- Brief Quiz tomorrow on Books 5-6
- Memorize WW Fenn
- Daily post
I am at the hand doctor, so I won't be in class today. Please read and listen to Book VI in class. Blog and comment if finished early.
Our work this week (at school or not) is pretty simple:
Our in class WW Fenn recitations will be on Monday and Tuesday.
Tuesday: Post WW Fenn piece and reflection on piece.
~Complete reading Book IV
~Practice WW Fenn piece
~daily blog post
~Read Book V
~Practice WW Fenn piece
~daily blog post
~Recite first 30 seconds of WW Fenn piece.
~Begin Book VI
~Finish memorizing WW Fenn Piece.
~Daily blog post
~Post WW Fenn podcast or video by Tuesday.
By Tuesday, I want you to choose your WW Fenn performance piece. We will begin the memorization and performance process immediately--and it is a multi-step process! Performance implies mastery, not simply memorization.
This contest originally started out as a poetry recitation contest. Over the years, the original rules have been bent and distorted to the point where it is sometimes hard to tell that it is supposed to be a celebration of "greatness" in literature, not a mimicking of a speech seen on TV or in a movie; not a silly comic piece or sing-songing children's story, and not a shallow barrage of clever words set into a story.
I want you to have an experience that will live on in you and for you through as many years as you walk this earth; I want you to remember your words for the power that gives those words timelessness. I want to get back to the purity of the original source and lifeblood of the WW Fenn contest.
The third stage of the hero cycle is often called the Helper/Amulet stage. After the hero figure answers the call to adventure, there is always a helper of some sort who appears and will then help the hero throughout his or her odyssey. If it is not an actual helper, it will be an object that has "powers" that help the hero through the toughest fights that lay ahead.
From a psychological standpoint, this reinforces the "reality" that we really can't "go it alone" through life. We need help--and we need to accept help from even the most unlikely of places or persons or things.
Use the Personal Memoir Rubric to help guide the writing of your Helper/Amulet Essay. The techniques of the "Personal Essay Rubric" are useful, too; moreover, use some of the storytelling techniques from my post "How to Tell a Good Story," especially the use of dialogue, creating scenes that are full of images and actions and similes and metaphors, and be sure that the essay is long enough that the reader senses the importance of this helper in your life. I will not read an essay of less than five paragraph. That would be an insult to your subject.
Ideally, this helper/amulet is someone or something that has been there for you on a consistent basis and is not someone or something that was only there at "one specific moment" in your life.
Use a quote from "The Odyssey" and put it above your essay. An image--or images would help, too.
This will be made into a podcast or video, so you could get started on that, too.
Must be posted by Tuesday morning.
Here is a piece I want to return to. It offers a few simple tips to help lift writing from the mundane and into something more, well, better. Read this and leave a comment that lets us know just what you might be able to do to make the essay you just wrote a bit better--and then be sure to do it!
How to Tell a Good Story
Call me Ishmael
We are born to tell and listen to stories of all kinds, but the most popular and pervasive of these is the narrative story—a story which retells an experience in the first person. Every time someone asks you: “how was school? how was your trip? did you catch anything? what do you like about him? “was it a good game”? … and you answer with more than a grunted single-word response, you are telling a narrative story and YOU are the narrator. The only difference between a narrative story and a fictional story is how much you can play with the truth. The art of telling the story is the same.
Of course, some people tell better stories than other people, but why? The answer is probably because they tell more stories or they read more stories; they are not satisfied with the single grunt because they love and want to recreate the moment as vividly and compellingly as possible, and by the process of elimination and addition they have figured out how to tell a good story. Good storytellers know what goes into a good story, and, just as important, they know what to leave out. They know that a good story, well told, brings great satisfaction to them as the tellers and writers and to their audience as listeners and readers.
Truth be told, if you can’t tell a good story, it will be hard to get people to listen to you when you really want and need them to listen to you, like when you want to get into a certain school, or you want a certain job, or you are meeting new friends, or you are asking someone on a date, or you desperately need to get through that border crossing…really, anytime you are in a position where someone or somebodies want to hear your story, you need to be able to produce—and to produce, you need to practice.
Kind of like I am doing now.
Thankfully, you probably are already a good storyteller, at least in your head. The harder job is to get your mouth to say it like you think it or your hand to write it like you think it—it being the story. Sometimes this means you have to ignore what your teachers may have taught you about writing, for a good story needs to sing and flow with the unique rhythms of your natural way of speaking, which is rarely what a teacher is looking for in your essay. Imagine if your speaking was graded as harshly as your writing pieces? You would barely get out three sentences without being stopped dead in your tracks! Your mouth would be covered in so many red x's that you probably would never speak again--and that would be the end of good stories. At least from you. (Even now, my grammar checker is underlining way too many phrases and words--even whole sentences--with green scribbly lines asking me to reconsider how I am writing. I just ignore them. For now.)
The irony for you as a writer is that to recreate your inner voice into a story your readers enjoy reading, you have to write deliberately and carefully to be sure that it sounds and "feels" like you, and that (at least for me) takes a good deal of editing and revising and reading aloud--something most of us know how to do. We just don't do it enough. But if you do, and if you like what you have created: man oh man, what a great feeling!
Hopefully, I have written well enough that you are still with me, and if you are still with me, and if you want to be a better writer and teller of stories, you will "listen" just a bit longer. As Maria sings in "The Sound of Music" when teaching her gaggle of children: "Let's start at the beginning/ It's a very good place to start/ When we sing we begin with do, rei, me..."
Rule #1: Get your reader's attention!
Rule #2: Paint visually rich scenes.
Rule #3: Weave your thoughts into the story
Rule #4: The End is a new beginning
When I finish reading or listening to a really good story, whether it is a real or fictional story, I get an urge to sit down and think for a really, really long time. The better the story, the longer I think.
Sorry for this late post. I will give you a one day extension.
We will be writing a series of essays and other writing pieces centered around the hero cycle. This essay should center round an experience of "you" answering (or feeling like you need to answer) some sort of Call to Adventure.
This could be an actual call to adventure event, or it could be an "internal" call to adventure where you just feel like you should do what you have been thinking you should do with your life.
Use the Personal Essay Rubric. Try to write at least a four paragraph essay.
Save as a Fitz Style on your blog.
With your partner(s) create three multiple choice questions (or one true/false and two multiple choice). Multiple choice must have at least four possible answers.
Post your questions as a comment. Be sure to include the names of your team.
Homework: Go to my Odyssey Website: ExplainTheOdyssey.weebly.com and read and listen to Book II. It is Twenty six minutes in length. Be sure to annotate: green for new characters; yellow for important passages.
I hope you enjoyed the first part of The Odyssey!
Watch this and write a brief comment about something "interesting" you learned.
Do something you feel like you should do, but you do not want to do--then write about it. "If" you write this as a Fitz-Style, it can count as on of your required entries for this week. Post to your blog!
We must let go of the life we have planned,
so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.
The hero cycle is not a rubric created for storytellers; it is the primal urge of all people—across ALL cultures—to experience within their own lives the transformation of being a hero. Every ancient culture that has had its history recorded has some epic poem or story to guide its people. The heroic cycle represents the power of hope over despair; it gives us all the chance for redemption—even in the hardest of times. It is a recognition that without agnos (pain) there is no aristos (glory), and, in that sense, it validates even the most common and hard-bitten of lives by making the lives of every man, woman and child that has ever lived uncommon, unique, and worthwhile.
It is not an absurd idea to recognize the greatness and possibilities of our own lives. It is not absurd to think we have an epic tale worth telling, and it is certainly not absurd to examine every experience through a reflective lens and to start to appreciate the implications of transformation which heroic poetry represents. As human beings, we are hard-wired to need this epic poetry. We can’t just read the epic as a story and move on. We have to know the story and build and incorporate the allegory into our own lives; otherwise, we will run from the battles of life; we will avoid the straits of Skylla and the lair of the Cyclops; we will shun the Gods who come disguised to us and coddle the children given to us; we won’t shed tears for common friends, and we will lock out every stranger and blame our mishaps and misdeeds on the gods.
In short, we will not be remembered, and no songs will be sung about us. The saddest part is that you may think this is all exaggeration and hyperbole. But, it is not! Our lives are full of stories that use and embody the heroic cycle. In fact, I have a hard time trying to think of any “great” movie, book, or story that in same way, shape or fashion
Try to come up with a book or movie that you feel is a meaningful and powerful story that follows this heroic cycle. Fill in the blank boxes with a brief description of the scenes that best illustrate the use of the hero cycle in the story.
Upload the completed rubric to Schoology as a pdf: Last Name Heroic Cycle Example
Download The Heroic Cycle Rubric