English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  
  Dear Mr. Simon Callow,

This is Michael Woodson of Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. Actually
its more of a request than it is a question. I was wondering if you would come and speak to our
student body here at Catholic Memorial. We are doing a project on contemporary British authors in
our class, English Literature. While I was searching for an author , I saw your name and information
and it really stood out to me.

The fact that you are not only an author, but also an actor and a director amazes me. This is why I
am writing you, to invite you to come and speak to us about your experiences, because they sound so
interesting, and we would love to hear about it.

Seeing that you were born in 1949, I am sure you must have many stories to tell. As a Britain, I am
sure you have seen and experienced many things throughout your life. Your education at Queen
University of Belfast has led to many great things in your life. I see that you were recently
awarded the C.B.E. (Commander of the order of the British Empire) in 1999. Your life as lived so far
seems very interesting. But the books that you have written interest me even more. Particularly,
Shooting The Actor, which accompanies Being an Actor, is one of my favorite. I favor Shooting The
Actor because it reveals the truth behind being a film and theater actor. It tells the story of your
deep involvement with films such as “Four Weddings and a Funeral”, “Amadeus”, “ Phantom of the
Opera”, and your role in “ Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.” Shooting The Actor reveals more about
film making than any normal film guide could.

I really hope you read my letter and understand how much we would appreciate your visit here at
Catholic Memorial. If you don’t come visit, how will we ever learn what it is like to be both an
actor and a director? Those are the two main components of film, and you have been successful at
both. We would love to hear more about your other experiences and participation in the arts of film
and theater, and also of the books you have written. I look forward to you coming to speak to us.

Michael Woodson
  When people hear the name William Wordsworth, they think of all the poems he has written. But what
people don’t know about Wordsworth is that he was very adept to his surroundings, and often
responded to them. He wasn’t just stuck in his own poetic world. In 1811, Wordsworth wrote a letter
to his friend (who is not named in the letter) talking about an essay which a Captain had wrote on
the Military Policy of Great Britain, and other books and sonnets which he had recommended to his

William Wordsworth was a poet. He was born in 1770 and died in 1850. He wrote many famous pieces of
poetry, such as The Prelude, and Lyrical Ballad. He also loved nature, and tied it into several of
his poems. Wordsworth never married, but he did have an affair, with a woman named Annette Vallon.
With her, he had a daughter, whom he named Anne Caroline. Wordsworth later wrote a poem about the
affair called Vandrocous and Julia. But after he wrote it, he attempted to cover up the affair.

When we read this letter, we are given a look into Wordsworth’s life. This letter shows us that he
doesn’t just read and write poetry all day. He also reads essays, sonnets, and other books. From
what we see in the letter, he seemed to also comment on the work he would read. He commented on the
essay which was written by Captain Pasley of Great Britain. The Captain was writing about the
Military Policies of Great Britain, and how they could be improved. Wordsworth gives this essay some
creative criticism, while talking to his friend about how the armies could be improved and other
things that also need improving. The power, strength, and depth of the army needed improvement and
Wordsworth agreed with that. The letter’s purpose was to inform his friend of this essay, and what
had been going on with the military.
This letter revealed that Wordsworth cared for his society, and the things that were happening in
it. He was interested in military, and what the military did for him.

















Many people out there commit crimes with only one intention: To gain power. These people simply
cannot get enough of being able to have control over others. Some will do almost anything for
it….even commit a crime. Abdel-Karim Nabil Suleiman, age 22, is considered guilty of one of those
crimes. He is convicted of expressing his opinions via the Internet. Now obviously, that would sound
funny here in America. We can express our opinions openly and freely because of the First Amendment.
However, this is not so in Egypt. In Egypt, there are strict rules against what and how you can
express yourself. Nabil went against these laws and posted blogs which criticized the Islamic
Religion and how it is run.

Nabil’s Internet blogs were considered offensive by many. He mocked the religion. He spoke of how
he doesn’t fast during the respected month of Ramadan, and how he calls it the “month of
hypocrisies.” He also criticized his ex-university, the al-Azhar. The al-Azhar University wishes to
suppress freedom of thought, and Nabil was expelled from it for his open-minded criticism. Nabil had
studied law before being expelled.

I did an interview in which I asked Nabil a few questions about himself. I asked “ Do you think the
crimes you are charged with are appropriate?” Nabil replied: “No I do not, because I was only
expressing myself, and no one should ever be penalized for that.”
Then I asked, “What were u planning on becoming before your sentence?” Nabil replied: “A lawyer,
that is the subject I studied in college.” Nabil also told me that he plans on opening up his own
human rights activists’ law firm, which will include lawyers who have the same views as Nabil.

Nabil’s first arrest was in October 2005. He had been defending a group of Christians who were
targeted by Islamic extremists on the Internet. Because of this, Nabil received death threats and
was harassed by police. A court in Alexandria sentenced him to four years in prison, charging him
with ‘insulting Islam and de-faming the Egyptian President, President Honsi Mubork. Nabil’s last
post was “The mere existence of legal provisions that criminalize freedom of thought, and threaten
with imprisonment anyone who criticizes religion in any way, is a grave defect in the law." A
few days later, he was arrested for that exact thing he criticized in his blog.

Nabil’s actions of rebellion are affecting many people. People who are reading his blogs are
beginning to argue alongside him. Many consider Nabil an example of how the government is trying to
suppress and shut down the freedom of expression in Egypt. They believe he should b freed. On the
other hand, people are also beginning to want to rebel like Nabil. If we look at the big picture
here, Nabil could possibly lead a major rebellion against the Islamic Religion and the government
through his blog posts.

This crime appears in the famous literary novel, Animal Farm. In Animal farm, the good animals of
the farm attempt to express their feelings of what is going on, but are silenced by the upper hand
of the farm (being the pigs). It connects to how Nabil is suppressed by the government for just
trying to express himself.

This crime was clearly a crime for the sole purpose of gaining power. Nabil posted these blogs
because he had only the intention of others being able to read them, agree with him, and perhaps
join him in his rebellion. Doing this, he could gain power over the Islamic religion and government
and possibly shut it down. However, that would be a very challenging thing to do.


















The English language is one of the most important tools in the entire human race. Some may think
money is, or forms of transportation are. But as long as you can speak the least bit of English, you
can do things all around the world. The word ‘race’ has been a part of our “important tool” for many
centuries now. And over those centuries, its definition has changed several times.

Race has several different meanings. In the Merriam Webster Pocket Dictionary, it says that race is
1.) “A competition of speed”, and 2.) Division of man, based on skin color. The American Heritage
Dictionary says race is a “local geographic or global human population distinguished as a more or
less distinct group of people my genetically transferred characteristics. The American Heritage
Dictionary doesn’t even include the first definition given in the Merriam Webster Pocket Dictionary.
This shows that in heritage, race has had only one definition, the one associated with color of

In the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) race is defined as an ‘act of running’, or ‘a running rush
of water.’ That was its meaning in 1300, and up until about 1565. In those times, race was used to
describe a “strong, flowing current of water.” But 65 years before that, in year 1500, another
definition of race came into view. The definition was ‘people of common descent’. According to the
OED, race originated from the modern French word razza. Some other senses of the word race in
England were ‘wines with characteristic flavors’, and ‘group of people with common occupation.’

Race is both a word that has helped accelerate human progress while at the same time decreasing it.
The word, not just the definition, has done its part in human society. When race is used in a
sentence such as “Come now, all races welcome”, they can see that there is no problem amongst
ethnicities. And when people read sentences such as ‘Come and watch the NASCAR 500 race at Talladega
Stadium!’, they can attribute the meaning that a competition of speed is going on. But that is only
present day. If you look back in the 1960’s, race seemed to have only one meaning: the color of
skin. There were signs such as “No colored people allowed”, and “Dark colors, back of the bus” being
displayed. And with these uses of the word race, the human race was clearly being held back from its
full potential.

Also, the way people used the word race is very intriguing. Most seem to use it in the same way.
They all seem to associate the word to the definition of ethnic separation. I asked my father to use
it in a sentence, and he told me “Today in 2007, race is still and issue in society.” I asked
others, and most had similar things to say. But not all. When I asked my friend Bo
Simmonds-Jennings, he said, “I’ll beat you in a race any day!” Now clearly he was referring to the
other definition of race, as a competition of speed. It is interesting to see how some peoples minds
have become wrapped up in the issue of race and what it is today, and how some haven’t, such as Bo.

Let’s not forget how people who don’t normally speak English have learnt this word. There are
people who come from a non-speaking country, and as they learn the English language, have learnt the
word race also. I asked a few students from countries like these. Carlos Adonne, from Mexico, when
asked how hard the word was to learn, replied “not that difficult because everyone expresses it.” I
asked Jongyoon Han, from South Korea, how he defined race. He told me “the separation of colors of
skins.” Ryan Pai, also from South Korea, said “racism is bad for human beings.” Even if these
students are from outside the U.S, they seem to have the same perspectives as people here in the

In addition, the word race has been used before in many articles and periodicals. “The Terrorist
Next Door” is one of them. It is written by Edwin Bakker. The article uses the word race in a term
of discrimination, talking about how people can “spot” an Islamic terrorist/extremist in crowds just
by their features. In another article, “The Last Race On Earth”, race is used in a way to describe a
competition of speed. John Hanc wrote that article.

Race is a word which has seemingly left its mark on the English language. Its definitions and
meanings in society have shifted many times over the time of its existence. It is seen differently
amongst different types of people and the ways they think, as seen in my survey. In my opinion, race
has both helped the world, but at the same time slowed it down. But whether we like it or not, race
will always be a part of the English language, unless it is phased out by another word.