Hello, my name is Zach. I am 24, I go to the Evergreen State College. I am 6’1″ and I build treehouses. I am also obsessed with Harry Potter. I dunno, this is my first time on a website like this so I don’t know what to expect. I am keeping my eyes open and letting anything happen. I guess add me on snapchat? @zacharyapage and if you like what you see, talk to me! I’m a pretty friendly guy. Also, here is a video of me: https://youtu.be/zi3EvMLfO3A
I have not learned as much this quarter as I hoped I would; that’s not to say I haven’t learned anything. For a very long period of my life, I loved the idea of making small film projects. When I was in middle school, I wrote and began to film a very ambitious full-length film. Since then, I have had so many ideas for small projects and have completed many of them. I never imagined focusing on media in college, so I instead focused on more science-based programs because that is what will realistically get me work in the future. However, being in a class that I can focus on media in has been great in that respect. I have learned from the films we have watched on how to use different sequences to portray different feelings and moods. It was a nice time being able to be critical of many aspects of film-making.
The critique groups have been really helpful in getting honest and organic feedback for my project. My group consists of mostly media and a few writers so there is a nice mix of people with different views and opinions on my project. I thought the most valuable tool I would use in these critique groups was the feedback after the presentation was done but I ended up sitting behind the rest of my group and observing their reactions in different parts of my project to see what worked and what didn’t.
At first, I was leery about the critique groups. I thought they would end up being more of a waste of time than valuable; however, I am learning now that they are incredibly helpful. Now, off to edit the draft and make this project shine!
In Grace Paley’s The Collected Stories, Paley takes us through a series of short stories and narratives, each one completely different and unique from the rest. All of the stories are told from the perspective of different people who are completely different in many ways (different ages, genders, races, etc) which is a literary style that is presumably hard for many authors to achieve. The audience finds themselves wrapped up in one story only to find a quick ending, immediately followed by the start of a new story.
In her short story, A Woman, Young and Old, Paley tells the story of Lizzy, a young girl who falls in love with a corporal. From the beginning of the story, we get a feel of the family dynamic within this certain family: it is run by several uptight women who are very traditional in their thinking. It is important to note that the only male figure that is part of this story is the corporal. We never learn his real name but we do know him by his nickname: Browny. Lizzy, who is under the age of fourteen for most of the story, instantly falls in love with Browny and has convinced herself that they are to be married. By the end of the story, they are engaged.
It is important to note that the only male figure in A Woman, Young and Old is Browny. Paley is proving to the audience that women can have power and authority over the decisions that happen in her household. Though her stories are timeless, the audience is to imagine this story to take place in a time where women were not offered the same rights and liberties they are offered today. As a liberal female author, it is very important to Paley that the message of feminism be spread.
Paley writes, “’Women,’ said Grandma in appreciation, ‘have been the pleasure and consolation of my entire life. From the beginning I cherished all the little girls with their clean faces and their listening ears…’” Throughout A Woman, Young and Old, we feel a sense of community among the females in this story. From Lizzy, to her sister, to her grandmother, there is a connection that bonds these women. Lizzy’s grandmother is a very strong, independent, and wise woman. The story flows beautifully from the beginning as we glimpse into the dynamics of this strong family. The story ends beautifully as well, with the females sticking up for what they believe in.
Grace Paley does a wonderful job of conveying her message of feminism and female power and leadership. It is a very important message to be portrayed and she does it in a flawless and artistic way. Along with her other collected works in this book, Grace Paley tells beautiful simple stories with elegant images that makes it easy to want to read her works. Our imaginations flow picturing the scenes of such beautiful works coming alive in our heads, coupled with strong messages of hope and leadership.
I find myself still getting self conscious around people when I show them my art. It has been years since the incident–stupid as it was–but I still get concerned. I can still hear the snickering and the mockery when I was trying my hardest. I wanted to be selected so I could show so many people that I was worth it. But, I wasn’t. And one experience of my “best friend,” at the time, has me questioning every artistic venture I partake in. Because of one gesture, I am left with anxiety and nervousness to be artistic. And that is bullshit.
It has been nice to get in touch with my writing side via this class. I have learned techniques–through the different literature we have read–on portraying different styles of writing. It was almost a foreign concept to me to be able to be so distinctly different with one persons writing styles. Bringing light to this from the words of different authors has been eye-opening to me. It has made me feel like I have the potential to create great and versatile works. I really think versatility is a great (one of the greatest) traits an artist can have.
When I moved to Olympia, I thought it would be a lot like much of the smaller towns I had been to. I thought there would be a lot of small-minded individuals and a lot of bigots; a low about of crime and a high amount of pickup trucks. Upon moving here, I figured that working in downtown Olympia would not be a problem. For a while, I was right. Months went by before any big event happened. I had heard stories from my coworkers that had involved a lot of crime-doing and trouble-making right around our property. I suppose I decided they were exaggerating.
One faithful day, a huge event occurred that made that decision a horrible mistake. As I was preparing for the day, a woman wearing pajamas had come up to the window and knocked three times–maybe four–it didn’t matter. She asked if she could use my phone to call the police. I didn’t want her using the office equipment, so I came out to see what was going on. She told me she was scared of her brother because he was threatening to kill her boyfriend. This fear immediately blanketed on me and I invited her to use my cell phone. As she was, I looked across the street–towards the screaming voices I had heard–and saw, unmistakably, her brother and boyfriend.
Now, what sparked the feelings behind what I was witnessing, I will probably never know. The brother lunged towards the boyfriend with a decent sized blade in his hand. They danced their fight into the middle of the street while calling each other motherfuckers and cocksuckers. The woman on the phone was not telling the police what was happening at this moment, so I removed my phone from her hand and told them myself.
Shortly after, they moved their fight to the park across the street, at which point the police came and arrested both parties and I stood inside a locked door and comforted a crying woman in pajamas. After unlocking the door after the police determined it safe, we spoke to them and I sat back down and stared out the window, shocked at what I had just seen.
Sometimes, when I find myself downtown these days, I still see pajama woman (sometimes in pajamas–sometimes without) and she smiles and waves at me, silently thanking me for offering comfort. Little does she know, I was even more terrified than she was.
I am so happy that I chose to go to a school in the Pacific Northwest. I remember when I was about five or six and I told my mom (while it was raining) how much I love the rain and wanted to live in an area that had a lot of it. She told me I should move to Seattle and I said that seemed too far away. She responded by saying she was about to move there and she wanted to because they had so much coffee. BLECH! I was only five or six and hated coffee! I knew there was no way I would ever live in Washington. I sit here, staring out at the dense Washington rain and giggle as I sip my black coffee.
In Spike Lee’s film, Do the Right Thing, we, as the audience, are transported into the hottest day in August in the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, New York. It follows the story of Mookie, a local pizza delivery boy who is apart of a large and diverse community. The story takes place over the course of one day and into the night to show a stream-of-consciousness story of one boy and his relationship with members of his community. He works for Sal, the owner of the Italian restaurant, who sees diversity within his own restaurant. At the end of the film, a black man is killed as the result of a racist action by a white police officer. The death then results in a riot, led by Mookie, which ransacks and destroys Sal’s restaurant.
The idea of the heat is what sparked Spike Lee to make this film. He wanted it to be apparent that the heat was fueling the characters to act in such a way that they wouldn’t if the temperature at a perceived average. “The film has to be hot,” Lee says in a memoir about the creation about the film. He goes on to explain that, “Little incidents can cause major accidents.” In describing the plot and story of the film, Spike Lee compares the racial incidents to that of the Howard Beach killings. Lee knows that, if faced with something as extreme as heat, it can put morals aside from different members of the community and cause extreme tension.
The way the heat is portrayed in the film is very important and a key part of understanding the tension that has caused the conflict. Lee uses several key filmmaking techniques to convey the message of unbearable heat. Right as the film is beginning, we see heat hazes (or mirages) emerging from the streets. Directly from the start, we have a familiar visual that reminds us how hot it gets in this film. Not only do most of the characters mention the heat several times, they are also covered in sweat most of the movie. This gives the audience the incredibly uncomfortable feeling of being sticky and wet with sweat themselves. Nearly every character is covered in sweat and fanning themselves with something. There are constantly fans blowing and there is a specific scene where Mookie and his girlfriend, Tina, are laying in bed and he is rubbing and ice cube on her body. The audience—at least some of us—can feel the cool water and the condensation. In one scene, the neighborhood jimmied opened a fire hydrant and the streets were filled with water. We are left to see how desperate the characters were when they are laying in the water in the streets to cool off.
Another technique Spike Lee uses to portray heat is the use of “warm colors” (red, orange, and yellow) throughout the film. We see this almost constantly. From the red wall behind the three old friends to the red vehicles that pass; from the yellow storefront of the Vietnamese shop to the yellow clothing that Buggin’ Out wears. These bright colors are used throughout the film as symbolism to convey how warm it really is.
One last major technique used in this film is how light is shown. Generally speaking, whenever there are scenes that take place indoors, it is dark. When there are scenes that take place outdoors, it is usually overly bright. This is more than likely to convey how bright the sun is and how it does not go away.
The sun and the heat are unifying conflicts between every character in the film. This is a way for the community to have one large struggle and something that can be an excuse for everyone’s behavior. The riot at the end involves people of different backgrounds and cultures in the same community and can be blame on one universal and understood conflict: the heat.
“Is there a reason you brought me here?” he said. “Surely you know I have no interest in seeing you.”
“It’s Kate. She’s died.”
These words hit Jack like a load of bricks dropping from the sky. After the history they had–after what he confided in her–hearing her husband telling him that was the worst possible reality.
“I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, Jack—but I know how you felt about her. I know you would’ve wanted to know.”
“How? Said Jack, simply—lost for words.
“The George Washington Bridge.”
“Did she do it herself?”
Brad looked at him with a look that assured him that is was an individual and planned death.
Jack looked at Brad’s eyes for the first time tonight and saw the pain. He didn’t want to imagine Kate in this way. To him, he imagined her in high school still; with a big dopey grin on her face.
“I’m sorry,” said Jack—his voice trailing.
“Likewise,” said Brad, his glazed eyes staring at the condensation on the martini glass in his left hand.
“I never doubted for one second the feelings she had for you,” said Brad, changing the tone after several long silent seconds. “Five years at your age was a long time.”
“Yes, I suppose,” Jack responded.
Memories began to flood his mind—made even more vivid by the liquor running through his blood. He remembered. Only fourteen years old and falling in love—so young that it was inconceivable. Going through high school and running away after instead of going to college.
“There’s a reason she married you—“
“Jack, she married me for money. We’ve been—were—“ he said as tears filled his eyes—“married for nine years and she still lit up at the mention of your name. I know she was in love with you,” Brad said confidently.
“She left this at home,” finished Brad.
He pulled out a small, crumpled, yellow piece of paper out of his breast pocket and gently set it in Jack’s left hand.
Jack carefully unfolded it, leery as to what it could be. He read it slowly in his mind.
“My darling Jack, nine and a half years it’s been and my mind does not wander from you. I put on a brave façade but I am weak and I am nothing without you. I cannot endure more pain being married to someone I do not love. It’s always been you. One day, our reunion will be as sweet as our first meeting. I’ll save you a seat. Forever, Kate—“
Time stopped. For a moment, Jack’s heart leapt. He could be back with Kate. After the moment had passed, reality slapped him briskly on his left cheek.
“I’m sorry, I had no idea,” uttered Jack.
“Don’t apologize. I had no idea either,” said Brad in response.
They sat for a while and Brad broke the silence.
“I can’t imagine how she was feeling,” not expecting a response.
“I can,” Jack responded. “I confided in her for years about my struggles and about how I wanted to jump. I did this.”
“Don’t blame yourself.”
Jack thought for a moment and then stood up. He extended his left hand towards Brad who stared at it. They looked in each other’s eyes and Brad stood up as well. He embraced Jack as he hadn’t been embraced in years.
“Thank you,” Jack said warmly.
Later that night, Jack found himself on the George Washington Bridge.
“Forever and always, darling.”