Drunk with it all

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I pick it up

It looks innocent enough

I swallow it in less then a day

It’s so gripping I cannot stop

I cannot help myself

I continue with another one

I continue until I’m drunk with it

With the cover, the binding, the pages, the scents, the stories

I drink the stories in

And when dread overwhelms my heart

I reach for another

Obsession of the best kind

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The book

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Musky and dusty with history

The smell is heaven

Thick and strong binding with glossy pages

The blue faded now, worn with use

Rich with deep mystery

Until I discover truth

Heavy in my hands

Light against my heart

Turning Pages

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Stacks and stacks of fantastic books

Are laying everywhere you look

I simply cannot get enough

Choosing which one to read is tough

Books take me by the hand

Transport me to a magical land

It’s all in the book in joy and in rage

I cannot stop reading

I must turn the page

All types of books pour out of my room

They spill all over the house and they make my mind bloom

Bloom with thoughts and ideas

With emotion and feeling

Sometimes the books send me reeling

But no matter what

No ands, ifs, or buts,

As soon as I have time and I’m prepared

I cannot wait to touch the pages

To be taken to a place

Where there’s a look of awe upon my face

Where I’m From (according to my 18 year old self)

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I’m from corduroy jackets and denim jeans.
Running water and yellow Gatorade.
Sometimes when it rains for the window panes never lie,
I’m from wet sidewalks and damp fur.
If Scrabble is out and music pulses through my heart,
Then you know that’s where I’m from.

On occasion, if thunder and lightening lurk near,
The warm covers of my bed
Along with an old movie are where I’m from.
Warm pizza and Coca-Cola,
As well as silent laughter of a close friend are where I’m from.
When you can fall asleep to the cites
Of a fantasy land with a glass castle-
That is me.

I’m from oil paintings of mysterious night skies-
The kind of creases that fascinate my fingers.
The love and joy that I possess flows every so slowly
Onto the canvas before I am even awake.
When the lighthouse I’ve portrayed jumps off the page,
That’s where I’m from.

Every so often Harry Potter casts a spell on my world,
And nothing precious to me can be taken away.
My senses celebrate the magic I nourish them with,
For although they cannot tell a soul, they keep my treasures safe.

I’m from scraped knees and bruised shoulders.
One kiss and it is all better.
Where I’m from, long walks on the beach
Make for pleasant conversation.
“Mine the darkness and see the path you leave behind.”
Sometimes there is darkness in the distant trees,
But when the night sky is shimmering with shooting stars,
That’s where I’m from.

The place where I often dwell is in the front yard with all my flowers.
My lungs praise the October air, and the leaves delight my vision.
Sparkling bubbles from the fountain drizzle onto my body-
That’s where I’m where.

The “Jewels” of Judgment: Reading Lolita in Tehran

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In the midst of daily talks about terror threats in our everyday lives, comes a story about an Iranian woman, Dr. Azar Nafisi, who is the heart of the story Reading Lolita in Tehran. Through an informal, sarcastic tone maintained throughout this book, a series of accounts from her troubled life in the Islamic republic frequently boil to the surface. Although politics is something that Dr. Azar Nafisi herself acknowledged as corrupt, she never seemed prepared for the utter and immediate toll it took upon her friends and people she knew such as her father, who was persecuted under the vindictive regime. Despite refusing to wear the veil that caused her to lose her job, she came in greater contact with her emotions. Using these new unexpected passions Dr. Azar Nafisi formed a secret group of students who were bound together through their vigorous studies of fiction.
In the exuberance of the novel, two types of characters emerge. The characters are those within the book and those fictional characters within the novels. The personalities are as diverse as the four seasons. Nima, Nassrin, Manna, Mahsid, Yassi, Azin, Mitra, and Sanaz are to me like the members of a secret “breakfast club”. They do not meet for breakfast per say but their explosive personalities and comments and well as their beliefs about the regime forever change their teacher (Dr. Azar Nafisi) and themselves. Sanaz has a need for approval. Nima, the sole male, wanting very much to get into the club displays a new way of male behavior. Yassi confesses that an uncle molested her, however Nima seems to be of a different generation; one which respects women. Mahsid does not make it to the end. Each girl had something to bring to their meetings. An experience, a comment, a vision that the others used to get through these hard times.
However it is not their individual personalities but common struggles that unite them as one. Some were jailed for bogus charges like make-up on, running, and some talked of being reprimanded for “eating their apples too seductively”. This novel is another demonstration of the way in which women are oppressed through out history even in the 1980’s and 90’s. Using Lolita, The Great Gatsby, and Jane Austen novels Nafisi teaches the students of Western heroines and how their oppression relates to that of Islamic women. For example the antagonist Humbert brainwashes, kidnaps, and manipulates Lolita to satiate his sick fantasies. This is something that makes the book particularly amazing; that she makes these meetings with her students and the degree that she can relate literature of the Western world to her own world. Gatsby is someone in love with a girl he will always love, but one he can never have. Myrtle the adulterous one is a character questioned in the book. In Pride and Prejudice discussions, it would seem some girls dream to fall in love. For exposing these truths Nafisi should be praised. She is an amazing, eclectic individual who should be celebrated for her stubborn resolve to not allow the government who she is.
Nafisi also has the awful facts that surround her daily life. Daily reminders like bombs in the night. She recalls things, like her mother always being disappointed with her behavior, for Azin recognizes that she never lived up to her mother’s plans. Also, her father was the mayor and he was assassinated. Through her frightening experiences relating to the law (the bombings and constant raids in her daily life), she shares not only a knowledge of facts from being an honored professor, but a solid character of what fiction can be identified with. Her strong beliefs she instilled within her and her comrades evoked this idea of neglecting the grave side of society and focusing on the magnificent parts of life: “… life could be transformed into a jewel through the magic eye of fiction” (Nafisi 3). People in Iran were taught to resent Western culture yet she did not. Nafisi is actually like many of her heroines, courageous beyond belief. Gatsby and Lolita are two quite different perspectives which Nafisi presents in a light of hope. Although in fiction both Gatsby and Lolita suffer unimaginable sorrow, in reality Azar evolves a candle of hope that does not vanish because of obstacles; in fact she becomes more resolute.
If not hope, then an understanding of suffering and unspoken empathy is what Nafisi attempts to project out into the world. Although her “magician” hid in the world, she did not. Sure, she hid in her apartment flat with her students but they were open with one another and shared deep reflections about the troubles they, as women felt and addressed to the professor which bound them closer. By having this almost secret society she grasps the true meanings of fiction. Occasionally, Nafisi diverts many of the problems surrounding the regime into a question of identity; she preached at first unintentionally the more profound ideas that would not soon be forgotten by any of her fellow students. Soon, they all found that they shared the same thoughts about woman’s declining role in society and it sickened them. Setting the stage for many of them would be an event much later in the memoir that left a lasting impression – the author’s moving to America.
Nafisi talks of the enormous changes, of all the things she left in Iran: the danger, the men pursuing her and mostly importantly the veil, which once represented devotion, but now a represented entrapment. She was like the Rosa Lee Parks of Iran saying, No I will not wear the veil. It is what got her fired, but also into that secret class and discovering a life that she had to smuggle. She had to smuggle happiness and her move to the states was a decision that made it seem as though she were abandoning her students.
Betrayal and dismay are two key feelings that many of her students voiced, but mentally Nafisi could not force herself to stay in this unstable lifestyle. Her thorough studies of fiction have led her to discover how beautiful life can be if you only give it a chance. This “chance” simply could not be accomplished if she stayed in a place that did not free her spiritually. As someone who cherished and loved fiction as much as she does, the coming to America was a closure that she recognized would not erase the painful memories she had to bear. The fact that she would no longer allow herself to become immersed in them was something incredible to undertake, something many people today can take with them. Learning of her story can inspire a hope in even the most desperate situations to climb out of your hole of apprehension into exuberance!
This book is truly a gem that sparkles in the night. The brilliant combination of fiction overlapping reality and the compelling stories of the oppression of women really make one think. Our author, a brilliant wonderful teacher annexed from the University of Tehran for not agreeing to wear the veil was a landmark event. It withstands the sands of time and is truly a testimonial to someone who looks fear in the eyes and said, no I am not allowing myself to be the government’s puppet. So to sum it all up, Nafisi never quite lived up to her mother’s expectations; she towered over them. It is fantastic to say that she was brilliant. However it is the girls she taught in secret whose resilience left the reader in shock. For the Middle East and Iran are worlds foreign to us. We, the spoiled, they the suffering, something this book outlines quite well. This book encompasses detail and memories and draws them into a one of a kind story.

Ode to my English Class: Enormous Wings and Things to Carry

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Ode to Gadies and Lettermen
To sitting across from a complete stranger on August 26th
And reading “Hills like White Elephants”
Ode to Nicole the page princess
Ode to Liz Marie the 1st spiritual leader, blunt and fierce
To the chalkboard and that darn desk that is always loose
To the window that displays only a moment in time
Ode to Civil Peace, Building fires, and Sweat
Ode to living out a Saturday night live skit
For drinking water, coffee, or chocolate milk
And listening to Nick’s wise insight about a story
Or simple pride to say he man handles things
Ode to Ben for declaring a boy becomes a man at age 13
Ode to McKenzie for her insight during The Guest,
Choosing structure over freedom
Ode to Spencer for history lessons and beer critiques
To greasy lakes and Open Boats
Ode to Patrick’s memorable quote about what the blind actually see
To Paul’s open-mindedness – thank you for truly diving into the stories
And seeing so many details, giving us so much to think about
Ode to Scriveners, yellow wallpaper, red convertibles and rocking horses
Ode to Liz for being so peaceful, calm amongst the storm
To Megan for having her i-pod and head on straight, sitting in the back, a buffer
To Brian’s skepticism and humor and baseball caps
Ode to Vlad’s indifference and Antonio’s ability to answer
Questions on the flip of a dime when all seems lost
To Nell, my lucky ninja for sharing her frustration of violent video games
During the things we carried discussion
We all sat there quietly, I tried to imagine it but I just lost myself in realizing
We are not as desensitized as we may think
I foolishly went on and on talking like I had some right others didn’t
I apologize for my loudness and my annoying at times presence.
My many tangents
I apologize for calling foul and pounding on the table like the child
In The use of Force
Ode to Bill for reading
And always being able to say from beginning to end what happened
Ode to Mielas for pointing out the great depression and discussing Native Americans
Ode to chrysanthemums, happy endings, greasy lakes, cathedrals, and the guest
To Desiree’s baby and the newborn thrown…
Ode to Megan’s Solace on the side
Ode to Elly’s grace, glasses, giggle and spot on analysis
This is my Ode to Professor Davros for listening to what ever we
Had to say and for taking jokes with a gram of salt
For coming to class and getting a migraine no doubt
But for absorbing all of our babble into something that makes sense
We sit transfixed, bedazzled.
Some loud, some quiet
Some laughing some texting
Some tired, others pumped for discussions
Ode to Occurrences at Bridges, Necklaces, and Real Things
We came as ordinary people and learned where we are
And where we have been
Leaving my desk and chair I emerge towards the door, and stand realizing
“I prefer not to.”

Where I’m From (throwback Thursday)

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I’m from corduroy jackets and denim jeans.

Running water and yellow Gatorade.

Sometimes when it rains for the window panes never lie,

I’m from wet sidewalks and damp fur.

If Scrabble is out and music pulses through my heart,

Then you know that’s where I’m from.

 

On occasion, if thunder and lightening lurk near,

The warm covers of my bed

Along with an old movie are where I’m from.

Warm pizza and Pepsi-Cola,

As well as silent laughter of a close friend are where I’m from.

When you can fall asleep to the cites

Of a fantasy land with a glass castle-

That is me.

 

I’m from oil paintings of mysterious night skies-

The kind of creases that fascinate my fingers.

The love and joy that I possess flows every so slowly

Onto the canvas before I am even awake.

When the lighthouse I’ve portrayed jumps off the page,

That’s where I’m from.

 

Every so often Harry Potter casts a spell on my world,

And nothing precious to me can be taken away.

My senses celebrate the magic I nourish them with,

For although they cannot tell a soul, they keep my treasures safe.

 

I’m from scraped knees and bruised shoulders.

One kiss and it is all better.

Where I’m from, long walks on the beach

Make for pleasant conversation.

“Mine the darkness and see the path you leave behind.”

Sometimes there is darkness in the distant trees,

But when the night sky is shimmering with shooting stars,

That’s where I’m from.

 

The place where I often dwell is in the front yard with all my flowers.

My lungs praise the October air, and the leaves delight my vision.

Sparkling bubbles from the fountain drizzle onto my body-

That’s where I’m where.