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Read the First Season of a TV Series: 404

By Colin Capenito, Laura Drepanos, Will Figueroa, Katherine Gao, Nathan Laudani, Zoe Maddox, and Gunnar Vachris, VI Form

Read the First Season of a TV Series: 404

Editor’s Note: 404 is a six-episode television drama written in Getting LOST II: The Writers’ Room during the Spring Semester. This course examines the process that any network goes through to establish and produce a tv show. The class forms a “Writers’ Room,” in which all of the students collaborate on brainstorming ideas and writing episodes for a full premiere season of a show of the class’ design.  

Click here to read all six episodes, to view marketing posters, and to see other production elements.

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The Picnic: An Original Short Story

By Daniela Martinez, VI Form

The Picnic: An Original Short Story

Editor’s Note: In the elective Rise of the Short Story, Ms. McCann presented these parameters for this assignment–“Write an atypical scary story.  It should be existentially scary, not something about ghosts or vampires. Whatever scares you is fair game for this story, a scary story with truth and heart. Since your subject matter is atypical, the way you tell this story should be, too. How can you push beyond the typical plot line that goes: exposition, building tension, climax, falling tension, resolution?”

Rey was born coated in honey. Bees flew out of his mother’s open womb, and saw themselves out the window. The doctor shuddered but did not scream. His wrinkled fingers simply scraped the nectar from the soft folds in the baby’s skin.

Carmen, drowsy on the chloroform, was too exhausted to mind the bevy of bees. During her pregnancy, she’d had the most desperate of cravings for honey. How many times had she jammed the overflowing spoon into her mouth when no one was looking? Or sucked on honeycombs during afternoon tea? She dismissed her folly and kissed the honey dripping from her son’s eyelids.

“A totem child,” was all the doctor said, his eyes welled with worry.

It is Rey’s eighth spring. He and Carmen are on a picnic in the Botanical Gardens. The bright blue sky is brilliant against the multicolored flowers. There is no one around but he and his mother. It’s the perfectday, Rey smirks. He takes off into the open field. Carmen watches him run around barefoot. When he’s had enough, he falls next to his mother onto the picnic rug. Grass blades press into Rey’s back. He watches the clouds drift overhead. His chest rises and falls quickly. His heartbeat drums in his ears. (more…)

The Absurd Act of Looking for Meaning in Camus’ The Stranger

By Jake Oblak, IV Form

The Absurd Act of Looking for Meaning in Camus’ The Stranger

What is the meaning of absurdism? How are absurdist people perceived by others? How can someone be impacted by this lifestyle? These are all questions that arise from The Stranger by Albert Camus. This philosophical novel follows a man named Meursault through a portion of his adult life. His experiences in the book range from his romantic relations with his girlfriend Marie to being sentenced to the guillotine after being convicted of murder. Throughout these events, problems emerge as a result of Meursault’s absurdist lifestyle, and personal values. Consequently, Camus delivers an eloquent introduction to absurdism and negative impacts of believing in a counter-cultural philosophy, but based on his own logic looking for a message in his writing would be ignorant.

Absurdism is an uncommon philosophy compared to modern day ideologies, but its outlook on life is unique. Absurdism is defined as “a philosophical perspective which holds that the efforts of humanity to find meaning or rational explanation in the universe ultimately fail (and, hence, are absurd) because no such meaning exists, at least to human beings” (New World). As this definition explains, absurdism is based on the idea that life has no meaning and is completely arbitrary. As a result, looking for any kind of meaning in life would be considered futile. Through an absurdist lens partaking in events in order to fulfill a requirement created by society is ridiculous. This is a common theme which occurs repeatedly throughout The Stranger. Absurdists believe in doing what feels right to them, rather than doing what is right in the eyes of the norm manufactured by society. (more…)

Survival With God: On Piers Paul Read’s Alive

By Lindsay Davis, IV Form

Survival With God: On Piers Paul Read’s Alive

Alive by Piers Paul Read, a survival story of a plane crash in the Andes Mountains, recounts how the survivors’ trust in God influenced their resilience during a crisis of life and death. In 1972, a plane carrying Uruguayan rugby players and other Uruguayan citizens crashed in the middle of the Andes. While the travelers suffered many injuries or died from the crash, the fight on the mountain came most from their will to survive and the actions needed to outlast the miserable conditions of the Andes. The rations of food, sleeping conditions, injuries, and pre-existing relationships affected the mental status of each survivor. Their bond with God helped them to make life at the Fairchild fair and optimistic. The survivors who boarded the Fairchild came close to death in the Andes, but their hope for survival and reliance on God pushed them through the mental pain and helped inspire their faith in physical recovery.

The survivors ate the flesh of their dead companions knowing that was their only way to survive. God had inspired the courage to engage in repugnant cannibalism. Over the course of the seventy-two days, while the survivors’ mentality fluctuated, food supplies ran out and the concern of starvation became apparent. The injuries and losses suffered by some of the Fairchild passengers would not matter if they could not feed themselves. Although most of the boys were expecting the point at which they would need the protein of their fellow dead friends and passengers, Canessa was the first to discuss aloud with the group. After eliminating the idea of eating the seat cushions and digging deep for grass, the bodies that surrounded them on and in the snow were the last plan. (more…)

March 1st of 1919: A Big Step Towards Unity and Freedom in Korea

By Suha Choi, III Form

 

March 1st of 1919: A Big Step Towards Unity and Freedom in Korea

“A day goes so slow, but a week seems to fly.”

This seems to be a famous saying during the academic year. Time goes so quick, and the third month of the year feels like it flipped on the calendar soon after New Year’s Day. For many, March evokes thoughts about women’s history or the March Madness. For many others, the start of March signals the blessed Senior Spring season. To me, one more thing comes to mind: the March 1st Movement (or the Sam-il Independence Movement).

I ask my parents whether they have put up the Korean flag at our veranda back home yet. Then, I start wondering what my home country would have looked like just 100 years ago. I suddenly see my great grandparents and millions of my ancestors marching on the flat dusty streets of Seoul, where now countless tall and polished buildings stand. (more…)

On Sherman Alexie’s “Clean, Cleaner, Cleanest”

By Cara Mulcahey, IV Form

On Sherman Alexie’s “Clean, Cleaner, Cleanest”

The short story “Clean, Cleaner, Cleanest” focuses on the grueling conditions motel maids face every day. It follows the
life of a motel maid named Marie who despises cleaning but does it for the money it provides. Marie gets physically assaulted by her coworkers, sees horrific sights in motel rooms, cleans revolting messes guest leave behind, and does not complain about the dehumanization she faces on a daily basis. Sherman Alexie, the author of “Clean, Cleaner, Cleanest,” utilizes Marie’s self vs. self-conflict about her job as a way to display the horrors motel maids face every day and why they should be appreciated in society.

Marie loathes being a hotel maid because cleaning repulses her and her coworkers have mistreated her. While she had gotten used to cleaning abhorrent bathrooms, making beds, and vacuuming, the idea of cleaning people’s leftover (more…)

Native Americans in the Western Film Genre: An Evolution

By Colin Capenito, VI Form

Native Americans in the Western Film Genre: An Evolution

Whether it be a science fiction film that brings us on a journey to a distant galaxy or a fantasy movie that introduces us to knights and dragons, films can show locations and characters that do not exist in reality. However, film also has the ability to inform us about our own world. Film can remind us of forgotten history, give us new perspectives on historical events, and familiarize us with cultures different from our own. Because of this, the accuracy of the history and cultures portrayed within movies is crucial; if a film is truthful in its depictions, we are more knowledgeable of, and can make better decisions about, the world.

While not all films in the western genre are based on true historical stories, they feature settings, themes, and groups that did exist in the past. One group often portrayed within the genre is Native Americans. There is a history of stereotyping Native Americans in popular culture. Carlos Cortés lists some of these stereotypes:

…antiwhite antagonists (usually villainous); as sexual threats and conveniences; as noble savages; as victims (often passive) of prejudice and discrimination; and as stalwart (sometimes antiracist) heroes.[1]

In the real world, Americans have mistreated Native Americans throughout history. However, Native American treatment has evolved over time. In the early twentieth century, the government wanted assimilation for Natives, working to mold them into Americans, which entailed Natives being forced to abandon their culture.[2] During the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the government made positive strides in terms of Native American treatment, though termination policies in the 1950s, which included the U.S. government being able to cease protection of Native tribes, undid some of these positive changes.[3] But, groups like the American Indian Movement (AIM) rose in the late 1960s and 70s, helping to bring about policy changes and spark awareness over Native rights.[4] (more…)

Exploring the Hudson River School and Its Relationship with the Conservation Movement

By Leean Li, VI Form

Exploring the Hudson River School and Its Relationship with the Conservation Movement

Introduction

American Pulitzer Prize Winner Wallace Stegner once said: “National parks were the best idea we ever had.”[1] But, where does the idea of building a park come from? Today, it seems instinctive for everyone to want to protect the earth. However, this sentiment was not instinctive. Now, we all know that conservation focuses on protecting natural resources and the environment, but in reality, the word “conservation” as an environmental concept did not exist until the early twentieth century.[2] This concept to preserve actually grew out of the nascent conservation movement of the early the twentieth century, when President Teddy Roosevelt protected millions of acres of land by sheltering it in the National Parks and National Forests systems.[3] However, this desire to preserve our environment did not appear in Roosevelt’s time without roots. In fact, events before the twentieth century laid the foundation for environmental conservation. The birth of the conservation concept actually began much earlier in the nineteenth century.

In the first half of the nineteenth century, the Industrial Revolution was at its height. The Revolution brought mass production and led people into more enjoyable lifestyles and increased consumption.[4] However, in the United States these changes had a very destructive impact on the environment.[5] Air and water pollution from coal-burning made cities like New York smoggy and dirty. Increased urbanization brought about increased water-borne diseases like cholera and typhoid. Moreover, hazardous materials released from factories devastated health conditions of working families who lived near industrial settings. The boom in transportation also led to serious land degradation. Canals affected the natural routing of water and streams while construction of railroads forced deforestation and destruction of certain animal habitats.[6] (more…)