Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Specter's Painting - Fiction

"The Specter's Painting" was a short story I wrote my senior year of high school for my Creative Writing class. I submitted it to, and it was recognized as an Editor's Choice Pick-of-the-Week under the horror genre! Enjoy!

The Specter's Painting

Photo courtesy of Dani

The halls were dank and musty, and Maria could see mold creeping through the corners of the corridor and down the walls. She sighed to herself. She hadn’t realized just how much of a fixer-upper the house she bought was. And of course the real estate agent hadn't pointed out the mold, simply the matching colors of the walls.

She continued down the hallway, brushing cobwebs away while she scrutinized her surroundings for more damage. Her feet creaked against the century-old floorboards, but the sound to her was soothing. It reminded her of her grandfather’s house, the one she would always visit as a child when her parents left her alone yet 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Reaping the Meaning Behind Jean Toomer's "Reapers" - Academic Paper


Black reapers with the sound of steel on stones
Are sharpening scythes. I see them place the hones
In their hip-pockets as a thing that’s done,
And start their silent swinging, one by one.

Black horses drive a mower through the weeds,
And there, a field rat, startled, squealing bleeds,
His belly close to ground. I see the blade,
Blood-stained, continue cutting weeds and shade.

Jean Toomer

Reaping the Meaning Behind Jean Toomer’s “Reapers”
Jean Toomer was a fabulous poet who embraced America’s “clashing cultures” in his writings (Ramazani 557). Toomer’s expertise did not go unnoticed as he established himself as a powerful poet, perhaps most prominently with his book Cane, which was published in 1923. As a biracial man, he could identify and empathize with both African Americans and Caucasians, heightening his ethos and the impressive strength and meaning behind his poems. His poem “Reapers,” written in 1923, emphasizes the vast cultural differences and inequalities between blacks and whites in America during the time period. He subliminally highlights the poor treatment of blacks through metaphor, symbolism, and other poetic devices.
The poem “Reapers” is an octet consisting of four rhyming couplets. The rhyme scheme is aabbccdd, and the poem is written in iambic pentameter. “Reapers” is only one verse or stanza. Toomer employs many poetic devices to convey his message to the reader. These poetic devices include alliteration, consonance, and imagery. Toomer’s diction also adds to the overall meaning and the impact of the poem on its readers.

On Eastern Philosophy in "Song of Myself" - Academic Paper

On Eastern Philosophy in “Song of Myself”
Malcolm Cowley, editor of the 1986 publication of Leaves of Grass: The First, states that Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself” has many Eastern characteristics, which it does, though Whitman uses them unknowingly. Three of the main points Cowley makes about the mysticism and Eastern influence are Whitman’s thoughts of reincarnation, his identification with his Creator, and his achievement of true knowledge. These ideas can be and are seen throughout the fifty-two chants of “Song of Myself.”
            Reincarnation, also known as metempsychosis, is the rebirth of one’s soul into a different body after one’s previous body dies. The body one’s soul enters in a subsequent incarnation depends on “the actions performed during one incarnation” (Cowley xxi). This idea is known as karma and means that if a person is good and just in his first life, he or she will be reborn in “a higher form” (Cowley xxi). The ability to identify with one’s Creator is another Eastern idea Whitman uses in which one at a certain “point in his spiritual progress…becomes identified with the personal creator of the world illusion” (Cowley xxvii). This means that a person is granted the omnipotence and the omniscience that were once only reserved for the Supreme Being that created the world. This achievement is classified as a person reaching “Brahman” (Cowley xxvii). One of the final Eastern points Cowley identifies in his introduction to “Song of Myself” is the acquisition of true knowledge. True knowledge, according to Eastern philosophy, is the understanding of the divinity of all things through a union with one’s “Self” (xxi). It is allegedly “available to every man and woman, since each contains a divine Self” (xxi).

On Machiavelli and Hobbes - Academic Paper

On Machiavelli and Hobbes
Niccolo Machiavelli, the father of realpolitik, and Thomas Hobbes, political philosophy’s founder, have transcended time as two of the most influential political theorists history has ever seen. Machiavelli writes from a realistic perspective with no fantasies about men and human nature. Hobbes had few fantasies as well, but his ideas on government are a bit more idealistic than Machiavelli’s, and the main factor in most of Hobbes’ arguments is fear. While the two share ideas on human nature, the state of nature, and how religion is incorporated into secular rule, their ideas differ when it comes to types of government, self-preservation, and war.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Space Among the Stars - Poetry

The Space Among the Stars

The transference of our souls
Settles my mind into a transcendent calm
In this space among the stars
Where we lay together as one
In a twinkling abyss of solace and solitude.
I am coming to the realization
That this peaceful era of our lives
Is beginning to deflate
As we float back down on the breeze
Of our existence
And return softly to Earth,
Treading along the misty ground
As we part ways for the night.

Photo courtesy of Google Images and

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The Art of (Not) Killing - Academic Paper

The Art of (Not) Killing
The act of killing is, for most, not an easy one and is nearly always misrepresented by those who have not had to take a person’s life. The band Carbon Leaf wrote in the song “The War was in Color” that “This black and white photo don’t capture the skin, /The shock of the shell, or the memory of smell,… /The war was in color” (Carbon Leaf). People who have not fought in wars often perceive very little of what actually happens to soldiers and what they go through while fighting. War, like killing in popular culture, if highly fantasized, if not romanticized. But in reality, war has multitudinous effects on those who participate in them. From seeing comrades and friends die to killing presumed enemies, war takes a physical and psychological toll on soldiers. Perhaps the most impactful aspect of war is when a solider takes another person’s life. The act of killing in war is extremely emotional, morally draining, and can cause psychological issues. Though the military prepares a soldier to kill and to fight in war, each soldier reacts differently to what he encounters in battle.
Many soldiers who participated in the Civil War found it impossible to take the life of another person. According to Dave Grossman’s work including his book On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, many Civil War soldiers only pretended to fire their weapons at the enemy or would just continue to reload their weapons. Of the 25,574 muskets found after the Battle of Gettysburg, approximately 24,000 or 90% of them were still loaded. Twelve thousand of those muskets were loaded more than once, and half of those were loaded between eight and ten times. One musket was even found to be loaded 23 times. Grossman came to the conclusion that the majority of soldiers did not want to kill the people against whom they were fighting and actually did not even wish to fire in that direction.