Blackout Poetry

There are so many different types of poetry that it’s a good idea to try and learn as many as possible. 

I’m going to start teaching about poetry next month and I have been researching a lot of different poems. One of my favorite types is called “Found Poetry.” Basically, found poetry is anything that is found on something that is already printed. Maybe a newspaper, a flyer, a book, ect.  

Within the Found Poetry genre, there is a type of poetry called Blackout Poetry. It’s where you find words on a page that might fit to make up a poem. You square those words and blackout the rest of the page. If you want to get really creative, you can make a cool design. 

Here is my first attempt at Blackout Poetry. 

By: akfinch

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3 Things to Think About “Life”

life-2017-movie-poster-480x711 The movie Life just came out in theaters this weekend.  What a great title for this movie.  Life!  The possibilities are endless with a name like that.  In fact, the movie is about seven lives, all at different places emotionally, different reasons for being there, and they all have to work together.  In the film, the astronauts are trying to prove there is “life” on Mars, and end up trying to saves the lives of billions of people.  If you have already seen it or if you are planning on seeing it, here are some things to think about.

1.  Special Effects

One thing that is excellent about the movie is the special effects.  If you are going to see the movie because of the special effects, then you’re in luck.  They really did a great job. From the images of space, the explosions, and our new friend from Mars, “Calvin,” the effects and CGI were one of the best things about the film.  I will have to say that I wasn’t expecting much as far as the way the creature looked.  In the previews, they do not show very much of the alien.  I don’t want to give anything away for those that have not seen the movie yet.  I’m sure they didn’t want to give away too much in the trailer.  All I will say is from the way Calvin looks in the previews, you’ll be in for a surprise.

2.  Story-line

The whole premise of the film was great.  Discovering life on Mars.  After all, everyone is talking about Mars right now.  Scientists are trying to find ways to send people to Mars right now while you’re reading this post. The film was inspired by the movie Alien (1979).  Sadly, I think it didn’t reach it’s mark.  It was very predictable and had some holes in the continuity of the story structure.  There were some surprises and some twists which kind of make up for the fact that you knew how the movie was going to end.

3.  Character Development

This is the one point of the movie I think really fell short.  In order for us, as viewers, to care about these characters on the screen there needs to be some kind of back story, or some kind of character development so we can connect with them in some way.  They did a good job with two of the characters, Sho Murakami (Hiroyuki Sanada) and  David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal).  The only thing that we really find out about Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds) is that he has a dog.  I was worried that he wouldn’t make it home and his dog would be alone.   Overall, it seemed a bit in parts.  It might have helped if they took some time to let us get to know the characters so we would care if they get killed by an alien life-form.

Life – IMDB

Life website

 

 

 

 

3 Reasons Why Traditions Are So Important

trad
With the holidays wrapping up and the end of the year so close, there has been a lot of talk about traditions.  Most of the chatter has been regarding holiday traditions of course.  There are different kinds of traditions, for example, family traditions and cultural traditions.
My family has a tradition of going to the movies on each holiday.  On Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, after we have enjoyed all the festivities, you will find us relaxing in a nice, relaxing theater.  We have had this tradition for many years and we all look forward to it.  Another tradition my family has, that has been a tradition in my family since before I was born, is that we each get to open one gift on Christmas Eve.  I know this is a tradition for a lot of families.
I just recently found out that Iceland has a wonderful Christmas Eve tradition of giving books to each other.  Everyone opens one gift on Christmas Eve, and it’s a book.  What a great tradition and an excellent way to help people fall in love with reading.  I’m actually thinking of incorporating this tradition with my family.
There are countless traditions that people take part of and they are not always holiday ones.  Traditions are actually very important for many reasons, however I will list three reasons in this post.
  1. Traditions help people to feel secure and grounded.  Something that they can count on to remain steady and unchanged.  This is very important in the world we live in today.  With everything changing from day to day, it’s nice to know that somethings do not change and they can count on that tradition to be secure.  It can take the anxiety away of things that seem unexpected or unpredictable.  Everyone needs a sense of security and a feeling of belonging.      
  2. Traditions are a good way to keep in touch with your roots.  This is a good time to look up your heritage and discover more about your nationality.  It is also a terrific time to look more into your family history and maybe keep some of your ancestors traditions going.  Hopefully those traditions will be passed down to their children and on and on for generations.  In my family, every Sunday morning my dad would make a big family breakfast.  It consisted of eggs, bacon, pancakes, toast, milk, and coffee.  We could count on that every week, like clockwork.  For my family, we do not have time for a big breakfast on Sunday because we have to be at church early, so we plan our big breakfast on Saturday.  Still keeping the tradition, just customizing it a little.      
  3. Keeping traditions alive helps to create some lasting memories.  Creating memories is what helps family and friends to bond and grow closer.  Traditions do no have to be limited to just family.  When I was growing up, most of the people that lived on our small street had lived there for a long time.  We all knew each other.  Every year on the 4th of July the whole street would have a huge block party.  They would bring the BBQs out to the street, bring out big tables, and each house would bring large dishes of food to share with everyone.  We would cone off the street, put a volleyball net out, and all the neighbors would join in the fun. This is a great way for neighbors to get to know each other, bond, and make lasting memories for families and friends.
trad1
Maybe you don’t really have any traditions.  That’s OK.  Now would be a great time to start some.  Start making new traditions and new memories.  I would love to hear about some of your traditions you have.  Please leave a comment.

3 Great Ideas in the Movie “Arrival”

the-arrivalThe movie,  Arrival is a newer movie that just came out in theaters on November 11, 2016.  From the picture and all of the trailers it seemed like this film was going to be about an alien invasion with non-stop action while human kind must fight to protect our home from invaders.

That couldn’t be further from the truth with this movie.  People flocked to see the film.  Theaters were sold out.  Viewers sat there anticipating…waiting…watching.  However, it was not an action movie.  We did not fight the visitors.   When the movie ended, the reaction from most of the audience was “I don’t get it” and “I’m lost” and “That was slow.”  Yet, from a small group of college students I heard “That was amazing.  What a powerful message.”  This is a film that is supposed to get you talking and stimulate thought.  The writers were so careful when they thought out this film, and they included some small elements of humor to lighten the heavy message.

Every work of art is different to each viewer.  So, this is my thoughts on the film.  Let me tell you three great ideas that I took away from this piece of art.

This part might contain some spoilers.  However, it might help you to understand the movie also.  Continue at your own risk. 

Time is not always linear.   The movie does not continue down a linear path.  Throughout the film, the main character, Dr. Louise Banks played by Amy Adams, has flashes of images and moments.  The images that she sees in the beginning of the film are actually moments that will happen at the end of the film.  The movie starts and ends with almost the same scene.  The writers do this very carefully and try to give hints to the viewer with the emphasis of the daughter’s name being “Hannah” which is the same forwards and backwards.  Which is the same for the movie.

Life is made up of moments.   In the movie the aliens do not communicate with sounds or a spoken language.   They communicate through images and visions.  In the film, Dr. Banks is a master of linguistics.  Her job is to communicate with the aliens.  Throughout the film Dr. Banks is seeing images and moments that have not happened to her yet.  When she is asked if she is OK, she says that she can’t explain it.  The alien visitors are showing her the future with moments of time.  Our life is made up of moments: good and bad.

The big question.   At the end of the movie Dr Banks asks the big question, “If you could see your whole life laid out in front of you, would you change things?”  The images that the aliens were showing Dr Banks during the movie were both good and bad moments of her future.  They laid out her life for her, showed her the future and she was left with the choice.  The choice to change things or not.

Sometimes in life we want to get rid of all the bad or hard times that we have had to go through.  Yet, it is in those hard times that we grow.  A rubber-band is only useful when it is being stretched.  At times God allows us to go through rough patches because he is trying to build something in us.  Without that, we would not learn the lesson we needed to learn or become the person we need to be.

So the question remains:  If you could see your whole life laid out in front of you, would you change things?

Here are some links about Arrival:

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/arrival-2016   

http://www.signature-reads.com/2016/11/storys-source-the-idea-behind-arrival-starring-amy-adams/

4 Lessons I learned from the Hunger Games Trilogy

hgI know the Hunger Games books came out a while ago.  However, if you are like me and my family, you do not just read a good book or see a good movie only once.  In fact, you read the book or watch the movie several times.  You revisit your favorites quite often and each time you do, you find another nugget of wisdom or you notice something you did not notice the first couple times through.  It is a good idea to keep in mind that most stories have a deeper meaning or some unstated message just waiting to be discovered.  Of course, every reader or moviegoer can simply read or watch just for the entertainment of the story and then move on and forget about it all together.

I do not really thing that does the stories justice.  Every storyteller is trying to communicate a message to its audience.  The interesting thing is that the message can be different for person enjoying the story.  So, here is the four things that stuck out to me.

1. Everyone is watching:  In the story, when the tributes are in the arena, there are cameras everywhere and all the people in the districts watch the games on big screens throughout all the districts.  They are watching and waiting.  Waiting to see who will prevail.  Later in the story, after Katniss and Peeta both survive the game, President Snow informs Katniss that he will be watching them to make sure they are really in love.  Katniss then realizes that there are cameras everywhere: in the forest, in town, and in her own home.

You might think that no one is watching you.  Maybe you think you do not have an       influence on anyone.  That is not true.  No matter who you are, someone is always keeping an eye on what you do and what you say.  You have an influence either good or bad, positive or negative.  If you are a Christian, keep in mind that the world is always watching, waiting to see if you live what you say.  Do your words line up with your actions?

2.  Respect goes a long way:  At the beginning of the story, when Prim’s name is picked out of the bowl and Katniss, without hesitation volunteers her own life instead of her sister’s, the people of District 12 give the sign for respect.  Also, in one of the most touching parts of the story is when Rue dies.  Katniss is devastated.  She takes the time to put flowers on Rue’s body and sing a beautiful song.  Of course all the Districts watch this on the screens.  When she is done, she turns to the camera a makes the sign for respect.  That one thing, respect, starts the unity within some of the Districts.  When Peeta and Katniss go on their Victor’s Tour, the people in Rue’s District give Katniss the same sign for respect:  and it all starts.

Respect.  Such a small word packs a strong punch.  Being respectful does not mean you are weak.  It also does not mean that you have to agree with everything that someone does or says.  If you want to be respected, show respect.

3.  Hope is powerful:  In the book, President Snow is having a conversation with Seneca Crane.  President Snow tells Seneca that “Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous. A spark is fine, as long as it’s contained.”  Such a true statement.

Have you ever been upset or depressed about something and someone comes along and gives you some hope?  Hope is an anchor for your soul.  It is stronger that fear and it does not take much to make a difference.  Just a little bit of hope can change things.

4.  Laughter is the best medicine: In the book series, when they take Katniss’s family to District 13, she insists that they are able to bring her sister’s cat with them.  They permit it.  Of course, all the people underground in District 13 are tired and devastated.  Their homes and District have just been destroyed.  Prim’s cat gets restless and wants to play.  When everyone in the underground bunkers start watching the cat play, something changes.  They start laughing and it lightens the mood.

Proverbs 17:22 says:  A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.  When you have a cheerful heart and a cheerful outlook on life, it will be evident. Don’t be so serious.  Most of the world is serious enough for everyone.  There is scientific evidence that laughing is good for you.  When you laugh, it actually causes a response in your body.  Studies have shown that when your body responds to laughter and your lightened mood, it has healing properties.

There are some great messages in this story.  It really makes me think about my life and the kind of person I want to be.  Since, people are watching my actions, I want to show respect, give hope, and bring joy and laughter to situations.

Is there a book, movie, or situation that made you think?  Did it give you some life lessons?  Tell us about your story.  We want to know.  Share it here.

Just One More

hacksawridgeteaserposter_2016june39-500x383I just recently watched the movie Hacksaw Ridge.  I went with my family and some friends.  To be honest, we were not anticipating much from the film.  All of us had heard some pretty bad reviews about it, so our expectations were rather low.  However, we love Mel Gibson and his other films, so we had to go see it.  The theater was packed.  Every seat was taken and there were even people trying to sit on the floor.  Interesting for a movie with such bad reviews.

(This section might contain some spoilers)                                                                                                    For those of you who do not know, Hacksaw Ridge is a movie based on the true life story of Desmond Doss and the events which took place on Hacksaw Ridge. In the film, Desmond Doss, because of his own personal convictions, will not touch a gun.  He intends on saving lives, not taking them.  They try to break him.  They beat him, send him to a psychiatrist, and threaten him with prison.  It does not work.  They can’t get him to sway from his beliefs.  He is labeled a coward.  When they finally get up on Hacksaw Ridge and all the action starts, he has a chance to prove his worth.  After some time fighting, his squadron retreats and everyone that can gets off the ridge.  Doss was trying to save the life of one of his fellow soldiers.  He dies and Doss is confused and broken.  He takes a moment to ask God what he wants from him.  He runs back into the kill zone to look for someone else to save.  He finds someone that is still alive, drags him to safety, and lowers him off of the ridge to soldiers at the bottom  of the cliff.  Right when he is finished he asks “Lord, please help me get one more.”   All night long, without sleep or food he runs back into the kill zone to save the life of one more person.  Exhausted, hungry, and hands raw from lowering wounded soldiers off of Hacksaw Ridge with a rope, he saves as many lives as he can.  By the end of the war Doss had become the strength of his squadron.  The next day the rest of the soldiers in his group would not continue without Doss’s prayer and blessing.  They went on to win the war.  At the end of the movie the entire theater was applauding the excellent film.

What an amazing story.  We were all surprised at what a great movie it was.  I started to think about how all of us can be heroes in our own way.  So many people do great things without any fanfare, applause, or sometimes desmond-doss-ceremonyeven a thank you.  Most of us will not be getting awards or medals of honor, at least here on Earth.  Every person is a story on an incredible journey.  Most likely a movie will not be made about the events in our lives.

I want to know what is your “Just One More” story.  Do you have a story to tell or do you know someone with an amazing story?  Tell it here.  Let’s all celebrate our wonderful journeys together.

Free Contest

Hey writers, check out this free contest for writers of thrillers and horror.

25th Free “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest: Thrillers and Horror

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