Although I do not want to, the coronavirus pandemic will likely be the first thing that comes to mind when I think of my 8th grade year. Despite all the fond memories, the freedom that I experienced, unfortunately I will remember this pandemic the most for my last year at Fenn. I think in September, I was not as confident as I am today. I did not want to make new friends, or take risks, I just wanted to get school done with and barely participate. This has really changed, I have started taking more risks, at school and outside. I started standing up for my friends more where I would not have before, and have started acting more like a leader in school. I’m really looking forward to CCHS next year. Although it will be very different than if I went last year (for example) due to the restrictions that will be put in place (Coronavirus), but I am still optimistic. I’m looking forward to more freedom, more opportunities to grow, and just being somewhere different.
Signs of Spring
Nothing will ever compare
To the serenity of early morning walks
Just you, in isolation,
Yet it doesn’t feel like isolation
You’re immersed in nature,
In the birds chirping, the flowers blossoming, and the leaves falling
In the sun, shining off and on you due to the cover of the trees,
The tall, tall trees, that make you wonder if they’re just going to tip over right onto you
The calming, somewhat cold breeze
That comforts you, and makes the leaves flutter under sunlight
The chirping of the birds,
So simple, yet so calming, practically defining spring and summer mornings
What a beautiful spring morning,
I noted as I woke up
A heavy rain the previous night
Left the ground soaking, entrapped by water
But finally, the sun rose up ever so slightly
Peaking out it’s head and shadows on the life it can’t yet reach
Its powerful rays eventually blasting the drenched turf
Freeing the thriving life once again
Giving mother nature a new light
Shining a spotlight on our beautiful planet
Hello, Mother Nature
Hello, you who prey on the innocent
and slowly kill my beautiful, glamorous trees
the trees that supply for us
the trees that keep us alive
the trees that help make nature so beautiful and calm
Hello, you who shed light onto our lives
and fill us with joy
the sun that gives life to plants
the sun that feeds our planet
the sun that will forever keep us warm
And to mother nature herself,
may her everlasting beauty bring serenity to this earth
and give joy to the many future generations
What is something in your house that has become more valuable to you during your extended time at home?
While I, along with everyone else, are forced to adjust to this unpredictable time, there are several items in my household that I hold more valuable. I also have much more respect for my mom, who sits at her desk for several hours in a day working. I find it hard to even sit down and stay focused for the four or so hours that Fenn online schooling requires. Yet, she does her work without complaining and is always cheerful. I think that the thing in my house that has been most valuable for me during this quarantine has been the workout room. Before, I barely used the home gym, it had old gross carpet and was rather unpleasant. However, in the second week of break I convinced my parents to let us finally buy rubber tiles for the room. We had been talking about this for a little while now, and it was a lot of work when we finally committed to it, but definitely worth it. Even though the room is only a small square space, it took a whole day just taking out the equipment, ripping up the carpet, cutting the carpet, and then shoving it out the door. Not only that, but once I spent the whole day cutting and putting in the tiles, it felt like even more work moving all the equipment back in. However, I think that’s what makes the room so “enjoyable” for me. The black tiles really set the tone of the room for me, and I am able to get a lot more done and be a lot more committed towards fitness. I think the main reason I like it so much is because I now have a dedicated place to work out, not just doing it in my room at 11:00 PM before bed, but by creating a routine and a habit I have been able to get a lot more done.
What do you miss most about not being physically in school??
Well for starters, I want to state that physically being in school has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the main advantages/disadvantages (depending on how you look at it) is the flexible schedule. Unless I have actual zoom classes (which are becoming less frequent anyways), I can do my schoolwork whenever I want. If I want to, I can get as much of it done as I can during my first morning period if I don’t have zoom, and I will often try to get ahead of my class assignments. As an example, I currently started working on this assignment at 9:45 AM after finishing classwork for another class, when I could have waited to do it until class (11:30), or anytime throughout the day. This is great, but it also has it's downsides with all of this academic freedom. The main disadvantage for me is the lack of structure. Being at school offers a lot more structure which I think is beneficial to me. While I don’t necessarily enjoy actually being in school, I think I can do more work there and be more productive at school. I believe this is because I associate school with work and home with relaxing, and I have found that this seems to be true so far. I now need to get into the habit of associating home with schoolwork, because I’m finding that I get distracted extremely easily and put off schoolwork until the evening (when I am forced to do it). If I can get into the habit of doing my schoolwork efficiently during class time and directly after school, I think I will be much better off. However, I am still missing the structure of school, being able to ask teachers for help easily, seeing my friends, being more engaged in the Fenn community, and I’m sad that this is how I will remember my last year at Fenn before public high school.
Which do you think would do more for the long term good of humanity: everyone on the planet speaking the same language OR everyone on the planet having enough food to eat.
While the two options both have their benefits, it’s clear to me that the second option, everyone having enough food to eat, is the correct choice. Having a universal or shared language would be great, but it doesn’t really impact the long term good of humanity, and it would make our world less culturally diverse. Sure, it would help bring the world together and help people overcome language barriers, but it would also strip different cultures and ancient cultures of their uniqueness and history. On the other hand, food scarcity is a true problem in many countries. In the United States alone, at least 11 million children don’t have a sufficient amount of food on their plate every day. This not only affects adults, but also children who are growing and desperately need good food to live a happy, healthy life. Plus, not only does it affect millions of people’s health, it greatly impacts someone’s mental health and well-being as well. If someone is living in a food insecure household, that means that they will worry more about how they will provide for their family, or their job. What’s even worse is that many people are scared to ask for help, when there can be lots of help out there, because they don’t want people solving their problems, or don’t want to look helpless, whatever it may be. This can impact a kid even more their parents though, because it can be even harder for a child to admit to their friends or a trusted adult that they need breakfast. So for me, the choice was either to end food insecurity, and help the millions of people that suffer from this, or to have everyone speaking the same language. If we had a shared language, I believe that the pros and cons would balance out, whereas everyone enough food to eat would truly benefit millions of lives and serve to improve the short and long-term good of humanity.
P.S. - Forgot to put this on the blog Friday! Sorry.
Under this predictable yet so uncalled-for time, I’d like to think that my life has been impacted greatly, yet I can’t imagine how it compares to others who have it much worse. In the past three weeks, I’ve watched everything unfold pertaining to this pandemic. Whether it be headlines that the Coronavirus was now called a pandemic, or the closing of schools, shops, and pretty much everything across the nation, I’ve watched this all unfold from my couch. And while I think this virus has impacted me a lot, I can’t even imagine the sorrow and difficulty that people across the globe are feeling that aren’t as fortunate as me, whether it be a family member who was diagnosed with the virus or someone who was laid off, I feel grateful when I think about how me and my family have been affected. Despite this, I’m still sad that I wasn’t able to attend my hockey tryouts, or see my friends, or more importantly, go on vacation with my friend to Mexico. Due to this, I’ve mainly been sitting at home most of the day, playing video games. However, within the past week I’ve gotten more active myself, meaning that I started to workout and go for a run every day, but I also tried to be helpful to my parents. I fixed my garage door and opener, set up a new keypad for it, fixed a couple of doorknobs, and just did anything to relieve the “boredom” I was feeling, which really helped make the day go by faster. I still find it super frustrating that I’ve been looking forward to this break for a couple of months now, especially my vacation, but the fact that I can’t even see or visit my friends is aggravating. Yet I know all these precautions are for a good cause and to protect us, and I’d rather stay home and not get coronavirus then go on vacation, or do the things I’d normally do.
Eve and Enzo - Assignment 3 Questions
Why does Enzo refer to Eve as his ‘rain?’
Enzo refers to Eve as his rain because he relates rain to the lesson about racing we learned earlier in the novel. Earlier in the novel, Enzo teaches us about rain, and how racing drivers can handle it during a race. Like a race, Eve is rain to Enzo. She came in Enzos life without any warning, and at first he didn’t like her. She took attention away from Enzo, but eventually he learned to “embrace the rain” and love Eve.
Why might Denny be ‘lying’ to himself about Eve? What’s the context here?
The context in this situation is that Denny didn’t want to believe that Eve really left Enzo in the house by himself without leaving him at a kennel or getting a dog-sitter for three whole days. Denny loves Eve, but he also loves Enzo, so he finds it hard to believe that she would do something harsh like this to a dog that’s so close to him.
What do you think the zebra represents for Enzo?
I think that the zebra for Enzo represents evil, and he justifies his bad actions, like sexually assaulting Zoe’s toys, by claiming that it was the zebra. As an example, when when Denny hit Enzo, the dog believes that he didn’t get hit, but the evil zebra had gotten hit. Furthermore, when Enzo was hit he claims that Denny believed the evil demon was in him, but Enzo says that it isn’t.
Assignment 9 Paragraph
Why did Stein include chapter 47? What is its significance? Why have there been so many references to Ayrton Senna throughout the novel?
Chapter 47 in this novel is a short yet critical chapter. The starting sentence pulls in the reader in an interesting way, with the sentence, “Ayrton Senna did not have to die.” The chapter goes on to list the inconsistencies in the story. Stein explains that the story of when and how he died is not clear, whether he died on impact when he crashed, when he was pulled out of his vehicle, or in the helicopter on the way to the hospital. Stein explains that he died in the hospital, as millions would be lost if he died on the track, as the race would have to immediately stopped and the death be investigated. I believe that Garth Stein is foreshadowing a future event for Enzo in this chapter. Enzo describes that Senna did not have to die, but he died because he had served his purpose in life. I believe that Enzo is foreshadowing his own death, where he thinks he is becoming close to fulfilling his purpose in life. From the flashback at the very beginning of the novel, Enzo explained that he wanted to die now that he had no purpose, and he was ready to become a man in his next life.
Assignment 10 Paragraph
"A driver must have faith. In his talent, his judgment, the judgment of those around him, physics. A driver must have faith in his crew, his car, his tires, his breaks, himself" (290).
Denny, most apparently during the second part of the novel, truly showed a great representation of this quote. There have been several instances in the book where Denny had to trust and have faith in all things around him, particularly during the battle for Zoe’s custody. When it was the “smart” choice at the time for Denny to agree on part-time custody of Zoe, and then the charges against him would disappear. However, when Denny was about to sign the papers, Enzo saved the day and took the papers and destroyed them, since all Enzo can do is gestures and not actually talk. Denny then decided to stay strong and stitch with Enzo and not give up on Zoe, saying that he didn’t care how dumb the decision was or how smart it would be to sign it. Denny had faith in his judgement, and the judgement of those around him. Had he made that decision to sign the paper and not take full custody of Zoe, I believe that he would have regretted not fighting and battling every day.
Having the ability to see the world through an entirely different perspective is a truly eye-opening experience. In the novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, we follow the life of Denny Swift, a race car driver, and his family through the perspective of his dog, Enzo. We learn about the way that Enzo looks at life while following the drama of Denny’s family, with his battle for custody of his Daughter once his wife passes away. Stein teaches the reader, through the point-of-view of Enzo, two crucial life lessons. Specifically, over the course of the novel, Enzo teaches the reader lessons about staying in the present, as well as the fact that people have control of their own destiny.
Enzo has learnt several lessons from Denny since the day he was picked up as a puppy, and perhaps one of the most important is about staying in the present. Enzo teaches us this lesson right after a flashback of when Denny first picks him up early on in the book. Enzo states that ever since Denny brought him home as a puppy, he was learning lessons from Denny about racing well as watching racing videos. Enzo goes on to say, “To remember is to disengage from the present” (13). Enzo teaches the reader an important lesson that can often be forgotten in the midst of our busy lives about staying in the moment. It is often easy to comprehend this saying, but difficult to actually live in the moment. Several people focus too much on what they should have done, or what they will do in the future, dwelling on something they have absolutely no control over. However, if we obsess over the past and future, we will forget what we’re doing right now. The past is gone and the future is uncontrollable, we simply have to live in the current moment whole-heartedly, without dwelling on our regrets. Another representation of living in the moment is shown when Enzo brings up another lesson about staying in the present just a few moments before Eve, Denny’s wife, passes away. Denny was at Eve’s parents’ house for dinner with the family. Enzo notes that the hospital bed where Eve had been staying for the last eight months, due to her illness, was empty. Shortly after this, Eve emerges wearing a dress and with her hair and makeup with her nurse helping her walk. Eve then announces that it was the first day she was not dead, and that they would be having a party. Enzo then continues to reflect, “To separate oneself from the burden, the angst, the anguish that we all encounter every day. To say I am alive, I am wonderful, I am. I am” (160). Again, Enzo teaches us another lesson about living in the present. Eve had no control over her diagnosis, all she could do was stay in the moment. At that time, she had completely forgotten about her disease and was simply grateful to be alive. Despite the fact that she went on to pass away that night, all that mattered to her at that moment was being alive. She did not obsess over the fact that the doctor’s told her she only had eight months to live and that eight months was now up, she simply focused on the present, what was happening then. We can all often get caught up in obsessing with what might happen in the future, but the truth is that no one can control the future. There is no reason to dwell on the future, as all we can do is live life to the fullest in the present. While Enzo educates us on living in the moment, he also teaches us that a person can control their own destiny.
Enzo brings up the fact that someone can control their own destiny several times throughout the novel, and is actually represented by Denny in a subtle way. Before Denny teaches Enzo this lesson about our own destiny, the family had just returned from a beach outing, and Eve had just put Zoe down for a nap. Denny and Enzo then started to watch one of Denny’s previous races on the television. Eve then starts watching with them and asks several questions. Denny is patient and eventually brings up the phrase, ‘that which you manifest is before you’, and Enzo continues to reflect. “Such a simple concept, yet so true: that which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves” (43). Enzo is able to reflect and add upon what Denny says and teaches the reader a lesson about how we make our own destiny. Through every single one of our actions, good or bad, intentional or not intentional, we are making our own destiny. Simply, our successes and failures are a result of our past actions. Just like Denny and his custody battle for Zoe, his biological daughter, he wasn’t obsessing over what would happen if he lost custody of Zoe, he just kept focus on doing what was right and winning Zoe, and in the end he was able to get custody of his daughter. The next representation of this concept happens at dinner between Eve, Denny, and Zoe at the family’s house. Denny had just explained during conversation with Eve that he would need to practice with his pit crew the next week. She then notes that it was going to be his week off, and this creates a tension that Enzo can sense between the two. Eve then notices that Zoe did not finish her last nugget and tells her sternly to eat it, however Zoe does not want to. An argument breaks out between the two and when Denny tells Eve he’ll make a hotdog for Zoe, Eve is stubborn. Denny takes Zoe’s side and Eve does not like it, so she decides to go to the kitchen and make Zoe a hotdog herself, however she ends up cutting herself when trying to open the package. Enzo then reflects, “In racing, they say that your car goes where your eyes go. The driver who cannot tear his eyes away from the wall as he spins out of control will meet that wall; the driver who looks down the track as he feels his tires break free will regain control of his vehicle” (83). Simply put, this is just another explanation of the phrase, that which you manifest is before you. Enzo notes that Zoe could have just said the nugget did not taste right, however he believes that Eve would end up harming herself anyways. This moment, this tension, this argument, between the family was important. There was already tension in the room with Eve’s frustration about Denny’s absence and a situation like this was bound to happen, whether there were chicken nuggets and hot dogs involved or not. Throughout the novel, Enzo teaches us two important life lessons that can often be forgotten.
Throughout Garth Stein’s novel, he was able to communicate two crucial life lessons through the point-of-view of a clever dog. Stein was able to teach us about living in the moment, where you shouldn’t get obsessed with what happened in the past or what will happen in the future, as all we can do is live life to the fullest in the current moment. He also teaches the reader that a person can control their own destiny, and someone’s past successes or failures make up their destiny. From this captivating novel, we can conclude that it is important to live in the moment as well as realize our own destiny is brought on by none other than ourselves, and while we will often forget to execute on these lessons, they are important for us to learn and live by.
As you read over your writing, what do you notice about your writing style/voice? Do you have variety in the way you structure your sentences? Do you repeat words or phrases? Do you use vocabulary that is specific? Are you using adverbs and adjectives? Do you use vivid verbs or boring ones? Are you applying comma rules correctly?
As I read over my writing, I have noticed that I usually can apply a wide range of vocabulary. Often times, I noticed that I can sometimes be repetitive in my word choice, however I usually am quick to notice and I’m able to find a synonym that works. I also think I can tend to use the same phrases a lot (like often times) instinctively, as I recently noticed while revising my essay. I usually try my best to use words that I usually don’t use, and I think that when writing stories I use lots of descriptive phrases to represent “show don’t tell.” I feel like I can sometimes just not put a lot of effort into writing, but when I’m really focused I think I use vivid verbs well and have a specific word choice. However sometimes when I’m rushing or find myself not as passionate about the assignment, I find myself using boring verbs. Finally, I think I’ve always had a ‘feeling’ for comma rules, just sort of knowing how to use them from my past experiences, however this year I have really learned where to actually put commas and why, instead of just “instinctively” using them in writing.
Someone says to you, “I have good. News and bad news.” Generally speaking, which news do you prefer to hear first?
That phrase is often used for just bad news. Thus, I would like to hear the good news first. This phrase is usually just used with slight good news and horrible bad news, h