BHS- Where you want to go, if you love to write!
I was buried in words and sentences and grammar and everything of the English language that one could possibly need in order to write a book. And all I could think, the entire time, was how overwhelmingly big publishing my own book was. Its size didn’t really fit it was such a big concept. At first, I was doubtful and sort of wary of what it would turn out to be but as the book took some shape (after quite a while of writer’s block and some serious page-staring), I started to see the very faint outline of what I wanted it to be and how I wanted it to end. But you know what, I think it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I feel so accomplished, even though there are some typos and it’s not going to become a classic or anything, but that wasn’t my goal. My goal was to publish a book, a book that I wrote and poured over with all of my brainpower and heart. I achieved my goal and I am proud of that, not because I think that my book is amazing or anything but because I did it and that’s what I wanted to do. The one person I would like to thank for making all of this possible is my passionate teacher, Ms.Melinda Cochrane. If it weren’t for her none of this would have happened. Believe me, when people say shoot for the stars they’re not joking, because I shot for the stars and now my book is officially published! So go out there, and wherever you are, shoot for the stars, because how far in the deep galaxy of life you might end up will surprise you.
All schools teach about writing is grammar and the structure of an essay. Kids are taught to always follow the guidelines and they will fail if they don’t. However, true writing has been forgotten by the annual curriculum. Writing should be delving into your creativity and simply capturing it on paper, not the boring repetition of creating a response to some weird story. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to have a course this year that allowed me to write freely without anything holding me back. This opened up the world of writing to me and presented new opportunities. I got to write an actual book and create a business to sell said book. This course taught me not only what it was to write, but to be a writer as well. A writer is not someone who simply writes a story. A writer is someone who is determined to succeed and pursue their passions through writing. They have a drive to continue writing and won’t stop no matter how many people try to bring them down. A writer writes because they love to write. This class perhaps is one of the most eye opening courses that I have taken, as it taught me life skills, like how to start and run a business. This world of writing is truly a tremendous community to be a part of and I hope that many other people my age will discover it as well.
Writing is more than just a few words on a piece of paper, it’s a million thoughts in a few sentences. It’s the thousands of crazy emotions and images flashing through the writer's head. The thoughts about what to write next, what to add, how to fix up the story, these thoughts never leave. These thoughts follow you everywhere and will emerge when inspired by something so simple or simply nothing at all. Writing is that rush you get when everything falls into place, when the missing piece of the puzzle finally comes to your mind. Writing is a random thought scribbled on a napkin so you don’t forget about it and stuffed into your pocket for later. Writing is that perfect patterned noise of fingers dancing across the keyboard. It’s pouring your soul into every single word and forgetting the time as you’re sucked into your own story because when you’re writing it’s not a story anymore it’s your own reality. Writing does not involve only the writer, it involves the world, people around you, teachers who showed you the way and other writers. It’s much too difficult to explain to someone who doesn’t write the feelings that emerge, no words could possibly describe it perfectly. You will drive yourself mad trying to come up with the perfect word, the perfect sentence, the perfect story. But the thing is that writing is not perfect there is both beauty and pain, suffering and freedom. There are times you wish to give up, throw away the pen, delete everything, and sometimes you will do that exactly, but that just leaves a blank page to start again.
So the year’s come to an end and what a year it’s been. Let me just start by saying, I wrote a book!! Yes, that’s right, a real life book is sitting in my home, and a few other people’s houses as well. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t proud because those 20 000 words were some of the hardest words I’ve ever written. I was swamped with planning and choosing which words to go where, and don’t even get me started on the unexpected writer’s block that would sneak up on me at any given moment. All to say, I couldn't have gotten through this without my friends and most importantly my writing teacher, Ms. Melinda Cochrane. She taught me that it takes dedication to become a writer and when times get tough you need to keep pushing through. She also helped me see the beauty in writing and how freeing a few words on paper can be. I admire her perseverance and talent and I can’t wait to see her name on the New York Times Bestseller list. Because I know she’ll get there and when she does I’ll look down at her name and think, that, that’s my writer’s room teacher and I’ll remember how honoured I was to have her teach me almost all I know about writing. So now I’ll be off resting in the sun or gallivanting through a field that I’m most certainly not supposed to be in, whilst I gear up for the onslaught of grade 10. But before I go, I would just like to thank Ms. Cochrane for the gift she gave me; the gift of writing.
Over the past year, I’ve been lucky enough to take part in the first ever BHS Writer’s Room. At the start of grade nine back in September, I remember being so excited about the new course; the idea of publishing a book sounded amazing to me. It was something that I’d been dreaming of since I was very young, a dream I thought would never actually become reality.
Classes started, and soon enough the huge project was assigned. I remember it seeming surreal and almost insurmountable at the same time, a daunting mountain that I had yet to climb.
The journey of writing what would become my novella took place over the course of seven months. Some days the ideas flowed and others were a struggle. Some days I thought I would never finish by the scheduled deadline, and others I was confident about the exact same thing.
But despite every obstacle thrown my way, I did finish my book on time. Twenty thousand words of my blood, sweat and tears have now been printed on paper, and flipping through them I feel nothing but pride. All those late nights reading and rereading the same passages over and over again until I practically had them memorized, all those long days of hopelessness and perseverance and dedication, they were all worth it. Why? Because in the end, my novella allowed me to discover a part of myself that would have otherwise remained hidden...and for that I am very grateful. So to Ms. Cochrane, and all of the Writer’s Room students who made this year so memorable: thank you.
Writer’s Room was a great opportunity for me to push my creative boundaries. I got to explore my ideas through many different compositions, such as blogs and a novella. In the process of writing my novella, I experienced some challenging and rewarding moments. Formulating ideas for characters and developing their personalities throughout the story was something that I quite enjoyed. I felt immersed in their world and the problems they faced. I tried to create characters that the audience would easily be able to identify and sympathize with. What type of backstory would cause a character to behave a specific way or act a specific way? I pondered this question frequently while composing my novella. I also learned about the hardships of writing and, as most writers, experienced writer’s block. For example, even though I knew what type of scenario I wanted to incorporate, it was sometimes difficult to put into words. Other times, I was dissatisfied with the direction in which the story was heading, and often reworked paragraphs or even entire chapters. At the time, it was quite frustrating, but well worth it, as the end product was really something I could be proud of. Writer’s Room allowed me to tell a story and to receive a hard copy of my work. I will forever treasure this class and the writing skills it has taught me. Many thanks to a great teacher and mentor, Ms. Cochrane, for allowing me to test the waters of the literary world, and what a truly fantastic world it is.
Writing my own book was far from easy. It was exhausting, emotionally straining and very challenging. However, I would have never changed the experience. An unexplainable feeling comes from typing that last word of the book. Finally finishing the story of the characters that have lived in my mind for months. Finishing off that happy ending that I always hoped for. In a way, a writer lives through their books and writing. This story will always be a part of me. I am so proud of my work and how far I have come this year. The countless hours spent writing finally paid off. All the stress, writer’s block and hardships were worth it. Receiving the paper copy of my book, yes the book that I wrote, was such a special moment. Holding a story in my hands that was just a figure of my imagination a couple of months ago left me speechless. I learnt that I didn’t care what other people thought of my writing… after all I never wrote the book for them. The book was written for myself, so I could say I did such an amazing thing that never in a million years I could have ever guessed would happen. What was even more great about this experience is that my friends supported me through the whole way. They were there when I couldn’t think of something new or when I didn’t think I’d ever finish the book. They were inspirations to my characters and without them the story wouldn’t be what it is. A book is a very personal thing to share, for me it’s kind of like a diary. Sometimes you have to face your fears and share that diary for other people, and that was the publishing process for me. The book was a learning experience for me, and I could not be more thankful for having this opportunity.
In winter all I think of is opportunity, and how the world becomes bigger and smaller at the same time. It becomes bigger because when covered in white it seems endless. It becomes smaller because often the thought of being in a snow globe comes to mind, which is contained and petite. Thinking this I take myself back to last January at the sledding hill…
I’m in my not-so peaceful mudroom with my noisy and excited siblings, laughing as I struggle to put my snow gear on. It’s finally the perfect day to go sledding, what with the fact that it only snowed on New Year’s. Suited up, I do my best to get into the car, because I feel like a marshmallow and look like one too. We drive to the sledding hill down the street and start to pile out of the car and unload our sleds from the trunk. I’m disappointed because it’s not snowing, even if there’s plenty on the ground. By the time we make it up the hill the sky is dark dark blue, and the only light comes from the streetlamps in the park. I settle down on the packed down snow at the peak and tilt forward to get enough momentum to slide down at top speed. I descend on my saucer, feeling like I’m flying and weightless. The air is cold and sharp against the tops of my cheeks where my neck warmer doesn’t reach. I am laughing hysterically and screaming as I fly. The world is pure snow. White and light and cold and perfect. It gets better, because now instead of just air I can feel snowflakes and my vision blurs because the sky is full of them. They dot the dark blue sky slowly and peacefully. My eyelashes are full of them and I let go of the sides of my sled to raise them up to the falling snow. Through my glee I realize the blackness approaching and it hits me that there is a drop coming up, but not soon enough. My hands fly back to my sides to grip my sled and my stomach drops and I coast down the steep little hill at the bottom. Then it’s over. My cheeks are pink, I am dusted with snow, the world is back to how it was, and yet the snow keeps falling.
The Singer Building used to be one of the most iconic buildings in New York City, but it is now forgotten and gone from the city that never sleeps. This skyscraper stood at an impressive 186 meters and was the tallest building in the world from 1908-1909, until the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower was constructed. This structure was commissioned by Frederick Bourne, who was the head of Singer Sewing Company (hence the name 'Singer'). He hired architect Ernest Flagg, who was a designer of an architectural style called Beaux-Arts. This man believed that buildings more than 10 or 15 stories high should be set back from the street, which would explain why the Singer Building tower only occupies one quarter of the lot. The narrow tower’s floors were squares that measured twenty meters on each side. It featured magnificent classical detail on the exterior that was visible from all points in the city. The main lobby of this building was quite impressive, with ornate columns rising high up into several domes. Singer operated out of this building for around fifty years before moving to the Rockefeller Center in 1961. William Zeckendorf then obtained the building and pleaded for the New York Stock Exchange to move there, but was unsuccessful. Sadly, this outstanding feat of architecture was uneconomical because of its small interior sizes. The demolition of the Singer Building commenced in 1967 and ended in 1968. If the structure was deemed a landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, it would have been saved. I think that it should have been given a landmark status, as it was one of the most iconic buildings in the city and could have been used for tourism. Many visitors would have loved to have seen it since the skyscraper was architecturally beautiful and had great views of New York. Despite that, though, the Singer Building became the tallest building to have ever been demolished until the Twin Towers, ironically built on the same location, were destroyed.
Lessons From A Blank Page
Writing a book is something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember. For years now, I've imagined myself, a finished novel in hand, flipping through pages of a world from my imagination. This year I’m lucky enough to be a part of the Writer’s Room, a class which will allow me to fulfill this dream. But it’s a challenge that’s easier said than done. Sitting down at my computer, a blank screen with the words “Chapter One” staring me in the face, I suddenly felt weighed down by discouraging writer’s block.
Does this mean I can’t write? That my idea isn’t good? That I should just give up? Some days, that’s what I believe: and although it can be a difficult burden, I’m lifted by the realization that I can understand an important lesson. Writers who jot down whatever, who string together words because they have a deadline, are those whose works are missing something. A passion, a flame, a spark. Us millennials expect everything to be done instantly, but the world just doesn't work that way and learning to accept this is important. Not only is writer’s block a part of the creative process, but it can be a springboard for other great things along the way. Just look at me: it was while staring at the first blank page of my novella that I came up with the idea for this blog.
What to Write
I’m supposed to be writing a blog post but I’m not sure what to write. There are so many different blogs I could get inspired by but for some reason, I can’t. I thought of writing a piece on fashion but then realized; Who am I tell people what they can and can’t wear? If you want to dress up in bright pinks and yellows then who am I to tell you that you shouldn’t? And if you feel confident walking around in your underwear, then why should I shut you down (other than the fact that you’d get a little cold)? I could also write an inspiring blog, about the lessons I’ve learned throughout my life but, I’m only fourteen. And like most fourteen-year-olds, I haven’t done much. I haven’t been through something worth writing about, nothing relatable at least. I don’t play video games or excel at certain sports. I’m pretty average and no one wants to read about an average person’s life. Please, don’t interpret this as self-pity because I love my very average life and wouldn’t have it any other way. I suppose I could write about books because I love books. I love everything from the book cover to the font the author uses. I could babble on about the whole experience books give you but this blog is long enough. This blog full of everything yet still nothing at all is enough for today.
Tyler Oakley is and has been amazing icon since he first started YouTube in 2007. He is very entertaining to watch and shows his incredible outgoing personality, that most of us are afraid to show. After over 9 years of posting videos on Youtube, he has gotten more than 8 million subscribers and has an endless amount of accomplishments. An amazing charity he has worked with for years is The Trevor Project, a foundation trying to prevent suicide among the LGBT youth community that he has helped raise thousands of dollars for.
In September 2015, he released a video called “Dare To Be you”. The goal was to help people be themselves more, instead of pretending to fit in. He encourages people to be themselves just as he is. Being on youtube, he decided to show all sides of himself. This challenge is also very important because while dealing with bullies, it’s hard to still be convinced that being yourself is the right choice.
Something he said once was “The only constant you have from Point A, your birth, to Point B, your death, is you.” His videos try to make people realise that that’s ok. If you're stuck with yourself, you might as well be happy or else it might not last as long as others hope. He tries to make others see that they can only be really happy by expressing themselves by showing their interests, opinions and to not be afraid to be their own individual selves.
Fault In The Education
I realized something the first time I went to a restaurant with friends, parent-less and having to pay for myself. On my bill there was three different things just above the total, like side expenses. I had no idea what they were and neither did my friends. We were embarrassed, but we had to ask one of the waitresses. She told us one meant taxes and one meant tips, which, despite my naive mind thought, was not an option to pay. However she did not tell us the third one, and I still don't know what it is. This made me realize that there is a little screw up in our education system. See, I can tell you what the subject of this sentence is and if this a direct expansion or an indirect expansion, but I still don't know some simple words in french like board, shelf, along, fit and hate. Every year I learn how to write book responses better and better, how to find a theme and connect it to another story, but school will never teach me stuff I am going to need in the real world. How will I learn to pay taxes? How will I learn how to properly raise a child? How will I learn about politics? Some people wonder how certain adults can mess up, whether it is having money problems, mistreating their kids, being unable to get a job, or getting in trouble with the government. I blame our educations. I blame it because school never taught us, and never will teach us, how to be an adult. All I can do is hope that, when the time comes, I won't get these problems and I will figure it out for myself, starting with searching up what's on a bill.
There are people out there in the world who believe in a certain type of lifestyle, and have a certain set of values, and I believe that that’s a good thing, that everyone has the right to their own beliefs. But when one person finds that their beliefs are more important or better then others, well, that's when segregation occurs. For example, when Hitler believed that his christian beliefs were better than the Jewish people’s beliefs. Because of this he started a mass genocide. Or another example would be the French and English thinking they were above the Native people to the land they were colonising, Because of the difference in lifestyle and religion. There are many other examples of segregation in the history of the world. Now you may be looking at this example and be thinking “well those all happened a long time ago” or “there's no segregation now”. Well that's where you're wrong. Segregation is still a large part of the world today. Even now there are still people in the world who think they are better than others for many reasons including, Race, religion, sex, income etc. A part of modern day segregation is fear. If we start stereotyping a religion or race then we begin to look at everyone who believes in that religion or is of that colour as that stereotype. For example, saying all muslims are terrorists, even though that is just a stereotype and is in no way true. In conclusion, I think that we should all think of each other equally, and treat each other as equals.
The Bates Motel Reopens for Business
When it comes to media, be it movies or books, the first installment is always better. Or is it? The A&E network original Bates Motel serves as the supposed prequel to the Alfred Hitchcock movie Psycho, but in my opinion, it surpasses it in almost every regard. Firstly, the characters of Bates Motel are much more fleshed-out and realistic. More specifically, the protagonist of both productions, Norman Bates, has a much more human and intricate characterization in Bates Motel than he does in Psycho. In the beginning of Bates Motel, Norman is shown to have had infrequent black-out periods that cause him to lose control of his body for an unknown amount of time and drive him to extreme violence. It seems that, with proper treatment, Norman could eventually recover from these black-out episodes. However, his mother, Norma Bates, is in denial about her son’s declining mental health for so long that she refuses to accept the fact that her son desperately needs treatment. By the time she does realize her son needs immediate therapy, he is so far along that he completely refuses to seek help. In Psycho, we get very little of Norman’s backstory, except for the fact that his mother was a very domineering woman. Psycho presents Norman as the typical, “crazed”, evil antagonist with whom we cannot sympathize, while Bates Motel acquaints us with the entirety of Norman. The show conveys Norman’s kindness, his shyness and his pain. We get to see a much more human, much more relatable, side of him. Secondly, the atmosphere of Bates Motel is much more rich than that of Psycho. Psycho’s ambience is very disturbing and focuses on being creepy, and it lacks something to balance it out. Bates Motel’s vibe is eerie, but it is also homey. Each character is loveable and has their own unique personality, in contrast to Psycho, where characters are predominantly seen as either the attacker or the victims. Last but not least, the production of Bates Motel is generally better. Since Bates Motel is obviously the more recent work of the two, the effects and events are definitely more realistically portrayed and more believable. Given Psycho’s old age, it is unavoidable that it is a bit more (pardon the pun) “black and white” than its more modern counterpart. However, I think that even if there was the possibility of creating a Psycho series, I think that Norman’s complexity would have still fallen short in comparison to Bates Motel. One’s time would certainly not be wasted by watching either or both. My recommendation: Watch Bates Motel first.
The Snowy Lake
I stand on the rocky shore of the rippling lake with my best friends. Bright smiles and rosy cheeks can be found on all of our faces and a dim twinkle in our eyes shows the happiness that we find in each other. Scrolling through the pictures I took, I can see blurry spots throughout the photos. I look up at the sky and I see delicate little white crystals falling. One of the beautiful snowflakes lands on my nose, tickling my senses. Upon landing silently on the chilly rocky ground, the snow quickly turns into water. The once beautiful and unique crystals turn into liquid nothing. What was once one of nature’s most astounding creations quickly disappeared. None are the same, they each have their own patterns. It blows from above softly, hitting the bare branches of the trees that had recently lost their brightly coloured leaves. It only lasts a few moments, but in those moments time stopped. There was no stress, no worries and no judgements. Snow can do that to people, mesmerize them long enough for them to forget their thoughts... and the darkness that lays there. It’s a blanket of white that covers the darkness of the cold hard ground. It brings a sense of light. Just those few flakes brought a sense of peace to my mind that had been wanting to escape the thoughts of the harsh world. It only lasted a few special minutes, but in that time alone, I felt more relaxed than I had been for a long time. When the sky had rid itself of the flakes, the darkness came back, but my mind stayed white like the dazzling snow.
Teenagers are slowly dying. Look closely into their eyes, do you see how broken they are? Tell me you do not see how much they try to plaster on a fake smile on their face when in reality they are sad. They laugh until their sides hurt when they are around other people but once they get home, they cry until their little heart cannot take it anymore. They scream at the walls and wonder how did they end up like this. It was as if just yesterday they were all children with grins as bright as the sun. They did not have a care in the world. Now, they struggle to get up from bed in the morning, they hurt themselves and everyone around them, afraid that if someone gets too close they will be trapped in their hell as well. I never thought I would see my generation like this. Every day someone takes away their beautiful and innocent life, trying to find a way out of their misery. Society knows us as the unhappy teens with fake smiles, the lost generation. How did this happen? We were all happy once, we were all hopeful about the future, happy for a tomorrow. Now, we hope tomorrow never comes, we cry when we think about a future, we have lost so much hope in ourselves. I wonder who is to blame. Our parents, society, social media, school, or is it our fault we let this happen?
By Kate Douglas
We all have those relationships in our lives that we hold onto even though they are potentially toxic to our health. Whether it is a relative, friend, or partner, these people can damage us in many ways. Then why do we still cling on?
Maybe we are blinded by the good in these types of people. Maybe we have been around them for so long that we do not see what negative effect they are having on us. Whatever the reason may be, we need to rid these people from our lives. What is a toxic relationship, you might ask? Sometimes it means your friend, relative, partner, etc, is very controlling. Other times it means that they are abusive. It is basically a relationship that you have that has a negative effect on your life. It all depends on the situation. Sometimes, without us even knowing it, these relationships are making us more stressed or less happy in life. It gets to a certain point when you need to tell yourself that you deserve better, that this treatment you are getting from these people is not right.
This is the hard part, telling ourselves that we deserve more. For some reason, we tend to settle for what we have because we think there is not anything better waiting for us. We torture ourselves and suffer in these toxic relationships, and yet the solution is so simple. If we just flushed these people from our lives, I think we would find our lives would become a lot happier. We just need to realize that we do deserve more, that we are worthy of a happy life, free of these toxic people.
I am so worried about being judged. Even though it may not always seem like it, as I am always loud in the halls talking to anyone I see, I still get very worried about being judged. I always feel like I have this pressure and stress weighing me down. I care too much about my appearance. Physically, verbally... everything I do I over think. I can always seem to find the bad things in myself and it’s always a struggle to find the good things. I almost feel like a hypocrite when I tell people to be themselves and that they’re perfect just the way they are when I see so many flaws in myself. Even though I believe what I say to them, I can’t even say it to myself. It saddens me. I want to one day be content with myself and be able to love myself like I love others. I want to be able to feel confident and happy with myself. It’s a struggle because I don’t know how to love myself. I really can’t wait for that one day.
One day I came across a rather odd looking book. The cover was a strange collage of colours and shapes which I couldn't seem to piece together into a drawing (I later discovered it was supposed to be a man jumping through worlds). However, I wrote the title down “A Darker Shade of Magic” by V.E.Schwab on my ‘to read’ list. Unfortunately, I was not able to begin reading the book for a long time, and I soon forgot about it.
Then, for some reason or another, I ended up reading it.
It was perfect! From the intriguing plot, to the outstanding world building and compelling characters. I was amazed! Everytime I put it down (which was indeed a very hard thing to do) I had felt like I’d just watched a movie. The story follows Kell, an antari, a sort of sorcerer, as he travels through different worlds, five to be precise. As well as being a magician, he is also a collector. Because if this, he finds himself to have one day mistakenly brought back a relic of terrible power into his realm. He decides that before he endangers his world, he must bring it back to where it belongs. On his adventures he encounters the reckless and adventurous Lila Bard, a thief and an aspiring pirate, who gives him no other choice but to let her tag along. Together, they discover things about the multiple worlds and about each-other that could change their lives forever.
In my last blog I spoke on and on about authors writing with no purpose and only a goal to receive money for their work. With this is mind, I decided to write this time about my purpose. Although my writing may not be to change the world, I write simply for the joy of it. I write for the other people like me who want another story to read, a story of magic, a story of mystery, a story where anything is possible. These tales boil up inside of me and grow and grow until I can no longer contain them, until they overflow onto the page and take the shape of descriptions that form enchanted cities and glorious ships. The battles raging in my head are constant, but they are not the result of self doubt or the result of clashing feelings. These battles are between two kingdoms or the clashing swords between pirates fighting for gold. There are pages and pages waiting to be written and to be read, characters whose stories who have not yet been told. I write to escape, I write for pleasure and I want to share these feelings with others who enjoy the same sort of exciting, fantastical literature. I want to share the wonder and perhaps give others just a little something to look forward too, the next chapter, the next story.
Fall is one of my favourite seasons. It makes me happy seeing the hot, sticky summer weather slowly become more refreshing and cool. I love the feeling of walking out the door of your warm and cozy house to enjoyable brisk weather. I just wait a second before going on with my busy life and take a deep breath. Everything just stops for a minute as the fresh air enters my lungs. Going for summer walks wouldn’t be very enjoyable. The hot sun shining on my head makes me feel sick and dehydrated. When it’s fall, I constantly want to do everything outside. I’m even sitting outside writing this. Fall gives me inspiration. Sitting outside lets me clear my head of everything that's going on around me. It gives me a chance to think straight. When I need to be alone for a while, I can always count on the hill behind my house, that's where I go to sit. Something about having the cool fall wind blow through my hair makes me feel better. I know a lot of people disagree with me, but I'd rather have fall weather over summer any day. Fall is the season that I can sit around in oversized sweatshirts with my cup of hot chocolate, it’s such a fun thing to have lazy fall days. Everyone becomes happy because it’s easier to work with the temperature change and they know Christmas is coming soon. People start getting into the holiday spirit. In my opinion, fall is full of change, not only the season but also the people.