Let’s do a story about love. About the coldest war we’ve ever seen and how its outcome changed the world forever. First a little bit about the author. My father was a failed novelist who spent the majority of his days sitting at home behind a plate of mash and the television. Mother was actually a deceptively successful recording artist. She spent her days at the studio toiling away on tracks for musicians from all across the country; always hated discussing her work, the result of either humbling modesty or worn out vocal cords. We lived in a house too big to keep clean, just outside the city of HAM. Though not quite fully submerged in suburbia, it was still an ordeal to get anywhere notable to me as a little one. I began skipping out of school far too young, spending days on end with my good friend Louie Feppo who lived with his mother on the town’s endearingly run-down military base. Under the mother’s disapproving eye Louie and I would rummage through old photos and piece together blueprints. We read accounts from journals and war logs and played out the fantastic fantasies scurrying about the vast empty hanger. There were too many things in those logs we didn’t understand, things nobody could hope to understand at that point. Didn’t care. Later on, we would bring girls over and hook up in the cockpits of dismantled bombers. Some nights, kids from the city would bring their trucks, bottles, red cups onto the landing strip where we would turn on the flood lights and dance and boogie till sunrise. When they played top chart records, I could hear my mother’s voice behind the rest of the clatter and felt funny in my gut.
I moved far away from HAM at age nineteen, went to live on the farm with my uncle and his lover Dean. They had gotten too old to tend to their small orange field so they contacted my father and asked if it wouldn’t be too much trouble to send some help over. At that point father was too apathetic and had gained too much weight to be in any position to lend a hand himself, so he had the smart idea of plucking me out of school and sending my hand along to lend his poor brother. The TV’s had been flooded with some strange new programming in those months before I left, I remember all the kids were feeling how I was feeling. We wanted to get out of wherever we were; the farm would be a welcome change of scene. After what must have been around two weeks of intense farm work I was full of regret and my brain was all spent and my legs were near busted and the sickles had all rusted. Uncle and Dean were very considerate, for they seemed to have already accepted their own fate. The Arnold family farm gobbled up what was left of their orange stock and snatched up their land a heartbeat after they stopped showing up to marketplace. Seeing as that farm was just about everything Uncle and Dean had aside from each other, it starts to make some sense that the day after Arnold’s acquisition they decided to stick a pair of shotguns up their mouths. I was sick to my stomach over the whole ordeal and decided I wasn’t in any mindstate to go home; and, as much as I had started to miss Ma and Pa and Louie, the thing I missed most was dreaming about those airplanes flying. Louie’s old lady gave Yellow Hand Base up for demolition (From the good old grapevine I’ve heard it’s been since converted into an art gallery or something like that) and lastly I didn’t even know what HAM would be like if I came back around. It had been two years. Looking back doesn’t seem like a whole lot considering the hell I’ve gone through since; but to a young boy, two years reaping snatched away with no rewards felt like the worst fate a man could be given. I took what I could from Uncle and Dean’s place and slipped out quietly before anyone from Arnold’s found the place. Set out on a road that I thought would take me to NED Yolk but instead ended up about a hundred miles south in the city of Hillderbrandt. I had grown out a beard by the time I got into town, hated to look like that upon first contact. The morning coming into Hills was the first time I had seen a human who wasn’t looking over the wheel of a tin can in god knows how long. I could feel the age on my skin, and knew that things would be different when I struck real land. I just never imagined how different.
During my year on the streets and gutters of Hillderbrandt, I always dreamed of death. I dreamed about slipping away unnoticed by the masses, miles away from family, years away from loved ones. I was blending in with the dimness death even in harsh daylight. I wouldn’t have even put it past pedestrians to simply ignore my passing. My body would have most likely just been viewed as an accessory to the filthy back alleys; the working men and women need not even look. I dreamed these hilariously horrible dreams on the daily. But I never once dreamed that I, this lowly trash of a man, would be blessed by audience with the queen. It was at the point that my career as a vagrant had reached its nadir that I was contacted for to inform me of my visit with the queen in three months.
I hesitate to refer to those next three months as “short months” because we all know that a month is a month and no matter of eagerness or joyfulness can change the cycle of the moon. But I tell you, those months certainly sped by. Nearly the day after the Red Man attendant had shaken some sense into me on the roadside, I dreamed of something different. Even though I still lay in the dirt and shivered as the winter’s harsh jaw bite away at me, my dreams were no longer plagued. I had one particularly pleasant one that recurred quite often. It goes as such:
A soccer field near an old girlfriend’s house. Louie and I would often smoke a cigarette each and sip our sodas while we watched the older kids train for their tournaments or whatnot. The field’s once stadium-grade lights had all puttered out and so kids would climb atop the poles in admittedly dangerous displays of their acrobatic prowess. They would fill the burned out bulbs with bottles of homemade glowing jelly and leave them up there for maybe a week or so, just until they faded out and the ritual repeated itself. No parents were ever surprised when the headlines at breakfast told of local children turned into splats on the ground after attempting to better illuminate their drunken football matches. Eventually they weren’t even honored with headlines, just shoved to the third or fourth page inserts above the bicycle ads. Anyway, in the dream at hand, there were no children plummeting from those towering lampposts. In fact I was alone with Louie, and the field was only lit by moons. There were more trees than usual, and it was quieter than usual, and the buildings were bigger than usual, Louie dressed the usual. He looked very sexy in moonlight, and we were both cold and he wore a scarf and there was a creek that had started to crackle a ways away from the pitch. All of a sudden there was an airliner with a red tail landed in the midfield. It looked at once like it had been ripped from the black and white photos we always poured through, as well as from an image of childhood. Reminded me of the plane with the red tail that my father often described when recounting the fable of Home Sweet. I don’t know if the tail was his own added detail or part of history or part of myth or what. Louie and I climbed in through a series of complex hatches, we spent ages fumbling around under the belly looking for the right dos and don’ts. It was still dark but we both grinned gleefully. The interior, though dusted with healthy a coat of dust, kicked around with some hard kicking boots, still riled me up inside. I ran my hands along the torn stretches of velvet on the seats, and I didn’t care that this creature was a relic. It was romantic.
Louie had managed to pry open the door to the cockpit, colored lights were flipping and flopping around gaily under their own coat of dust. It was still too dim to make out any labels. I pulled a flashlight out of my opposite hand and batteries out of somewhere else. There was a spurt and a sputter, then a warm and gooey stream of golden gold poured out across the control panel. Louie was fascinated by all this stuff, and I was fascinated by him. He pulled out an instruction manual from some sort of glove box and collapsed into the captain’s chair. I sat in the seat behind him and adjusted my seat so we were level with each other. There was a green captain’s hat in my lap and, after a once over to get rid of the dusty film, I slapped that old thing onto Louie’s head. He ignored his head, eyes locked on the diagrams. I wandered back into the main cabin, took off my muddy boots and straightened my socks. The black cotton worked wonders on the cherry wood floorboards. I slide up and down the aisle, propelling myself along with the springy spring seat backs. I was maybe ten years old. Some five minutes had passed and I was still lost in my sliding, I had gotten a really good one going too. All the way from the back of the cabin, around the galley, to the main passenger seating area. I felt like an ice skater as I swerved and spun and then I stopped. By the time I had flung myself halfway up the fuselage, time had stopped and I was still. I whipped my head around to see what was the matter and my eyes were caught by the window to my left. I scurried into the seat closest to it and stared out. The moonlit field was rotating before my eyes. I felt it in my stomach and I thought I was going to be sick. I felt in my head and then my ears and I thought I was going brain explode myself. When I pried them open a moment later the field was gone and I could see moons ten times brighter, I could see clouds and birds and even bigger pelicans flying in place. Flying with us. I rolled out of my seat, wracked with astonishment, and sprinted into the captain’s cabin. Louie turned to me and beamed. I followed his finger, pointing straight ahead, and fainted. We were in clouds together.
This is an extra scene of what I imagined happened in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road...
Before, they lived with two men and one woman with a child. They took shifts watching for the roadrats. Rumors passed around about people who left the town at night for food or water. Some heard their screams, others heard the chopping. He held her close every night. He could feel the child kicking her skin. Translucent and full, like the moon they would never see again.
The men proposed to move to the next town. They left in the day a week later. The two men held the weapons in the front of the group. The first night was cold. He fell asleep with his pistol beside him and the child between her and him.
He awoke to leaves rustling a few yards away. The two men stood by the woman whose mouth was stuffed with a dirty rag. Her child was limp in between her spread legs. One man leaned down to whisper to her and the other unzipped his pants. She began to sob. He fired once and then twice. Two florid splotches appeared on their heads as they fell.
He untied her hands and feet while her limbs shook. The brains of the child were spread on the ground.
They told me they were going to cook my baby.
He didn’t notice the knife until her hand flashed towards her heart. The color of her face drained onto her clothes. They left the bodies and walked back to town.
For my piece, I chose the quote that stuck with me after I had finished the book. I really like this quote because it really has some connection to the book’s essential questions. The quote is found on page 10 when the boy and the man pass some dead bodies. The boy doesn’t seem to be fazed when he sees the bodies but the man comments on how things stick in your head and the boy points out that the man forgets things. The man replies with “Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.” I thought that this was an interesting quote because it seems as if it had been told to the man by someone else before and I wanted to write about the situation that he would have been in.
I chose to write about cannibalism and morals because that was a huge part of staying the good guys for the boy. Every time they saw evidence of cannibalism, the boy would ask the man if they were going to stay the good guys. The man must have had an experience where he decided that he would never be a cannibal but early enough that the boy wouldn’t have remembered it. If the boy would have remembered a time where they were close to becoming the bad guys, I don’t think that he would have been as innocent as he was portrayed in the book. Some of the essential questions that I thought about in my brainstorm were, “Where do morals come from?” and “Who or what do you live for if there is nothing left?” These fit into my piece because this would be one of the moments that probably would have shaped the man’s morals and then in time, the boy’s morals. The woman in the piece (not the mother of the boy), kills herself in the end because her son is dead. This shows that she was only surviving and living because of her son.The word I chose to include in my piece was “florid” which is an adjective for reddish, ruddy, and, rosy. This word is usually used in a happy sense because the word’s origin in Latin, meaning to bloom. McCarthy’s writing is not happy at all, so it wouldn’t have made sense to use it. In other books and stories, authors would use the word to bloom when a character would get shot. I used “florid” when the man killed the two other men because it was one of the only times that there would be color described in the piece or even the book.
The work that I did was based off many others. I thought that maybe I could reflect like a mirror image of what people do daily. What it means to be an artist to me is showing how you feel on a simple piece of paper. I used many different tecniques to make my work the way it is. All of my work was inspiration, I felt like I had to make the things I did, take a picture. I drew what I saw and I thought was worthy and was very different something no one would have though of doing. I was inspired by many but only I knew what I wanted to do.
For this quarter, I wanted to make my art pieces unique and simple at the same time, that’s the reason why I decided to come up with things like collage and photo editing.
Since I’m passionate about music, I decided to make a collage of my favorite artists. I tried to keep the pictures symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing.
My fabric piece is pretty straightforward as I did not want to make something complicated.
I have a thing for clear sky and clouds, and that’s mainly the reason why I always take pictures of clouds. I decided to edit one of my favorite picture that I took this summer.
My final piece is all about love. I tried to give a bit of hint to TFIOS as well as some other romantic novels.
The process of making this podcast was very long and frustrating. As I mentioned in my previous podcast, it took a while for me to get the footage for my podcast. After I got my footage, I had to cut it down to ten minutes. Initially it seemed like it would be hard to do but as I got through the logging process I realized that a lot of the conversation wasn't relevant or usable. In the end I was had less than 8 minutes of usable footage. The last step was adding in music which was the easiest part. In the end I'm glad we did this project, although I wish I had more time, I like the podcast making part.
Art 2, the second class of art offered at Science Leadership Academy is all about the deeper exploration of the different types of visual arts. This quarter, we started off the by getting an overview of all the pieces we were doing and all the options we had for each piece. For each piece there were three options for the workload that you wanted. They were Passive, for the student who was in the class just because, Middle for students who are interested in art but not sure if they want to pursue futures in art, and the Future Art Student which is pretty self explanatory.
Our first assignment of quarter was another Art History assignment. We were to research art from any country that we wanted on the list of the website we were assigned to. I chose France and a dress by Yves Saint Laurent. The dress is his timeless Mondrian dress.
The second assignment is the one I am most proud of this quarter. It is an artistic collage inspired by Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam”, as you can see the resemblance from the hands reaching out towards the diamond ring. I gave it a modern twist by adding the diamond and model cutouts form a Cosmopolitan issue. Dubbed “Girls love diamonds.” this piece is definitely the work that cherish most out of my compilation this quarter.
The third was a challenging one. Our job was to draw fabric. I chose to do something differently and draw draped robes on a made-up/fantasy character I created myself as well. I thought this was challenging because of the fact that I had to pay close attention to where the fabric was hanging and going on the model. Although it was difficult, I was still able to create good looking fabric and do it in a more creative way than just drawing the fabric alone.
The next assignment took us away from the pencil and paper and made us go digital. We were tasked with shooting a photo and professionally editing it. I did this plenty of times before and still do it even now so this was right up my alley. I shot a symmetrical photo of a mailbox which was shot using the rule of thirds. The mailbox was centered with beautiful flowers behind it which gave it the bright colors. While editing, I made sure to boost the vibrancy of the colors in order to make them pop.
The last assignment was an illustration of a children’s book, poem, novel. Being the person that I am, I chose to do an illustration of lyrics from rap songs. The songs were by Travis Scott and Kanye West, which explain my drawings which show Travis Scott and Kanye West performing actions that they speak about in their songs.
Overall I can say that I have learned a lot this quarter when it comes to different techniques and ways to go about creating pieces of art and I believe that this will truly benefit me in my future. For that I would like to thank my art teacher, Ms. Hull for just being there to help us on the journeys we go on every quarter in her class.