The First Post

Dear reader,

It’s hard to believe that I am halfway through my junior year. Sometimes I feel like I just started the year a few days ago. My time in AP Lang has gone by quite quickly, but nevertheless I have enjoyed every minute of it. One aspect of the class that I have enjoyed the most is the opportunity to have a weekly blog and talk to people through each post.

Before I was in AP Lang, I hadn’t even the faintest idea or interest of starting a blog. I didn’t even know WordPress as well as I do now and all the neat things you could do with it. In fact, starting a blog was one of the last things I wanted to do at first and when we were told that we would have to start one, I started panicking inside. I had a million questions floating in my head like, “What should I write about?” “What should I title my blog?” “How will my work look like in the blog?” and so on.

When it was finally time to start my introductory post, I struggled a lot. The ideas just wouldn’t come, but I slowly started having ideas to write about my blog name. And so, I did. After I finished writing the post, I was feeling not at all confident, but told myself that this is just the first in many more posts. Cringing, I pressed the publish button and hoped for the best. Over the course of a few days, I started to get comments from people, and they surprised me, because they said that I did a good job.  I was over the moon and was starting to get excited about the prospect of having this blog.

Since then, I have fully enjoyed every prompt, whether or not the answer of what to write comes easy to me. With every post, I feel like I have an opportunity to grow as a writer and that makes me excited for what prompt I get next. To me, the blog posts don’t feel like homework. They feel like an opportunity to grow.

What about you, dear reader? Have you ever had an experience that you were not either interested in or nervous about doing only to find out that you loved it in the end?

-Kinya

Broken Melodies

Dear reader,

I would like you to picture the world as one piece of music with many different melodies. Each continent has its own type of music, melodies, and harmonies, but the one thing that is universal is that none of the melodies are ever completely perfect. There are wrong notes in every piece, subtle or grand, that make the music sound not quite right. Whenever a mistake is made, the continent that made the mistake comes under intense pressure and ridicule from the others and is branded as an outcast. But with time, the music begins again and the mistake is forgiven.

I have read The Scarlet Letter recently and it paints the main character, Hester, in a similar light. Because of what she has done, she is branded as an outcast with the symbol of a scarlet letter on her chest. In the Puritan society, she is seen as someone who is apart from the general community and is treated differently from the others. She struggles with the fact that she as a person is defined by what she did and that that situation will haunt her throughout her life. However, over the course of the book, Hester grows out of those thoughts, becomes strong and independent and gets accepted by her community.

This book has taught me that even though there may be problems in the world, the aspect that matters most is how to forgive the individual. Look past the mistakes made, and accept the person for who they are, and don’t shun them for what they did. That way, the music can continue to play as best as possible, despite the mistakes.

-Kinya

Giving Thanks

Dear reader,

Have you ever thought about the importance of giving thanks and why it is known as ‘a magic word’? Have you ever thought about the importance of just saying thank you? Why is saying thanks such a big part of our society in terms of good manners?

Other than the fact that it shows that you are being polite and that you are appreciative of something, giving thanks could make someone happy about what they have done for you. Giving thanks also shows that you are appreciative of what is around you. Whether that is giving you a gift on your birthday, receiving an invitation to go to a concert with a friend, or cheering you up when you feel down in the dumps, saying thanks is a way for you to convey that you truly appreciate what the other person has done for you.

You can also be thankful about your environment such as the house you live in, your family, or even something as vast as nature. I had just finished school and was walking off to the place where I would be picked up and I looked around at the trees that surrounded me. In that moment, I gave thanks for the beautiful nature around the campus that made my school look so pretty and for nature all around the world that made Earth look more than just a barren landscape of a planet.

So giving thanks, small though it may be, could even help someone be a way to let someone know you are thankful for what they did for you and can help you see the bigger picture in even something as ordinary as a tree in a field.

That was my take on giving thanks, but what about you? What are you thankful for? Think about it and try to write it down so you don’t forget it.

-Kinya

The Scales of Justice and Grace

Image result for definition of grace

Dear reader,

As our world stands now, there are many difficulties. Refugee crises, climate change, unemployment, and others. When reflecting on a situation and how it could develop, we can sometimes see it through two different angles: justice and grace. Which one of those two is the most important?

Justice is an important factor of dealing with problems, but sometimes that can blind us to the concept of grace. Grace is unmerited favor. The concept of grace can be applied in most areas of our everyday life. For example, someone treats you unfairly and blames you for something that you didn’t do. Later on, that same person decided to come back to you and apologize for their actions. In that moment, you have two options presented to you. Either get back at the person (justice) or forgive them (grace).

Choosing justice in that situation may feel very satisfying in the moment, but it may have consequences in the long run. You start to feel guilty about what you did and want to show grace to the person and apologize for what you did in the moment, but your sense of justice inhibits you from doing that. As a result, that conflict remains and may wear on you in the future.

However, choosing grace leads to a wonderful sense of freedom and in the long run, you will feel happy about your choice and that you did the right thing. Also, you may even want to know the person who did you wrong. You may even become close friends at the end of the day.

An example from my life would be with one of my best friends, Christina. We were both in 5th grade and we were not close at all. One day, I found that the snack I had from the day was missing from my bag. I remember that I saw Christina taking something that looked familiar to my snack, and I went at the end of the day and talked to her about it. She said that she hadn’t taken it and that I was wrong. I decided not to pursue it further and went home.

The next day, Christina came over to me and said that she did take my snack and that she was sorry. I had a choice to either not forgive her and harbor bad feelings against her (justice), or to accept her apology and forgive her (grace). I immediately chose to forgive her and show grace. She was surprised that I would choose to forgive her this easily and we became friends. To this day, we are inseparable from each other and have never fought since.

That was my experience with the choice of justice or grace, and there are many more examples strewn across my life. But what about you? What do you think of justice and grace? Which do you think should be more important and why? Think about that.

-Kinya

Relationships with Books

“A good book deserves an active reading. The activity of reading does not stop with the work of understanding what a book says. It must be completed by the work of criticism, the work of judging.”
Author: Mortimer J. Adler

Dear reader,

Books can be read several different ways, depending on the purpose of the reader. Some can be read for fun, some can be read for answering questions, and others can be read for understanding and wrestling with the text. It is important to know where one’s relationship with a book is so one can be able to determine how to grow and get more out of the book other than just a story.

If one reads a book that really challenging and intriguing, but doesn’t put that much thought into what the author is saying or how it is being said, a book will be read only for the sake of the storyline instead of the underlying purposes of what the author was trying to imply. However, if the underlying purposes of the author is noticed by the reader, questions will start to form in the reader’s mind that show active participation in trying to see what the author is trying to imply in the text. Then the reader may ask questions about why the author tried using particular methods or word choices.

It may not be easy to analyze a book, but it also depends on how the books are treated once they are bought. If the book is brand new and remains unmarked when it is being read, there may not be any active reading involved. However, if a book is bought and there are marks all over the book, notes inside the pages, and observations and questions by the reader, that shows that the reader has analyzed the book and is trying to get a better understanding of the concepts involved.

I have admittedly not been the most active reader, and I am trying to improve as much as I can. My hope is that I will become a reader who can be able to analyze and annotate a book and see the ideas presented behind the text. I would like to ask you a question, dear reader. How do you view relationships with books and what could you gain from that viewpoint?

-Kinya

Communication Methods

Dear reader,

There are many ways to communicate in the modern world. There’s social media, yearly forums, conference calls, etc. However, two of the most used methods of communication are images and writing. Images and writing both have different ways to communicate aspects of the world we live in or what is around us. The question is, which is more effective in communication?

When someone says that a picture is worth a thousand words, I start to wonder if that is really the case. Could one picture truly say what a thousand words could? I disagree with that statement and say that writing is a more effective method of communication. With writing, you are able to tell the same story from a different angle. Even though you can do the same with images, they can sometimes be misleading and not tell the whole story. Writing allows someone to tell the same story in depth and with sufficient detail.

Let’s say there was a terrible accident on a highway. After the incident is reported, the police come take photos and witness statements around the scene of the accident and then leave to file a report. The report then comes out describing the case, including photos of the scene and the witness statements about the accident. Now, imagine the police report without the witness statements and just the photos were in the file. You wouldn’t be able to clearly discern what happened in the case. All that you would know is that there was an accident. There would be many missing pieces such as who saw the accident and the condition of the person who was injured.

Writing is able to fill in details that photos alone would not be able to produce. That’s why writing is still used in many professions to this day. But what do you think? Which method of communication is best for you?

-Kinya

Advice from an Advertisement

ap-lang-ad

Advertisements can be utilized for many purposes. They can sell products, show off a certain type of makeup, tempt you into buying a certain product. But they can also send a stark message and warning.

This advertisement speaks to the dangers of drinking and driving in the context of human desire. Those who text and drive who haven’t gotten into an accident yet may not have realized the dangers of what they were doing and what the possible consequences of their actions are. The image is supposed to portray the fact that having an accident while texting and driving could happen to anyone. Why I say that is because the image has the eyes and mouth of the person blacked out so that the viewer of this advertisement can imagine themselves in the position of the person who has been killed in the accident and hopefully remind if not inform them of the serious problems that could result from an accident caused by texting and driving. It also speaks to the fact that the accident can happen quickly without much warning due to the fact that the text is in shorthand form instead of normal writing form.

This kind of advertisement does matter because of stark and serious warning it sends to those who text and drive. People may often text and drive and may not have gotten into accidents. It may be pure luck that that has not happened yet. But there may be a day when the individual gets into an accident and ends up like the person on this image. Advertisements of this nature can sometimes be hard to look at, but they are an effective way to warn people of the dangers that can result from their actions as well as how to avoid the kind of situation portrayed in the ad.

-Kinya