Monday, 29 October 2012

The Danger of A Story

Today in english class we watched a movie about a Nigerian author, Chimamanda Adichi, who gave a speech in TED Talk about how dangerous just one perspective can be.

Chimamanda was a voracious reader and grew up with books about 'white children with blue eyes who eat apples, drink ginger beer and talk a lot about the weather.' So when she began to write, she wrote about all those things that she would never see, all those things she read about. Then, she got ahold of an African story. It did not talk about weather or apples or ginger beer, instead it talked about life and mangoes. By reading that one story, she changed her view on the world and began to write differently.

These are the three bullet points I came up with:


  • The books she read and how they influenced her writing and views on stories, and how being more open minded changed that point of view.
           She read a lot of British and American books, and thus wrote about the things she read about and would never be able to experience. At the talk, she describes stories as: "The consequence of a single story emphasizes how we are different." and "Stories matter. They can be used to empower and humanise, break dignity but also repair that dignity." She also said that there must be a balance of stories.


  • Her knowledge of Africa, the rest of the world, and the power.
          When Chimamanda was eight years old, her family got a new house boy. His name was Fide, and he came from a very poor family. Chimamanda pitied him. When she visited his village she saw a beautiful basket, handmade by one of the villagers. She never knew that even the poorest families could be capable of doing something like that.
After some while, she felt ashamed of herself for thinking Mexicans were different.

  • What other people thought about stories and what they said and did.
           A Nigerian founder of a publishing house said: "If you can read, you will read." When Chimamanda goes to university in America, her roommate was pitiful, and her knowledge of Africa was no African could be equal to an American.


I found Chimamanda's talk very interesting and very informative.


If anyone is interested, here's Chimamanda Adichie's speech at TED Talk.


Monday, 22 October 2012

Chapter 8 of the 5 Musketeers


Chapter 8 – Back down to earth



I slumped lifelessly on the dirty deck, too exhausted and in pain to care. Strong yet gentle hands carried me below decks. Probably Porthos. Porthos lay me down on a blanket and wound a moist strip of fabric around my head. Then he left.
I slept well for the first time in ages. I was literally dead with fatigue and, although I didn’t like to admit it, fear from the day’s unfortunate events.

But the next morning, things began to go downhill for me.
All day long we sailed the airs without any news whatsoever of the missing diamonds. All day I sat, hunched up in the far corner of the bow of the ship. I wouldn’t talk to anyone and I wouldn’t eat or rest. All I would to is just sit there, my cloak wrapped around my shoulders, staring at the endless blue sky and the clouds that swirled around and enveloped us like mist.
            Once D’ Artagnan came to ask me what the matter was, and all I did was glower at him. All I felt for the next few days was the burning shame of my failure. I was all because of me that we weren’t in possession of the diamonds. I f it weren’t for me, we would be on our way across the channel.
We have three and only three more days to bring back the diamonds.

Now I had enough. I marched into the captain’s cabin where Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D’ Artagnan were in the middle of an important discussion. I pulled my sword out from my belt and slammed it on the table.
“Anne!” said D’ Artagnan. “How nice to see you up and about.”
I just ignored him and announced, “I give up.” The effect this had on my companions satisfied me. They all looked thunderstruck.
“What? Have you forgotten why we’re on this adventure? This is our chance to prove ourselves worthy to serve the king as musketeers.”
“I’ve already proved myself unworthy of serving the king,” I snapped. “And, no, by the way, I’ve not forgotten.”
“Anne-” Aramis started. I did not give him the chance to do so much as even utter another sound. I stormed out of the room.


When darkness began to steal its way over London, Athos yelled at everyone to prepare the airship for landing. I asked him why, but he didn’t so much as look at me.
I sighed and went off to find D’ Artagnan.  He was at the steering wheel, eyes narrowed in an attempt to steer our way in the darkness. I went to stand next to him. “D’ Artagnan,” I said in an exasperated voice, “I just wanted to apologize. For being so nasty to you earlier. I was just-”
“Angry.” He finished my sentence for me and grinned. “Apology accepted,” he said. “Oh, and you might want this back.” And before I could protest, he stuck my sword in my belt.
“Thank you.”
“Keep it hidden, okay?” I nodded.

“All men prepare for landing!” Shouted Athos at the top of his lungs.
“I’ve got to go- I’ll see you when we land. Stay on deck and try to make sure we don’t fly into anything.” D’ Artagnan told me just before he disappeared to help the musketeers. I rearranged my cloak to keep my weapon hidden. As long as my sword was out of sight, I didn’t have to keep my hair hidden. I made my way to the steering wheel, rested my hands against the smooth wood, and kept a look out.
I could tell that we were losing altitude- suddenly the city seemed closer than before. Then I could see the water coming closer and closer, where a wave seemed to break the blue- grey surface in a line of foamy white.

A soft splash told me we had landed in water- on the Thames, to be more precise. We tied the airship up at the nearest dock, and, ignoring all the bewildered stares of passersby, walked quickly down a narrow alleyway that was crammed with little shops and inns. Athos ushered us into the first inn, called the Londoner’s Warthog Inn. It was a rambunctious place, with people making an infernal amount of clamor in the dim light. The inside smelled of spirits and sweat, not a very nice mixture, and D’ Artagnan actually pinched his nose shut and breathed loudly in a very irritating way until I elbowed him in the ribs. 

Athos led us through the hubbub to the barman, had a quick conversation and, after a few infuriatingly long minutes, we walked back out into the quickly receding light of outside. We walked back to the airship with our arms laden with supplies we would need for the next few days.

We were still loading the airship when a small, plump figure came running towards us as fast as its short legs would allow. It ran on board and beckoned us over, panting. My hand automatically went to the hilt of my sword that was still hidden underneath my cloak. I slowly advanced to the person.
I heard a loud thump as Athos and Porthos dumped their supplies on the deck, and then, along with D’ Artagnan and Aramis.

 With a jolt of surprise I realized the figure was Monsieur Bonacieux. I loosened my grip on my hilt, but I didn’t remove my hand. How exactly Monsieur Bonacieux ever got to London from Paris, that we never found out, for the little man gave us no time to speak whatsoever. He clearly had some important news to give to us.
“Athos!” he called. “I’ve got some news to give you.”
“Does this concern the diamonds?” Athos demanded in a stern voice. “It had better, because we have no time to lose!”
He nodded eagerly, 
“Well? Out with it!”
Monsieur Bonacieux inhaled deeply and began. “Milady has the diamonds.”
“What? Could you please repeat that! I think my ears are failing me, but did you say that Milady has the diamonds?” said D’ Artagnan incredulously.
“Yes. She’s planning to leave the tower tomorrow at four in the morning in a carriage. She’ll be taking the route through the woods that way.” He pointed west. “Meet over the woods tomorrow, before five in the morning. I’ll try to take my position as driver.”
“Good plan.” Concluded Aramis. “Though you’ll probably need this.” He tossed at   Monsieur Bonacieux a pistol, and the little man looked at it in such fascination you would have thought he had never set eyes on the weapon. “Now go.” Monsieur Bonacieux scurried off the airship and disappeared into the busy crowds of the port.
            Porthos clapped his hands together and said cheerfully, “excellent! Now we know where the diamonds are.” He looked happier than what I had seen him in days, as did D’ Artagnan, Athos and Aramis. My moodiness had lifted a great deal for the first time since my dreadful failure.
            Monsieur Bonacieux’s visit had certainly improved the sense of humor and cheerfulness aboard the airship. He had brought us to a new and fresh level- we were ready now.




I quite enjoyed our flight across London. I would spend hours on end gazing with wonder over the rail of the ship with D’ Artagnan and Aramis, who evidently knew more about London than anyone else onboard. Given the fact that Aramis wanted to become a priest when he retired from his career as musketeer, he showed us all of the religious laces places we flew next to or over. He would point the monument out to us and say things like “”Look, we’re flying over Westminster Abbey – wonderful inside, I tell you- and see that tower beside it? Yes, that’s Big Ben. It’s a clock tower,” and “See that huge cathedral to your left? That’s St. Paul’s cathedral. If I ever get the chance to live in London I’d like to work there once I’ve stopped being a musketeer.” Aramis’ eyes always seemed to light up when he talked to us about all these different places and buildings in London.
He evidently had a very clear view of his future. I wasn’t so worried about mine- I’m only thirteen. My father always told me- “Think about the past- for even if it is gone, remember it to not make any mistakes now. Be in the present- it is you as you are now. Forget the future, do not think of it, for the future never exists and never will.”

Other times it was just my best friend and I on the deck, and we would lean out over the railing at the bow of the ship, and let our hair fly in the wind, and after that, we would go into the main cabin, and just burst out laughing at how ludicrous we looked. Several times Athos had to come and tell us to “lower the volume” as he liked to put it.

Occasionally D’ Artagnan and I would go out when most of the ‘crew’ was asleep, and we would spend the night stargazing and devouring the sights of London by night. It seemed to me as though someone had beautifully embroidered a black version of London on a gargantuan tapestry and then outlined the city and its buildings with the glimmering silver thread of moonlight. The roads wound their ways in London like ribbons of moonlight, giving the place a strange and eerie beauty. The moon held the city in a silvery grip.
The stars glittered overhead like fiery golden sparks that were scattered across the velvety navy sky, showing off their beauty that they hid during the day.
Most of the time, the sunset was beautiful, very much unlike the red sunsets we see every day in Gascony. A vast darkened cloak spread below us, forming the horizon clearly, and as my eyes rose from the horizon, the sky turns into a lustrous explosion of colour. The bottom was a layer of dark crimson, slowly lightening and then going into a rich golden yellow colour as it ascended. The yellow than melted into a turquoise blue, which then merged into the indigo blue sky. The First Star shimmered alone, a small burst of gold in the sky.





The next afternoon, we stopped over the forest that Monsieur. Bonacieux had pointed out to us. The sun was already high in the sky, and when the airship came to a halt Porthos, Athos came to join D’ Artagnan and I on the poop deck. Athos went over to me and lifted my cape up ever so slightly and smiled. “Ah,” he said, unsuccessfully trying to sound matter of-factly,  “I can see our youngest member and sword have reunited!”  I returned his smile. 
“What do we do now?” called D’ Artagnan from the starboard side. He was leaning over the side of the ship.
Aramis sighed. “We wait.”

Thursday, 11 October 2012

PicMonkey Halloween Poto Editing

Hi, because it's soon halloween, I decided to check out PicMonkey and edit some photos using their new halloween special edits. They have Zombies, Vampires, Demons, Trick or Treat, Witches... It's great! I love editing my photos- it's so much fun. Witch one do you think is the best? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!






Abnormal Character- Hermione Granger

Hermione in her 6th year
One of the most abnormal characters I have met in a book would be Hermione Granger. Hermione is a character from the Harry Potter series, by J.k.Rowling, and is portrayed by Emma Watson for the films.
The main thing that makes her abnormal is the fact that she is a witch. Not the halloween type, but the Hogwarts type. Hermione is muggle born, which means that she has non magical parents. Despite this fact, Hermione is without a doubt the cleverest witch of her age, having read all of her schoolbooks before the year starts. She is always helping her two best friends, Harry and Ron, with their Transfiguration and Potions essays. Although Hermione is very clever, there is a reason why she was not put into Ravenclaw house, where the brains go. Ravenclaws are usually not very brave, but Gryffindors are "where the brave dwell at heart". Hermione is brave, very brave, and, along with Ron, helps Harry on his quest to kill Lord Voldemort.



My connection with Hermione is that I like to read paper books. Hermione is a ravenous reader, and always goes to the library for help, and although Harry and Ron like to tease her about it, they owe Hermione almost all of their essays. What I like about Hermione and have sort of inherited from her is her sense of bravery. I also like the fact that she is literally a nerd with courage and boldness.





Wednesday, 10 October 2012

SPIRIT WEEK

This week, at school, we had spirit week.

The dress code was this-
Monday- Pajama day
Tuesday- Book Character dress up day
Wednesday- Vampire day
Thursday- Celebrity day & Social/Dance

These are the photos of what I wore:

Dracula's Sister- Wednesday


Gryffindor School Uniform- Thursday
Hermione's Yule ball dress - Social

Renn- Tuesday

Eldest (Inheritance Cycle #2)

I picked the book Eldest, by Christopher Paolini. It is the second book from the Inheritance cycle trilogy. I chose it because I am currently reading the first book, Eragon, and will probably finish it before the holidays. I also chose it because so far Eragon is a really great book, and I want to read the rest of the books.

My expectations for this book...
I really hope that the quality of this book will not be like the quality of the book Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins. Mockingjay was too much of a dragged on epilogue, and nothing exciting happened. I hope that Eragon continues his search for the Ra'zac with Brom nd Saphira. Brom's character is becoming a bit suspicious, and it seems that he could be the problem in the plot of the story, maybe by betraying Eragon to the King Galbatorix.
What I like so far in Eragon is that Eragon is beginning to do some stupid things with magic, almost killing himself accidentally. I also like his dragon, Saphira's ironic enthusiasm. It adds a bit of humor in the story!


Later on...

I just discovered that Brom actually dies in the first book from a Ra'zac attack. No one lives after the Ra'zac have wounded you. It's actually really sad. Eragon has now lost two dear people to the Ra'zac- his uncle, Garrow, and Brom. He makes a new friend, and together they go to the nearest city and sell Eragon's horse, Cadoc, regretfully. Eragon will now ride Brom's horse, Snowfire.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Book Character Dress-up Day

Renn of the Raven Clan

A picture of Renn that I drew
For book character dress up day I chose to dress up as one of my idols, Renn. Renn is a redhead who is obsessed with archery, and whose story is set six thousand years ago. The series of books that she comes from is called 'Chronicles of Ancient Darkness'.

Renn has red hair, fair skin, dark eyes, and has three blue-black bars on each of her cheeks. Her clothes are made of buckskin or reindeer hide, and at her belt she has a knife, an axe, a tinder pouch, a food pouch, and a medicine horn. At her shoulder she stitched on her clan creature feathers.

Renn's favourite thing to do is archery. She has a perfect aim, and can hit anything moving- wether it's a bird, flying high in the sky, or a galloping reindeer, or a squirrel scrambling up trees. Renn is the best archer in her clan. Her uncle, Fin-Keddin, taught her to shoot when she was eight summers old. Her father had just been killed in the ice river- crushed by a huge slab of ice. She wears a wrist-guard of polished greenstone Fin-Keddin made for her. She also sticks an owl feather (but not from an eagle owl) in her hair for hunting luck. Renn's best friend before Torak and Wolf was her bow, which she takes good care of. She polishes it with crushed hazelnuts, and has a waterproof salmon-skin covering for her bow. Her quiver is made of woven reeds and has a red and white banded zigzag pattern at the top.

Renn's clan is the Raven clan. Renn's clan creature feathers are actually a piece of hide from a Raven. Apart for their clan creature feathers, no one in the raven clan is allowed to hunt a raven and kill it. This is forbidden by clan law. Anyone who disobeys clan law becomes an outcast, who is hunted and if sighted, killed.
The way you can identify someone's clan is by looking at their clan creature feathers or skin, as well as their tattoos. The forest and mountain clans make their clan tattoos with black powder, whereas the sea clans use seaweed. Renn's raven clan tattoos are three blue-black bars on each of her cheeks.

Renn has one brother called Hord, who is vicious and ends up dying at the end of the first book. Renn's father died when she was very little. His body was found only when the ice melted, and because he had no death marks on himself when he died, Saeunn and Fin-Keddin had to perform a special ritual to gather back all of his souls. Saeunn is the Raven Clan mage. She performs different spells and rites to help the clan.

Renn tells everyone who doesn't know the truth that her mother died when she was born. Renn's actual mother was Seshru the Viper mage. Seshru married her father, had Hord, and left her husband. By then Hord was about nine summers old, and Seshru left him with his father, for he was too old for her purpose. She needed a child of around three to five summers old. In secret, Seshru turned against clan law, and joined a group of what once were known everywhere as the healers. But they had gone bad, and were driven by the will for power. Seshru needed an assistant- a slave. So she went back to her husband, had Renn, and left with the baby. Renn was to become a tokoroth.
A tokoroth is created when someone leaves a child alone in a dark cave, where it lacks light and someone to love. Only when it had forgotten its name and the touch of its mother's hand, does it's captor take it out. But the captor traps into it a demon. A demon in the body of a child. Demons are dark spirits that are known to cause hatred, war, sickness amongst the clans. Demons hate the living. All they feel is the urge to destroy.
Fortunately for Renn, Saeunn saved her and bought her to the Raven clan, where she was raised with her brother, father, and uncle.

Renn's best friends are Torak, Wolf, and her bow. She met Torak and Wolf when Torak unknowingly 'stole' a roe buck that belonged to the Rave clan. Times were bad- a demon bear haunted the woods and devastated the clans. It had killed Torak's father. Renn liked Torak, and helped him escape from her clan after he had fought a fair battle for his life. Since then, they learned that Torak was part of a prophecy, and that he was bound to rid the world of the Soul Eaters. Renn stayed with Torak and helped him accomplish this task. Torak and Wolf were the first real friends she ever had.


I really admire Renn because her story is so adventurous, she's a fighter, strong, rebellious, smart, and is an amazing archer. She plays a really great part in Michelle Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. Renn is brave because she faced the soul eaters. She is rebellious and committed because she betrayed clan law in helping Torak when he was outcast. Renn is resilient because she fought for revenge for her brother's death, and got over her father's death. She didn't regret her mother dying. She is smart because she knows many more things about healing, medicine, and magecraft than Torak.

So that's why I chose to be Renn!



This is my Renn Costume




Please comment on this :)









Book Review- Outcast (#4 Chronicles of Ancient Darkness)


Outcast, by Michelle Paver, is the fourth book in the Chronicles Of Ancient Darkness series. Set six thousand years ago, this spellbinding story tells of the time when fourteen year-old Torak is banished from the Raven clan, his only 'family' since his mother and Fa died. Torak becomes outcast because of the terrible secret he has kept hidden for two whole moons. He bears a tattoo of the three pronged fork for snaring souls on his chest. Unfortunately, being an Outcast means that danger is around, for anyone who sees the outcast must kill him. But this is the least of Torak's worries- one of the three remaining Soul- Eaters has pursued him into the wilderness and unknown to take his Nanuak or World soul, and use it to get his power- for he is the spirit walker. But this is not the only thing that Seshru the Viper Mage is after- she is also after the third piece of the thing that Torak's father shattered- the Fire Opal. But Seshru is just like a snake- slithering around obstacles, lying to everyone, and managing to separate Torak from his best friend, Renn, who has hidden a secret from him for two summers. Seshru also manages to separate Wolf, Torak's faithful pack- brother, by making Torak fall prey to the Soul Sickness...

In this book, Torak learns the truth of his past. As well as the shocking events that had happened...

I really liked this book because it was full of mystery and a pinch of magic. I recommend this book for people aged 12+ because it is very entertaining and mysterious but has a bit of complicated language. It is really well written and I think that Michelle Paver did an excellent job in writing Outcast.                

One of my favourite scenes was when the Viper Mage made Torak spirit walk in an Elk whilst sleeping. Unwillingly, Torak attacked his best friend Renn whilst in the Elk, and almost killed her. I liked this scene because it was at the point when Torak lost control of himself and started to go mad. It was really well described.

Another good scene was when Bale (Seal clan and Torak's kinsman) and Renn got captured by the Otter clan whilst in search of Torak. The Otters made Renn eat their food, a disgusting substance, and because Bale could see she thought it revolting and made up a lame excuse, then emptied her bowl into his. I liked that scene because it was funny.

I gave this book 5 stars because it is really well written- in a way to hook in the reader. I recommend it to people who are up to reading something adventurous and interesting.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Writing from different perspectives

In this task, I learned that writing from someone else's perspective is a very important skill in writing. It is important for me because it enables you to see things differently through a different person's eyes, to realize that not everyone thinks and sees things like you. That not everyone likes what you do. It shows you how to be more open minded towards other people and animals. Did anyone else experience this?
               In my story, the first person perspective, the original story was shown through a girl's perpective. She was fascinated by her discoveries in a medieval castle yet felt alone and scared when odd things started to happen. There was not a living thing in sight and corpses of dead fish floated in the moat. This was scary. Yet when she finds some company, a black stallion, she is happy and feels more at ease with her surroundings.
              The second perspective, written in third- person, shows the story through a creature called the Thing's eyes. The Thing loves the empty castle, with no life. It sees the world in black and white. It cannot feel. The Thing despises all living things, and feels only the urge to kill. So when the human girl arrives, the Thing vows to kill her.

I found this task very difficult, because even though I was writing through my character's perspective, I'm more of a person who writes in first person. I'm not used to writing in third person. Also, it's easier to stick with only one person for perspective. But it's also interesting to write in someone else's perspective. Writing in someone else's perspective really pushes you to step into someone else's shoes and think - "What would they say?" or "What would they think or do in this situation?"
Overall, I really enjoyed writing in someone else's perspective because it opened up my mind for me and helped me to think deeper.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

My Idol

Merida

The person I admire the most is Merida, the main character from the movie BRAVE. 
Merida is the princess of the Scottish village of Dumbroch. Her dad is the king, and her mum is Queen Elinor. Merida has three little brothers, who are triplets. Her dad is a crazy king that enjoys almost everything the queen dislikes and doesn't approve of. The queen is always trying to teach Merida, without success, how to become and act like a real princess. Elinor doesn't approve of the fact that Merida's biggest passion is archery. Merida hates her family when she is informed that she has to marry someone.


I admire Merida because she is brave, and rebellious. Merida fought for her rights and gender equality. I like her sense of rebellion when she is forced to marry one of the three idiots that come to her village. In order for them to be able to marry her, they must compete in a competition that the princess chooses. Obviously Merida chooses archery. When one of the men she has to marry accidentally scores a bulls-eye, Merida is furious. So she decides to "compete for my own hand!" She scores a bulls-eye one the two first targets, and when it comes to the last one, she proves her real talent. her arrow pierces the middle of the first, splintering it. Merida's mother is furious, and Merida decides to run away after her mother throws her bow onto the fire.

Merida decides to find someone who can change her fate. She follows the wisps, little blue creatures that are said to lead you to your fate. In time she arrives at an old witch's cottage, who cooks her a cake that she must give to her mum in order to change her fate. Unfortunately, the cake turns her mum into a bear, the same kind of bear that is feared all over the land. Now it's up to Merida to put things right. She tells herself that she'll put things back to normal, no matter what it takes. But do do that, you have to be brave. 




Monday, 1 October 2012

Death paragraph- free writing


I looked back at my dead companions, and the angry mob gaining ground on us, led by the king. My knuckles whitened as I gripped the hilt of my gleaming sword tighter. That was when it hit me- you cannot change the past. I walked up to Caesar and, kneeling before him, plunged my weapon into my chest. Blood sprayed the ground and I felt a tear running down my face, falling to the pool of blood on the ground in drop of scarlet as it mingled with the blood on my face. As the tear hit the water, it sent a ripple coursing through the puddle that was staining the dusty landscape and painting the rocky mountainside red. 
At first I felt nothing, just numbness, and then came the pain. A blazing pain that ran through my body like the blood that once ran through my veins. a monster tugging at my insides, trying to pull my spirit free. But when it stopped, it was too late. My beating heart was no more.