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Posts Tagged ‘novel’

Definitions for abrazo – noun [ah-brah-thaw/saw]

  1. Spanish. An embrace – used in greeting someone.

He had watched them embrace many times before—warm, friendly, safe—but now he noticed the abrazo lingered, first arms and then eyes and he suddenly knew she was gone.

 

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Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.

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The darkness before dawn. The mumbling of prayers. Feeling alone when thousands are by your side. Last thoughts of family and friends. They sit in silence, waiting. Now the moment is upon them. Even the wind stops so there could be no mistaking the instruction that was about to be given.

Then the ramps lowered and they charged forwards, pushing aside anxiety and fear, letting courage and pride lead them by their hands and their hearts. Immediate flashes from an invisible enemy and the thunderous rattling, cracking sounds of gunfire rained down. Agonising screams of despair cut through the now howling wind. The sun, finally peeking its head, brought light to those fallen, their tumbling bodies caressed to shore by the gentle hands of waves. The smell of gunpowder did little to mask the stench of death and the cold. The metallic hope of weapons, clutched with white-knuckled hands, offered no defence to an advantaged enemy. The red spray of saltwater touched lips and faces, mixing with tears, before rolling down the faces of a young nation. But it was their will to keep moving forward, their courage and determination to fight for what they loved and believed in … that true ANZAC spirit that never gives up and defines who we are, and that makes us proud to be Australian.

Today on ANZAC Day we will stand and we will be proud. They will always be our heroes and we will forever be grateful for their sacrifice. We will acknowledge the past and we will celebrate the future. We will give thanks for our privileges and who we are as a nation. And we will remember and salute them … lest we forget!

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Definitions for coze – noun [kohz]

  1. a friendly talk; a chat.
  2. to converse in a friendly way.

He would’ve been happy with just a drink, or a coze in her apartment, but when things escalated, who was he to refuse?

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To Kill a Mockingbird is a story written in the tired old town of Maycomb Alabama, where the people moved slowly, and a day seemed more than twenty-four hours long, and the years around 1935 offered nothing more than only vague optimism. This is how Harper Lee introduces us to the setting in the first few pages of her bestselling novel.

Harper Lee, born in 1926 Monroeville Alabama, uses her experience of living in a small town during hard times to capture her story. The story is told from the point of view of Jean Louis Finch, more commonly known as Scout, who recalls the events leading up to and the aftermath of the trial of Tom Robinson.

Harper Lee first introduces us to Scout and older brother Jem and establishes these two siblings as a tight-knit duo. Next we meet Dill, the next-door neighbour, who is sent to Maycomb County every year for the summer. It’s through his friendship with Jem and Scout and his learning of the citizens of Maycomb County that he becomes fascinated with the creepy house and the creepy character known as Boo Radley. It’s during this period of time when Scout’s father, Atticus Finch, is chosen to represent and defend a Negro man on the severe charge of raping a white woman.

There are many issues that are highlighted through the book, the main ones being poverty, lack of education, indifference, and racism, and Scout, along with her brother Jem and neighbour Dill, highlight these issues in a very innocent and childlike fashion, dismantling ideals and values that were still very much prevalent during the sixties when the novel was written and published.

There are a number of interesting characters throughout the book that bring light to the different issues the town faces. Calpurnia for example, is the house-maid who takes the role of helping Atticus and is pivotal in raising his children. Through her, we get to walk in the shoes of a Negro woman, to understand the outrage and the voice of disapproval that racial segregation and the blatant injustice of their fellow black man, in Tom Robinson, has in their lives and community. In a time when a white man’s word overruled any others, Tom’s chances of being found innocent are slim. And it’s through the trial that we see the real hero of the book come to the fore.

Atticus shows us understanding and tolerance, the belief that we each can be ourselves without conforming to what is expected for us to be; to walk in each others’ shoes before passing judgement, and to see the beauty in all living things. We see this in the manner that he parents his children. We see this in the way he treats everybody in Maycomb, and we see this in the way he represents Tom in the trial. Through Atticus, we see a man with respect and values, compassion and understanding, and the courage to stand up and fight for what is right.

Through the adult situation of the trial and the youthful antics of Scout, Jem and Dill to get the recluse, Boo Radley, out of his house, To Kill a Mockingbird takes us through a journey of growth and understanding, where the tired old town of Maycomb County comes to life during the summer of 1935.

I loved the book and the messages that it conveys. I loved how Harper Lee used a young innocent child like Scout to break down and exploit the injustices of her town and our world by showing us a fictionalised story mirrored on the realities of what was all too common during those times, and indeed still today in some parts of our world. I thought that Maycomb County was cleverly written and Harper Lee brings it to life like one of the many interesting characters in the book, with a voice and a history that is as interesting as any other in the novel. To Kill a Mockingbird has tension and comedy, action and mystery, and themes and plots that serve to both entertain and educate. I highly recommend reading this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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There are generally two types of fictional writers: Plotters and, what I like to call, Plodders.

Plotters are those who plan before they write. They plot outlines, jot notes, gather details and ideas like those animals gathering food before the snowy winter months, having everything prepared before they begin. They know their story thoroughly and consciously write to their plan. The down side is that their writing can be restrictive, their creativity blocked only by the barriers they’ve placed upon themselves, like a child afraid to colour outside the lines. Colour any way you want to, Son. Okay, Dad. (See, I am a good parent!) For those who plot, there are generally no surprises or new discoveries when they write because they are focussed on the task at hand. Their inability to explore past their boundary or deviate from their script can also make their characters or scenes seem flat or uninteresting.

Plodders are those who generally just start writing, and plod along to wherever their imagination takes them, like adventurers in a new land. They may start with an idea, a situation, or a character, but they write off the cuff, tapping into their unconscious mind, having no idea where they’re going or what they may discover. Writing this way can be exciting but it can also waste time as you allow yourself to explore, because, as your story becomes focussed, scenes that don’t fit have to be discarded or rewritten and your story can feel disconnected and hard to read. Concentrate, stop wasting time and use your imagination. Okay, Dad. (woo hoo, I’m on fire!) Plus, those who plod usually have stories that peter out because their ideas can be random and scattered.

Now, we all have a bit of both at times, but you are generally classed as one or the other. So the aim is to have a good balance of both. Plotters need to let their imaginations loose on occasion, to tear up those plans and dare to explore their unconscious minds further. Plodders need to have at least a brief outline or plan before they begin, to take time to ensure the accuracy of details so they can avoid issues that come with lack of preparation.

So remember, plan and explore, plot and plod, and dare to get there by any means necessary—consciously or unconsciously. Okay, Son? Okay, Dad. (wow, this parenting thing is easy!)

A Brief Tale of Mr. and Mrs. P

Mrs. P was walking with Mr. P, and poor Mr. P was just ambling along, wandering around and exploring everything that interested him. Mrs. P was getting frustrated because she had an agenda of where she wanted to go and Mr. P was slowing her down terribly. But Mr. P was quite content to let his curiosity lead him in every which way it fancied. ‘Exploration leads to inspiration,’ he would say. So, Mrs. P decided to go on without him, she wasn’t prepared to waste her time and be side-tracked unnecessarily. ‘Preparation leads to motivation,’ she would counter. Eventually, Mr. P caught up with her and wondered what all the fuss was about, after all, they were now both in the same place and the result was the same, it just took him a little bit longer that’s all. He smiled with satisfaction, and perhaps there was a hint of arrogance mixed with that smile, but it very quickly disappeared when he saw Mrs. P smiling, too. Oh, no, that wasn’t good. She had a plan and he was sure to pay for it later!

Are you a Plotter or a Plodder?

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