The Sky and the Roses

The Little Watson Girl's Dreams on Paper

The birth of a character November 3, 2009

Filed under: Reading Responses — lilwatsongirl @ 4:33 pm
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I focused on the question “How do you think up your characters”.

Francine Rivers, in response to this frequently asked question, said that often her characters are composites of people she knows. I think that there is something of someone we know in almost all of our characters, even if we don’t consciously put it there. My older sister, Elizabeth, writes stories like no one else I have ever met. Every time I have a birthday, she writes a story for me. This last one was called “The little Salt Girl” and it was one of the best stories I have ever read. As I was reading, I was startled out of the book by realizing that the main character of the book, the little salt girl, was me. Another thing Francine Rivers mentions about how her characters come about is that sometimes they are people that she would like to be. This is interesting, because the main character of any good novel will make mistakes, and do some not-so-good things. No well-rounded character is perfect. Yet this is probably true of a lot of authors. Something I know I do in my reading is that I search for characters that I either (1) relate to or (2) want to be like. I found it very interesting that authors do similar things in their writing. Francine Rivers gives an example of a character that she is like in some ways, who is not a very flattering person to be like. His name is Atretes, and he is a character driven by anger. A lot of people have this problem, perhaps not as badly as Atretes does, but almost everyone has made rash decisions when they were angry, that they have later regretted. Sometimes in my writing, especially in my poetry, I put in two different sides of myself, the side that I like, and the side that I don’t like. It is, for me, a way of stepping outside myself, and looking at things from an outsider’s point of view. It is a way of putting things in order in my mind, and it helps me figure out how to solve the problem with the side that I don’t like. “Some characters help to flesh out an issue”. What exactly does this phrase mean? It means that there are some characters whose main purpose is to fill in the gaps, or to show something from a different point of view, to help the reader understand something different about the story. These characters may seem disposable, but often they are really quite necessary. Sometimes it is vital that you see the plot from their angle, or that you understand something from their point of view in order for the story to function. There are several different ways for characters to be born, and Francine Rivers seems to touch on the important ones quite nicely. Sometimes though, it is difficult to tell how a character came about. Sometimes it seems that they are born of themselves, with no prompting or help from the writer. But this is a bit uncommon, usually characters come from us, the offspring of our lives and of our thoughts, and sometimes even the offspring of our personalities. ~Watson

 

My thoughts on “Direct Contact Seasoning the Media Arts” October 21, 2009

Filed under: Reading Responses — lilwatsongirl @ 9:54 pm

               booksIn Melody Green’s article “Direct Contact Seasoning the Media Arts”, she expressed the view that modern media has become corrupted at the roots.  I agree with her on several of her points. The media is having some serious problems, but is it really entirely corrupted?  While reading her article, I thought of the amount of time I spend listening to music, reading books, watching movies, and reading poetry.  The things I listen to, watch and read are all good things, and I can’t spend the amount of time that I do endorsing good, uplifting media, and still say that the root of all media has gone bad.

            There is, however, an awful lot of really bad media out there.  It is sometimes difficult to go to the movie theatre, when you don’t know if what you’re going to be watching will be clean or not.  My family cut the wires to our television cable, because it was no longer worth it to have television anymore.  The ratio of good stuff to bad stuff was about 1:3, and it was getting ridiculous.  The devil has insanely strong power, and he gets into people’s minds and corrupts them, making them think that inappropriate things are ok.   It is the people who are corrupted, not the root of the media.

            God gave us music so that we could praise him.  He wouldn’t let our best method of glorifying him become entirely corrupted.  Music can lift us up, and bring us closer to the Lord, and it can help us grow.  When I’m stressed out, my release is in music.  When I’m really happy, I show it by singing.  When I’m sad, music helps me get over it.

            Unfortunately, in our day, the corrupted generation has taken God’s gift to us, and twisted it.  There is music out there that will drag you down, and take the Holy Spirit away from you.  There are songs out there that will pollute your thoughts and your mind, and as the lyrics play in your head, you may find that any bad language in them finds its way out of your mouth.  Once you are ok with listening to those words, then it’s only a step away from being ok with saying them.  This is called “Desensitizing”.  It is one of the devil’s most subtle and dangerous tools.  Little by little he blackens our thoughts and damages our spirits, so subtly that you sometimes don’t even notice.  This is why it is so, so important that we stay as far as possible from the bad media, and keep to the good media.

            Another thing Melody Green discusses in her article is that “Art is not Abstract”.  She says that an artist puts his morals and his values into everything that he does, whether he is writing, drawing or singing.  I agree with this.  When I create something, that is usually my goal, to put myself into it, or to get an idea across to my readers, listeners, or whatever the case may be.  This does not, however, mean that if someone is a good person, that all of their media will be clean and good.  The opposite is also true.  Just because a person does not have the same standards as you does not necessarily mean that they will not be able to create art on your standard level.  There are many examples of this in history, Julius Caesar, for example, was a dreadful person, but he did some amazing things.  There are modern examples of the same thing.  For example, Martin Luther King Junior was not a good person in his private life, but he wrote an amazing speech that inspired thousands of people to do some very good things.  The Lord can use wicked people to bring good things to pass.

            Think of your favorite book.  What do you think of when that book comes to mind?  How does the thought of that book make you feel?  Why is it your favorite book?  Would you consider that book a good contribution to the media?

            Now consider the author of that book.  (You don’t need to actually know who it is.)  Are they perfect?  No.

            Consider the book again.  Is it perfect?  Are the characters perfect?  Probably not.  A flawless book, with flawless people wouldn’t makcdse for a very good read.

            Media is flawed, and has been twisted by the devil in some places, but it is still one of God’s most beautiful and glorious gifts to us.

 

Brer Rabbit

Filed under: Reading Responses — lilwatsongirl @ 2:57 pm

            I think we can all relate to Brer Rabbit at some point, in at least one of his stories.  Usually what happens in that Brer Rabbit does something not very smart and ends up getting into trouble.  At that point, along comes Brer Fox, trying to cause him even more trouble.  In the story in which Brer Rabbit falls into a well, he got there because he was trying to get out of work.  When, as is expected, Brer Fox comes along, he wants to cause Brer Rabbit trouble, as always.  He thinks Brer Rabbit has gold down at the bottom of the well, which shows that he is giving Brer Rabbit way too much credit.

            We all do the things that Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit do, (if not those exact things, similar things) and we all like stories with characters that we can relate to.  All of us make stupid mistakes, and we all end up in uncomfortable, even potentially dangerous situations when we do.  This happens to Brer Rabbit time and time again.  We all make fools of ourselves sometimes, and this happens countless times to Brer Fox.

We all feel like prey at times, and it’s cool to see that the rabbit, a much weaker, preyed upon creature, can triumph again and again over a fox, a much cleverer creature, and a predator. 

            In “Brer Rabbit and the Riding horse”, we see the fox submitting to the rabbit, and allowing the rabbit to ride on his back.  Of course these are unusual circumstances, since both Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox are trying to trick one another.  But it ends with Brer Rabbit tricking Brer fox into saddling up like a horse, and Brer Rabbit riding Brer fox to the home of Miss Meadows and the gals.  Brer Fox is, of course, very humiliated.  We can relate to both animals in this case.  On the one hand, we can relate to Brer Rabbit because he is the lesser of the two creatures, and we’ve all been on the bottom of the dog pile at times. On the other hand, we can relate to Brer Fox, since we’ve all been made fools of before.

            There are times when Brer Rabbit seems more human than Rabbit, and this feature is especially appealing to small children, who often like to pretend they are animals, and who like the idea of the same concept in reverse.  The fact that Brer Rabbit rides a horse, (or a fox, whatever the case may be) and even sits on a saddle and uses a bridle, presents a very entertaining picture, and is something that gives little children a good laugh.

            There are several other things that appeal to small children in the Brer Rabbit stories.  There are several humorous expressions, such as “I’m stronger than bad breath” which is a kind of play on words.

            Though the Brer Rabbit stories are probably geared more towards small children, they have morals for older children and adults too.  Every story, for example, carries the moral of “Don’t seek revenge” which is something Brer Fox does in every tale, and which is also something we may have a tendency to do.

            Brer Rabbit is a character who has touched hearts and lives and young minds for ages, and will continue to do so for ages more, and in my opinion, he well deserves his place!

 

Slow and Steady Wins the Race October 14, 2009

Filed under: Reading Responses — lilwatsongirl @ 12:17 pm
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Running shoesWe have probably all heard the fable of the tortoise and the hare. It is a very well known fable, and one often quoted to small children. Although as a child I thought is was simply an annoying story that was quoted too often, it did come in handy one day when I was 7 years old and running a race on field day. I have asthma that is triggered by hard running, and it was much worse when I was younger than it is now. As I ran around the track, my lungs began to feel tight, and I started wheezing. I saw all my friends getting ahead of me, and I ran faster, my sweaty, dark curls clinging to my face as I tried to keep up. This was a big mistake. A minute later, I collapsed. Gasping for breath, I knelt there for a moment, watching as everyone else finished the lap. I staggered to my feet, preparing to continue my run, when the story of the tortoise and the hare came to mind. “Slow and steady wins the race.” So I walked to the finish line, knowing that if I ran, I could seriously hurt myself, and if I hurt myself, I would never get to the finish line.
This story can be applied in more than just races, though. It can be applied in faith, and building testimonies. If we simply rely on other people’s testimonies, without taking the time to actually discover for ourselves whether something is true or not, it will have an unsteady foundation, and will eventually crumble. It is like the difference between carefully coloring in a picture, and scribbling. One takes longer, but produces a beautiful result. The other takes less time, but has a messy, undesirable result.
Sometimes in life, we come to obstacles that, from our point of view, seem like giant mountains, insurmountable, and impossible to avoid. It is sometimes our natural tendency to throw up our hands and say “I don’t know what to do.” And sit down and give up. But no obstacle in life is impossible. The Lord has told us that we will not be tempted above that which we are able to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13) and in the same way we will not be made to go though hardships we can bear. If we ask God for help, and go on slowly and steadily, we will be able to climb over even the largest afflictions. Slow and steady wins the race.

 

Fables October 12, 2009

Filed under: Reading Responses — lilwatsongirl @ 5:15 pm

Fable 1
Once there was a sparrow, who loved to tell all the world how talented and incredible he was. In fact, he liked it so much that he sometimes bent the truth, and made things up to make himself sound more impressive. One fine spring day, he was telling his neighbor, a scrawny black crow, about a time when he had (supposedly) rescued a family of squirrels from a giant snake. The crow was very impressed and told the whole rest of the town. Suddenly the sparrow was very popular amongst his neighbors.
As fall rolled around a rumor spread. The rumor was this: a large, poisonous copper head had moved into the area. All the animals, including the sparrow, were terrified! (Though the sparrow tried hard not to show it.)
Then one morning, the snake was seen gliding through the grass towards a baby squirrel. The crow came flying as fast as he cold to get the sparrow to rescue the little squirrel, but in a panic the sparrow cried out “I’ve never seen a snake before in my life much less gotten rid of one!”
It was then that the truth came out. The sparrow had lied about his talents. The crow rushed back to the squirrel and rescued it himself. The crow became the town hero, and the sparrow became a sad, friendless little creature, who never lied again.
Moral: Lying never pays off

Fable 2

Once there were two puppies. They were brothers, but they were as different as the night and the day. Dan was as grouchy and disagreeable as can be, and Sev (the younger of the two) was sunny and happy and always smiling.
One day the brother’r mother told them it was time for them to move out.  Sev smiled. Dan moaned.
The next day, Dan and Sev went their separate ways, Dan to the Big City, and Sev to a little, unknown town.
Stupid Sev. Dan thought to himself. Doesn’t he know that no one does well in a little town?
Sev was thinking quite the opposite. He was glad to be going to a  small town.  He didn’t really like the Big City. 

When Dan reached the Big City, he looked around him. “ These other animals had all better be nice to me.” He walked into a store to apply for a job, and straight away he began grumbling, whining and complaining. No one would give him a job.  Later that day he talked to his new neighbors. “You have to help me fix my apartment. It’s falling apart and I don’t like it.”
Not surprisingly, his neighbors slammed their doors in his face. Dan could not understand why no one was being nice to him.

When Sev reached the small town, he gazed around and said “I’d better be especially nice to these people.”
He, like Dan, went to apply for a job. He smiled at the horse who ran the store and explained that he was new and would like a job. The horse was so surprised that this young dog was being so nice, that he gave him a job straight away.
Sev had no house, and wondered what he should do. He decided to build himself a house. He picked a spot and knocked on his neighbors door. When the door opened, a sleek, black cat stood in the doorway. Sev very politely explained that he was building a new house and that he would like some help. The cat agreed to help and got all of his friends together, and they took a day, and had a lovely time building Sev’s house together.
Sev was slightly surprised, and very pleased, to find that by the end of the day, he had friends.
Throughout the rest of their lives, Dan was miserable and friendless, while Sev had many friends, and was liked wherever he went.  The difference in their lives was simply caused by the difference in their attitudes.

Fable 3
Once in early spring, a kitten stepped outside for the first time. She blinked around at the world, and began immediately to run and play. Her mother called out the door after her, “Don’t go near the mud hole, little kitten!”
The little kitten saw how vast the yard was and how small the mud pit looked, and was not worried. She didn’t know why her mother wanted her to stay out of the mud, but she decided that she would obey anyways.
The little kitten’s first few days outside were wonderful, she stayed well away from the mud pit and always came in happy and ready for bed. But one day she watched a big puppy running all around the yard and splashing in the mud pit. It looked like so much fun, and the kitten was so eager to try the mud pit herself that she ran over straight away and jumped in,
It was disgusting. The little kitten’s white fur got all covered in brown mud and sludge.
When the little kitten went to the back door to ask to be let in, her mother saw how dirty she was, and was very disappointed. The little kitten was sorry she had not obeyed her mother and stayed out of the mud pit.
From then on, the little kitten stayed well away from the mud pit and obeyed whatever her mother told her to do.
Moral: Be obedient

 

RR2 October 5, 2009

Filed under: Reading Responses — lilwatsongirl @ 8:59 pm

Creativity, to me, is putting your heart, soul and mind into whatever it is you are creating, whether it is a story, a drawing, an electronic device, or anything else. When I draw, my goal is to express an emotion, or a feeling. Sometimes it is sad, sometimes its happy, and sometimes its angry, but its always an emotion.
Creativity is a way of being honest without needing to really speak. It’s a way you can tell someone the truth.
Creativity is also being open, and honest with yourself. When I have something I don’t want to handle, or I don’t want to face, or feel overpowered or over taken by, I write a poem about it, expressing exactly how I feel and why I am upset, or excited. This is a way of making the best works, just being honest.
Creativity is, to me, just putting who you are and what your made of into words. Putting all that you can of You into it. Even those of us who say “oh I can’t draw” or “oh I can’t write poetry” create things sometimes! And there is a reason no two creations are ever exactly the same. The reason is that no two people are the same. We all have different emotions, different things we want to express in our work.
Creativity is simply being true.

~Watson

 

Essay on Psalms 119 September 29, 2009

Filed under: Reading Responses — lilwatsongirl @ 1:10 pm

The verses that I like the best in psalms, chapter 119 are the verses 105 and 151. Verse 105 is the verse that says “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” This verse is my personal favorite because it tells me that the word of the Lord will be my light, and that as long as I hold fast to the truth, I will never loose my way. This is important to me because loosing my way in the midst of a world filled with so much temptation and distraction could be deadly to my spirit. The knowledge that I have a sure foundation beneath my feet, and a well lit path is a comfort when I feel close to succumbing to the cares of the world.
Verse 151, my other favorite, states, quite plainly, “Thou art near, O Lord; and all thy commandments are truth.” This is an important verse for me because I can think of it if I ever have doubts, and if I ever wonder, “Am I doing what I should be doing? Does God really love me?” If ever I hear those thoughts enter my mind, this verse comes along with it, especially the part about how the Lord is near us. It is a very comforting verse as well, if I ever feel alone amid a world of crumbling statutes, and fading morality. I can think of this verse whenever those times come about, and I can remember that the Lord is near me.

~Watson