Tuesday, February 28, 2006

10 Sources
Annotated Bibliography

“A trial and other controversies.” The Presbyterian Church (USA) and Homosexuality. 2004. Religious Tolerance. 20 Feb. 2006 <http://www.religioustorlance.org/hom_pru14.htm>.

This article gives a number of examples of homosexuals dealing with the issue of their sexuality in the Presbyterian Church. Some of these stories are just from members of the church, others are from ministers and others are from people who held positions as elders. The article explores the unequal treatment they face from their sexual orientation.

Ashbaugh, Jennifer. “Homosexuality in the Presbyterian Church.” The Collegian Online. 2 Feb. 2002 <http://www.utusla.edu/COLLEGIAN/article.asp?article=1040>.

This article focuses on homosexuals being ordained in the Presbyterian Church. It also looks at older Presbyterian Churches where homosexuality is an issue, it is said that the average age in a Presbyterian Church is about 60 years old, which definitely reflects my church. The article releases the amendment to the ordination of homosexuals, saying it should be based on the individual Presbytery. It also suggest that the Presbytery is “escaping from its previous morals,” and that is the real issue at hand, not homosexuality.

Bailey, Derrick Sherwin. Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition. London: Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd., 1975.

This book focuses on the homosexual’s interpretation of the Sodom sin. It further reviews the texts in the Bible, focusing on the Old Testament. It also analyses why tradition can no longer be used as the most competent guide for theologians.

Bates, Stephen. A Church At War Anglicans and Homosexuality. New York: I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd, 2004.

This book provides an in-depth look at the Bible and the verses having referencing homosexuality. It gives varying analysis of each of the verses from different scholars. Also included in this text are reasoning’s why homosexuals are attracted to ordination.

Corvino, John, ed. Same Sex: Debating the Ethics, Science and Culture of Homosexuality. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1997.

This book also provides an in-depth look at the Bible and the verses referencing homosexuality, though it is more update in its analyses than several other references. It also explores Roman and Biblical sexuality in general and how it could be interpreted. Perhaps more useful is Robert Knight’s chapter on gay marriage threatening the family.

Hartman, Keith. Congregations in Conflict: The Battle over Homosexuality. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1996

This book states that homosexuality is the biggest issue in the church to date. Hartman cites numerous churches that have dealt with such issues and further explores how the issues were handled and includes the outcome.

“Homosexuality.” Presbyterian 101. 2005. PC(USA). 20 Feb. 2006 <http://www.pcusa.org/101/101-homosexual.htm>.

This source is straight from the Presbyterian Church of the United States, it gives the Church’s stance on the social issues of homosexuality. It also includes overviews of several meetings that the Presbyterian General Assembly has convened over the issue. Furthermore it includes the Presbytery’s opinion on gay marriage and later looks at the issue of ordination in the Presbyterian Church.

Riggle, Ellen D., PhD, and Alan L. Ellis, PhD. “Political Tolerance of Homosexuals: The Role of Group Attitudes and Legal Principles.” Journal of Homosexuality 26.4 (1994) : 135-147.

Their study shows that some attitudes are cognitively based and some are primarily affectively based. Congitively attitudes are based on thoughts and beliefs and others are based on feelings and emotions. In today’s society homosexuals are not considered a political group.

Scanzoni, Letha, and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott. Is The Homosexual My Neighbor? New York: Harper & Row, 1978.

This book explores those who are affected by homosexuality by giving examples of people’s experiences, family and friends of homosexuals. It also discusses the homosexual Christian, their contributions to the church and society. Also provided is an overview of the debate regarding homosexuality in the Church and why Christians find homosexuality hard to deal with.

Sullivan, Andrew, ed. Same-Sex Marriage Pro and Con a Reader. New York: Vintage Books, 1997.

Sullivan provides a collection of information from many different backgrounds, including thoughts and beliefs on homosexuality from the Jewish religion. Also provided are the pro’s and con’s to gay marriage as well as a statement from a Catholic Bishop. The controversy of why homosexuality should not be demonstrated in front of children is contested with interviews from children who have been raised in homosexual homes. The children deliver the message that they are glad they were raised in that environment.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Style Lesson Two:

The lesson that is addressed in the second chapter focuses on correctness. A number of classic grammar lessons are reviewed from the time one was in elementary school up to a high school grammar lesson. Williams wants the reader to know that one is not expected to remember and practice every grammatical rule that they have ever been taught. He urges the reader from doing so because it interrupts the clarity and the natural flow of writing.

Williams then goes on to discuss the three kinds of rules pertaining to writing and grammar. There are “Real Rules,” “the rules of Standard English,” and “Folklore,” which is focused on the most in this lesson. All the rules combined can be broken down into two groups, Folklore and Elegant Options. When a write does not obey the rules of Folklore the reader does not really notice, however when they break the rules of Elegant Options most readers really notice. He also feels that it is important for all writers to remember that all grammarians don’t use all their own rules, so we must not fear, the rules cannot get the best of us.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Prewriting to Organize Ideas:
Creative Prewriting Exercise

Reflections from the Bible:
-Bible verses

-Methodists Church members
-Members of the Jewish faith
-Presbyterian Church members
-Catholic/ Episcopalian Church members

What draws homosexuals to the Church?:
-Homosexual Christians
-Homosexual’s contribution to civilization
-Contemporary Homosexuals in the Church

-Anti- Gay Marriage
-Messages from children who grew up in homosexual homes
-Gay Marriage threatening family

The debate in the church:
-Specific examples in different churches with homosexual issues
-Statement from the Catholic Bishop
-Why Christians have difficultly accepting homosexuality
-General debate in church

A rough idea of questions I plan to ask those whom I interview:
Do you personally have a problem worship among homosexuals? Has your place of worship dealt with any issues involving homosexuals? If so, how was it handled, what was the outcome? Do you believe that homosexuals can be Christians? How do you think God perceives homosexuals? Do you feel that homosexual is an unforgivable sin? Do you feel as though homosexual couples adopting children is infringing on “the family”?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Reflecting on research found on homosexual couples adopting:

Many argue that gay and lesbian couples should not be allowed to adopt children, and that their children would be at risk of greater disadvantages than those children adopted by heterosexual couples. First and for most, there is no evidence that gays and lesbians are inadequate parents. The home environment is equally determined to be supporting the child’s development, just like that of a heterosexual parent household. Being a good parent is being able to provide a loving and nurturing home for children and one’s sexual orientation has nothing to do with the parent’s ability to provide that. If anything, children who are raised by gay or lesbian couples are more likely to be open to diversity than those children who are raised by heterosexual couples.

Some believe that children should only reside in a home with a mother and a father. The truth in this belief is that there are not that many heterosexual couples that are interested in adopting children. The children who are up for adoption often do not have a mother and/or a father in situation that they are in anyway. They simply want a home to call their own with parents, no matter who they are, that will provide them with unconditional love and support.

Another argument is that children need a mother and a father role model. Many children today do not have the mother and father role model, because over half of American families today are divorced, other children just have an absent parent, where others a parent may be deceased. In addition a mother and father are not a child’s only role models; they look to teachers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and neighbors.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Prewriting to Generate Ideas- Journaling

After doing a great deal of research I have found that I have collected many opinion of why homosexuality is such a prominent issue in the Church in general, not just my Presbyterian Church. I have found many texts that are particularly interesting such as the view that the Jewish religion has on the issue as well as why grown children are glad that they were raised in a homosexual home. I have gathered some interesting arguments for why homosexuality should not be practiced in front of children, however a great deal of research has been conducted and of course there is not a negative relationship between the welfare of the children having homosexual parents.
Perhaps the text that I found most interesting was that of Keith Hartman, Congregations in Conflict: The Battle Over Homosexuality. Hartman discusses different issues regarding homosexuality in different churches from differing denominations. The stories also discuss how the issue was handled and the outcome of it all. In the preface to his book I found it surprising that Hartman included that, “Homosexuality is the most divisive element facing the Church today” (x).
Another text highlighted the story of a homosexual Presbyterian Elder from New York City. It is his belief that, “If the church is to fully do its job of reconciliation among people and between the human family and God, it must support gay people by helping them accept their sexuality and to express it lovingly. Needless to say, the church cannot do this without full acceptance of gay people themselves as healthy and complete persons” (40). My interpretation of this quote is that it is his appeal to the people of the Presbyterian Church to please play their role and accept and embrace people’s differences, and by doing that it will in turn help them accept it as well.
I do find it very interesting that Christians opposed to homosexuals in the Church and Christian homosexuals both justify their means by using examples of scripture. While researching I found the three main reasons why Christians and the public in general find homosexuality so difficult to think of and discuss. They include: social and psychological reasons, religious reasons, and informational reasons.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Part II:
The Baccae

I think it is particularly interesting that the playwright highlights such a theme. Many people’s greatest flaw is a lack of balance in their character. If people would stay consciously aware of living a balanced life, taking things seriously and light heartedly when necessary people would live much more happy and fulfilled lives. The structure of the play does not serve this theme as well as it could in my opinion. It is too late to fully benefit from finding the balance of the two extremes for both the men, especially for Pentheus whose life is taken.
It is my opinion that the production did not clearly reveal the theme of personal balance. For many, it was not until after we discussed the performance in class, did they really understand the themes and meanings of the play. The only clear theme in the play was to never under estimate the power of the Gods. This theme was clearly revealed to audience because of the special effects to portray an earthquake. The vines fell over the palace and the overhead lighting flickered different colors to symbolize lighting as well as the loud noises to resemble violent thunder and rattling.
There were many elements that supported and did not support the meaning of the production. The acting was very good for the most part; these amateurs were well practiced and completed their lines flawlessly. There were several of the bacchant women who could have been better directed, it was very evident that they were lost in their lines and in their stage positioning, which brought unneeded attention to the cast being unprepared. At the beginning of the production, the director could have had someone give a short synopsis of what was to come which would have prevented confusion among the audience. Another suggestion I would make to the director would be to break up the large amount lines an actor has at one time, it tends to become overwhelming for the audience therefore it is hard for them to follow what is being said.
The scenery and props perhaps added the most to the play. The scenery looked very authentic, suggesting what the Palace in Thebes would have looked like in that era. The bridge decorated so naturally with ivy and leaves softened the hard stoic appearance of the rest of the setting. The smoldering grave of Dionysus’s mother was particularly effective with the use of the insense. The lighting was skillfully done and well produced. The lighting was always incredibly appropriate for the moment in the play; it was also very effective during the earthquake. Perhaps the use of sound was not taken advantage of as much as it could have been. The sound during the earthquake was very effective, yet the background mocking of the messenger was a little over done, however the hissing of the bacchant women under the bridge made them sound even more natural and animalistic.
Furthermore, the costumes were amazing they were the incredibly effective and very appropriate of the time, though the King and Cadmus’ costumes looked as though they were from an episode of Star Wars. The bacchant women’s costumes were the most effective. The women looked very natural and kept it very simple; the wavy hair and the Greek Goddess looking sandals I thought were clever touches. The makeup around their eyes added to their successful attempt at achieving a natural look, women of the mountains. They did a great job smearing red paint on their faces to make it look like they had just feasted upon Dionysus’ body. The women were very touchy feely, their body movements were seductive which made it appear as though they were under some kind of powerful influence.
I have very mixed feelings about the performance of The Bacchae. Though I am also an amateur theatre and especially critiquing it, I thought it could have been better directed. The biggest success of the production was the casting for Dionysus, Cadmus, Agave, and for most of the bacchant women. I felt as though Pentheus could have had a stronger actor, one who appealed to the audience more and who showed more emotion. It seemed as though he was just focused on spitting out his lines rather than making some sort of contact with the audience. The strengths of the play were definitely in the scenery, props, and costumes, for they are what really made the play a success.
I definitely was not moved by this production, perhaps this is because I was lost a good amount of the time and was trying to figure out the meaning and themes. Since I was so sidetracked throughout the play I believe that is why I was not able to pay enough attention to be moved. I was especially surprised when it was revealed that the bacchant women and Agave feasted on King Pentheus’ body. The play really did cause me to think, probably because I was so lost I was trying to analyze every aspect of the play trying to find the themes and meanings behind it. As a result of my frustrations I was unable to thoroughly enjoy the play and was just anticipating the end. The production itself was very original and the director should be given credit for her originality.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

theatre paper part 1:

Review of The Bacchae

The Greek tradgey The Bacchae debuted last Wednesday at Randolph Macon College’s Cobb Theatre. Bacchae was directed and produced by the students of Randolph Macon College. Amber Chidal, an R-MC senior, directed the production. The title of the play ties into the central meaning of the play, which is that the Bacchae are the women who are taken over and in some way constantly control the fate of the story.
The production was a typical Greek play, with an introduction from Dionysus, the god of the equivalent to sex, drugs, and rock-n roll, in the Place of Thebes. Dionysus came to Thebes as a result of people not agreeing with his beliefs. Since Thebes had chosen not to worship him, he took the women to Mt. Kathyron, these women are the Bacchae. Dionysus wished to punish the Cadmus’ family, but first he has a run in with the King, Pentheus. Dionysus only enters Thebes disguised as a female Bacchant, with ringlets of blonde hair. It is not long before he is discovered a lectured by Pentheus, who claims that he, should live by the books just as he. While Dionysus is jailed an earthquake rocks Thebes and he escapes.
After Dionysus’ grand escape he convinces the King to dress as a woman and run to the mountain to see what it is that these Bacchae women rituals are all about. Once the King has situated himself in the tree the women realize he is man, they kill him, thinking that he is a lion as a result of them being under the influence of the Gods. Later he King’s mother, Agave, is told by her father, Cadmus, that she took part in killing her own son under the spell of Dionysus. As punishment, the two were sent away from Thebes forever.
There are many themes running throughout this production, many with differing meanings. One in particular focuses on the battle between Dionysus and Pentheus is that of two extremes. One extreme is Dionysus, the careless one who just wants to party hard and have a good time. The other extreme is Pentheus, who is very much the conservative one. He tends to lead the straight and narrow life; the two do not mix and collide. Finding the middle ground of both extremes is essential to the balance which everyone needs in life.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Theatre Journal 5, 2/21/05:

Theatre is a business, it functions just as any business does, and it relies on organization. There are four types of theatre organizations: Commercial, Nonprofit, Nonprofessional, and Educational. Each type of organization runs as business, they pay their bills, buy supplies as well as paying for the rights to the scripts which they perform.

Commercial theatre exists solely to makes money, an example of this is Broadway. Almost every show on Broadway is there so the organization that produces it can make a profit. Since Broadway is simple an area in New York where the streets are lined with theatres of varying sizes, a production company rents the theatre to perform a show. Disney now produces on Broadway. Touring productions are also Commercial; they typically stay for one week in each location. In this case a production company puts a show up for rent; it is then rented by a presenter who hopes to make a dime off the show.

Nonprofit organizations exist not to profit from showing of a production. They simply hope to be a successful business and any money that they make can in turn be put back into theatre. They tend to view their business as a public service. There are two types of Nonprofit theatres. One type is, LORT, League of Resident Theatres, they are a professional theatre. There are about 250 of these theatres around the country and as an organization they make contracts with all the unions to bring help to their theatre. Some actors are paid what may be a living wage where others are not as fortunate. This particular type of theatre has a reputation for being the cream of the crop. The second type of Nonprofit theatre is referred to as, SPT, Small Professional Theatre. These type of theatre is loosely bonded together, yet they still make agreements with unions to employee needed people and everyone is paid. There are hundreds of this type of theatre across the country. Both of these types of theatres can afford to be a little more edgy because they do not intend to make a profit. Their ticket sales only make up for about 40% of their cost the rest comes from advertisements as well as public and corporate donations which are used as tax write offs.

In Nonprofessional theatre organizations the actors do not get paid. These types of theatres are found in communities simply for the reaction of those who enjoy participating in theatre. The reason they are involved is primarily because they do it for themselves. The organizations are funded off the dues that those who participate pay, so realistically they are paying to do theatre. Those who attend Nonprofessional productions are usually members of the community as well; they come to support the organization. Like Nonprofit theatre, any money that is made is put back into the organization to create more productions.

The last type of theatre organization is Educational, which exists to train people to be involved in theatre. It not only trains actors to be actors but it also trains audiences to be good audiences. An example of this is Randolph Macon’s Cobb Theatre. The actors are never paid and no one makes money off the production.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Theatre Journal 2/20/05:

One of the most interesting types of theatres is an Arena Theatre. This particular setup is perhaps the most intimate setting for theatre. The arrangement came about after many performers experimented with different seating for their audiences; finally they created such an arrangement near the time of the twentieth century. At the time of its creation it was known as the “theatre-in-the-round”. However one should be reminded that the Area Theatre does not have to be round, it can be square and oblong as well. An Arena Theatre can seat a very small amount of people to an audience of about 300. The three qualities which make this type of seating so inviting include: its nominal use of props, its intimacy of course and it’s inviting aesthetic distance.

By using minimal props, the production includes the audience to be a part of the experience. The actors are completely aware that inviting the audience to be a part of this is very important to making up for the lack of scenery. The intimacy in the Area productions leads to fabulous comedies. This intimacy is very important for the relationship between the actors and audience so that they may establish a great familiarity between them, leading to a great time had by both parties. The proper aesthetic distance shows its importance through the fact that it keeps a comfortable distance between the actors and audience. The audience certainly does not wish to be overwhelmed by the actors on stage. They still wish to maintain the distance of comfort by not having to strain their necks to enjoy the show. When using this seating it allows for the actors to be up-close and personal with the audience but not too much as they can smell the actor’s sweat, yet they can hear them perfectly.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Style Summary: Lesson 1

The first lesson in Style discusses that the most important aspect of a good writer is the ability to be a clear writer, and you can always improve. Williams emphasizes the importance of organization in writing. He believes that organization is essential to the reader being able to follow complex thoughts and ideas. He cautions not to be too wordy when trying to get your thoughts across to the reader.
There are many reasons for the unclear writings of today’s society. Some writers tend to freeze when under pressure, in a new setting or writing on new topics. Williams states that “the biggest reason we write unclearly is our ignorance of how others read our writing”. As the writer we know all the background information that many of the readers do not know, therefore it is much easier for the reader to be confused and for the writer to overlook the holes in the piece during the revision process. He believes that as writers we tend to be satisfied with a piece as soon as it meets our needs not the needs of the reader, whose needs are most important.
Though the writer needs to be concerned with the needs of the reader and writing clearly, they cannot be too concerned when the first sit down to write. The most important thing for a writer to do in drafting is just to get something down on the paper, that way they have something to work with. The writer is at a greater advantage when they are able to go back and rework their draft to make is as clear as they can. Essentially Williams says that it most important to write by the principles rather than writing by the rules.

My Blog for 2/18/05 since i was out of town....

J/ Choose the "controversy" you will be working with all semester. Write a one page, in-depth, detailed description of your controversy AND describe the characteristics of the community that you are examining your controversy as part of. This should be a community to which you belong.

A controversy which I would like to look closer into involves my church and their feelings toward homosexual couples and families joining our church. This issue does not involve all the members but certainly a number whom are very promenade and support our church financially. Many members of the church wish that homosexual families would not worship in our church. They do not appreciate the affection that the couples should while in church. Moreover those who feel as though homosexual and heterosexual couples should not worship together also don’t believe that they should publicly be recognized as a couple. I find this topic interesting because I would really like to know why people feel as though they need to segregate in this day and time and especially when coming together to worship. I would like to better understand why some people feel that homosexual couples should not be able to adopt and have their own families. I intend to examine other cases of segregation and I would also like to examine the whole realm of homosexual couples adopting children.

Friday, February 17, 2006

theatre journal #3:

There are also a few other elements to theatre that are more minor, yet still essential to the complete theatre experience. The Diction (Language) are the words themselves of the play, they are very important and have a very large bearing on a production. Everything is transmitted to the audience through the words and movement of the actors. An example, of the importance of language is that a bum would not sound proper and has a large vocabulary. If a bum does not sound like a bum then there is probably a good reason for that, it’s a way of foreshadowing that there is something more to the character. The language must also be clear so that the audience can get the play. There is also an importance in repetition of language; it shows the importance in what they are trying to get across to the audience. It is the audience’s responsibility to pay close attention to what is said but also to what is left unsaid. A sub-text is the meaning behind what one says, for example I love you, can have different meanings in different contexts. Playwrights use metaphors so that the audience can create an image in our minds; they are used to help differentiate between higher and lower classes of people. Furthermore, many playwrights write in prose and verse to determine characterization of characters, more high class people speak in verse and the lower class speak in prose. By speaking in verse it sets up particular rhythms which become very important.

Another element to theatre is what Aristotle calls spectacle, which is all the visual elements in the production. Visual things are relatively unimportant; however spectacle also includes the movement of actors in the space outlined. In ancient times, theatres scheduled their plays around the time of day, so that they were able to get the best natural lighting. The scenery during ancient times were usually permanent fixtures, they tended to be generic, nothing special. It was not until the early 20th century when it became a crucial part of theatre to have somewhat detailed props. Lighting was strictly functional as well before the 20th century. Today however the audience goes for the spectacle, we love to see the scenery, environment, and music

Thursday, February 16, 2006

theatre journal
two major elements of theatre:

The elements of theatre are more in depth then one may believe. Perhaps the two most in depth elements are that of Plot and Character. Plot is the reason everyone goes to the theatre, it is also what maps out the storyline. On part of the plot is referred to as Exposition, this is where the audience is told certain information so that they are aware of where the story is. It is the revealing of this that is what the play itself is all about. Another part is referred to as Complications, which is where some event happens to disrupt the status quo. It is also where the action of the play really begins, certainly a place for rising tension and rising action. Yet another element to the Plot is the Climax, the moment of greatest tension. Now is when a definitive action takes place. The Climax proves a point of the actions that were taken throughout the plot. Finally the Denouement, a French term, is the last element in the Plot. Denouement is considered the final moments of the return to a status quo. It often times comes from an outside source, the characters usually have very little to do with the solving of the complication. The length of time each of these parts is drawn out varies in time.

Another element of theatre is comprised of Characters, those who complete the actions that in turn create theatre. The audience learns about characters through their actions and diction. Characters are the prime components to it all; it is their actions and reactions that make theatre. The two main types of characters are Protagonist and Antagonist. Protagonists are the main characters, the central figures, which complete the main actions. They tend to capture the attention of the audience more so than any other type of character. Antagonists are the characters who oppose the Protagonist. They usually provide the conflict or illustrate the conflicts throughout the play. Another type of character is the Confidante; this is the character that both the protagonist and antagonist share their points of view through. The “Author Figure” is a character who speaks the author’s thoughts or morals and shares their point of view directly to the audience. They also give the audience the theme out loud. The Foil character is the contrasting character, who often heightens the authors point of view. Finally the Utility character exists for simple purposes, perhaps a jail guard or a messenger.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A con't from yesterday's blog, The Houses on Emily Street:

The next house one would see on Emily Street would be the Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon house. This house is colorfully decorated with shades of red and gold, the colors of the Children’s Miracle Network. Inside one would find an array of hot air balloons, their logo covering the walls. Those who reside in the house include some of the sick patients from the hospital and their parents/families, some doctors and nurses, and of course the volunteers who make it all possible. There is no particular characteristic of anyone who is involved in the organization or the house. Everyone comes from all different walks of life, with the common interest of helping ill children and their families. Anyone can join this community; there are not any monetary costs, just the time of the volunteers, however everyone and anyone can always donate monetary gifts to the cause. At CMN they are “…dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children by raising funds for 170 children’s hospitals”. A controversy that may arise in this organization is the fact that some the patient’s families could afford the extra benefits and advantages that they are given on their own and leaving it to those who really cannot afford it.

The last house you will find on Emily Street is the Randolph Macon Literary House. The Literary House is a little yellow house fill with tons of children’s books and six girls who organize the program. The purpose and goal of the Literary House is to promote literacy to the Randolph- Macon community as well as the Ashland community. As a group they hold a Yellow Jacket Book Club, which will meet twice a semester at our house to discuss the novel read, watch the film, and compare the two. Through the Yellow Jacket Book Club they encourage the RMC students to want to share their love of reading with younger children as a source of information and fun. The Lit House holds two book drives for the children of Ashland a year, one before Christmas and one before summer. During the book drives for children the whole campus gets involved, including the faulty, staff, clubs, sport teams and Greek Life. The Lit House and other volunteers further help the Ashland community by volunteering weekly in the elementary schools, such as Henry Clay and John Gandy as Reading Buddies. Our Reading Buddies are assigned to us by the Reading Recovery teachers at each school. We have partnered with the historical Washington Literary Society of Randolph Macon in hopes to strengthen it even more. The members have come together as a group, from different majors, and different backgrounds with the same goals in mind. We all believe that it is important for children to have access to owning their own collection of books starting at a young age. Exposure to books at early age is proven to create stronger readers. This theme is incorporated into the weekly routine of the house members and others by the volunteering that we do at the two elementary schools. The weekly routine of the house also consists of preparing and organizing the book drives, and other activities for the children of Ashland.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

J2/ Growing up, you belonged to several communities, but the most obvious one was probably the community that you lived in...your neighborhood. As a young adult, you are moving away from that community and entering others. Help your classmates and me visualize the communities that you belong to as the neighborhood where “You” currently reside. In other words, if “You” were neighborhood, comprised of different houses with residents inside of them which represent the different communities that you consider yourself part of, what would it look like? From the list of communities that you wrote down for Journal 1, choose 4-6 communities and describe them as houses on “You” street. In order to help us truly understand the nature of these communities—their members, their shared beliefs, and the tensions/controversies within them—you may want to begin by freewriting about the following questions (adapted from Thomas Deans):

The first house in my community is the church which I belong to, Royster Memorial Presbyterian Church. My church is almost two hundred years old; its beautiful slate roof is accented by out tall church steeple. Our courtyard is beautifully landscaped with pink azalea bushes and in the spring budding tulips. The beauty of the church is also reflected inside with the detailed wood work painted white, which is found to be very refreshing, crisp and clean. The sanctuary is full of tall, tall windows with arched windows at the top of each; all the windows have shutters which allow the perfect amount of light in to accentuate the beauty of the room. The whole church is carpeted with a rich red carpet. Our common religious beliefs are what bring us together, people of all ages, backgrounds and races. Anyone can join this community, however no one is every pressured to do so, some in attendance are not even members. The more traditional families wear the Sunday best to services, however it’s never expected. The largest controversy in this community is the issue of homosexual couples attending church and joining it together. It may seem extremely closed minded, but this church is VERY traditional with a great deal of older members who frown upon such motives. These members are the ones who keep the church afloat; they fund all the money to keep the establishment running. Their argument is that there are many other Presbyterian churches in the area which are more open to such liberal members.

The second house in my community is one that is very special to me; it’s the Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters. Most hospitals are viewed as a very dark and depressing place. Over the past twenty years CHKD has gone under an extensive overhaul, with a huge new wing, fabulous state of the art technology, and a bright and cheerful environment for all that are there. There are hundreds of Kings Daughter circles in the Hampton Roads area, each are made up of about a hundred women, who all participate in bettering our local Children’s hospital. The women all pay quarterly dues of differing amounts, and have numerous fundraisers throughout the year. Most circles have monthly meetings. Some of the women volunteer in the hospital itself with the children while others do other kinds of activities to help. Anyone can join a circle, the hospital tries to keep it within communities in the area, so most likely you would be involved with one in which the women involved are your neighbors. This community may be described differently by a doctor or a nurse who works there or by a child who has stayed there or perhaps a parent of a child whose life has been saved or by a parent who’s child did not survive. There isn’t anyone in the Hampton Roads area who would deny this organization; this hospital has touched everyone’s life in some way. My involvement in that is most likely because, as a child, I saw my mother actively involved in the hospital. My younger brother was often in and out of the hospital with pneumonia and other illnesses, so I was able to see first hand what the hospital does and the importance of being active in helping to improve its potential.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Make a comprehensive list of the many communities—large/small, formal/informal, serious/silly—that you consider yourself a part of. For each community, reflect on what has led you to participate in these communities. Did you join a particular community because it reflected the values you were raised with (such as a religious youth group or)? The values/interests you are beginning to embrace on your own (such as a “simple living” club or a “literary society”)? The values/interests of your peers (such as a ‘greek’ organization or a “Maroon 5” fan club)? To what degree is your membership in these communities an extension of private and/or social aspects of your personality? Please explain.

I consider myself to be a member of the Royster Presbyterian Memorial Church family. This is the church where I attended services with my immediate and extended family my whole life. This church is where I was baptized, where I participated in the Christmas Pageant every year, where I went to vacation Bible school every summer, where my sister’s wedding was held, and where both my grandparents’ funerals have been held. The church community, to which I belong, is also where I attended youth group as a teenager, but most importantly this is where I came with my family to practice our religious beliefs as a family. The values that belonging to this community have brought to me are outstanding perhaps too many to mention. To mention a few, the outreach this community has brought to me in times of need, the passion we share for religious beliefs, and the experiences through mission work that the church allowed me to participate in.

I also consider myself a member of the Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughter’s Circle. My involvement in that is most likely because, as a child, I saw my mother actively involved in the hospital. My younger brother was often in and out of the hospital with pneumonia and other illnesses, so I was able to see first hand what the hospital does and the importance of being active in helping to improve its potential.

More recently since I have come to college I have joined such groups as the College Republicans, the Washington Literary Society, the Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon and most recently I founded the Literacy House. I have grown up with parents who were actively involved in local politics and thought that I should not let being away from home let me stray away from my personal interest in such matters. I believe that participating in the College Republicans has allowed me to venture out socially when I first came to RMC, since then it has helped me to establish great connections in the Richmond area. It has also allowed me the opportunity to see different political issues in a different metropolitan area. I joined the Washington Literary Society after becoming an English major. I did this to embrace my own interest; I have really enjoyed many of the speakers that they have brought to campus. I have found this community to be very socially and culturally enriching. This particular community has gotten me involved with a project that I have been working on this whole year, with four other girls and hand full of dedicated volunteers. This project is promoting the importance of literacy throughout the Ashland community. We have had a blast volunteering as book buddies in the elementary schools, having fundraisers involving the whole community at Macon, as well as working with the Ashland community raising funds to buy books for the local children. My participation in Dance Marathon started freshman year and has continued throughout my years here. I feel that is very important to invest ones time and means into the children of our future. One day they will be our own precious children and you never know when you will need to rely on the technology and caring environment of a children’s facility such as a Children’s hospital.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

2) Write two shorter essays (3-4 paragraphs each) using only one type of appeal (argument from any one of the following: heart, values, character, reason) for each essay. So, if you write one essay that is "all heart", your second essay might be all reason. Again, you may use logical fallacies if you think that they will help you convince your reader. Identify which appeal you are using in each essay ahead of time (i.e. Essay 1: Argument from the heart) Be sure to identify your audience before you write your essay. (i.e. Audience: Dr. Malesh OR Audience: The Chronicle of Higher Education OR Audience: My Mother to whom I am explaining why I got a "C" in my writing class).

To future Engligh Majors-


Writing is something that can never be perfected; it’s an art form in which its source can never be defined. For many their source comes from their heart, the words flow to the page or to your finger tips on the keyboard. When that task becomes daunting it usually means that the writer needs a break to find their heart again.

We often use writing to express our most personal thoughts and feelings, often when they are too difficult to speak of. People simply cannot be taught to write from the heart, however they can be taught to use better grammar and organization, everyone usually can improve on their mechanics. What makes a writer a “good writer” is ones ability to communicate exactly what they want to share with the reader in a clear and concise manner.

Those who write love the challenge of putting their thoughts on paper in the way which it flows to sound like a composed piece of music. This comes easily to those who write from their heart. It is the footprints of those who have affected us or the experiences or memories which are often the inspiration writers find to writing from their heart. As for someone who believes that they can improve on the skill it takes when writing from the heart, no teacher can guide them, they must look deeper into their own heart and soul.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A cont'd from yesterday's Mission Work Blog:

The next summer, our brave group was off to the Keystone State. Forest City, Pennsylvania is one of the poorest localities of Pennsylvania. We went there to rehabilitate and paint the homes. Little did I know I was in for an eye opening experience. Again, there were six teens in my crew and one adult leader. We were assigned to scrape and paint the exterior of a three-story home. The painting was easy when compared to dealing with the family who lived in the home. The eye opening experience started when we met the fourteen children who lived in the house, all between the ages of 4 months and 13 years old. These poor children all shared the same mother, but had eight different fathers. Many of them occupied a room with at least four of their siblings, some of whom were forced to sleep on the floor. The older children had to care for their younger brothers and sisters due to their mother's struggle with alcoholism. As the week progressed, we took it upon ourselves to watch over these little ones, so that they could experience the pleasures and joys of being children. It soon became apparent to us that these helpless babies were being abused not only mentally, but also physically. Although, it broke our hearts to do so, we felt compelled to report our suspicions to the authorities; it was by far one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do. It was that day that I learned a very important lesson; doing the right thing is sometimes the hardest thing to do. The following day, we watched as these confused babies as they were taken from their home and placed in foster care. What I wouldn't have given to not see their anguished faces as they pulled away. They cried and they told myself and my fellow crew members that they wanted to come home with us. It hurt, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I wish I had been in a position to bring them all home with me!

As I stated earlier, I did this to help others, but now I can see that it helped me in so many ways and on so many different levels. I now appreciate the life I have been blessed with, my close friends, my loving family, and all the wonderful advantages that I have had the privilege to have been given. I truly believe that my life has benefited from the variety of cultural experiences that I have encountered while on my mission trips. By experiencing life in various parts of our country and by observing those who live in desperate economic situations, I have gained a broader perspective and can appreciate the grandeur of this country, its people and the life we live.

Now as I am about to embark on the rest of my life after college I hope to become more involved in different types of mission work. It is my hope that I have the opportunity to possibly go abroad with my mission work, I have found that its just like a vacation, yet so much more rewarding. I know that it is something that I would like for my own children to be involved with, for all the reasons it benefitted myself. All my experiences will forever be this vivid in my mind, just as they are now, almost eight years later.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Some of the Mission Work that enriched my life:

Every summer during high school, I traveled with my church youth group to different areas across the country on mission trips. I have traveled through the coal mines of Kentucky, to one of the poorest regions in Pennsylvania, across the map to North Dakota on an Indian Reservation, and, most recently, to Mastic Beach, New York. A Christian nonprofit organization, Group Publishing, manages about fifty of these "group workcamps" every summer. My apprehension about attending my first workcamp was overcome by my need to help others whom I felt were less fortunate than myself. Soon, I found that I was the one that was rewarded in ways hard to express, for I received much more than I was ever able to give.

In July of 1998, I was anxious about the impending trip to the coal mines of Kentucky. I was literally crying over the thought of leaving home and heading to my first experience with poverty and destitute people. I reassured myself that it would only last a week. On the dreaded day, a brave band of teenagers from my church headed west in our beat up church van to the coalfields of Kentucky. The day after we arrived, we were separated and assigned to various work groups. All of us worked on different homes. My "work crew" had six teens and one adult, and our job was to paint the interior of an elderly woman's home. Her name was Chris Stolles, she was "65 years young", as she would tell us, and full of stories. It was hard to get our work done because someone always had to sit with Ms. Stolles and listen to her tales. We soon realized that she didn't get out much and, worse did not have anyone to talk to; thus, she always attempted to keep us there. Every morning after the Meals On Wheels man brought her food, she would braid all the girls’ hair and relate to us her childhood memories. Although each of us put in over sixty hours of hard work, we were sorry to see the week end, for the rewards and friendships we brought home will long last out the sore muscles and the exhaustion. The anxiousness I had felt previously was a distant memory. In place of that were warm feelings, true friendships, and the knowledge that the people who we had helped had made a greater difference in my life than I had in theirs.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Reflection of my first day in Theatre class:

Many people think of theatre as art, but the question is why theatre is viewed as an art form. One must first define art. Art is expression, skill, passion, interpretation, and creation. Theatre can be better defined as a three dimensional art, as it changes over time and is never the exact same twice.
Actors use theatre as their form of expression, a way to convey their characters emotions and thoughts to an audience. Actors set the mood and tone for the play through expression. Through expression actors also use movement, including the simplest motions. The set designers use expression in the props and backgrounds that they use, they create a visual environment.
There is a certain level of skill throughout theatre. The most skilled are actors on Broadway and in huge productions, however the actors with less skill and experience are often found in smaller productions which have a small budget. Everyone involved in theatre has skill, you must, every person involved in the production is essential to the success of each show. Without skill theatre would fail.
When people think of what goes into theatre, many think of passion. Everyone involved in theatre has a deep passion for it, whether it’s acting or putting it all together back stage. It is easy to see and hear the passion of the actors in theatre, they are there because they live for it, and they love it.
Everyone has their own interpretation of theatre just as they do art. The fact that everyone has their own interpretations of theatre is the beauty of it, some can parallel it with their own life happenings and others can do that later down the road. Where someone may feel that a performance is sad and disturbing another audience member may find it moving and motivating. We as an audience often learn to understand they reasons why people behave the way they do through theatre.
Theatre is what many actors, stage hands, and producers use at their outlet of creativity. The creativity spans from the physical expressions the actors use to develop their characters to the way in which the set is laid out. Everyone including the lighting directors display their talents and creativity in theatre. It is their outlet for creativity that enriches the public in many different ways such as; it exposes us to other cultures, society, and human behaviors.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

J/Write a brief persuasive essay (5-8 paragraphs) on "Why you can or cannot teach someone how to be a good writer". Include at least one argument from all of the following: the heart, from values, from character, and from reason. You may also include logical fallacies if you think they will be effective in helping you persuade your reader. Identify each "appeal" [argument from... and fallacies] immediately you use it like with brackets and in a different color [like I am doing now]. Be sure to identify your audience before you write your essay. (i.e. Audience: Dr. Malesh OR Audience: The Chronicle of Higher Education OR Audience: My Mother to whom I am explaining why I got a "C" in my writing class).

Audience: Dr Malesh

I strongly believe that you can teach someone to be a “good” writer, you can definitely help one improve their own writing skills. This is a topic that I hold very close to my heart; I have been a reading and writing tutor now for four years in a special education class here in Ashland and seen immense improvement in the children. And second because I have witnessed my younger brother over come many obstacles due to his severe learning disabilities. Christopher has severe dysgraphia and dyslexia which challenge him everyday. There is nothing like seeing a loved one struggle, however Christopher continues to overcome his challenges now as a freshman in college and as a Mechanical Engineering major.
A “good” writer must write from their heart. This does not mean that they have to have passion; they just need to have the ability to write not only from their personal and collective knowledge, but from the heart. Every good writer puts a little piece of themselves into their work, just like any artist or any person in any profession. If you take pride in something that you have done then you have put your heart into it. There is a huge difference in a work that has been written from the heart and one that has not. The difference is that the one written from the heart is more capturing and appealing to the reader, whereas the other is dry and does not draw the reader in.
It is also essential to being a good writer to share your values with your audience. By doing so, the writer expresses their opinion, not directly but indirectly. The best writers do this in a very cunning way, so simply that it’s not blatantly obvious. This is not hard for people to do; people share their opinions and values with each other in normal everyday conversation.
When including character into developing a good writer or improving ones skills, one must think about their own personality. One’s personality defines their character. Our personalities shine through in everything that we do, so they are bound to show through in our writing, that’s what separates writers.
Your character and personality is where one receives their reasoning. Reasoning is another phrase for including logic, it is certainly essential that one should include logic into their works. Through reason one must also make it easy for their audience to agree with them.
I am not exactly sure that all of these sources are the best way to tell someone how to become a better writer, though I do agree that writing from the heart is the key to a good writer. It is helpful to an audience that you show reason throughout your works, but character and values are not elements that are used in every kind of writing and usually when they need to they shine through naturally.

J/ Describe your expectations for this class. What do you expect this class to be? What is influencing your perceptions of this class? What do you want to leave this class knowing? What are your goals for the class? What are you looking forward to in the class? What are you nervous about? What is the most important change you want to see in yourself of your writing that you think this course could foster?

I really only have one expectation for this class, and that is to come out of it a more confident and a more clear writer. I hope to be able to rely to my reader exactly what I was thinking when writing, just as clearly as was the thought was when it came to me, or even clearer. I hope to become a more argumentative and persuasive writer to assist me in skill that I could need in a career in the future. As of right now I plan to take a position I have been offered in Commercial Multi-Family Real Estate Development. In the position that I would take, I would need to have great skill in helping to draw up contracts as well as persuasive documents to property owners to show interest in their land. It would be essential to the success of how well I could convince them that its not only for the money, but their land would house many families that would not have housing without a development on their property.
I expect this class to be interactive and I hope to get a great deal of useful feedback from the peer conferencing that is planned. In addition, I am counting on the fact that feed back which Dr. Malesh will provide will strength my writing techniques and give me ideas for improvement. What is most influencing my perceptions of the class is the goal that I hope to have met by the end of the semester, which is to become a more clear and confident writer as well as to learn and improve my skills as a persuasive and argumentative writer. Furthermore, I am influenced by the promised help that Dr. Malesh assured the class of on the first day.
I am looking forward to all the help from Dr. Malesh in becoming a more efficient writer and learning many new techniques. On the other hand I am a little nervous about this blogging, I have had a great deal of trouble with it over the past two day, other than that I am really excited about what I hope to discover from taking this class. I believe that the most important change I would like to see out of my writing from this course is that I become much more efficient and clear when attempting to communicate with my reader. In addition, as I write I hope that Dr. Malesh will point out areas which could use improvement and rely to me exactly how I can improve.

J/Discuss your experience with writing. How do you understand yourself as a writer? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your writing techniques/process (i.e. Do you do any prewriting? Are you are compulsive drafter? Do you wait until the last minute? Do you use paper or a computer to compose? Do you follow any formulas for writing?)

I have always used writing as an outlet, a way to express my feelings and frustrations, though I have always enjoyed English classes because of the writing assignments. I often journaled in high school, as a result of my parent’s rather nasty divorce, now that I am thinking of it I only write when life gets rough. For example, this past summer I journaled quite a bit as I was helping my father care for my Grandmother who was dying of terminal cancer. I do however enjoy writing assignments in class, it is my outlet for creativity, and I attempt to make every piece a masterpiece. Just recently while interning for a Commercial Real Estate firm; I helped write documents for a Condominium conversion.
I hope that I understand myself as a writer; I certainly understand my strengths and my weaknesses. Comma splice punctuation is definitely my downfall in constructing my work. I would probably claim that my strength is well thought out ideas and a good sense of word choice.
In high school I was taught to write a “Maury Paragraph,” Maury was the name of the high school. The “Maury Paragraph” was suppose to be the key to every students success beyond high school, it was it in my first week of college that it was proven to me that, that was wrong! For years I diligently outlined every paper with a topic sentence for each paragraph, three main sentences with two sentences to support each major idea. Now I simply outline a paper by giving each paragraph a main idea with some ideas to support the broad statement. I typically write 2-3 a draft with a great deal of editing to each, no product is ever final or complete. I have found however, that I sometimes work better under the pressure from a deadline, so I must admit I have been in some last minute situations. I believe it is because I have never had a negative experience that I have ever refrained from doing it again. However, I always try to have a paper completed at least a day before the due date so that I have plenty of time away from it so that I can come back to it if need be to make the necessary changes. I always compose my papers on the computer; I find it much easier because I can type faster than I can write. I also prefer typing my papers because I can always copy, paste, delete, and add sections as I feel necessary. I do not follow any formulas for writing my papers parse, though I do try to include sufficient support for any claims that I make in my papers.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006