Thursday, September 10, 2009

Weird Beginnings and Bittersweet Beowulf

In case you hadn't noticed I really like books. I don't consider myself an expert or even a connoisseur, I just really like books. This semester I finally decided to go ahead and take a class at university called Great Books but when I saw the list of books we were yoked into reading I was more than a little disappointed. Luckily my disappointment proved misplaced and far from being a yoke, the books turned out to be a really good read....mostly. I think I understand why we had to read the book of Genesis and bits of it were actually interesting but geez those lineage lists were cumbersome and so boring and what was the deal with the weird wrestling match and the tendon on the inside of Jacob's thigh?

Anywho, the book we're currently reading has salvaged my respect for our heroic course convenor who gets up each week and patiently shares his educated insights with a class of nitwits, my band of brothers. Believe it or not I'm enjoying Beowulf. However surprised you are, I'm certain there's no one more surprised than me. It's beautifully written and I suspect that it will serve as the benchmark against which all other books will be compared. I feel spoiled but it's bittersweet: I'm not sure I can go back to the light reading of modern detective novels and actually enjoy them properly.

Journos - Can't Live With Em, Can't Live Without Em

I was walking past the TV earlier this evening and heard a journalist reporting a story about a refugee from Sierra Leone, he was all of 18 years old and his parents had been murdered. It was a sad story but the part that struck me was the journalist's reportage of the boy's life in Sierra Leone. I found it a little insensitive. Admittedly she was trying to do a piece on refugees in Australia and how much better their lives are now but she seemed to tear apart every single detail of that boy's pre-refugee existence. Even the stuff that might have actually been okay. She almost mocked the school he went to, calling it tiny and alluding to its resemblance to a stack of fibro boxes. I am sure that his life here in Australia is more comfortable but that boys friends studied with him in those fibro boxes and I bet he has some happy memories from his past there too. I didn't stick around for the rest of the documentary but I hope that journalist redeemed herself before the end of it.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Moment Over the Ocean

Recent events have lead me back to my bookshelf and the unopened book my Grandmother sent years ago, Evangeline by Longfellow. My grandfather recently pass away and both grandparents are in my thoughts a lot these days. When I opened the book, I discovered a little card tucked in the pages. The paper was gorgeous, printed up to look like a little patchwork quilt of some sort and on the front my name had been written in my grandmother's handwriting. In the card she wrote about our family origins in Louisiana and and linked it with Evangeline, the poem by Longfellow. She hoped that I would love it as she does. I'm not sure whether she means the book in particular or the poem but I'm guessing she means the poem. So I decided to open my mind to Longfellow for my Grandmother's sake and read the poem so dear to her heart. I still haven't read it all, it is a long poem, but I have read a part of it and I can see why my grandmother loves it. Its more a story than a poem. It is whimsical and quite poetic but rather than evaluate each line I went ahead and just read it and I quickly got a feel for the forest in Acadie. I could hear the ocean far away and almost smell the trees. I'm not going to rush in and finish it now though, I'm going to savour each part, reading it slowly. It'll be like sharing a little something with Grandma. Gaining a little insight into her world from the other side of the world.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Bookshelf

So I've finished with uni for the semester and all the good TV shows have finished for the season. Now I'm feeling a little lost. What do I do with all this free time in the evenings? I'm not a party animal, the weather is too cold to be going out exercising and I've read all the books in my house. Except two. Hmmm. The first one was sent to me by my Grandmother in California. Its a book of poems by Longfellow called Evangeline. I've never been into poetry especially. I means its all very romantic and whimsical but who actually understands it other than the writer. Poems seem to require large amounts of analysis to understand them. A definite turn-off for me. This is the reason I placed the book in my bookshelf without reading it. To be fair I put it on the special shelf. The shelf in my office where I keep all the books that have meant something to me over the years. It's a bit sentimental I suppose but it always makes me smile when I catch a glimpse of the books on that special shelf. I know that if I were to go over and explore it I would find not only books but memories of people, love and life. So that's where I put the book from my Grandmother. I placed it between The Deerslayer and a Nancy Drew book, The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk. The former, by James Fenimore Cooper, was my dad's favorite book and the latter, by Carolyn Keene, was the first book I ever read. With this in mind it's a pretty important position on the bookshelf.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Stranger Piece

I've been studying for a Sociology exam and got a little distracted by George Simmel's definition of the stranger.  Perhaps Simmel's 'stranger' explains why the new girl always seems so popular. Simmel expands on his basic definition with the idea that strangers are more objective than others in a group - they are in the group but not of it - because of this they are often accepted easily as an open-minded confidant. The thing is, I moved around a lot as a kid so I'm always cautious with new people, I'm not the sort to use strangers as confidants. Maybe New Girl senses this and has misinterpreted my caution as nonacceptance. Or perhaps I'm misinterpreting my nonacceptance as caution. Something to ponder.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Intro Piece

So here I am, a student journalist, contemplating the competitive nature of the profession I have chosen to study. There are so many journalists out there. How can I make a difference? What's the point of this profession if we can't make a difference?

I'm a 35 year old mother of two, wife of one, mature-aged student, considering the meaning of life. Not exactly a rip-roarin bio but I'm comfortable here. I don't have an amazing career to go back to now that my kids are a little more independent but I do feel good when I'm writing. So here I am - feelin good.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

Well this is the last official post for my NCT class. I hope I haven't gotten carried away. I think this is my 18th post in 14 or so weeks. Is that too many? Is it too few? Am I too neurotic? I guess at this point its too late to really worry about it. I have enjoyed this class. When talking to classmates about the subject I have gotten mixed responses but I think it is a really interesting summation of how the different technologies throughout history have converged to bring us our version of modern technology and mass media. I had no idea what the textbook title "From Broadcast to Narrowcast" meant when I bought it so I feel I've learned a lot. I really hated the first few chapters of the book and that put me off for the rest of the semester to be honest. I skimmed through bits and pieces but only really picked it up and read it in preparation for the exam. Then of course I was disappointed that I hadn't read more of it throughout the semester because it was really interesting. If we had skipped those chapters and stuck them in somewhere else (no suggestions about where) I probably would have been more inclined to actually read more of the text. The whole "convergence as a dialectic" and "political economy of communication" was a bit too much for me so early on in the class. I just didn't get it. The class overall has really opened my eyes up to the possibilities in journalism and made me think about where the industry is going. It has also made me more comfortable expressing my written thoughts publicly (even though only a few people will ever read it) through the blog experience. I've shared a little piece of myself with the universe. Thanks for your help Adam.