English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  

Dear Jack Higgins,

My name is Matt Conley I am a sophomore at Catholic Memorial high school in Boston, MA. As a sophomore we have been learning about contemporary British authors. We have been learning about mostly British authors who write short stories frankly because we can learn about more British authors that write short stories rather than novelists such as yourself.

I have decided to write you a letter because my English teacher inspired me to learn more about British authors. Even though you’re not a short story writer, you are one of my favorite British authors because I find your work entertaining. One of my favorite books of yours was “The Eagle Has Landed.” I also find you as a person interesting because I read that you were in the army and I am thinking of going down that path someday. I understand that you were an outstanding sharp shooter which is something I have always thought about doing. I admire that you followed your heart and left teaching to become a full time novelist.

My sophomore year is a very busy one, but I am inviting you to come down to my school to talk about your life and your writings because I think it would be inspiring to me and the rest of my school. It is important for you to come down here and speak to use because with our busy schedule I doubt that we will ever get to talk about any of your work, besides it would also be good for you to come so we can take time off of our boring curriculum. I hope to receive your response to my invitation soon.

An inspired Fan,

Matt Conley
























Eriskay Love Lilt is a traditional Scottish song written by Margaret Donaldson. Eriskay Love Lilt is about a small island called Eriskay. The island of Eriskay is right off the coast of Uist. In this song Margaret Donladson is showing her love for Eriskay. Even though this is a well known song of the Scottish people, most Americans never heard of this song. This doesn’t mean it isn’t an important song because it is a well loved song by the people of the island of Eriskay. This song is a historical song that teaches you about the island of Eriskay.

Margaret Donaldson is known as the rose of Scotland. Margaret Donaldson was raised in Port Seton. Port Seton is a small fishing village off the coast of the firth of forth. Margaret Donaldson has been into music ever since she was a little girl. She learned to play piano and guitar and soon began to sing. Margaret decided to slow down her career and she moved to England. Now as she is at a very old age she rarely sings in public. Margaret Donaldson now teaches piano to inspiring young artists of all age.

Eriskay Love Lilt has no exact date when it was written but is known to be written before the 1900s. In this song Margaret Donaldson sings about how much she loves the island of Eriskay. In the song Eriskay love lilt Margaret Donaldson says “sad am I, without thee” Margaret Donaldson is saying hear in this part of the song is that if she isn’t on the island of Eriskay than she is never going to be happy. Margaret Donaldson also says in one part of her song “strength and light thou'rt to me.” Margaret Donaldson is saying that the island of Eriskay brings her strength and happiness into her life.

I did some research about my song Eriskay Love Lilt. I asked kids who I know if they knew my song. I asked Chris Kerrigan if knew my song Eriskay Love Lilt and he said “I have no clue about that song and I don’t really care” I continued to do my research and I asked my dads friend Patrick Kelly if he knew my song Eriskay Love Lilt because he is 100% Scottish and he said “yes, I know that song. I grew up listening to it.” My dad’s friend also told me there has been many newer versions of this song sung by some of the biggest Scottish singers today. So I came to the conclusion that most Americans have never heard of Eriskay Love Lilt but is well known by the Scottish people.






















Last June the journalist, Shi Tao, was sentenced to ten years in prison for sending anonymous messages to a New York-based, Chinese-language Web site that police said contained state secrets. His messages included a summarization of a conversation of a Chinese Communist party and sending this conversation to websites all across the world. This crime was motivated by power because Shi Tao wanted to be able to go to America and get the respect he deserved. Yahoo.com was the reason why Shi Tao was arrested. In Tao’s mail there was evidence proving that he was the person sending these secret messages.

In Shi Tao’s own defense the criminal said “Treason may be wrong, but Yahoo.com and the Chinese government had no right to invade my privacy the way they did.” There was said to be other culprits in this spree of corruption but they are still investigating the case for the other accomplices. During an interview with the corrupt journalist, Shi Tao was asked, “what did you hope to gain out of all of this?” Tao responded saying “I believed that if I gave away secretes about my government that I would get a high paying journalist position in America.”

After spending some time researching my crime treason, I found many accounts of treason spoken in many different tragic plays of Shakespeare’. I had found eight accounts of treason in King Lear, six accounts in Macbeth, and five accounts in Titus Andronicus. So as you can see treason is not just a modern crime it was an even bigger crime back in the Shakespearian times






























Ever since I can remember my father has been a police officer. So my whole life I have been around his gun or pistol. So “pistol” is the word I decided to use for this assignment. The word “pistol” was originated by the French word pistolle that was invented in 1566. Even though my father is a police officer, I believe that my word “pistol” has a negative effect on the world today. When I think about the word “pistol,” negative words pop into my head hence the reason why I believe my word “pistol” has a negative effect on the world today. When I think about the word “pistol,” I think violence, murder, hate, all which are negative words.

When I looked up my word “pistol” in the Webster’s Dictionary, American Heritage Dictionary, and wordnet.com they all came up with the similar definition of: a small firearm held and fired with one hand. My word “pistol” still has the same definition now as it was when it was first originated and put into these three dictionaries. This is so because the word “pistol” only really has one definition.

After looking up my word “pistol” in the three ordinary dictionaries, I looked up my word in the Oxford English Dictionary and the definition was a bit more complicated and complex. The OED definition for the word “pistol” is: a small fire-arm, with a more or less carved stick, adapted to be held in, and fired by one hand. The first time anyone had ever used the word “pistol,” according to the OED, was in 1570 in Queen Elizabeth Achad. by Sir H. Gilbert. In this book where the word “pistol” is first ever written down was: “to teache noble men and gentlemen…to skirmish on horsbacke with pistolles.” The second time “pistol” was used was nine years later in 1579 by Digges Stratiot III where it says “to give the enemye a volue of their pistols.” The third time my word was used was twenty-two years later in 1601 by Sir W. Curnwallis where it says “to keep this case of pistols continually ready charged.” So you can see that the word “pistol must be a frequently used word if it’s still being used today, 436 years later.

Today the word “pistol” still means the same but people rarely use it. People in today’s time, I found out use newer versions of the word “pistol” I asked three fellow students of mine if they would use the word “pistol” or a newer version and to use it in a sentence. I first asked Tom Murphy what he thought of my word “pistol” and he said: “guy nobody uses the word pistol anymore it more like gun as in I shot you with my gun.” I then asked Kevin Phillips and he said: “Matt, it’s more like gat as in I will beat you over the head with my gat.” The last person that I had interviewed about my word “pistol” was mike O’Neil and he said: “um…heat as in I’m packing heat.” As you may see there are quite a few words that are now taking the place of my word “pistol.”

I began to look if any famous writers used my word “pistol” The first famous writer I had thought of was Shakespeare. I found out that Shakespeare never used the word “pistol” as an object or a common noun. Shakespeare uses the word “pistol” in his play Henry V as a proper noun because when he used the word “pistol” he was referring to a person. I looked up other famous British writers but when I searched to see if any of these famous writers used my word “pistol” I got zero results.

After looking for all my information on my word “pistol,” I already knew the English way to say to say my word. I wanted to know how people who speak a different language would say the word “pistol” I asked my neighbor who was born in France and speaks fluent French, how to say the word “pistol” in his language and he said “pistolle.” I then asked my step mom who is from the Dominican Republic how to say the word “pistol” in Spanish and she said “pistola.” Then I asked my friend Lucas who speaks German and he told me the word “pistol” in his language is “die Pistole.”

I did an extended search for the articles that use my word in a new way and all I got was articles that use my word as it has always been used. This maybe so but as I pointed out in my forth paragraph where I interviewed some of my classmates that are slang words that can be considered new ways to use my word “pistol” but as of now there haven’t been any new meanings in any articles, I guess we are just going to have to wait and see.