Connections are something I’m passionate about. I enjoy the connections ideas have with one another.When I was in university, my major concentration of study was English Literature because I loved to read, write, and hear stories. Later in my studies, in my third or fourth year, I learned about ‘New Historicism’ in a Literary Criticism Course. New historist’s believe that: “what is history is textual and what is textual is history.”
When we write about history we are also writing something literary and vice versa. This is because the writer’s beliefs, or the beliefs of the regime the writer was working under, affect their work. The ideas of ‘New Historicism’ made a fascinating connection for me between my English Major and History Minor.
Many kings such as Charlemagne (768 AD) for instance, had books written about them. These books made them appear to readers and history in a certain light. Charlemagne (or Charles the Great) United Western Europe, laying the grounds for France and Germany. He also was a huge supporter of the Papacy because the Pope legitimized him as a King ordained by God. Perhaps, that is one of the most extraordinaire tactics Charlemagne takes, he makes Western Europe Christian. Charlemagne would have his writers (monks) leave out any details that might make history look back on him in a less then ideal way. But history can often be no more than stories based on a few facts, it might be more literature than historically accurate.
An example of this is the epic poem, The Song of Roland. The epic poem is French literature that takes place during Charlemagne’s reign. It is the oldest surviving work of French literature. The poem is about the Battle of Ronceveax, a historically accurate battle. Charlemagne’s army is fighting the Muslim armies in Spain when they are tricked. The French army is annihilated, until Charlemagne arrives and defeats the Muslims. The character Roland and the French army have no qualms about bravely dying for their king. They appear noble. They are not like many of today’s anti-heros who are scared to die and do not have much in the way of fighting skills. Medieval heros were written to appear strong and divinely blessed (such as Roland) so history would look back on them in a favourable way according the values of the time, and of their Kings.
Another connection to history and literature is philosophy — which was almost was my second minor. What the great minds of a time period were thinking, influences the historical events of the time and the way literature was written. Thomas Aquainius for example, a philosopher in the 1400’s, believed in ‘natural theology’ as a priest for the Catholic Church. Much of his work was based off of Aristotle’s works, especially Aquinius’ famous Summa Theologica.
Catholicism regards Aquinas as a Saint and a model for priesthood. He influenced religion in his time (and now) and his philosophical work on Aristotle had an effect on literature being written. Aquainus’ views such as his beliefs on ‘virtue’ effect the history of the Catholic Church in the sense that Aquinas’ beliefs were the image the Papacy liked to portray.
In the latter Middle Ages, Renaissance and beyond, Catholic clergy such as the Pope and Cardinals, held a great deal of influence, similar to that of Kings. They commanded armies and despite Catholic teachings of celibacy, had wives and families. Peasants were sold items such as ‘indulgences’ to save their ancestor from purgatory, or to help buy their own way from hell. The focus was taken off how Jesus would save you if you believed in him to what you could do to get into heaven.
Clearly, history was deviating from what Acquinas taught and wrote. In this case what was written in literature was philosophical, but not the actual history occurring. I’m sure at the time, the Papacy would have argued that what they were doing was perfectly in line with Aquanius and the teachings of the Catholicism. This is why in part, a Reformation in religion occurrs in the 1600’s.
For the most part, I found my studies of philosophy, history, and literature to be connected. For many events, history is not what we think it is. Actual history is influenced by opinion and thought – our philosophies and beliefs. History to a large degree can be made-up or embellished and is more so literature than a sound historical account. But literature can have sound philosophical beliefs behind it. This is a fascinating and complex way to look at how ideas connect with what occurs in our lives, what we write, and what we believe.
Tanka is a classic form of Japanese poetry related to the haiku with five unrhymed lines of five, seven, five, seven, and seven syllables. (5, 7, 5, 7, 7)
The 5/7/5/7/7 rule is rumored to have been made up for school children to understand and learn this type of poetry. For an in depth description of Tanka, please visit the Shadow Poetry Japanese Poetry Tanka section.
Please see Shadow Poetry for more information on this form of poetry.
Prompt: Do you have a favorite quote that you return to again and again? What is it, and why does it move you?
Life is much like writing in ink. All you can do is read over your past and look forward to a blank page for your future that will soon be filled with words that can never be erased – Unknown
This particular quote appealed to me as I have always enjoyed writing and found myself gifted in the area of writing. I acquired this quote when I was fourteen-years-old and ‘My Space’ was the big social network. I have had it on my profile on FB for years.
The quote makes me think, and continues to make me ponder life. What I realized after thinking about this quote was that you can read over the past and remember your memories, but you don’t want to become stuck in the past. You may have had interesting events and fun times you would like to remember but there are also parts of people’s lives in the past which were painful and difficult.
For this reason, it is a wonderful gift to have a blank future in front of you, a blank page every single day of your life. You cannot change the past but you can shape your own future. There are always unknowns who will have you write things you wished you hadn’t and make you wish you’d never experienced an event. But you, as a writer of life, are the one writing in ink. You write in life what you decide, therefore, it is best write about what a terrific life you had. How you dealt gracefully in most times of hardship. Make yourself have a life you are excited to write about and look back on.
It is up to us to react to life in a way that is compassionate, caring, understanding, and helpful to others. And when life becomes problematic for us, that is the time to lean on others and write about them in your blank pages too. We all exist with the guidance of other people and their experiences in our lives. As John Donne wrote “no man is an island.” The experience of life is one we live together and that is a blessing from God.
Prompt: Tell us about a time when you had to choose between two options, and you picked the unpopular choice.
I can think of a time I made the wrong choice, and it wasn’t so popular a choice with my brother. Nath, and I were going on a spring trip to Montreal. I was excited because Montreal is one of my favourite cities I have been to and it had been about seven or eight years since I had visited.
We booked our flights through Airmiles on Westjet and booked an apartment through AirBnB right downtown so we would be close to the metro which travels all around Montreal.
The week before I was staring at the suitcases down in the pantry. The large black ones were way oversized but my little blue one seemed too small. I decided to go downtown to shop for a good sized piece of luggage. I found a purple suitcase at Winners. I thought it would be big enough but not too big for Montreal and the color ensured I’d be able to claim it easily when the baggage came out at the airport.
I packed all my stuff. Too much for a six day trip. I was happy because I would still have enough room for shopping items. Unfortunately, I forgot Montreal is located on a hill and also I forgot we were taking the bus from our airport to a few blocks away from the apartment. Climbing those six blocks to the apartment building was hell as I dragged my heavy suit case up the hill. Finally, my brother Nath took pity on me and traded me with his little suitcase.
I didn’t need that big of suitcase in Montreal even when I shopped. My blue one would have been fine. Hulling the large purple suitcase to and from the airport on a hill was excruciating. And there was no way I needed to pack that much. All of this was much to the amusement of my brother who told me I wouldn’t need such a big suitcase, to begin with.
Now, unless I’m going somewhere ten days or two weeks, I bring my little blue suitcase and store a duffle bag for anything extra I might buy on the way home. You never know how long or where, you might have to hull your large suitcase.
Write whatever you normally write about, and weave in a book quote, film quote, or song lyric that’s been sticking with you this week.
I think if you looked around you and plucked the thoughts out of the head of everyone that surrounds you,
You would be scared to find out what they think. You might think: ” But I don’t want go among mad people.”
And I would reply: “Oh you can’t help that. We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.” Your face is turning red now. You don’t believe what I say.
“How do you know I’m mad?” You may ask me. And I would laugh until the tears streamed down my face at such questions from a child.
“You must be [mad]. Or you wouldn’t have come here.” It’s my best reply. It doesn’t give the answers you desire but I’m in no mood for your questions now.
You may wonder where here is. Well a lot of people wonder about that. Yet here they are infront of me asking me if they’re mad. Of course, you’re mad.
But I have an excellent answer to your question when you ask me a second time: “Have I gone mad?”I would tell you,” I’m afraid so. But let me tell you something. All the best people are.”
So if you’re still thinking about all the thoughts in all the minds around you. I suggest you stop and if you are a mind reader, only read the minds of someone who is mad. They are the only ones who truly understand.
It takes a little madness to truly comprehend. That life can be so fun and there are possibilities everywhere. Madness is a quality that I seek in everybody. Call it genius, eccentricity, craziness, or call it creativity. I call it madness. And it is fantastic!
Prompt: Give some love to three blog posts you’ve read and loved in the past week, and tell us why they’re worth reading.
1.A Little Bit of Everything and A Whole Lot of Nothing is a dedicated and hardworking blogger in the beauty world. She writes about “subscription boxes, product reviews, makeup, beauty, freebies, fitness, and food.” I admire her because she puts out so many posts in a day about her areas of focus. I’m not sure how she does it but she finds coupon codes to all these makeup sites that other people don’t have. She had one on Tarte Makeup last week and I was able to buy the eyeshadow pallet I wanted at 30% off. Her freebies page is neat because it tells you about different places you can go on the internet to get free samples of lotion, shampoo, food products, etc. So a shout out to her in today’s prompt.
2.The Drabble: Shortness of Breadth is a blog I love to read because the Drabble writes the most interesting short stories everyday. They are not long stories but they are always full of wonderful characters and imagination. The Drabble writes on many different themes and many different genres of stories. Today’s story was an interesting one called Kissing Boys, a play on a fairytale. So please enjoy the Drabble’s work; I do each day. I like reading the Drabble’s short stories because they always make me think and ponder.
3. Unbolt is a poetry blog by Tony Single. I discovered it recently and I love her poetry so much it is beautiful and flows, has assonance and alliteration, and rhyming. Tony is a so talented at her poetry. She takes me through a story and the poetry flows so easily I have scarce felt like I have begun reading and the poetry is at an end. The poem I have linked you to is called “Dandelion” and a wonderful quote from it is the repetitive stanza:
altho’ the frost it cake me
in weakness it not take me
nor quaking skies unmake me
because of you
So, please read Unbolt and Tony’s excellent poems.
Prompt: Tell us about a guilty pleasure that you hate to love.
There are a few guilty pleasures I am culpable for loving. I am not all together proud of these pleasures but I do like them.
My worst guilty pleasure is drinking Pepsi. Some people drink coffee, some people drink energy drinks, and I drink Pepsi. It is addictive, truly. I never used to drink it except every now and then when I’d end up at the food court for lunch. But there were times at home when I got bored and wanted something sweet. And I was okay at first having Pepsi once in awhile but soon the sugar intake became addictive and I was drinking one a day, and sometimes two. There is so much sugar in Pepsi about 10 teaspoons. It is better to put a couple teaspoons on your Shreddies or Cornflakes then drink one can of Pepsi.
I have tried countless times to stop drinking it. To go back to drinking Pepsi only as a treat on some weekends or at the food court every now and then. I can stop for a little while. It is tough for a week or so but then I stop craving the sugar so much. But I always fall back into this pattern of drinking Pepsi again. It starts with a couple of them a week and increases from there.
Part of it has to do with the caffeine in Pepsi. I lack energy and the caffeine gives me a boost to start moving and do something when I feel unmotivated. I have read it takes twenty-one days or three weeks to break a bad habit and replace it with a good one. I have gotten to day fourteen before going back to my old ways.
Plus, I love how Pepsi tastes. I like the flavour of Pepsi in a can or in a fountain drink. It’s not the same out of a bottle. I don’t like how super-sweet a bottle of Pepsi tastes. I have attempted to change out Pepsi with water and lemon juice and it works for a bit until I have a day where I need energy badly and can barely prepare myself for the day. I have also been successful at changing out my Pepsi, which I have around 10:30 am or 11:00 am, with an energizing green tea which has caffeine in it. Tea is tasteless in comparison, however. Although, one can of Pepsi isn’t so bad for you, what bothers me is how often I want a second can and have a second can of Pepsi.
I have learnt how a person’s body does not metabolize all the sugar in Pepsi and how it builds up as fat and in your belly and causes bloating. It is especially dangerous that Pepsi causes belly fat because belly fat builds up around your organs as visceral fat and it can cause complications for your health.
Pepsi causes weight gain and significant growth in your waist circumference over time. If everything else is equal in your diet it is said a can of Coke (Pepsi) can add an extra 14.5 pounds on a person per year. There is also a 20 percent chance increase of heart attack in someone who consistently drinks soft drinks. Not to mention, Pepsi can compromise a person’s learning and memory formation especially if you are young. Combined with all the medications I am taking, I am increasing my chance of becoming a diabetic in my elder years by drinking soda. Research also shows Pepsi has links to Cancer and can acellerate the aging process.
Moreover, Pepsi is bad for your teeth. If you drink a can, you are supposed to wash your mouth out with water and leave your teeth awhile. Then an hour later brush your teeth. If you brush your teeth right away, the acidity of the soft drink will harm the enamel on your teeth. The acidity of Pepsi with your teeth is unhealthy. Once the enamel on your teeth is gone, you can’t get it back.
Honestly, Diet Pepsi is not better for you, neither is Coke, or Diet Coke. A Dietition explained to me how Diet Pepsi is actually worse for you then merely drinking regular Pepsi. Apparently, the artificial sweeteners in Diet Pop such as aspartame, do not satisfy a person’s apetite and can lead to increased weight gain compared with regular soda. Diet soda increases desire for fatty food and interferes with natural bacteria in our stomachs making us less tolerant of glucose. Never mind, increased risk of heart attack and stroke over people who drink regular pop. Craving more fatty food is minimal although still relevant with regular Pepsi or Coke. Additionally, a problem with any soda is it contains high- fructose corn syrup. This high intensity sugar made from corn, increases body fat and makes you hungry.
Prompt: A story of when you were on the outside looking in.
High school can be a difficult time for many people. And these days, girls can be especially mean. I suspect they always were. The difference is that while boys will go punch each other and get into a fight, and things will be fine between them; girls, will go behind each other’s back. They will spread rumours and make not so subtle hints to another girl they don’t like or feel jealous of, they will hold a grudge a long time and leave the girl they’ve hurt, so to speak, on the outside looking in. But some girls can be extremely cruel, I remember one girl telling me she shoved other girls in lockers or garbage cans in Jr. High. I guess we all saw the movie Mean Girls. Some of us took it too literally.
I was never unpopular in high school. I played sports and I received high marks at some courses. I was extremely gifted at art. But grade 10 was one of the toughest years for me. I had been bestfriends with two girls Josie and Tia and we spent every Friday and sometimes Saturday over at Josie’s house watching movies, and hanging out. In grade 10 I excitedly introduced Josie to my friend Amy from elementary school and Josie became friends with Katie; whose brother Josie had a crush on, as well as Aimee.
We all hung out together, a large group at first. But Josie and Katie seemed to get close and I felt myself drifting away from, but not wanting to. I was friends with Amy because we also played basketball on the school’s girl’s team. But I think Amy could even see that Josie and Katie just thought I was someone they didn’t want to be around. She tried to help but it didn’t make a difference.
I made friends with another grade 10 student Melonie, who was fun and I played volleyball with. But Melonie made friends with two grade 12 girls and didn’t want to be my friend either. It was tough being the principals daughter at a small high school. It really hurt me how Josie treated me after being such close friends with her in grade 9. I remember a time in grade 11 where we were walking together for some reason and neither of us could think of a thing to say, that’s how far a part we’d grown.
But by grade 12, all the kids in our class got along; I wasn’t weird because I was the principal’s daughter. I was friends with Josie and Katie. We all worked on the Graduation committee under Amy. My friend Tia experienced the same outside looking in experience I did, although, I think worse because she left the school after grade 10. I didn’t learn until later, how tough it was for her.
But throughout University I hung out with Amy, and Josie and Katie when they came to the same small university a year or so later. We had great fun times at the bar and birthday parties. I made a big group of other friends who were my bestfriends in third year. Since I finished university, Josie has been one of my closest friends. I can tell her everything and at times we don’t see each other for months and then when we do see each other, it’s as if we were never apart. Conversation and jokes run freely. We text a lot too.
High school was all about being on the outside looking in for me in grade 10. But time changed, people change, and you realize sometimes that you are no better then other people. I can recall a few times where I was mean and left out other girls. Once this girl Hanna, I meant in choral camp, came to our school dance. She wanted to hang out but I followed around Josie, Katie, and Amy because I wanted to fit in with them. I would have had much more fun hanging with Hanna who is also an awesome friend to this day, despite how I treated her then.
I also was mean to a girl named Addriena who wanted to fit in with me and the group I was desperately trying to hold onto. I ignored her and was mean. Plus, I’ve never really gotten girls who don’t take care of themselves when they are perfectly able. I was mean to her and she ended up leaving the school too. I saw her again in University, I believe I apologized. She was beautiful then and dressed well and had a boyfriend. I feel awful still that I made her feel as if she on the outside looking in. I got my just desserts I think.
*All names were changed for privacy.
I actually had playing in my head this song featuring Ellie Goulding and made by Taylor Swift’s boyfriend and DJ, Calvin Harris, during this post as theme music.