As I sit here crying because I’ve just rewatched my favorite film “Cloud Atlas”, I am reminded of change and dreams.
For a long while now, maybe a year, I’ve been in a slump. I’ve been thinking over and over about how my life is a “drop of water in an endless sea”. Pondering over how tiny I am, how mortality is so finite how could any of us bare the idea of immortality? How I will die inevitably and everything in our waking world is a distraction away from this death, it’s a monolithic movement toward a fake idea of eternal life. It doesn’t come from the Christians, although they now propagate this idea, and it was before the Greeks, before the Babylonians (pre-Judaism), and it was before writing. Humans lie. We lie to ourselves about our fate.We try to block it out, pretend death isn’t lurking under every rock, waiting to trip us up and break us, we shout “DANGER” so quietly.
I’m trying to be honest to myself. Telling myself of my death, that whatever I do, I will die. I’ve been giving up hope, I’ve let all my dreams go. In my depression and in my turmoil I have said “It’s impossible, I’m 1 and 8 billion+ and I am nothing.” I am nothing because I choose to be, but not because I am.
In Cloud Atlas Sonmi said “Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”(David Mitchell, author). When she said this, she is staring at a room full of fighting. Everything knows death is inevitable but they are fighting for a better life. Dying for a better life for the other.
My eternal best friend Savannah said to me: “You aren’t great because you are great, but because I say you are great so you have to be, because I want you to be.” Now this sounds very backwards, but I knew exactly what she meant. She meant that even though I don’t think I’m great, or have purpose, or meaning, I am great because she knows so. Then she said “You may think you don’t have a purpose, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give yourself one. Make one up!!”
A few hours later a woman came out of an Irish bar on to the sidewalk where Savannah and I were standing, I gave her a light and she said to me “I want to be your mothah!” and then “Go do something amazing, change the world.”
More than all the religious and socio-political philosophical truths, I know that humans are only human with other humans. And we can only change when we step into the view of the other. The moment we see the point of view of someone unlike ourselves who is apart from us can we begin to understand we aren’t so different. The only way we can learn or affect the world is by changing ourselves.
I heard once that you don’t have to change the whole world to be marvelous, you only have to change one tiny world of someone else’s to make an impact. I hope to change a few, even if those worlds are just my immediate friends and family, I can be ok with that.
I won’t give up though, I’m revisiting my dreams of being a writer, a musician, an archaeology, a teacher, a lifelong learner. I am finding another path and I don’t walk alone, but I am connected with those I find, everyone’s whose path touches mine.
Those who are great most of the time never knew they were. They died, maybe for a cause to fight for the other and are remembered as great because they changed one tiny world, that created a wave to affect many. They weren’t great because they thought they were great, they are great we because we think they are. We think. Present active Indicative plural. We are plurality and individuality and we are being.
My first time taking the ACT I was a sophomore in highschool, and its been three years since then and I believe whole heartedly I was a smarter person at that time because of four classes:
1. Latin 2 (Honors)
2. Classical and Medieval History (Gordon College Professor who is super awesome)
3. Classical Literature and Writing (Honors, taught by an ordained bishop, who also consequently is the smartest person I have ever met)
4. Geometry (With my mother who is an Engineer and it rocked)
These foundations are classical Greek and Roman foundations of education (plus add some philosophy and cultural anthropology for unbiased analysis reasons) and this is what I call the perfect lessons to prepare you to write a three page essay in under thirty minutes with organized ideas AND quotes from the literature/historical manuscripts that should be burned into your brain forever.
According to the the syllabus of my Classical Lit and History courses, I now can have a conversation with a student who has a masters in Classics or Literature very well.
I used a quote from Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola (Renaissance, Italian scholar and philosopher) for my essay on the ACT that I tied in to the importance of learning and intellectuality. (…this post is so entirely opposite from my last blog post my goodness.) This quote talked about the different parts of humanity and what they make a person appear like.
“When man came into life, the father endowed him with all kinds of seeds and with the germs of every way of life. Whatever seeds each man cultivates will grow and bear fruits in him. If these are vegetative, he will be like a plant; if they are sensual, he will become like the beasts; of they are rational he will become like a heavenly creature; if intellectual, he will be an angel and a song of God…. ” (The Oration on the Dignity of Man 1486)
So, to the ACT essay graders, I think I looked pretty damn hot 😉
Along with using quotes and being able to accurately tie them into the random subject you were given, you need to have a good idea of how you like to start your essays, or how to get yourself into a good writing mindset.
I usually try to use the page they give you to plan out your essay to write the first paragraph in. It gives you some idea of how you want to format the lay out, but not the entire thing, more the sound and rhythm of your essay. Colloquial or very formal, your essay should reflect how well you can store knowledge and apply it correctly and nicely to anything they throw at you. And they will throw you some strange questions that seem pretty stupid at first glance.
I’ve taken standardized tests for 3 years with essays tacked on them and it gets old really fast. Also, if you are taking a CLEP exam, remember to CITE the information they give you properly, it’s not just there for you to stare at contemplatively.
Another thing, use AWESOME vocabulary and use it in a tasteful way,
“Swivel chairs are too ridiculous for rambunctious kids who let their glee overwhelm them, tenaciousness can often upset pedantic teachers.” (This sentence is gross but do you understand how silly it sounds to have this many unusual vocabulary words in one sentence?)
You should use them like THIS:
“Good adjectives and adverbs should be used ubiquitously.” (This is a fair example because colloquial and gray words like “good” are not very useful descriptors(adjectives); they are subjective to someone’s biased point of view of “good”, but words such as “unseemly” (with other descriptions of WHY it is unseemly) is an approved adjective.)
If by any chance you are able to use a semicolon properly in a paragraph you will probably get good points. The quote I just used above is a good example of semicolons.
” Colons (:) are used in sentences to introduce that something follows like a quotation, example or a list. Semicolons (;) are used to join two independent clauses, to separate main clauses joined by a conjunctive adverb or to separate items in a list that already uses commas. “(Your Dictionary.com)
And some examples:
“With educated people, I suppose, punctuation is a matter of rule; with me it is a matter of feeling. But I must say I have a great respect for the semi-colon; it’s a useful little chap.”
“Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.”
I also HIGHLY recommend keeping a journal entry maybe not once a day, but at least twice a week to keep your mind flowing easily in writing; even if it is total nonsensical babble about school and drama it will help.