always and never are very strong words and make me hesitant as well. Student number 2 constructed the first paragraph well, and gave me a laugh when they said that they hadn’t even heard of him before, so how dare he to say such a thing?

    After challenging the quote, student number two tries to understand it and accept what it is saying better. They try to step into his shoes, which is necessary for anyone. However, they just give up on him and go back to disagreeing with Walcott. It humores me when they say that his poem doesn’t make sense. In the last paragraph, I like how they introduced there style of writing.

    I really like this entry because it gave me several laughs. I thought it was creative, choosing one that they disagree with as opposed to one they agree with. They had plenty to talk about, they didn’t push the information for 3 paragraphs. It seemed very natural and flowed well. They found a way to somewhat respectfully disagree with Walcott and find a way to share their own ideas on the topic.

  37. Student Response #10

    I am responding to Student 22

    I agree with you that sometimes just “not thinking” too hard can free us up to be more creative. Sometimes, I get caught up trying to find the perfect word or statement. To emphasize this point, I like how you used the example of someone who had a pre-planned speech and then got tripped up when having to respond spontaneously. I think this is what Walcott was trying to say about being too prepared. I also think that is why it is more difficult for some than others when it comes to free writing. We are taught to always be ready and organized when we come to class. I’ve never heard a teacher say, “Don’t worry, show up unorganized and let your mind roam free.”

    I was intrigued by your statement about how if a writer knows specifically what they want to convey before they write it, then the writer becomes selfish. Your statement is incredibly poetic. It took me a few minutes to understand what you meant. When I re-read your point about being selfish, I think you meant that the writer becomes stingy with words and too contrived. The writer is unable or unwilling to convey their inner thoughts. The writer selfishly shuts down and writes what they think others want to read. They close down and can’t find the freedom and security it takes to share their vision.

    I really like how you were inspired by this quote. It seems like you discovered a way to free your mind. Sometimes when I write, I also picture myself in another place, a peaceful place, away from the grind of daily life. Maybe this is a little like meditation. For me it’s a chance to escape from self imposed logic. And yes, you are so right, the only thing that can impede your imagination is thinking too hard. Some of my best writing ideas have come at moments that were completely unexpected. I imagine it is the same way for you. While you stated that this was a tricky quote for you to interpret, I think you expressed Walcott’s meaning with great insight.

  38. Student Response #11

    It is not clear you are actually responding to a student’s earlier writing on this topic. Can you clarify which student (who did quote #3) you are reacting to??? – Mr. Long

    I find that quote number three is very accurate. It really expressed how a true poet would work. If you write poems well then you start with nothing and have Ideas pop into your head. If you know what you are going to write then its probably going to be drab. This applies for me to any and every poem.

    Brainstorming is a key factor of writing a good poem. This key step is how great poems are born. With a good Idea any poem can be the pinnacle of excellence. No one can compare with a poet who has a great imagination. You would need one if you where to be any good.

    The truth of quote three is evident to me because of the authors scincerity. He knows how the process works and respects it. When I wrote my poem I had an Idea planted in my head that I was going to make it about nature. This was the wrong way to do it though because it made me narrow minded. You have to let your mind run free though.

  39. Student Response #12

    NOTE: to get full credit, it is a MIN of 5 sentences for EACH paragraph. You will only get partial credit as it currently stands. — Mr. Long


    Im responding to student #22

    I agree with everything you had to say in your first paragraph. I like how you say that you cant write by forcing yourself to write. I think writing you have to write what you think. You cant force yourself to write about something if you do that its not poetic. You cant get into “writers mode”. Thats what I call when a writer is os into the zone of what he is writing about that he doesn’t realize how much he has written.

    I also agree with student #16
    Making sense of something is learning something new about it. The more you learn about something the easier it is to talk about it. It makes it alot easier to get into a writers mode when you know alot about it.

    I also liuke the quote #2. Im responding to student #25. I agree with your first paragraph. People write to escape life. It helps forget about your troubles by writing things that you enjoy.

  40. Student Response #13

    I am responding to student #6

    I loved this response and thought it was great from the beginning. In the first paragraph the straight -forward attitude of the writer grabbed my attention and I had to keep reading. The use of the word ‘drones’ was very effective. This word choice truly popped off the page because the surrounding language was less unique. I thought the reference to “1984” was appropriate and clever, considering they rid their world of writing. It was clear that this student has a deep respect for the power of writing and the need for it in our society. The mention of emotion also was very effective, and could be applied not only to writing but all arts. Art is the release of emotion through a picture or a song or a novel. This emotion is what gives an artist true ownership of their work.

    I liked the way the paragraphs became more complex as I worked my way through the response. They were not more complex in language but in ideas. The second paragraph was greatly bold in stating that writing can save people essentially from themselves. This makes complete sense to me because I think that just like sports or theater, writing is an outlet that some people can’t live without. For many authors they write not just for their living but because they have to do it for themselves. And that is why it seems that even if someone in the arts is not successful in making a full time career of it they have to be able to be apart of it in some way. I am a strong believer in the fact that every person’s soul is inspired by something unique and they need that to have life. Though it sounds dramatic, individuals may give up their passion as a full time commitment but they should never give it up completely because then they loose a part of themselves.

    The last paragraph was very interesting, especially the last line. The point that expression brings us a form of salvation seems so simple, but it has never occurred to me. The realization that we have to be able to express ourselves in some fashion or we will self-destruct is a great one. It is one of those statements that makes sense when I hear it but never would have been put together in my mind. It is strangely comforting to me that as a society we need self-expression to survive. I like the fact that this student has given the purpose of survival to writing and the arts. The last line of this response was wonderful because the word ‘sanity’ is perfectly harsh for this response.

    Thank you student #6 for your great entry!

  41. Student Response #14

    I’m going to agree with the student 2 because there are amazing poems out there that were thought of before written. Quote three isn’t a fact at all though, it’s just a statement of someone’s opinion, which we are all entitled to our own. While he said it was going to be average, i’m sure he didn’t mean every single poem that was thought of before being written wasn’t going to be good. It all just depends on the person who is writing, because for some a thoughtout plan works and makes it better, others just start writing down their thoughts and feelings in that moment. Just as this person has the right to react to this quote, Walcott has a right to say how he feels about these things.

    I wrote about quote 2 so I agree with student 4 in some places. I agree that writing is a way that you can express your opinions and ideas. I also think that we are the only country that has freedom of speech and that really effects our society. I like that they said your thoughts is what differs you from everyone else because you’re right, there are very few people with the same words in their mind. The ties to 1984 stands out to me, but I don’t agree that everyone is one dull uniform group. In this day and age and country, we don’t have to follow, in fact we are expected not to follow one another. We are expected to be different and our own individuals.

    Student 8 makes a good point in the fact that we are always learning. We write what we want people to remember because it is most important to us. Writing our whole life just to make sense of one little piece seems like a waste of time, but the amount you learn in a life time is unmeasureable. Thinking before you write will help you gain knowledge is really amazing way to look at this, because if you struggle to come up with something, you are collecting information in the process. I agree that there are way too many things in the world to learn in one life time, so what are you waiting for ? Go out and start learning.

  42. Student Response #15

    Responding to student #17.

    I think it’s fine to have an inspirational message in your room like that. It’s actually kinda cool. I have heard that we are all 99% the same but had forgotten about this fact until I read your entry. I think that is a miraculous thing to think that everyone is separated by 1% of total us, and how we can be so different from each other. I don’t know how you feel, but that confirms it with me that there is no way that we just randomly appeared out of a single-celled blob. I feel so much better about myself knowing that a God who cared about me chose to make me; I just didn’t happen by accident. I think we are all here for a reason.

    Each character that I read about is different from the next, just like how people are. That’s what makes them real, along with their language and feelings and such. The curious thing is that we can somehow usually relate, on some level, to everyone we meet. Either a similar life-story, or the same favorites can draw people together. It’s like as soon as they have something in common, they can relate to each other a whole lot better. Sometimes people claim they can’t relate to people, but I am pretty sure in time they will be able to find something in common that they can talk about.

    I have thought about individuality concerning “1984.” What I have concluded (at this point) is that thoughtcrime is not really real. The whole thing is a gimmick just to maintain power. This scares mostly everyone into complying with the ‘rules’ and not speaking anything that could make someone turn them in to the thought police. I don’t know if this is a stretch, or a completely false accusation, but in a sense, parts of “1984” remind me of “Lord of the Flies.” The children are looking forward to being a part of the Party and keeping a close watch on their parents to see if they can call them out. Everyone seeming like they are afraid of the enemy (which puts a name to their fear of themselves or Big Brother) just like how the Beastie was a distraction to the boys on the island. If this is not true, however, I won’t be able to stop thinking about it. 😉 Anyway, back to the individuality subject-I think you are correct, Student #17. They are not able to fully strip away everyone’s distinct personality and way of thinking. What Big Brother can do though, is scare everyone (or convince them) into not showing any of their emotions or thoughts in order to alienate everyone from each other by relations and language which would cause people to be dependent and totally reliant on Big Brother.

    Side note: Maybe Winston is writing to save himself…

  43. Student #28 (week late)

    Note: This does not appear to be an actual response to a student fro last week. Instead, it appears to be an original entry that is a week late. It’ll count towards this week (not last week).

    Quote 1: “Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps you’ve made sense of one small area.” – Nadine Gordimer

    Nadine may believe writing is making sense of life but I also believe discussion is making sense of life. I see where you are getting at with this quote Mr. Long, it has many ties to Orwell’s version of 1984. Winston makes sense of life by writing in his secret journal but he is torn apart at the fact that he cannot speak with his comrades about what he writes. If I could rewrite this quote to my liking, I would write: “Reading, writing, and discussing what you have written and read is making sense of life…….etc.” Winston’s disadvantage is his fear of interaction with people due to the oppressive rules of the Party.

    Although Winston has begun to open his mind and question the Party, like Gordimer says he can work his whole life and he just might find out one true fact about Big Brother and the Party. If he could read facts and discuss them with another person to fully grasp what he is questioning he could possibly understand much easier and confidently. Winston is concrete evidence(wink wink) of my opinion of what one of the goals of the Party leaders is. Big Brother and the Party use the Though Police, if there even is a thought police not that it matters, to keep Party members from thinking. The members who do believe in the Thought Police, I believe really are the actual Thought Police.

    This is so difficult for me to express through writing, I have so much to say and sometimes I run out of time and need to stop, refuel my spaceship, and go back at it the next day. There is no Thought Police, the idea of a Thought Police is what creates Thought Police. By the fear of being turned into the Thought Police, people will do anything to make themselves the least possible suspect by turning others in for Thoughtcrime. Another idea I’d like to stress is that without one thing you can’t have the other. For instance, you can’t have the act of settling down without the act of acting up. This is why Newspeak is destroying words!, to get rid of the contradictory. Back to the quote, I think without writing you don’t have reading and without writing and reading you don’t have discussion, but if you don’t have all of these you don’t have anything.

  44. Student Response #16

    I am responding to Student #22:

    You make a good point about creativity. If we think about what we are going to say before we actually put it down onto paper or onto the computer, then we are completely missing the point of what it truly means to be creative. I enjoy the way you picture not being creative. You prepare and prepare for an interview and the first statement/question they ask is completely different from what you thought it would be. I lose myself in language sometimes also. I try to think of the best things I could say and I forget about the reader’s side of the story.

    I also agree about writing something that truly grabs your interest. That’s exactly what creativity is all about and that’s what I like. Something random that catches your eye that you enjoy. Maybe he/she enjoys the mind, or space, or science, or computer, or anything else. That could be an excellent assignment for one of our classes.

    I believe that taking a scene from our past and remembering every bit of it and slowly describing every inch in detail, we create something truly unique. And as you said, the quote really has a smooth rhythm to it. It opens up many paths for us to move upon and think about. It gives us the eligibility to ponder the quote and discover new meanings to creativity and poetry. We can take this to mind when we begin to think differently as we go to college and later on.

  45. Student Response #17

    Student number 5’s entry intrigued my interest first.

    I would guess the reason #5 has never viewed writing as individual is because everything you write is for school, well I don’t write unless it’s for school either. In our day in age we have a very busy lifestyle and don’t take the time to write anything personal. I don’t quite see how you never thought writing was individual though, since what you write is different from anything that anyone else writes. Writing is the most individual thing you can do, nothing can influence what you write or everything can influence you as you write but the key is you decide. You decide what stays in your mind and you decide what goes on that paper or in our case most of the time you decide what goes on that screen.

    I don’t agree with all of your ideas in the second paragraph S5. Yes, Winston does live in a society with a “Mass Identity”, but I think he does care if he dies. Winston just doesn’t show the emotion that we do, because he can’t, you can. I’m going to use my 1984 state of mind and ask is Winston an outlaw or is the Party the real criminal? If Winston is a criminal in Big Brother’s eyes does that mean he’s a criminal in our eyes? Are we criminals for thinking the Party is a criminal? Is the Party a criminal for thinking Winston is a criminal?

    You don’t have to be suppressed by something to write individually, you don’t have to be Anne Frank. You can write anytime of the day about anything you want. I think that school makes your mind think that anytime you write something it has to have some fact and some reason to it. When in reality you can write about the least real thing you want to and it can always be significant and individual. For instance look at 1984, I’m sure people back when it was first released people were completely confused and had no idea what was happening in this unreal futuristic story that Orwell wrote. But he wrote it to make people think and indeed it did. You can do the same thing.

  46. I am responding to student #5.

    I love writing and it is a huge part of who i am. I use writing to express myself when i can’t exactly say it out loud. Student 5 said they had never written anything different or important but i find that hard to believe because i believe that anything a person put on paper that is their own is unique in their own way. As one may not see it as important to others it may be life changing.

    Sometimes its hard to look past writing and see the significance. Student 5 made it a point to refer back to 1984 and it allowed me to have a different outlook on how you can take writing in a different sense. He/She may not be a good writer but after this year of writing for Mr. Long i find it hard to believe their work wont be pretty extravagant.

    I loved the way they thanked the authors of the writings for how they influenced their outlook on it. I think that when they said, “I probably never will” about writing something worth reading is a lie. I think that literally two words written on a piece of paper or a novel can sometimes be taken in ways the actual author never knew existed. I think that for them to be able to respond to a quote shows great potential for a great writer someday in their future.

  47. Student Response #19

    Response to student #2

    I agree to what your saying about the thinking process of poems. There are many great poems out there that took large amounts of time to write. Everyone has a different way of writing that is unique to their own selves. Some people dont really think while writing they just write. Other have to think for abit, maybe even draft it out before they start writing.

    I think its funny how you pointed out that sometimes his best stuff comes out when hes winging it. All of us have had that moment where we just had to make something up right on the spot. It may or may not have turned out to great. I dont necessarily believe that hes trying to slam other peoples poems that make sence though. I belive hes trying to send the message of not to be average, try to be abstract in the way you think. Writing without thinking while making a poem can lead to something great, and its for everyone to try out.

    Response to student #3

    Many great artists of our time have done what you’ve done. Great songs and poems have come from people who just wrote just to write at the time. They come to realize that what they wrote was greatness. I saw your thoughts on how its better just to write, but everyone is different. What I was saying earlier is that nobody has the saming writing pattern. We all have our different ways of writing and how we come to approach it.

  48. Student Response #19

    I am responding to student # 18.

    Your opinion on this quote is very much like mine. We both agree that when you are writting poetry you shouldnt know exactly right off the back what you are going to write, but it does help if you know the general area of what you want to write about. I also like how you said “poetry is indescribable.” I totally agree with that. Poetry is one of a kind and you write it with your heart not your brain. Poetry is the kind of writting where you just go with the flow and write about how you feel.

    Your second paragraph is very deep and I like how you said when writting poetry you can take it wherever you want to take it. You can go down any road you want to and you have no limits. No one can stop you because you are writting with your soul. I love how you wrote that line. I completely agree. You do not use your brain with poetry you use your soul and heart.

    Paragraph three was kind of like my third paragraph. In this paragraph we both brought in the word “emotion” and we also both compared poetry to songs and lyrics. I completely agree there is TONS of emotion in poetry. In fact I think all of poetry is pure emotion. It is someones feeling written down, whether it is part of a song or just another poem in a book.

  49. Student Response #20

    I am responding to Student #1

    At first I disagreed with you, but by the end of your entry I had mixed feelings about your opinion. To me it even seems like you contradict yourself a bit. That may just be because of my vantage point though. It is the first paragraph of your response that I disagree with. It also seems to contradict the rest of the response, which I am in agreement with.

    In the first paragraph you talked about how writing was narcissistic because people are sharing their ideas for themselves. But what if they’re really sharing for the benefit of other people? What if, and you hit on this later in your response, writing is all they have or it’s an escape? Or perhaps writing is a true passion for them and they’re writing because it makes them happy and fulfills something inside of them that nothing else can. That’s not narcissistic to me at all.

    Later in your response you talk about how writing can save someone or let someone express their ideas while they’re equal to everyone else. It can help them let go, to leave something personal and meaningful behind that they may not have been able to do without writing. I completely agree with all of that. To me though, that emphasizes that writing is not selfish at all. Some people need it like they need water, and I don’t feel like really needing something is self-centered at all.

  50. Student Response #21

    I completely agree with student number 5. I personally don’t consider writing to have a big purpose. I usually find myself writing only for school or forsome other project. I never really write for myself which is probably saying that I don’t know the whole picture. I agree that i also don’t see writing as an expression of an individual.

    I can’t really agree when student number 5 says that this quote reminds him/her of 1984. But i do agree when he/she says that he lives in a society with a mass identity. A society that has only one idenity. Were a a single person does’t matter as an individual. Sometimes the people want to become seperated from the group in oreder to stand out. I agree that Winston does use writing to do that in 1984.

    Like student 5 said i also have never wrote anything that I thought was out there or different. I always choose my words carefully inorder not to be persecuted also like student 5. I have been asked to write were I give strong opinions about something but I don’t always give the full truth or i cover up the truth with a story. So if i never attempt to write with a strong opinion about something it would be from deep down and would mean something. It would mean something that nobody could understand because only the writer knows the secret and until he or she decides to tell it will remain a secret forever.

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