English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  

Dear Mister Bernières, My name is Glen Misho, and I am a student currently attending Catholic Memorial High School in Boston, MA. My classmates and I are studying subject of contemporary British authors and their writings. As I was getting to know more and more I saw your name and I was reading more and more, about you and the awarding of the Commonwealth Writers Prize. I would like to ask if you could come into our classroom and speak to my class about your life, your awards and your certificate of graduation from Leicester Polytechnic, your Master of Arts at the University of London and some of your famous writings.

As I read more and more about you and your life I see that you were a car mechanic and a motorcycle messenger, those two words “cars” and “motorcycle” bring a smile to my face. I enjoy the revving of the engine and the sound of a motorcycle starting up and I hear that every day, because my dad owns a 2004 Honda motorcycle and a 1999 magnetic red Chevrolet Corvette, with a 420 horse. Another very important reason I’m writing is to hear some stories of a live soldier and some war stories. I know that you were dedicated to being a soldier by the sounds of your books and the plot of, especially, one called Captain Corelli's Mandolin. I don’t really know how much a soldier goes through every day and I would like to hear some of the battles they go through everyday to make my life better and better.

If you read this letter, thank you very much, and I would love to hear back from you and would be greatly appreciative if we could even see you sometime in the future. From Glen Misho








The song I chose two write about and connect to the people of Britain was “Home! Sweet Home!” by Henry Rowley Bishop, and lyrics composed by John Howard Payne in England. This song was first acted and sung in the opera “Clari” in the Covent Garden in England, 1823. When the name Home! Sweet Home! what comes to my mind is warmth and shelter and that is what I think the British people thought of also. When people of the early 1800’s heard the word “home”, they think of family, friends and safety, and this song that I chose relates exactly to that. In this inspiring song by John Howard Payne, the people of England turned to him for guidance and strength in the return of soldier fighting for their homeland.

I believe there is one main reason why this song was written, like War? Family? Shelter? Or this song could have just related to a death in the family. When sung by Cathie Ryan, the song Home! Sweet Home! Sounds very mellow, smooth, and very emotional. I believe the main reason why it was written is that it was a promising song for soldiers, since it was written by an American Consul names John Howard Payne. As Cathie Ryan said about the old British songs, and about her new song “Home, Sweet Home” "Every generation has their own way of looking at the world," she says, "and yet the old folk songs remain relevant, because they're not exact. They leave room for interpretation, and they have an emotional honesty that invites it. I also find them inspiring – out of pain comes understanding and deepening.” And that is exactly how I feel about this song.

Even though this song is not popular today as it was in the olden days, a woman by the name of Cathie Ryan brought back the song in her new album “The Farthest Wave”, and it has opened a few eyes and now is a hit in many older adult homes. I have asked a few adults around the ages of 40-50, and about 40% of the 10 I asked about Home! Sweet Home, have heard or heard about the song, so as you can see the song still is holding strong in 2005. In today’s homes of 2005, this song plays a major role, the reason why is because right now we are in a time of violence and war, so this song calms the families of fighting or dieing soldiers in Iraq, and is one of the greatest songs for that exact reason.















  .On February 24, 2006, John Robert Ballard was released from death row in Tallahassee, Florida. Ballard was put to jail in 1999 for the charge of murder to his close friends Jennifer Jones and Willie Ray, their skulls were smashed in an apartment late at night, and the court has found no proof, including no fingerprints or any evidence. The state says they will not ask the court to reconsider. Was this a murder a want for power or money for Ballard? Reporter John Nolen of CNN.com writes that “this was a need for money, and the punishment should have been dealt with accordingly.” Or did Ballard feel powerless because his friends were wealthier? “Yes”, says a reporter from the Tallahassee Report, “the two friends of Ballard were wealthy drug dealers.” So, I think that the releasing of Ballard was the wrong idea for the state of Florida; reason being is that you’re putting a murderer out on the streets, and the world does not need that type of criminal back on his way of life.

For John Robert Ballard, I think this is a need for power, seeing that his friends were very wealthy at the time and he was, most likely, in a depressing stage in his life where he was desperate for money and most of all power. His closely related family member told the press that “John is a harmless man, and this does not seem like the Johnny I know”, with that said, this might have been the right choice of the court, or maybe not? Another suggestion brought up earlier in the case was that this could be a friendship turned sour, but CNN.com also states that “the three were very close for their whole life”, so also with that said this would not be a case of the friendship turned bad. With all these suggestions thrown out their, the ruling of the judge seemed right, with all these statements from the press and family members being in a positive state.

 John Robert Ballard might have been a man of hate, distrust and money hungry, but we do not know this seeing that his two friends are dead, but we can say that Ballard is released a living a life on the watch, all day every day.




































To accept as true or real, to have firm faith, especially religious faith, to have faith, confidence, or trust, those are three of the definitions for the strong word “believe” “Believe” is one of the words we look upon just as in a religious way, but most of all believing in yourself and your actions is the most important thing in life, and also the key to success in the world today. Many people in the world do not have confidence in themselves, for example in sports, when we go up against a strong team we automatically think we are going to lose, but by believing in yourself and your teammates, your automatically a step ahead of the other team. A second and I think the most important use of the word “believe” is, believing in Jesus and what he did for us, without him we would not be on this earth today and learning all these new things to make our life and the world around us better. With this said this word “believe” is a powerful statement as it stands and without this word, our world would not be as it is today.

Webster’s New World Dictionary uses the word “believe” as having confidence in a statement or promise of (another person), or to have religious faith (129).As you can see this word “believe” is used many times in relation to faith, religion, God, etc., but even though we may use this word “believe” with religion, we need to look at that first definition by Webster’s, having confidence, that word confidence is a very strong word, having confidence is believing, and when your believing in yourself and others, your closer to God, and that is said to be the number one goal in life. The Merriam- Webster’s Dictionary of Law uses “believe” as being true, real, and honest (207). Looking at the two different definitions, that says that different people do different things, and being honest, real, and true with yourself in a key to success, and being successful is being happy, and when you’re happy and the people around you are happy, that makes the world better and stronger as a community. With these two definitions of “believe”, we may look at them differently than I do, but when you put it all together; the word “believe” is a powerful and mental word making the world and people around us happy and successful in their everyday life.

Even though believing might seem like a well known word in the English language, it seems that “believe” is a young word that was first used by Pusey, a prophet. He first used it in 1860 in a religious text as “to believe in God is to believe in what God says to be true” (879). It was first used in Modern English in 1860, but many scholars seem to believe that it was actually first used in c.1300, by a Russian scholar as “Ich bileue on be holie gost, to bileue in God.” In 1590 the word “believe” was first in a piece of literature by Shakespeare in “Comedy of Errors”, it might have been a different spelling but the meaning is the same, “You are now bound to believe him” (880), Another piece of literature that “believe” was used was in 1633 by the poet Donne (the poem was written originally in 1650. “I can love...her who believes, and her who tries” (880). Lastly “believe” was used in 1603 by Shakespeare again in “Measure for Measure”, “I beleeue I know the cause”. As you can see the word “believe” was used mostly as having faith in or knowing the truth of and that definition still carries on today as it did in the early years.

I conducted a survey of my fellow 10th grade students about the uses of the word believe, and so to say they all had pretty much the same definition as Shakespeare had in his writing. I asked Kyle Tobin “What do you believe in?”, he said “Red Sox Fans”, “I believe in the Red Sox”, this is saying that he has faith in the team and the community around the Boston Red Sox. I also asked my grandfather William Misho, whose first language was Albanian, “What is the first thing that comes to mind about the word believe Grandpa?”, he thought about it a little bit and said “Believe is one of my favorite words Glen, believe is faith, believing in what you do is key to success, and don’t forget that, You hear me!” His answer was very interesting and out spoken, as you can see when the word believe can make people very outgoing and happy about what they do and also say, but for others it can make them feel very guilty about themselves at times.

For Example, as I looked around and tried to find headlines in the newspaper with “believe” included in it, coincidentally I bumped into the headline “CAN YOU BELIEVE THEM”, this is a perfect example of the word “believe” used as an outgoing statement about another persons actions or phrases. This does not necessarily mean that the word is always used like this, another example would be “The other side of make-believe” by Billions Dollar Author Sidney Sheldon, and this author is writing a piece on the truth of others on what they really feel is fake or unreal in our lives and what others believe is true. The last use of this word that I hear day in and day out by Red Sox fans all over is just one simple phrase “Believe”, two years ago this slogan was the founding point for the Red Sox success in 2004, Sox fans used this word when they were down by 10 or even up by 7, “Believe” to them meant winning in other terms. Many people in this world use this word everyday, but have you ever stopped and really thought about what you say?

When you read this essay did you learn anything about this word that you, pretty much, use every single day of your life? Whose to say that “Believe” is not strong, and enlightening to millions of people across the world, and what about those Red Sox Fans, do they care what “believe” really means? To them “believe” is a phrase always kept in their hearts and thought about when the Sox lose, they look back on that word and see happiness and joy and those days of that World Series win against those Cardinals. “Believe” is our starting and ending point in life, and in our world.




















My father out front throwing the ball
“Concentrate on your target” he said
“Glen, do not be afraid of the ball”
Teaching his son the mechanics of baseball

A motivator, showing the way
A creator, bringing stars to life
A professor, pushing ideas into the kid
A caring father, loving all day every day

Man to man conversations about life
Cars, girls, and money
“Treat people with respect” he said
“I’ll always love you,” words of wisdom

I am the pain in the ass today
But tomorrow who is the coward
Its is my dad who I look to
For guidance and courage