Rock and Stone by Colin Tandy

On the gloomy dusk of the brightest day,

My company wept, their souls astray.

Side by side we march towards hell,

Crying inside, tough on the shell.

For my life I take another,

Traveling fast with my brothers.

A gun in my hand, we begin our attack,

I chase after death, and dare him to look back.

The screams that surround me deafen my ear,

But only a coward would run in fear.

Pain surges through me as I hit the ground,

Dirt seeps into my wounds, I cry out loud.

In my last moments of life and my last moments of thought,

I don’t think about the freedom, that I died for and fought.

I think of my family and the people I’ve loved.

As my life ends, I see nothing above.

Life is the most sacred thing that you own.

Without it you’re no more than a rock or a stone.

I need life, just a little bit more.

I regret it all

my life is gone

all because of war.

Christopher Moore- by Hannah Tandy

Christopher Moore

            Christopher Moore, the creative often darkly satirical writer, has written twelve novels and two short stories. His funny and unexpected writing ranges in genres from fantasy to historical fiction. Even though Christopher Moore has become a bestselling writer, he remains less famous than other notable authors. His audience consists of mostly adults. Moore’s first novel, Practical Demonkeeping published in 1992, and his most famous novel, Lamb The Gospel According to Biff Christ’s Childhood Pal, are examples of his uniquely amusing storytelling.

Christopher Moore was born in 1957 in Toledo, Ohio and grew up in Mansfield.[1]At twelve years old he started writing, but his career as an author didn’t start until he reached thirty. The writings of his favorite author, John Steinbeck, inspired Christopher Moore. Moore’s favorite Steinbeck works include the less famous writings Cannery Row, Sweet Thursday, and Tortilla Flat.[2]Christopher Moore also respected Kurt Vonnegut who influenced his satirical novels. The Denver Post even states, “Christopher Moore is rapidly becoming the cult author of today, filling a post last held by Kurt Vonnegut.” Before Moore became a published author he worked menial jobs at grocery stores and at hotels. He uses these past experiences to help enhance the characters and make his stories more lifelike. Moore currently divides his time between Hawaii and San Francisco and is working on a sequel to his novel Fool.

Christopher Moore’s books often display themes like religion, friendship, and love. Religion plays an important role in his novels Lamb, The Stupidest Angel, and Fluke. Lamb, the hilarious historical fiction novel, depicts Jesus’ life between the ages of six and thirty-three from the perspective of his best friend Biff. Christopher Moore creates the character Biff who has the opposite personality of the Messiah,  and tells the story through his eyes. Biff, the smart aleck trouble maker, helps Jesus with many problems. Christopher Moore’s take on Jesus’ life often  stays historically accurate, while demonstrating his strange imagination. The Stupidest Angel, the third novel in the Pine Cone series, also contains religious elements. In this novel God sends an angel to Earth to grant the wish of a child and to perform a Christmas miracle. One of Christopher Moore’s strangest novels, Fluke, uses “The Goo” as a religious symbol similar to God. The humpback whales sing to “The Goo” to receive food. Additional themes of Christopher Moore novels include loyalty and friendship. The friendships between Biff and Joshua (Jesus) in Lamb, Nate and Clay in Fluke, and Lena and Molly in The Stupidest Angel symbolize how Christopher Moore values deep friendships. His characters defend, argue with, and care for each other just like relationships in real life. Love, perhaps more than any other theme, appears in every Christopher Moore book. From the passion Biff feels for Mary Magdalene, “Maggie”, to the lust Steve feels for everything in the novel The Lust  Lizard of Melancholy Cove, Moore’s novel’s illustrate that love can be confusing and complicated, yet precious and essential to life.

Christopher Moore’s comical writing style takes ordinary story-lines and pushes them to insane boundaries. He writes with fairly simple diction, but it can vary depending on different characters. Moore’s phrasing can become complicated with characters similar to Joshua, who speaks with parables, but is not usually. In Moore’s novel Fluke, Nate and his partner Clay work as  marine biologists researching humpbacks. The plot takes an unexpected turn when Nate sees “Bite Me” on the tail of a whale. Moore then introduces us to a world of whaley boys, whale ships, and an underwater utopia. Moore’s inventive plots are easy to follow, but rarely follow a traditional path. Christopher Moore demonstrates a unique talent for connecting his stories by using a few of the same characters in different books. Catch, the demon, appears in Lamb and in Practical Demonkeeping. Moore also introduces Tuck and his talking fruit bat in The Island of the Sequined Love Nun and in his book The Stupidest Angel. Additionally Moore uses similes throughout his stories. For example, “There was an explosion, a flash, and an anguished roar, as if someone had killed a lion.”[3] He also uses many metaphors like when Maggie says “Good fortune? Are you mad? My husband’s a toad. I’m sick at the thought of him.” Moore’s ridiculing and fanciful tone creates a quizzical mood within his novels. He wants the reader to fall into his comedic satire that’s sometimes grim, sometimes whimsical, but always entertaining.

Although Christopher Moore’s books roam into bizarre territory, he researches his subject matter thoroughly. Lamb took him three years to write because he had to read the Old and New Testaments; analyze Buddhism, Confucianism, and other religions to create the three wise men; and discover what was happening in the rest of the world at that time.  He even traveled to Israel to see the places where Jesus would have gone. Moore also met with educators and clergymen to learn more about Jesus’ life and time. In books like Fluke and Bloodsucking Fiends he had to research biology and mythology. In the novel Coyote Blue,Moore had to investigate Native American tribes, their customs, and their beliefs.

Christopher Moore has quite an imagination and writes absurd, clever, and entertaining stories. Carl Hiaasen, the bestselling author, has said Moore is, “A very sick man, in the very best sense of the word.” The New York Times says, “He writes laid-back fables straight out of Margaritaville, on the cusp of humor and science fiction.” From the odd underwater world of Fluke to the darkly satirical novel A Dirty Job, “Christopher Moore writes novels that are not only hilarious, but fun to read as well. He is an author at the top of his craft.”[4]

Bibliography

“Christopher Moore (author).” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 10 Apr. 2011.       <http://            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Moore_(author)>.

“Hennepin County Library – Bookspace – My Book List – Recommended Authors &         Read-  Alikes.” Hennepin County Library – Home Page. Hennepin County Library. Web.        10 Apr. 2011. <http://www.hclib.org/pub/bookspace/mybooklists/ShowList.cfm?  ListID=1544>.

“Internet Book List :: Author Information: John Steinbeck.” Internet Book List :: Home. Web. 10            Apr. 2011. <http://www.iblist.com/author.php?id=153>.

Moore, Christopher. Christopher Moore, Author of The Stupidest Angel, Lamb, and Fluke. Web.             10 Apr. 2011. <http://www.chrismoore.com/>.

Moore, Christopher. Fluke, Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings. New York: W. Morrow,   2003. Print.

Moore, Christopher. Lamb. New York: HarperCollins, 2002. Print.

Moore, Christopher. The Stupidest Angel: a Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror. New York: Morrow, 2004. Print.


[1] Christopher Moore. “Christopher Moore”. Christopher Moore. n.d. 7 April 2011. <www.chrismoore.com/christophermoore.html>.

[2] Christopher Moore. “Christopher Moore, author of The Stupidest Angel, Lamb, and Fluke”. Christopher Moore. 29 January 2002. 7  April 2011. <www.chrismoore.com/picks_1.html>.

[3] Christopher Moore, Lamb (New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2003)144.

[4] “Recommended Authors & Read-Alikes”.Hennepin County Library. n.d. 8 April 2011. <www.hclib.org/pub/bookspace/mybooklist/ShowList.cfm?ListID=1544>

San Diego Film Festival

               In September of 2011 students from film classes across the school district received an exciting invitation to the 10th anniversary of the San Diego Film Festival in Downtown.  Five other students from Mission Bay and I eagerly accepted the invitation with hopes of taking our film education outside of the classroom and into the real world of the movie business.  The morning of the festival we arrived at The Gas Lamp Theater and met with the festival’s organizer, Dennis Corwick.  He welcomed us and told us to wait in theater seven for the films to begin.  As our group entered we began to to talk amongst the groups of students around us.  We met several students from La Jolla High school and discussed our school’s film programs and our favorite movies.  Mr. Corwick walked into the theater and explained that the festival will deliver us several opportunities to meet and speak with the directors of the films that we would later watch.   My peers and I sat anxiously in our seats as the theater darkened and the credits for the first film began.

               The first film of the day, 1 in 7, discussed the issue of hunger and its effects on San Diego families.  This documentary, made by thirty Carlsbad High School film students, led to the creation of the nonprofit organization, Donate Don’t Dump.  The half hour long film had ended and the student directors approached the front of the theater for a brief discussion about their film.  The directors explained to us that it took over a year to completely finish this short documentary.  They said that they still possessed several hours of unused footage that they were unable to fit into the final cut of this film.  They also described to us some of the equipment and tools they had used while filming their documentary.  They demonstrated various camera techniques to the audience and entertained our questions for about fifteen minutes.  The discussion slowly ended, the directors returned to their seats, and the theater fell silent for the beginning of the next film.

               The next four films played consecutively and were all less than 45 minutes long.  These films, like The Perfect Hurl, artistically presented intriguing themes to the audience through vivid, visual story telling and a mastery of camera techniques.  After the final film the students asked the directors to explain certain techniques used in the more artistic shots.  Each movie’s hidden symbolism and powerful themes allowed for the entire audience to enjoy every film.  When the credits of the final film rolled the directors entered the theater for a brief Question and Answer session.  These “Q&A” times were a vital part of the film festival experience; during this time the audience freely asked questions and learned in greater detail the difficulties that directors face while creating a film.

              At around 11:00 in the morning the owner of a film production company came to the front of the room to lead the longest, most insightful Q&A period of the day.  During this hour long discussion he explained to us how we can take the needed steps to immerse ourselves into the industry of film.  He recommended that we begin to make short films as soon as possible to familiarize ourselves with the creative process.  He also told us that we should learn more about the obscure aspects of film such as lighting, music production, and continuity editing.  “Film is more than just being the next Steven Spielburg,” he said. This discussion taught us that teams of talented individuals work together to create inspiring pieces of visual art in the film industry, and that not everyone in the business must direct or act.  The producer’s insightful speech opened the audience’s eyes to the real world of film production.

              Around noon we left the theater for a brief lunch and the opportunity to network with the directors of the movies that we had watched that morning.  The students gathered around the directors and tested their ability to make their names known.  The directors all patiently answered our questions and jokingly discussed their films and popular movies.  Each director demonstrated expansive knowledge of the film business during these brief discussions.   Lunch was a beneficial opportunity to learn from the most knowledgeable in the business, and for most of the students, it ended much too soon.  Despite our desire to continue our discussions, we re-entered the theater at 1:00 in the afternoon to finish the last few films in the lineup.

               The last movie of the day, Project Happiness, told the story of a high school class’ quest to learn about discovering lifelong happiness.  This documentary followed three groups of students from three different countries on their voyage to India.   This movie possessed not only a strong plot and theme, but also compelling interviews that managed to hold the audience’s attention for the entire hour and a half.  Immediately as the movie endedl the theater erupted in applause and the directors eagerly entered the room to speak with the audience.  The main director explained this movie’s inspiration effect on it’s character’s lives.  She described some of the difficulties she faced while filming, including certain complex shots and angle challenges.  She also gave us advice on how to pack power and emotions into every interview.  The festival began to wrap up and the event organizer addressed the audience for the last time.  He announced that he was raffling off film equipment.  Four students from La Jolla, San Diego, and Carlsbad High Schools won a package of expensive cameras, microphones, and editing software.  The festival had ended, the theater cleared out, and the students began to reflect on the experience that had just taken place

               Overall, the San Diego Film Festival was an informative and inspiring experience for the majority of the students.  Many of those who attended displayed a true interest in film, thus allowing for a productive and exciting day to take place.  This festival not only presented us with the required information to enter the film industry, but also sparked our creativity.  Each film displayed a balance between artistic beauty and entertainment value.  The movie’s both held our attention and inspired our minds to one day create such masterful works of visual art.  As we exited the theater that day we knew that the festival had dramatically changed our perception of film making.  We walked away from the festival with a greater understanding of film production, at the end of the day we truly understood that the art of film is much more powerful than we ever could have imagined.

Sleeping Beauty – by Heidi Emmenegger

Sleeping Beauty

I wait, locked up in my tower.

They keep me here to preserve the princess I once was.

Before my fairytale took a twist that lead me to him.

Shoved in a shoebox at the farthest corner of my closet.

Waiting.

Waiting for the dragon guarding my tower to turn her head.

He sneaks into my dreams, leaving me craving him till it hurts.

Till I can no longer resist.

He is my prince charming.

The one who will whisk me away to a better place.

And I will let him.

Like Sleeping Beauty, my eyes are forever closed.

But this time Prince Charming will never wake me up.

Week One by Jerrilyn Goldberg

Week one.

Switch.

Week two.

Switch. Switch. Switch. Switch.

We try to settle into our house each week, but the task is daunting. With each move we create a new life; we face the coming Monday with the same amount of dread as we feel toward our vaccinations.

We don’t know the true background of the divorce but we do know how different our lives are from the lives of our friends: our parents can’t talk to each other, while theirs’ are always together at the school events.

But we get two birthday parties. And two sets of Hannukah presents. Two lives are interchangeable with one, right? Consistency isn’t as good as more outfits for my dolls, more stuffed animals for his shelves.

We get a new side of the family, too. More parents and adults in our lives – that’s a plus, right? Because I don’t have enough trouble following directions already. And I certainly need another person in my life to disparage the other parent.

And we get another sibling. Who wouldn’t want to grow up as the older sibling of a miracle baby? Because I love seeing my two beautiful dolls buried underneath her eight. And I definitely don’t mind learning that she turned my room into her second play-room while I was gone, but I’m barely allowed to stand in her doorway. And I love seeing her return home from every shopping trip with new toys while I have to save up for my own. Equal treatment is for sissies, right?

To Grasslands and Prairies by Hannah Tandy

To grasslands and prairies… Stepping out of the terminal the hot, smoky air makes you sweat within 10 seconds.  Greeting family I haven’t seen for over a year with warm smiles and hugs, watching my mother catch up with her sisters while I sit on the sidelines and awkwardly try to make conversation with my cousins. Giving up once again as my brother and sister step in, take over, and joke around with an ease I envy, listening to stories that never lose their humor, laughing as I remember the scenes, even though I wasn’t there. Facing my adorable, Japanese Grandma who looks like a chubby, ancient version of my mother, seeing mascara running down her face as she laughs along with us.

Toddlers running around past the living room, where the TV is always on though no one is watching, the dining room, where the adults gossip about each other, and the kitchen, where they will occasionally stop to sneak food, all the while I’m trying, in vain, to keep the spastic moppets in one place. The boys, like adolescent monkeys, are bouncing from chair to couch, playing for hours without getting tired. They challenge their older cousins to wrestling matches in which they team up against their elders and try to bring them to their knees, succeeding through perseverance.

Driving miles to get from one home to another just staring out of the window, watching trucks and the occasional Wal-Mart pass by, I am astounded at the beautiful nothingness that is Oklahoma. Pulling up to my uncle’s spacious stone house, I slowly look up and realize how much I have grown as my memory rearranges to fit my new height. Running from the car to the house in order to avoid the stifling heat, and quickly changing into a bathing suit to submerge myself into my uncle’s luxurious pool where a waterfall, like a pleasant rain, becomes the perfect diving board and the rocky edges, like crowded seats, allow for quick rests before I dive back under water again.

(Editor’s note: this piece is a pastiche of Michael Ondaatje’s piece Monsoon Notebook)

My Heritage: An Anecdote by Aulora Petrie

I remember my dad telling me stories about our heritage and what our last name means. My dad has a Scottish heritage and he adores everything to do with Scotland. My dad went on a vacation to Scotland a couple years ago and when he was there he saw our family crest. The McGregor clan has a family crest, as do the Petries. Many people in Scotland share the last name Petrie, Brown and many other names that were originally McGregor.

The Petries’ involvement in Scotland’s war for freedom is legendary. When my dad came back to the U.S. he told me about his trip and brought back souvenirs. Being Scottish is something I am proud of; Scotland is such a beautiful place. My heritage goes back to the early 1500’s and most likely earlier than that. My father told me the story about the Petrie’s fighting in Scotland’s war for freedom.

Apparently the MacGregor clan was a group of loyal Scottish people, and when Scotland was at war with the British they played a major role. In order to avoid detection or capture by the British, members of this clan changed their last names; one of these last names was Petrie. The Petrie’s were a mystery during this war, showing up for battle then disappearing into the night. Many people in the war would switch sides when offered land or when the other side was winning, but the Petries were known for their loyalty. They never betrayed Scotland.

Thanks to the loyalty of people like the Petries and others who lost their lives defending Scotland, this great land is now free. It makes me proud to be apart of such an amazing clan, a loyal bunch that are famous and loved by the Scottish people. Being Scottish is very important to me, and I love having this culture and history of my heritage. Our motto seems to always tie in with being loyal, so I’ll always keep that in mind

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