Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Week 5: Halloween; digging a little deeper.

The time of year has come around again, Halloween is rapidly approaching. Stores are flooded with consumers looking for fake spider webbing, jack-o-lanterns, corn husks, scarecrows, plastic tombstones, gobs of candy and the all-time best seller for Halloween, costumes. This week in writing club we discussed this holiday in great detail and researched the traditions not only here in America, but also in Ireland (the original country to celebrate Halloween) and Mexico (El Dia de los Muertos).

We first learned that Halloween was carried to America via Irish Immigrants during Irelands Great Famine of the 1840's. It has roots in the Celtic Festival of Samhain and the Christian holy day of All Saints' Day. Samhain celebrates the end of harvest season in the Gaelic culture. Ancient Celts associated the dead (buried under ground) with the crops and harvest. So a tradition was born to hold bonfires into which slaughtered livestock were thrown. The only reason costumes were worn was to disguise mortal beings from evil spirits during this celebration. Most of these disguises were ghosts, zombies, witches and other relevant evil-spirited phenomena that could make an appearance during the celebrations.

A far cry from our American take on Halloween, and furthermore, costumes. The National Retail Federation in the United States found that American consumers spent nearly $5 billion on costumes in 2006. I have a feeling that the Ancient Celts would be greatly displeased with a Britney Spears School Girl wanna-be dancing around their bonfire. We, as a group, discussed the overindulgence in the 'ostentatiousness' (putting it very nicely) of female costumes in America. It could be argued that the traditions of Halloween are a bit lost on our generation. So the Writing Club is digging a little deeper and writing essays on the traditions of Halloween in other cultures. Stay tuned to see what we come up with!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Week 4: Featured Writer!

Writing Club veteran and excellent student, Charles Hill, wrote a song in his spare time over the last week. He was generous enough to share this incredible piece of work with us and now you.

Song Title: Pain

Anyone can do what I have done
It isn't very hard
To take the things I have won
And set it all ablaze

It takes my pain away!
It's all a lie
Nothing is important now
Cause all I do is quit

I keep on trying to make a smile
But I keep on frowning
It isn't something I can't feel
But it's all I cannot kill

It' takes my pain away!
I can't let you follow me (follow me)
I can't let you follow me (follow me)
I can't let you follow me (follow me)
It takes my pain away

It's all a lie
A double sided knife
It takes my pain away!
Stop and try
All you do is quit on me

It takes my pain
It takes my pain
It takes my pain away!!!

-Written by Charles Hill

Charles, I always look forward to what you'll do next! You are truly a gifted writer with an insight and perspective that surpasses you in age, but not wisdom or experience. It is quite remarkable. We are going to set some wheels in motion to make sure we can help develop your talents to the best of our ability. In the meantime, keep the creative juices flowing and excellent job on the song!

Week 3: Theme Boards Complete!

We spent week three wrapping up our Cabrini Connections theme boards. This collage style project was hands-on from everybody in our group; even a few non-members pitched in and contributed some ideas! Some of the clippings, art and text include:

HOPE: Wish, Kanye West, "Live Happily Together Through Life", Barack Obama 'and the Triumph of Hope', "Get out there. Drink deep from the road. Eat life raw."....

BUILD: A picture of an Ancient Chinese Tower, "Every little step.", "By age 25 you might acquire more than you ever thought", OBAMA, "I have this fantasy of my older days, painting, sculpting, a bike trip to Chile." "Find your way!"

BELIEVE: "Unlock the wonders...", A picture of Taylor Swift with her guitar, "Do not be the Class Clowns.", A vibrant young salsa dancer, A Bride, Portraits of 8 Presidents of the United States of America.

ACHIEVE: "The thrill of choosing which way to go.", A picture of Lil Wayne showing his triumphant excitement over his record being named the biggest record of the year. President Obama (A popular figure to our theme boards...) Beyonce.

Great job everyone! A special thanks to Cazimir Ozuruigbo and Donald Stewart for participating in Writing Club this week, we hope to see you all next week.