To everyone who helped me grow into the writer I am today: the professors who challenged me, the family who supported me, and the friends who made the journey a little easier and much more worthwhile.
Table of Contents Introduction..................................................................................................................................1 Creative Writing......................................................................................................................2 Poetry....................................................................................................................................3 Unfound......................................................................................................................4 Magic Spells.............................................................................................................5 Starry Nights..........................................................................................................6 The Lovers...............................................................................................................7 Classroom at Sunset...........................................................................................8 Prose......................................................................................................................................9 Love for a Child and a Kitten.........................................................................9 A Dream and A Cat............................................................................................10 A Small Town’s Prayers.................................................................................14 Walls..........................................................................................................................16 Technical Writing.................................................................................................................18 Magical Realism in Amelie...........................................................................20 Analysis of “The Sheep Child”.................................................................27 The Benefits of Corporate Volunteering................................................29 Layout and Design.......................................................................................................32 Smoochers Brochure.......................................................................................32 WV Fishbusters Brochure.........................................................................36 Love and Poison Poster...................................................................................38 A Midsummer Night’s Dream Poster.....................................................38
Introduction The production of this portfolio, much like my entire career as a writer and a student at the University of North Alabama, has been a journey. I could say that the hardest part has been compiling my works, but I would be lying. The hardest part was trying to sum myself up into one word or phrase that would determine the theme of my work, and therefore myself. When looking for inspiration for my title, I came across a quote from Ursula Le Guin: “The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.” While I love this quote, I didn’t think that anyone would want to read a portfolio entitled, “Black Marks on Wood Pulp”. However, it is a strong basis for my work; my writing, in whatever form it takes, is nothing without a reader. I love the idea of a single word title. I love the idea that something complex can be summed up in just one word. I wanted that one word that would convey my unique way of thinking and writing. I went through a thesaurus trying to find a word that would come anywhere close to describing who I am. My search
led me to my second choice for a title, “Anomaly”, a word that I relate to more closely than any other. I often find myself doing or writing the unexpected. My creative works are individual to me, born out of my thoughts or emotions, which many people do not expect me to have. I have many creative works, but I also have many technical pieces. My dream is to combine the two to create something new, which will be appreciated by those who have been forced to choose between the creative and the technical. There were many others that I agonized over, such as “Preamble” to show that this is just the beginning of my promising career as a “creative technical writer”. As I agonized over this decision just as I had agonized over selecting my choices for the works to put into my portfolio, I found a solution—“A Few Choice Words”. Let me present few choice works for my portfolio and a few choice words to show to you who I am.
Creative Writing I have been writing poetry since I started reading Shel Silverstein in elementary school. It always rhymed, and often dealt with unrequited love.It wasn’t until coming to UNA that I opened my heart to contemporary poetry, and found that concrete imagery could say as much about my feelings as being abstract. My realizations were rewarded as many of my poems, as well as my story “Walls”, have been featured in the university’s literary magazine, Lights and Shadows. I tackled the gritty subject of a missing girl from my hometown in “Unfound”, alluded to Keats and Magritte in “The Lovers”, and explored moments of my life in “Magic Spells” and “Starry Night”.
I struggled to write short stories, especially nonfiction, as I wanted to either write concisely like poetry, or lengthy like my favorite epic fantasy. Then I came to the realizationi that the story wouldn’t be worth less because it had a lesser word count, and it wouldn’t be too long because it couldn’t be read in a few seconds. I realized I needed enough to tell a story, and that there were moments in real life that could be entertaining or profound. My fictional story “Walls” explores the role society plays in children’s lives. My nonfiction stories take less creative license when I revisit the missing girl from “Unfound”, while “Love for a Child and a Kitten” explores the automatic love for a living being you consider your own. I revisit the relationship with my cat when he goes missing in “A Dream and a Cat” as investigate humanity’s need for answers.
Unfound He told me he left y'all a clue, my purse but he's just teasing you, watching you. It's been two years now, two years I've been with him, two years he's had my body, and my soul. I remember when he took me, I'd seen him before, I thought he was hunting, but I guess he was, Me. I tried, Mom, I tried to fight. I tried kicking and screaming. What was my brother doing? Where was my brother? He took me, up into the trees, tied against his sweaty body, between him and the tree. They looked for me, but no one looked up. No one ever looks up.
Then they left and we left. We went to his home, And he did things to me, so many things. I threw up all over him. He went on the search for me. He gave my parents his prayers. He cleaned up after himself. No one in this tight, little community noticed. Now I'm here, in his bed, at his kitchen table, in his pillow, pieces in his home. Listening to him, waiting to be found.
Magic Spells The pages feel heavy, an expensive weight Covered in black serif lines, Tracing the embossed letters on the cover, And then breathing in the words alone in the water feeding my mind ink like a starving woman with pica. At one time I stared at the strange symbols my tiny fingers tracing their curves, the TV. in the background , as I move my mouth silently Forming magic spells not realizing I was the princess in the story, so proud I reached the final page. The first time I lost myself my eyes grasped at the pictures and tried to make sense of the letters so many had learned before. â€ƒ
Starry Night You can’t even remember what you were mad about when ran out of the sun room feet slapping the concrete of your parents’ car port. Happy faces greet you with tongue-lolling smiles wet noses pressing your scarred knees. You touch their furry heads: Blue, a mutt; Pinkie, an almost lab; and their family of puppies eagerly following Mom and Dad. They don’t know why you ran out of the house in the middle of the night, but they’re happy you’re there. You forget what was happening even as the tears are still wet on your face and the grass feels soft and dry beneath your young feet. The dogs weave in and out between your legs. The mother lays panting a few feet away. I laid in the grass next to her, soon surrounded by her children. She’d lead off one by one never to be seen by my eyes again over the next several weeks. But for now they snuggle close, all warm bodies and cold noses. You talk to them, telling them yours fears, worries, until you look up gasping as the pinpricks of the light mapping the ref lection in your eyes. In that moment, of your brief life and of all the life there is to come, you know what peace is.
The Lovers Faces bound in cloth, Pressing lips against a cotton boundary Lips locked in time But never touching. Theyâ€™d make Keats proud If painted on an urn. A mask on all the lovers of the world The mask of bodies Which so cruelly keep us from Touching souls. Rene Magritte, are you cruel Or do you too feel the bodyâ€™s barricade Keeping you from truly feeling the kiss?
Classroom at Sunset Empty desks sit in rows of ten or twelve catching light in the setting sun the scars of students past etched into their faces battle scars much like the stained remains of colored markers on the pale, empty white board which canâ€™t help, but glow with words authors, dates, times, and places scattered forgotten books sitting in the front waiting to be remembered the missing in action the battleground of minds the classroom has seen both victory and defeat. â€ƒ
Love for a Child and a Kitten
I know you’re beautiful; I know you’re beautiful, because you’re mine. No one
else can say they’re your mother. In case you haven’t realized it yet, your mother is a very self-centered, possessive woman. I’m not the only one in our family, and I’m pretty sure I won’t be the last. You might be beautiful and loved unconditionally, but it’s likely you will love like me. You haven’t been born yet, or even conceived, but you are already loved in that instantaneous way when you know something is wholly yours.
You are much like your brother in that way, despite his whiskers and
f luffy tail. Once you are born I’m not sure that my love for the two of you will be equal, but don’t let him ever find that out; after all, your origins are the same. You both were a thought in my head, a thought I might not have actively pursued, but dreamed about in the moments between thoughts of work, food, or movies. However, your brother, feline as he maybe, was a tentative offer of adoption on Facebook. If you are adopted, I’m hoping I didn’t adopt you on Facebook, though from my newsfeed that seems where it’s heading. If I do get you from Facebook, it will be much the same, I wanted a kitten, a baby is just a human kitten, and if I said yes, it could be mine.
I met the girl in a Wal-Mart parking lot, two weeks after my 22nd birthday. I
went to high school with her and she announced a few days ago that she’s having a baby boy. I don’t know what all was said besides me thanking her and cooing as she handed me a black, ball of f luff that mewed so loudly my chest ached. I walked quickly back to the car, grinning. He was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen; he was mine.
We had been home for a few minutes, and I was watching him waddle around
the room, curiosity lifting his tail like a f lag. I knew he’d have to get used to his surroundings. I had gotten a Kindle for my birthday, and had taken to playing games and watching shows on it because I’ve never been fond of e-readers. That’s changed recently; now I read on it often. It helps that I can get books for a couple of dollars, or more recently for free. I could read all the time. I just love books even the ones that have ugly covers. Just knowing I’m about to buy a book and have it forever puts a smile on my face.
It’s going to be hard for me if you don’t read, not that I won’t try to instill a
love of books very early on in your life. You’ll be hearing epic tales while you’re in the womb, and while I hope they’ll reach you, chances are you’ll be a jock who doesn’t buy anything on sale and has an IQ smaller than your furry brother’s. Thankfully, I won’t realize this until the strenuous teenage years have been set in motion; until then, I’ll dream of a blue-eyed, dark-haired little geek who loves fairy tales and Greek mythology. I’ll have that brief, memorable time that I can try and fail to shape you into the person I want you to be.
Unfortunately, you can’t do this with cats. You have to just hope they’ll accept
you and accept whatever cat they turn out to be. So, I sat on the futon I had been using as my bed recently watching the show I had been binging on most recently when I felt the four little paws climb up on my stomach. He then went to sleep, but it allowed me to feel like he had taken me into his little heart, and knew how much I would love him for the rest of his life, even if he did wake me up at six the next morning. Now, as you read this, I don’t know who you are, what you’ve become, and I can hope that, however I’ve raised you, you will love me, not just in the natural, Stockholm syndrome way children love their mother, but in that true way that is so hard to find.
A Dream and a Cat The night my cat ran away there was a storm, and while when I lived in a trailer I was terrified, there in the brick apartment building, I slept deeply. I slept so deeply, that I only woke up twice, which is a feat for me. I woke up twice, the first time from a dream which I dismissed, and the second time from the aching silence that filled our home. Every morning my cat, a black medium-haired domestic with a plume for a tail, would wake me crying for breakfast. Most of the time, it was an hour or two before my alarm and I would just turn over and go back to sleep. This morning was different. This morning I woke up and I didn’t hear anything. I woke my husband and called for my cat as I walked drowsily into the living room, which jolted me awake. Our door stood wide open, and while my husband checked to see if anything was stolen. I had one thought, “Where’s my baby?” Some people don’t feel like animals are a part of their family, but I have always felt an affinity for animals, and this was MY cat. I had raised it, watched it grow up, knew his quirks, knew what meow meant what. He was my child. This might raise some eyebrows, but it’s true. We went outside, calling for him to no avail. My husband set out to find him while I stayed behind, just in case he came home. It was there, sitting outside in the cold in my pajamas, crying, that I re-
membered my dream, or at least one specific part. Sometimes, for no reason, I will dream about a friend who committed suicide my freshman year of college. And on that night of all nights, I dreamed about him for the first time in at least a year. This is going to sound weird, but you already know I’m a crazy cat lady, so bear with me. I was texting my friend, Alex. I don’t know what we had been talking about before then, for all I know he could have been telling me the secrets of afterlife, but he wanted me to video chat with him. Most of the time I jump on the chance to see him again, but this time, I felt a sense of dread. He persisted until I finally accepted. I looked down at the screen and there’s a little boy. He had brown hair and he was laughing. Most people wouldn’t find anything scary in this, but we’ve already established, I’m not most people. I was terrified, and when I get terrified in dreams, I wake myself up. I went back to sleep more easily than usual, but that dream lingered. What did it mean? Did Alex know that Binx (my cat) would go missing? Is he dead? Sometimes I believe in the significance in dreams, and sometimes I don’t. They haunt me though; I remember some dreams from when I was four or five. I struggle with faith; I’m a cynic, but I believe in a God, though not in a Him or perhaps in anyway that god can be considered in religion. My husband told me the other day that my grandmother had said something very true about me, that I had a lot of belief, but little faith. In a way she’s right, but in a textbook way she’s wrong. However, I was the one who said we would probably find Binx on the side
of the road and that he was gone forever. I don’t believe in a magical being who will just give me what I want, if I simply ask. I believe in free will. Which is why instead of just praying like some people do, I bargained with God. Pretty much goes against the rules, but I did it. I don’t think I expected anything to come of it, but when a loved one is missing, you will do ridiculous things to get them back. I, ever being the cynic, put clauses in my bargain with God. So if the circumstances weren’t met exactly, I would have a bit of leeway. You are probably asking yourself what does this have to do with the dream, and honestly I was asking myself the same thing. And I finally put the pieces together. It is about the search for meaning, for the dream to mean something, for my desperate prayer to mean something. I was looking for answers, but when encountering a situation like this they aren’t going to be clear, or perhaps even exist. Of course there’s a chance you don’t care about any of the self-discovery crap and just want to find out if I found my cat. The answer is yes. I found him the next day in the eave of the neighbor’s roof. That neighbor, by the way, lives directly behind my building, which means Binx probably heard me crying by the window, calling for him. This leaves me to ask the question, “Did Alex know I would find him all along?” Who knows. But I’m still holding up my end of the bargain, minus a clause.
A Small Town’s Prayers It has been 3 years now since Holly Bobo disappeared from my hometown in Tennessee; her brother watched as she was led off by a guy in camo. The whole town came together in the search for any clue to her whereabouts. They tromped through the whole county more times than I know. Those who couldn’t go on the search bought ribbons to add to the pool of reward money. But no one could find out who was behind her disappearance. I have to admit while everyone was jumping on the “Praying for Holly” bandwagon, I was the cynic watching too many crime shows postulating theories on how the “murderer” got away with it. I was betting on a white trafficker, or maybe a serial killer with a underground bunker in the woods. In my mind, I had it figured out, and remained distant from the entire situation. It’s strange to say that as I went to church with her several times, and most of those offering their support hadn’t even met her. To me, she was the blonde with a pink racing-striped, Mustang complete with vanity tag. We weren’t exactly on the same page, or even in the same library. I’d be lying if I said I liked her, though I don’t know if I would have since we never talked. We were too different to talk to one another. However, if you asked someone the same question, you might not get as honest an answer. Her case became pretty famous as she was related to an up-and-coming country singer. If you go to the popular news websites, or even Google her name, you will see Holly linked with her more famous cousin. I guess fame can make a whole country come together in prayer. But, even that didn’t last very long. Soon, it was just our corner of Tennessee that cared so much though many truckers put her magnetized face on their cross country vehicles. That seemed ironic to me as often as female hitchhikers go missing thanks to them.
Despite the lull in any sort of evidence, or perceived trail, the county remained tightly knit around the idea of Holly. The pink ribbons first bought started to sag and fade, but they were quickly replaced by another. It felt like the county was in perpetual breast cancer awareness, and to the passersby who misinterpreted every business sign that rang out “prayers for Holly”, I’m sure that’s what it seemed like. Finally, there was a seeming break in the case; Holly’s purse was found last year, and the investigation picked up with more fervor. I was taking a creative writing class at the time, and had to write a poem based on a news article. I took a great deal of creative license, writing as the ghost of Holly whose killer was from the county and who had went on the search for her to cover up his mistakes. A month or so ago, an arrest was finally made. It was some druggie with a history of domestic violence. From word of mouth, I heard he was pulled over and told the cops the knife he had with him was the one he killed Holly Bobo with. I couldn’t believe it; how could some dumb ass get away with something like this for so long? Surely there had been someone more professional behind it, and he was just a cop out to appease the family. Then a few days after the arrest a picture showed up on my Facebook feed. It was the supposed murderer, dressed in camouf lage in the woods. It was taken from his Facebook, and read something along the lines of “who am I looking for” on the day the search for Holly began. Maybe I was partially right. Since then, he’s threatened his brother, saying it was his fault he was in the mess in the first place. It’s a small town. Word spreads quickly, and if you know the right people then you know the inside scoop on the case. I now know the gist of what happened, but can’t expand on this story just yet. Until then, I just have to watch as the signs saying “Prayers for Holly” change to “Justice for Holly” instead.
There was once a girl who could see through walls, or for that matter, any-
thing at all. It started when she was very small, and heard her parents fighting. Her father was yelling that her mother was cheating on him with the girl's kindergarten teacher. The girl hearing this believed it was her fault they were fighting in the first place. They were yelling so loud, her father was so angry, and then there was a scream. The girl closed her eyes and shut her ears, but she could still see them. Her father stabbed her mother eighteen times, and she could see every drop of blood with such clarity she could almost see the cells that gave the blood its color. Every gruesome detail was etched into her mind, and from that day forward, there was nothing she could not see through.
The girl grew up isolated, and abused not only physically and sexually by
foster families, but also psychologically by the things she witnessed. She watched as perfect, church-going citizens got drunk and beat their children, spewing religious text as they hit them. She saw fathers and brothers “training” their daughters and sisters on “how to please a man”. She watched the smiling cheerleaders vomit their already dieted meals and cut themselves where no one could see. She lay in bed at night staring through the ceiling or the walls or the f loor, unable to close her eyes to the horrors of the world so many people ignore.
She was only twelve when she realized how ignorance plagued humanity,
how everyone was blind to what was right in front of them, even when there were no walls. She tried to speak up, to stand up, to clear the vision of teachers, parents, police officers. No one would listen to a young girl, just to the rationalizations of the other adults, other liars hiding behind walls of smiles and concrete. There were so
few people who were worth telling as most were hiding something. It was those few who could not believe that their friends, neighbors, and relatives were capable of hurting themselves or anyone else.
So she became one of them. She put up walls to protect herself, and eventually
she was smiling and laughing with them. She shook hands with the principal she had seen touching his son in the wrong places. She hugged the alcoholic who one weekend while drunk driving hit a woman and drove away. The little girl grew up into a young woman, and slowly she forgot. She forgot all she saw and lived an average life, because that was easier than seeing things for what they really were.
n ical ti n g Every product and every company has a story. I want to tell their stories. I want to blur the line between creative and corporate, the line between a technical and interesting. There isn’t any rule that says writing has to be one, or the other. And if there is, I want to be the one who breaks it to make way for a new style of writing. My first piece is a paper I wrote for a film class. It was different than anything I had done before, and yet I wanted to show that an analysis could be entertaining. I also include a rhetorical analysis, written in Advanced Composition, in which I must put aside my own feelings towards a poem, to let others show theirs. My last purely written piece shows just how diverse a writer I can be as it is
a business proposal suggesting corporate volunteer work, which was created in Managerial Communications. I also include two brochures, one of which was written for Layout and Design and the other for Technical Writing. Both of these brochures were created with real businesses in mind. The second brochure, created for WV Fishbusters, includes a logo on the front which is purely my creation. Following that brochure, are posters created for UNA’s 5th Annual Graduate Conference, both based on the conference’s theme, love and poison. The first one is for the conference itself and the second for the play featured at the conference, A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream.
The Magical and Surreal World of Amélie What is saved in the cinema when it achieves art is a spontaneous continuity with all mankind. It is not an art of the princes or the bourgeoisie. It is popular and vagrant. In the sky of the cinema people learn what they might have been and discover what belongs to them apart from their single lives. —John Berger
In the French film Amélie, or Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain, Jean-
Pierre Jeunet paints the fantastical story of Amélie Poulain, a young French girl. This story centers around Amélie who spent her childhood isolated from everyone except her parents. Both of her parents displayed characteristics of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which caused them to enjoy little more than cleaning out their belongings as they became cluttered from use, and then putting everything back in order. As soon as Amélie is old enough to leave her childhood home, she moves to Montmartre and becomes a waitress at Café des 2 Moulins. On the night that she sees that Princess Diana has been killed, Amélie has an epiphany. The shock from the news coverage causes Amélie to drop the sphereshaped top of a glass bottle which rolls across the f loor to hit a tile that is part of the wall in the bathroom. The tile is knocked loose and reveals a hole in the wall where a boy once hid a tin containing all of his childhood treasures. Thus Amélie’s journey to bring happiness to others begins; although, through the course of events Amélie eventually discovers that it is important to find happiness for herself as well.
The characters in the film would have a normal life, with the common and
not-so-common idiosyncrasies of the people found in any community, if it were not for the interference of Amélie, who becomes somewhat obsessed with the details of their lives and her whims to inf luence them for what she thinks to be best. The bright colors, constant motion, and quirky, yet magical, elements of the film almost bring Amélie into the literary film genre of magical realism, but Amélie more
closely fits into the dreamy Surrealism genre, with the inf luences Jean-Pierre Jeunet brings with him into the film, such as animation.
Jeunet once said, “I believe every shot should be like a painting”, and in his
film Amélie they are. The most easily found feature of Amélie is the saturation of color in the film. In the narrated introduction to this film, the tone is rosy and bright as a blue f ly f lits across the screen. Dudley Andrew, in a review for Film Quarterly, suggests that Jeunet could have had the f ly land on Amélie’s face,“but of course he went the other direction; in postproduction he cleansed each image until it shone with the luminescence of the film’s advertising posters” (38).The colorful theme continues throughout the film, color bursts from the screen as Jeunet dresses Amélie in bright greens and blues in a home filled with fire engine red; as much of a stark contrast as her pale skin from her dark hair. Even in the subway, where it should be dull and dirty, murals and advertisements contained in elaborate golden, fine art frames brighten and contrast the plain walls.
The colors serve to complement the even more colorful characters who add
several of their own subplots to the plot conceived by Amélie; both types of color fulfill the purpose of giving the film a daydream-like quality. Jeunet comments in an interview with the website Little White Lies that the colors he uses are because of his love for animation. Jeunet applies color as he feels fits accordingly with the individual scenes and characters, such as the candy-like hot pink adult store. However, as a highly noticeable contrast to these colors, in a scene where the adult Bretodeau has the treasure box from his boyhood returned to him, his memories are in black and white. According to the time period for the film, Bretodeau was a boy during the 50s and his treasure box is returned present day, so this could be a reference to the fact that some people dream in black in white.
While each shot might not be a painting, each scene was carefully planned
and sculpted by Jeunet to create a dynamic f low, or wave, of time that can only be portrayed in a dream or vision. In the beginning of Amélie, the viewers of the film zoom along with the blue f ly “at 70 miles per hour until it lands on St.
Vincent Street”, and then they jump from one carefully depicted event to another until they finally land with the birth of Amélie. The narration follows the pace of the scenes shot through carefully timed words before leading into a detailed description of each of Amélie’s parents and then , finally, Amélie. The narration in the introduction lasts approximately twenty-five minutes, but does not seem overwhelming as it does match the pace of the film with over 300 shots in that span. Andrew describes Jeunet’s methodology and concept: At such a rate, each shot must make its impact instantly. This means there can be no extraneous action in the frame, no competing visual features—“one idea per shot” being his motto. Hence Jeunet often frames his figures front and center, even zooming and adding “whooshes” on the soundtrack to punctuate what counts. (41) In this manner, Jeunet has complete control over the shot, as well as the “painting” feel, and can carefully manage the tone of the film. Andrew makes a statement describing these scenes perfectly when he writes: “Each shot, as cleanly individuated as a playing card, seems pulled from a deck to be dealt rhythmically and in precise sequence” (41). After delivering the box to the Bretodeau, Amélie encounters him soon after, though Bretodeau does not know she is the one who returned the box to him. During this encounter, Bretodeau tells her how he is going to seek out and find the daughter he has not seen for years. Floating on the ecstasy of a well-received good deed, Amélie walks with her head high and a smile on her face. This scene is shown saturated with color and in slow motion as if it were as sweet as molasses and meant to be savored.
In contrast to this scene however, the final scenes of the movie show Amélie
and her new boyfriend Nino speeding by on his motorcycle as if we were looking out the back window of a car in front of them snapping pictures of them. These scenes all feel as though they have a beginning and ending. The isolation that Amélie feels is echoed in the isolation of the scenes in the introduction where she is shown peeling glue off her hands and pulling out a completed row of paper figures; things children do when they have no one to play with other than themselves.
These scenes that are complete within themselves are found throughout the entire movie as the viewer is told the likes and dislikes of every character who Amelia encounters for more than a brief moment. The methodology behind the use of these scenes is explained by Andrew in the following statement: In this way Jeunet repeatedly produces the satisfaction of closure in the prologue. One character is addicted to popping bubble wrap, another cracks his joints. Bretodeau masticates the perfectly cut morsel of roast chicken, while Amélie loves to break the crust on crème brûlée. Each of these tics registers a minute dramatic achievement distinctly heard and felt as a membrane gives way to deliberate pressure. (43) He also describes these moments as “infantile pleasures” which do give the viewer as much of a sense of satisfaction as the characters receive from the acts. This can be compared to what people experience in their dreams, people do not get this sense of satisfaction from their dreams, as often dreams will end when just before “the membrane gives way”; nonetheless, the fact that each character has a unique characteristic that brings the smallest satisfaction to him or her can seem magical, even if only for a moment.
The community that surrounds Amélie, with the individual quirks of each
member, has separate yet unified lives woven together to create a myriad of subplots which hold a feeling of similarity to reality. Isabella Vanderschelden describes this to magical realism in her French film guide to Amélie: “Magical realism is also characterized by a return to village/community culture and by the prevalence of imaginary solutions of real-world contradictions” (39). In Amélie’s community, the problems are solved by her very curious way of thinking. She helps a blind man to see leading him quickly around, describing to him everything she sees along the way. The motion of the camera is important here as it creates the illusion that he is actually seeing the scenes Amélie describes to him. Later in the film, Amélie solves the problem of her drunk over-sharing landlady’s heartbreak by creating a letter from the landlady’s adulterous dead husband in which he says
he is sorry for ever leaving, and that he is trying to make a home for her. Amélie utilizes a news story of a mail bag located from a crash to enable this is letter to arrive “magically” forty years late, but is something the landlady has probably dreamed about every night since she was informed of his death.
Amélie helps her own sad, strange father who does nothing but build upon
the the shrine to her dead mother’s ashes, which he tops off with a garden gnome. In order to help him, Amélie steals the gnome, and has a f light attendant take pictures of the gnome in different locations all over the world. The f light attendant then mails the pictures to Amélie’s father. Upon the return of the gnome, her father decides to live his dream and go out to see the world for himself. Amélie also solves the mystery of the man who repeatedly shows up in Nino’s collection of photo booth pictures. In this photo collection, there is a man who takes his own unsmiling picture in photo booths all over town, but then throws them away. Amélie and her friend, who is nick-named “the glass man” because his bones are as brittle as glass, speculated first that this man was afraid of aging, and then they speculated that he was a ghost who was afraid of being forgotten. In the end, the man in the photograph turned out to just be the photo booth repairman and was simply making sure that the booths were working properly. However, not all the events Amélie interferes with end well; she sets up a co-worker’s obsessed ex-boyfriend who displays stalker tendencies with another of her coworkers who happens to be a hypochondriac. The ex-boyfriend ends up being just as jealous and possessive as he was with the previous girlfriend, only now he can watch both his current and his ex-girlfriend in the same place, by keeping an audio recording of every interaction with another man, especially regular customers. All of these things are examples of the changes made by a small, strange, shy young woman who just loves the little things in life, like collecting stones for skipping.
The details of this film, such as the idiosyncrasies of the characters, are
what make it truly magical and surreal. As expected the introduction sets the scene for the elements to come, and we enter Amélie’s imagination as soon as she
nurses a furry alligator to health, watches records being made from pancake batter, and sees a coma patient wake up to say that, once she is done, she will be able to stay awake night and day. Her mother’s death is caused by the impact of a suicidal woman who jumped off the church in a strange and sad turn of events. Her parents are not loving toward Amélie, which is clearly demonstrated through the symbolism of her isolation. The closest she feels to her father is when he is giving her a monthly check up, because that is the only time she has any physical contact with him. This brief contact causes her heart to race, which makes her parents believe she has a heart problem, but the viewers see her heart glow and pound in happiness and understand the cause because of the narration. Similar things happen that Vanderschelden considers surreal: This film also resorts to literal visual representations linguistic idioms. The metaphorical expressions such as ‘being love-struck,’ ‘melting into tears,’ and ‘seeing the light’ are graphically illustrated on screen. Amélie literally melts into a water puddle in the cafe after Nino’s departure, and her bright throbbing heart is graphically visualized when she first meets him at the station. Similarly, the blind man experiences a heart-warming feeling when a halo of light descends upon him after meeting Amélie. (38) These experiences are much like what people experience in dreams during which their feelings can become tangible objects and experiences. These dreamlike events also occur when Amélie’s animal paintings on the wall begin speaking to one another and interacting with her pig-shaped bed side lamp, and when the photograph she used to write a note on starts speaking to Nino about what she was like. Vandershelden describes this as a Surrealist strategy to portray the characters thoughts without the characters actually speaking them aloud (38). Vandershelden, nonetheless, puts the adaptation of Amélie’s television into a translator for her thoughts into the category of magical realism, although by her definition it could be perceived as falling in the same category as the examples given in the previous statement.
Fredric Jameson defines magical realism as “the poetic transformation of
the object world—not so much a fantastic narrative, then as a metamorphosis in perception and things perceived” (39). By this definition as well as by the the dreaminess of the surreal, Amélie can fall into both genres with its fairy-tale vision of the everyday life of a community and the inf luence of young introverted woman on everything around her. No matter what genre it is categorized as, Amélie is a whimsical film that is enough to make those who live in their own imaginary world wish to come out of their isolation and live in the real world in much the same manner as did Amélie. Works Cited Andrew, Dudley. “Amélie.” Film Quarterly. 57.3 (2004): 37-46. Web. 5 May. 2013.
Jeunet, Jean-Pierre. Interview by Matt Bochenski. “Jean-Pierre Jeunet.” Little White Lies.
24 Feb 2010.Web. 5 May 2013. http://www.littlewhitelies.co.uk/features/
Vandershelden, Isabelle. Amélie: French Film Guide. Reprint. I.B. Taurius, 2007. Web. <http://books.google.com/books?id=e00c0xm7n4sC&source=gbs_navlinks_s>.
Rhetorical Analysis of “The Sheep Child”
As with many of James Dickey’s poems, “The Sheep Child” approaches
controversial topics such as bestiality, humanity’s primal urges, and the consequences that come with those urges. “The Sheep Child” is divided into two parts: the first which tells discusses the myths of “farm boys” and the second which discusses the offspring of these myths as told through the perspective of a “sheep child”. In this rhetorical analysis, I will explore two of the various interpretations of Dickey’s “The Sheep Child” in an effort to show how extremely different the interpretations of this poem can be.
The first interpretation comes from my fiancé, a twenty year old male high
school graduate with a few years of college experience. He is currently pursuing a career in cosmetology and does not have a passion for poetry, but he is capable of enjoying a well-written poem. I made sure he had no prior knowledge of this poem before allowing him to read it, since I did not want him to have pre-conceived notions regarding the subject matter of “The Sheep Child.” When I chose him to read it, I expected him be medicated for his ADD (attention deficit disorder); and, because of this, my expectations were that he would find it both interesting and extreme, yet he would read a deeper meaning beyond the first notions generated by the subject matter. However, he was without his medication and (I suspect) this had a direct effect on his interpretation. He read this poem only at the surface level and did not read into the deeper meaning of what Dickey was saying at all.
While reading this poem, his facial expression changed from one of surprise
to a smirk of amusement. He described the difficulty of the poem as “easy, because of the vivid, disturbing picture; hard, because there are metaphors not explained ‘til 2-5 lines later”. However, he did enjoy the poem and explained that this was because the poem was “well-written”; but he also explained that he thought he was a “weirdo” for liking it. His conclusion was equally as shallow; he replied
“bestiality is bad” and “country folk need to control themselves” in reply to the question of what this poem meant to him. Overall, his response to this poem was radically different from my expectations, and I would like to see if taking his medication has an effect on his response to a similar poem.
In contrast to my fiancé’s reaction, my mother’s response was deeper and
more meaningful. She is a high school graduate who did not finish her college education, but does enjoy poetry greatly, although even she was not familiar with particular poem or its subject matter. As much as my fiancé’s response to the poem surprised me, my mother’s response surprised me even more. She described how “the f low” of the poem made it easy for her to read, but that she was confused about the about the gaps she perceived within the poem. She also enjoyed how descriptive the poem is; especially the second part, because she was “able to view it through the writer’s eyes”.
The meaning my mother found for “The Sheep Child” was much different
from my fiancé’s in the way that it covered multiple levels and was a less harsh overall response. She interpreted this poem as being about farm boys, marriage, and how the farm boys’ “true love is the farm”. My preconceptions were that she would find this poem disgusting and would consequently question my sanity. She did not seem to understand what seems so blatant to many and ignored the bestiality subject matter completely.
I was taken aback by my results as my interpretation is tremendously
different from both of theirs. I read “The Sheep Child” as Dickey not only trying to shock his reader, but also bring attention to the sheep child who is part of two worlds and punished for this as well as the sins of its father. Dickey takes a universally ‘taboo’ subject, and makes it into a beautiful, magical piece of folklore with a relatable ‘outsider’ character. From the findings of this analysis alone, I gather that, at the very least, this poem inspires very different yet meaningful thoughts in different people.
The Benefits of Corporate Volunteer Programs
Kramer Electronics is a unique company in the way that it is progressive
and looking towards the future of its employees and its community. However, there is a program that has yet to be implemented into the company which deserves to be explored: a corporate volunteer program. As a volunteer and committee member of Habitat for Humanity, I have personally experienced the rewards that can only be experienced through volunteer work. Unfortunately, the responsibilities that come from having a full-time career have gotten in the way of my ability to volunteer, preventing me from feeling the satisfaction of being socially responsible through volunteerism. In addition to the personal rewards for any involved employees, the popularity of corporate volunteer programs, or corporate social responsibility, is growing each day. This volunteer program has the capability to increase employee pride, improve the community, add to the public image of Kramer Electronics, and cut the costs of team-building training. Overall, this program has the ability to enhance the company in new ways, both internally and externally. Benefits and Proposed Solution
According to the research in the Journal of Business Ethics, positive work
attitudes and company loyalty have been associated with companies’ involvement in social responsibility via volunteer programs (Kim, H. , Kim, M. , Lee, H. , & Lee, M. , 2010). This is also illustrated in a recent study where “87% of employees who volunteered with their companies reported an improved perception of their employer” and of those 87%, “82% felt more committed to the organization they worked for” (Jarvis, 2011). With these overwhelming results, it is clear that the workplace would have a more satisfied atmosphere with the implementation of a volunteer program. Ryan Scott makes an impressive point when he states, “When employees are clear about their company’s vision, they’re more motivated
to represent the companyâ€™s brand, build relationships and strengthen their communities by sharing their skills and passions (2013).â€? Developing an employee volunteer program will give the employees assurance that Kramer Electronicsâ€™ vision for the future of the community is aligned with their own.
However, an important financial factor for having a volunteer program
is the money that can be saved on training and team-building exercises (Scott, 2013). Rather than outsourcing to team building and training specialists, Kramer Electronics can utilize the comradery developed while working together to better the community through this volunteer program. My suggestion is to have a volunteer day twice a month, rotating between departments as well as creating interdepartmental volunteer teams.
The rotation will generate a balance in workload throughout the company
so that no department feels strained when an employee from their department is out of the office for his or her volunteer hours. Once there are enough volunteers, a schedule of rotation can be developed that will make the program even more effective. As the number of volunteers grows, there can be more than one employee volunteering from each department on a particular volunteer day; thus requiring the departments to work together in a different setting, replacing the need to outsource for team building exercises. This rotation will also make cross-training employees in different departments necessary. Developing the skills of employees to function on multiple levels will cause each employee to be invaluable to Kramer Electronics. As the employees realize the value of the skills learned both through the cross-training and the volunteer program, they will inevitably become more satisfied with their role within the company. Requirements and Feasibility For the process to begin, the company will first need to establish a committee to make the decisions regarding the charities and the recruitment of volunteers. The organization of a committee will initially involve a few hours as information is
gathered. Fortunately, the costs of the program will be minimal as the employees would be volunteering as part as their normal workday, but the boost in morale will compensate for the lost man hours. It will also be necessary for the committee to choose charities which will benefit most from the company’s assistance as well as create a better rapport between Kramer Electronics and the community. Scott suggests that companies give the employees a choice in the charities to make them feel involved in the process (2013). This will generate greater interest in the volunteer program and offer unique perspectives on the charities from which the committee can choose. Next Steps
In order to make this process go smoothly, my suggestion would be for
the committee to consist of employees who have had prior experience with volunteering. It is highly recommended that the employees of Kramer Electronics be allowed to make suggestions for which charities the volunteer program should benefits and then be put up to a vote. Once the charities are selected, the committee will research the charities and the employees interested in the volunteer program. Once the positions have been decided upon, a schedule of volunteer days will need to be established in order to start the rotation of volunteers. The Kramer Electroncs’ Volunteer Program Committee will need to be available to maintain communication between the charities chosen and the employee volunteers. References Jarvis, C. (2011). The business case for employee volunteering – Case #1. Retrieved
business-case-for-employee-volunteering.html Kim, H. , Lee, M. , Lee, H. , & Kim, N. (2010). Corporate social responsibility and
employee company identification. Journal of Business Ethics, 95, (4), pp. 557-
569 Scott, R. (2013). Your volunteer program won’t survive on twigs and berries.
Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sitescauseintegration/2013/04/08/
Top Five Reasons a Dog's Haircut Costs More than Yours
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A Midsummer Nightâ€™s Dream -abridged- no intermissionPresented by the UNA English Department Willing Hams
As Part of the 5th Annual Regional Graduate Conference in English
February 13 and 14, 2014 @ 7:30 p.m. GUC Performance Center
Admission by Donation