Life After Death

Those who follow me know I am working on my Masters in Professional Fiction Writing through the University of Denver (Go DU!). Anyway, I have never been into poetry, but I had to take three electives and decided to take a class on poetry. I figured I should push myself, and that is what I am trying to do.

In week 2, we had to take and idea that was near and dear to our heart and transform it into a poem. I have had too many women in my life affected by rape,  I just knew this was what I had to put on my canvas. So I wrote a poem, which you will see below. I had a meeting with my professor the following week and he suggested that I get feedback from women. Before posting it, I had already run it by my wife, but next week is week 10, and I need to turn in revised versions of all my poems.

So, I need women to comment and offer feedback. I know I am a man and can never truly understand the pain that is associated with such an act.  But I do feel for those who have been victimized and would like to make it a life goal to stop such things from happening. This can be tough, and I can respect those who wish to remain silent, but for those who have gone through these heinous acts, I am with you and would like to draw attention to the shit hole that this truly is. So if you are comfortable with it, I can use any and ALL feedback you can offer. It will be completely anonymous. I need the feedback and am only looking for comments. I appreciate the support.

****************************************************************************************

Raindrops splattering my face like tears,

only my eyes are dry;

I can’t give any more.

The storm clouds above rage,

as lightning flashes, mimicking

my internal thoughts and feelings.

I brought this on myself, or so I was taught.

At least that’s what my granny would say.

Smoothing my dress to cover the bloodstains on my panties,

I try to climb to my feet, but can’t.

It hurts. I hurt. But I know I must go on,

it’s what we’re told,

dust off your clothes,

and look in a different direction,

all the while keeping a little secret.

With conviction, I make it to my feet,

pressing forward, as I will in life.

This won’t be the end of me.

I will not allow this situation,

define who I am, for I am strong.

A lump gathers in my throat,

blocking my airway,

cutting off my breath, and I collapse.

The soft pillow of grass caresses me,

and the warm embrace

of the Sun’s welcoming yellow arms,

pulls my head from the ground,

guiding me forward with resolve.

The reemergence of the sun

brings out the birds and insects.

My cheerleaders whispering this isn’t my fault,

The man is a predator, nothing but scum gathering beneath my feet.

I yearn for a warm tidepool,

to wash this filth away,

but water won’t help,

only the bite of cold steel will.

Just Bragging about my Son

I have two sons. They are 13 and 8. I am so proud of both of them, as any father should be. They  both have their strengths and I try to support them in their endeavors. Evan, the 8 year old, is very interested in books, and has written several for school with his friends. He is also one of the better artists I have ever seen (we have several pictures of  his up on our walls… in frames… in our house). My other son, Branden, is very athletic. Probably one of the better football players I have ever seen at his age (he plays corner, corner, corner, and some wideout). I only wish I was as good as he is at his age, and he understands the game almost better than I do, and I’m freaking 40. Anyway. Branden has always been very intelligent (he is in all advanced classes) but it is only recently that he has been proud of his own writing (I know, I’m probably a bad father for not noticing sooner). I just wanted to share his most recent paper for his Language Arts class.

*************************************************************************************

Animal Farm: How does Speech Affect Propaganda?

When words are correctly executed in a specific way, they can shift one’s thoughts on a topic. The manipulation of words can be beneficial for propaganda. Being very specific and precise while you speak can be very persuasive and driving. Some will also manipulate their language to trick people, when they miss specific details to fool the listener. A powerful style of this is to use friendly, welcoming words such as comrade, friend, and more. Using this type of language can lure the audience into believing this is a friend. People can be very crafty with words to boost their propaganda, and there are many different styles and tactics.

Being very creative with your language can be very powerful. Using this can result in trust, for many reasons. Using larger and more sophisticated words can lead an audience into conceiving the one speaking as highly educated and trustworthy. If you hear two people speaking on different ideas, for example, a debate. If you had little to no knowledge on the topic, would you side with the one who is using larger and more “intelligent” words? Of course you would, because it seems like they know what they are talking about. However, this can be misused, as someone who is very good at speaking with good tone and vocabulary, could create trust easily, even without being knowledgeable on the topic.

People who use language within propaganda to improve their chances are very creative. A very deceiving strategy by them is leaving out certain details to fool the audience. Although you are technically not lying, you are being dishonest and deceiving by tricking the listeners. This can also go in the reverse way, by adding certain details on things they cannot do to leave certain loopholes. For example, Squealer constantly adding a few words to the commandments to benefit him and Napoleon. He had changed “No Animal shall sleep in a bed” to “No Animal shall sleep in a bed without sheets”. This allowed the pigs to defend themselves when the other animals became suspicious. This tactic can, clearly, improve your propaganda.

Another clever and cunning approach is to use friendly words. Things such as friends, comrades, pals, mates as well as pronouns “us” and “we” often tend to mislead an audience, and create trust. Squealer and Napoleon used this a lot, because when something went wrong, or  they were accused of something, they used this type of language to keep the animals sane and in belief. “Are you certain that this is not something you have dreamed, comrades?” (pg. 77) is just one example of the many times the pigs used this. Whether or not this is a valid point, it was definitely helped by the word “comrades”.

The Pigs were very deceptive with their speech, and this is just one of thousands of instances of it. Propaganda can clearly be greatly impacted, just by the modification and manipulation of words. It can benefit one in many ways. Next time you hear a big speech or PSA, try to see if you can recognize some of these tactics that the politician, or whoever may be speaking, uses!