English 10: Writing Portfolio

 

Catholic Memorial High School

 

2006-2007

   
   
   
   
   
Research  
   
Creative Writing  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  .The lost hero

While searching in the closet for my jacket something trapped the attention of my eye. What was
it? From the looks of it, it was an old weapon from back in the day. I picked it up and realized it
was an old handgun, made mostly out of wood and cold to the touch do to the metal plating on the
side. It was no longer than 10 inches long and had a clunky feel to it. The thing was practically
falling apart. It had a rusted smell to it, as though it had been in a rain storm. Why was this in
our closet? And how did it get here? I was going to get to the bottom of it.

I noticed an engraved name on the side of the gun Francois LaMarc a famous French general who
was considered a genius at weapon crafting. The gun itself was made during the 1700’s and was
supposed to be the gun of the century, able to shoot a bullet a mile away. LaMarc was not only
famous for his crafting skills, but was also famous for defeating 17 British soldiers at one time.
He only shot 4 bullets and took them all out. Due to his heroic acts he was called to be a leader of
the French military, but he had to refuse so he could give up his life in the military and became a
nomad…. Searching the lands day in and day out.

One cold winter night LaMarc was ambushed by an entire platoon of American soldiers and was
held captive. He was thought to be a spy sent to find out their plans in the up coming war. Months
went by and LaMarc had still said nothing. His pride was too much to handle so they called in a well
known general of the American army, George Washington who was able to get inside the mind of LaMarc
and he later convinced him to join the American troops to take out the British. While traveling to
Trenton LaMarc and his troops were caught off guard by 30 British troops and where all savagely
killed, But LaMarcs handgun was lost in a mound of snow. Days later Washington Came upon that very
spot and found LaMarcs handgun and kept it so that he could get revenge on the British. That very
next day Washington rode in on his horse w/ nothing but that handgun Yelling “Redemption” in the
name of his old friend LaMarc. That very night Washington took on that very same group of soldiers
that killed his friend.

While traveling to Boston Washington Dropped the gun in a Horrible blizzard and it was lost for
nearly 200 years. The gun found its way into the hands of a new general, Eisenhower. WWII had begun
and that gun seemed to find its way into his bag while going over seas. Once he put that amazing gun
into his hands, he was driven by a new power that roared within him. Later becoming President he
sent the gun to Randolph to be held with his brother, who later lost it. The same place that the gun
was lost, new apartment buildings were built up and in the very spot the gun was last seen, was a
space just big enough for a closet…..

In the current day that very gun seemed to choose my closet as its new home. While in my
possession the gun will remain in a place where I know it will be. This object means there is a hero
inside all of us and it is caged until we draw it out.  Hopefully the gun won’t get lost in a snow storm and stumble into another persons lap. Who knows who will obtain the gun after me, but until that happens I will keep a close watch out for it.
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  In a nearby West Roxbury neighborhood is one of the most serene locations around. this is a
place where I come almost everyday and treat as my second home. In the fall the leaves fall off the
5 trees that are seen on this little island and the fallen leaves cover all the blades of grass. The
island is no longer than150 feet long and 50 feet wide. Even though it is in the center of a
suburban community there are usually no visuals of other people, which makes it feel more like my
own place. In the spring, the island is one of the main places foe all of the animals and can be
heard scampering through the branches, which causes a startling motion as to what will come out. In
the mornings the blades of grass are all covered with morning dew which makes a glimmer in the air.
When you see the island from afar it is difficult to see the solitude that comes from it and when
taken the time to do so, you can notice that the simplest of all places can be home to such great
life. As winter begins to approach, the squirrels stock up on food and the birds go south, the flies
die off, and only I am left to stay for the time till spring.

The winter air is starting to come and is chilling all that surrounds this island. The grass is
covered in frost and makes the grass now look more of a turquoise color. The wind seemed to hold out
which makes all the trees stand tall without any budge. The squirrels normally seen running through
the leaves are gone and the birds of gone as well. The cold air was numbing to the nose and cut off
my sense of smell. The feeling of this first winter day would take some getting used to. Some of the
snow still laid on the ground form the previous snow storm which was like a white blanket over the
island. It was strange, the way the island felt dead, in the sense that nothing was moving and was
barely any feeling to the trees. Even the sun that warmed up this place was like the moon and lost
its energy. Although life may not be seen clearly, take the time to bring the life back into it.

While walking to the island, the air was quite warm for this time of year. It was around 50
degrees and during the winter season here, the temperature is on the 40 to 30 degree side. The sight
of the island was a peaceful one, yet strange without the birds and the squirrels whom are seen
scampering along the branches and the bed of the ground. The sun shined through the trees, outlining
every branch as though there was some Heavenly presence. The air was soothing to the nose when a big
breath was taken in, it felt cleaner from the chilliness. Normally this time of year was a hassle,
but this year was different here at the island. It’s like a slice of fall was staying and didn’t
want to leave.

While walking to the island I notice there is a little squirrel running through the grass and
up the trees, which was unusual for this time of year. The cool air was starting to blow in which
was just enough to make the steam from my breath appear. The grass was strangely colored, it was a
mix of dull green and a dirt like color. There were small pockets of dirt dug up by that little
squirrel who was looking for last minute food before he goes away for the winter. The ground felt
like a rock and was getting harder by the hour. When the breeze started to enter, it made the trees
sway and was pleasing, as though the trees were singing a song. The sun was guarded by a few light
gray clouds that seemed to come and go just as the birds do at the island. It is not long now until
all of the trees and grassy ground will be dusted with snow, and that time is getting closer by the
day. The strange weather makes me wonder, if like the squirrel, does life take a little extra
preparation and a little risk of our actions, but doing them anyways because we enjoy that life on
the edge.

Today the island looked gloomy with the dark clouds taking away the bright sun, in which gives
this great places a sense of life. The wind blew in the chilly air, but the trees stood tall and did
not budge. The discolored grass is wet from the rain that earlier. From the rain came the small
water dots on the edge of the blades of grass and on the fallen leaves from the fall. If looked at
close enough you can see that in each water dot there are little air pockets. Each of these was like
a little planet and it gave the ground a glimmer, even with no sunlight the water dots some how let
out a little slice of light. It looked like Christmas lights were being lit. It’s amazing how from
the smallest water dot can come a great beauty. I believe that in every essence of natures wonder
can create a little world, one that will bring more glimmer in life outside of all the city lights
is the most natural light, one that gives life.
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


As we know, Emily Dickinson is know for having her poems published after her death. Most of her
poems reflect the events she probably went through in life. Her works are usually gloomy and have
some sort of portrait of death in then, which give the effect that she is writing from the grave. In
the poem Almost, she makes it seem as though she want to reach a certain status in a way because she
was not able to be recognized as a great poet until she died, which is unlike any of her other
works. This poem seems to be a glimpse at what she truly wanted, to be seen for what she was/is, a
poet.

Within the first two lines of the poem you can already see where Emily Dickinson is going with
it, but most of the time it is put behind a metaphor, where as this time it is plan and simple the
point she wants to make. They read “Within my reach! I could have touched!” The way these lines are
worded makes it seem as though she knew that at some point in life she could have reached her dream,
but may have chosen not to take that final step towards it. If this is true, what was her reasons
for this? I think that if she made it to the top then her inspiration for writing could have gotten
lost, because now she would have no goals.

In many ways, this poem could be seen as her last poem written. By this I mean, how she say
“Too Late for striving fingers That passed, an hour ago.” This is like her saying it’s too late now
and my time is up. By her accepting the failure of not taking the risk, it makes people be able to
relate to her even more as a person who tried to achieve their goal in life but just fell short and
looked back on it and were not even upset, because at least they tried to do something with their
life.

One of the strangest things about this poem is that it contains no “-” and that mark is what
can be seen in all of Emily Dickinson’s works. Rather than using that mark, she uses “!” instead.
Maybe this is to stress to importance of what she is trying to point out. By using the “!” it shows
that this was not a poem that required you to think about, rather it was a statement to everyone and
that there is only one way to interpret this work, which is to get a goal in mind and achieve it.

When taking in consideration what Emily Dickinson mainly wrote about, it is clear that “Almost”
does not follow her usual standard of poem. Not only was the subject matter different, the use of
metaphors was not really even used, where as her poems are based of the use putting the message
behind a symbol or metaphor. The last difference may not be the biggest difference in an Emily
Dickinson poem, but the use of punctuation and how usually she uses the “-” and instead uses the
“!”. All of these unique characteristics of the poem truly make it stand out from the others.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Originally known as “sidewalk surfing,” skateboarding is a rapidly growing sport. It started in
the late 1960’s as a result of the surf population whom wanted to get the same feel on concrete as
on the water. California was the first place to uphold this new sport, and from here history was in
the making. Between the current skating and its origins, creativity has been the key factor, which
makes it something that anyone with a little imagination can enjoy. Skating portrays American in so
many ways, it singles out noon and is made up of people from all walks of life.

From my own experience with skateboarding, I can say that it is the most unique sport because
it is not based on winning or losing or who is the best at it. To me, skateboarding is a way to
express my creativity and to progress all my tricks by taking them to new obstacles that will
challenge my own abilities. One of the best feelings in skateboarding is when you land a new trick,
because you take the time to get the technique down, then all of a sudden the trick just clicks.
When you do finally land that trick all you want to do is gradually get better at it, to the point
where you can do the trick blindfolded. The foundation of everyone’s skate career is the ollie,
which is the basic trick in skateboarding, but the most aggravating to learn. Once you get the ollie
accomplished, its all fun from there and you will crave to learn every possible trick you can. Some
of the other tricks that you will want to get are the kickflip, pop-shuvit, heelflip, and the basic
bs 180 and fs 180. These tricks are the ones that will allow you to combined to all your skating.

In a recent survey, a number if participants were asked a series of questions pertaining to
skateboarding. The first question was “what makes skateboarding American?” some of the responses
were “Because all the best skaters are American”, “I don’t see it as an American, but it was found
here”, “Well I’m pretty sure it started in California.” The second question asked was “how is
skateboarding any different in the rest of the world?” In response, Krzysztof Wierzbicki, said “In
Poland I’ve seen some kids skate so I guess it’s done in other countries.” The third and final
question was “how does skateboarding incorporate everyone, from all walks of life?” A couple of
responses were “because it’s fun and brings everyone together, especially young kids” and “as long
as your having a good time skateboarding then everyone else can.” From the results of the survey,
you can see the a majority of people have knowledge about skateboarding. 40% of the Participants
felt that skateboarding was not American and 90% agreed that skateboarding includes everyone and
excludes no one.

Recently I sat down with legendary skateboarder, Daewon Song to discuss his skateboarding
career and about his life. Where did you start skating? “I mostly skated in Southern California.”
What is a typical skate-day for you? “Get up in the morning, thinks about what kind of donuts I’m
gonna get. Usually I stay away from the bear claws and cinnamon rolls. Those are too heavy. I focus
on the French crueller and a coffee, and then I’m off. Skate all day, pretty much. Stop of lunch;
eat that. Skate a little more. Usually we go and skate this closed used-car dealership until about
10 pm or 11 pm.” Who are some of your favorite skaters? ” I would say Rodney Mullen, of course,
because he’s still going it and he’s helped me out a lot. The second is my friend Jon. He
works at the airline, has three kids, is married with a mortgage, and still makes the time to skate.
Sometimes I get jealous because it seems like he loves skating more than me.
How do you feel about some of the (American) skaters today and their motivation?
“Sometimes you’ll find yourself in some dusty ditch with trash and cuts and you haven’t landed
anything in three hours, and you think, ”Wow, I’m really unmotivated.” But at the same time it took
some motivation and vision to get you there so you might as well go for it. It seems like I just get
up in the morning and I’m thinking about skating. Maybe I sound like a little kid, but that’s
usually all I can think about: getting on my board and finding a curb cut to do a huge method off
of.”

In these past few weeks, in the midst of getting the Public opinion on skateboarding, I sat
down with amateur skater Cory Distasio to talk about the impact of skateboarding on his life. Who is
your favorite skater or skaters? “Chris Haslam, The Gonz, Mike V.” How is skateboarding American?”
Because all the best skaters are from American.” How has skateboarding influenced your life? It
gives me something to do and it keeps me from getting fat.” What do you think is the future of
skateboarding? “Hopefully there will be a skate park in every town and hopefully it will become
more accepted by everyone.” As you can tell, the aspect of skateboarding on people is phenomenal in
the sense that it allows people to come together as a community to share a love for the same thing.


Although it may seem like skateboarding is relatively new sport, it doesn’t mean that
literature hasn’t included this unique sport. There have been countless numbers of songs written
about skateboarding. Some of these include “Skate and destroy” by Minor Threat and “Another City” By
Mike V and the Rats a.k.a Revolution Mother. Also the book “ On the Half pipe” Which was written by
Tony Hawk. In his book, Hawk talks about his upbringing in California and how skateboarding has
influenced his life.

There are many critics who are involved with skateboarding, and most of them can be found in the
few skateboard magazines such as “Transworld Skateboarding.” One of the most well known skate
critics is Dennis Bisenitz, who’s comments on skateboarding can be seen all throughout the
Transworld articles. In His most recent article, he commented on Dave Bachinsky, whom is famous for
kickflipping El Toro, which is a famous set of stairs in the skateboard world. Busenitz gets down
to business when it comes to skateboarding and the direction it is going in. His views and opinions
on this fast growing sport have inspired many and given the incite on the other side of
skateboarding, which many dare not to enter.

As for the future of skateboarding, I truly believe that it can only continue to forward. It has had
too much of an impact on the American culture to just fade away like some of the past fads of
society. For skateboarding is much more than a sport, it is a lifestyle and a state of mind. It
incorporates the person as a whole in order to continue progressing in tricks. There have been
influential figures in the eyes of skaters all over the world, such as Daewon Song, Tony Hawk, and
Mike Vallely, all of which have taken the true meaning of skateboarding and put it on the streets so
that any kid with a board can take to heart. The main reason why skateboarding is such an incredible
sport is because it includes everyone and singles out no one, which is what makes it American and
soon America’s past time.

   
   
   
   
   
   
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