University of Mississippi Name: Erma Mae Rodnick Application Period: Fall 2013 Document 5 of 9 Written Recommendation Essay From: Mr. William Faulkner Original Text:
I am Erma Mae and it is what is as I await for the thing that is, and now it is, and then it was, and if only you could know then you would know, you could do the thing for me which is the thing that you do and if you did it then all it would take is to have done it and you don’t even know it. The eyes of him spoke, who was my counselor, and her, with him, in the place where A-B-C wallpapers scrolled the fainting sense of pencil shavings in the day that they were wood and lumber and lead on the back of a well-worn hardworkin man who doesnt use apostrophes for either abbreviated colloquial apocopes or actual contractions, no he sure as shootin dont. Continue reading →
As was the case between my first post about volunteering through New York Cares and the second, and between the second and the third, a lot has happened since I last wrote about the volunteering hobby I started in September.
I have now led the Coler Hospital Variety Night project on Roosevelt Island a few times, and I have decided to team lead a brand new book cart project at Beth Abraham Hospital in the Bronx where I previously participated in a game night as part of the five-borough challenge for new volunteers.
The new bi-weekly book cart project starts in January, since I figured it would be easiest just to start after the holidays are over and we’re in the New Year. The concept is to bring a book cart (loaded up with books and magazines beforehand by hospital staff) around to hospital residents’ rooms from 2 to 4 pm on Saturdays.
It’s not just about providing some reading material, though. It’s about chatting with people who just need someone to talk to and showing them that they are cared about and not forgotten. In some social situations I can be a little shy or introverted, but when it comes to volunteering I get to turn on my extroverted side and meet interesting new people. Continue reading →
During my birthday trip to Illinois a couple weeks ago, I got a chance to watch two of the movies on my to-see list for a total of $11. It’s insane how much less it costs to see a movie in the Midwest. In New York, I’m accustomed now to paying $14.50 at AMC theaters, which was the case when I saw Captain Phillips (reviewed on this very blog). Gravity (review posted here) cost me $21.50 to see in IMAX 3D (and it was worth every penny).
But back to the movies themselves. I enjoyed both of them, though neither of them stacked up to 12 Years A Slave, which I saw after returning to New York (it was not playing anywhere in St. Louis at the time). Below are my thoughts on all three.
The Brian De Palma movie from the 70s a tough one to beat in a remake, and I liked this new version even though the remake didn’t surpass the original (or the Stephen King book).
Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass, Hugo) was engaging as the title character, an awkward high school girl with supernatural powers she learns to wield over the course of the movie. Even better was Julianne Moore as her mother, pretty much perfect for the role of Carrie’s abusive religious zealot of a mother. She brings a level of intensity and a torturedness (for lack of a better word) to her performance that stokes up the conflict between mother and daughter that much more.
In the somewhat small medium-town of Hammond’s Down, Utah (small being a modifier, and medium town being the noun), there had always been a default pita place, by the name of Mr. Pita, where everybody went – for pitas. Hammond’s Down was one of those unremarkable college towns whose college was neither a massive land grant institution nor a highly-respected intellectual cloister but rather just one of those places people go when they have to go to college, and so far and wide attention was far away from Hammond’s Down, and its levels of quality for things like cuisines – while not awful – were never pushed forward by competition or rigorous opinions.
The family that ran Mr. Pita did so because their parents had, and the kids that ran Mr. Pita were mostly in high school: the college-goers flooded Mr. Pita when they got hungry at night, especially on weekends and Thirsty Thursdays, but disappeared entirely from town during Christmastime, Spring Break, and all of Summer. Everything was middling, and kind of perfunctorily default, but it was right there, so pita-eaters came.
Roland Moller, the small and earnest son of German immigrants, grew up in Hammond’s Down but Continue reading →
Comic books don’t get much respect from the general reading public, with the exceptions of your Art Spiegelman’s Maus and your Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, and if you run in dorkier circles, then your decades-old classics like Alan Moore’s Watchmen and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.
I was never into comic books growing up: the ones I saw were all your standard Batmans and X-Mens and when I tried to read one it referenced like 100 issues of strange back-story I’d never read, offered little to think about, and then just ended after like 5 minutes of reading. I got a lot more out of reading normal books. Superheroes might be cool, but even as a kid I could tell they just weren’t as smart and interesting as your Giver or your Ender’s Game.
I’m currently on an Ernest Hemingway kick, having finished For Whom the Bell Tells (1940) and The Old Man and the Sea (1951) in quick succession. The former is an amazing achievement in literary mastery that is inspiring the writing of this blog post. The latter was also immersive and enjoyable, but not really on that same level. I also have begun reading A Moveable Feast (1964) next (which I have read excerpts of before, but not the whole book).
Something in Hemingway’s work really speaks to me. I love the authenticity of his novels, the style, the subject matter, and yes: the toughness. I love that his protagonists are hard-nosed and critical. Salinger railed against phonies through Holden Caulfield, and it was great, but it came out sounding whiny, whereas Hemingway railed against phonies through his protagonists and it came out as heroic.
A lot of really intelligent people have an anti-Hemingway bias, which is something I guess I can understand to a point.
Maybe you have a general resentment against authors covered in high school English, whose books you read under duress. From that standpoint, my high school education failed me. I hadn’t read more than a short story or two of Hemingway’s upon entering college and didn’t realize my affinity until I read In Our Time (1925) in two English classes in the same semester. I would recommend giving him another chance, now that you’re an adult and can read books more critically.
Others protest against Hemingway’s style. The sentences are too short and simple, they say. The writing is plain Jane, too vanilla, they say. To that, I rebut with an excerpt Continue reading →