Tag Archives: Communiations

I am embarrassed I haven’t read…

Okay. So I am reading a book right now called The Thirteenth Tale…and it’s pretty good….but they keep referencing classic Brontë novels like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. Total romantic classics right? Right.


I am embarrassed to admit, especially as a person who loves to read and has a degree in English, that I haven’t read either of these! How could this have possibly happened? How could I have gotten away with this?

I had this nagging feeling that although I was getting the themes and the plot and the general nuances in The Thirtenth Tale, I was still missing something.

So. I. Cheated.

I went onto Netflix, and sure enough, movie versions of both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights were in there. Staring me in the face. Torturing the English major inside. God bless Netflix. Even though it sucks in so many other ways, as of now it is my partner in literary crime. I gasped at myself, shuddered, and put my head in my hands. And then resigned myself to settling in with a nice cup of peppermint tea cocoa (peppermint tea + milk + a packet of hot cocoa mix).

Okay how the heck had I not read these books? The movies (at least the storylines) were great! And they definitely lent a great deal of hidden themes and additional meaning to The Thirteenth Tale.

Now I begin to wonder…what other top classics have I not read? Uh Oh.

Google time…

Found cincinnatilibrary.org’s list…they had tons, so I cut it down to the top 25. Let’s see how i’m doing:


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 1884 by Mark Twain (I read it)

All Quiet on the Western Front 1929 by Erich Maria Remarque (I read it)

Beloved 1987 by Toni Morrison (I read The Bluest Eye, does that count?)

The Best Short Stories 1945 by O. Henry (Haven’t read or heard of it)

Brave New World 1932 by Aldous Huxley (Have it on my shelf to read and haven’t yet)

The Call of the Wild 1903 by Jack London (read it)

Catch-22 1961 by Joseph Heller (Started reading it and stopped halfway)

The Catcher in the Rye 1951 by J.D. Salinger (read it)

The Complete Sherlock Holmes 1936 by Arthur Conan Doyle (Haven’t read it)

Crime and Punishment 1886 by Fyodor Dostoevsky  (Haven’t read it)

Cry, the Beloved Country 1948 by Alan Paton (read it)

Don Quixote 1612 by Miguel de Cervantes  (Haven’t read it)

Ethan Frome 1911 by Edith Wharton  (Haven’t read it)

Gone with the Wind 1936 by Margaret Mitchell (Haven’t read it but saw the movie of course)

The Good Earth 1931 by Pearl S. Buck (Haven’t read or heard of it)

The Grapes of Wrath 1939 by John Steinbeck (read it)

The Great Gatsby 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald (read it)

Heart of Darkness 1902by Joseph Conrad (Haven’t read it)

Invisible Man 1952 by Ralph Ellison (Haven’t read it)

Jane Eyre  1847 by Charlotte Bronte (Haven’t read it)

Lord of the Flies 1954 by William Golding (read it)

Moby Dick 1851 by Herman Melville (Haven’t read it)

My Antonia 1918 by Willa Cather (Haven’t read it)

Native Son 1940 by Richard Wright (Haven’t read it)

Nineteen Eighty Four 1949 by George Orwell (Haven’t read it)

Dang…I’ve got some reading to do on the classics apparently…but what the heck? Where’s Lolita, and Mrs Dalloway and The Bell Jar? The ones I thought were classics and I have read? Whatever. I see how it is, classic book list. Heh!

Like I said, God bless Netflix :)

Oh! Before I forget…


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Frankly and Fearlessly


“We write frankly and fearlessly but then we “modify” before we print.” Mark Twain

Have you ever been in a situation at work, blogging, or elsewhere where you start writing something full of passion and conviction, not caring how it sounded because darnit, it’s the truth and they need to hear it!

…only to read over what you wrote and start cutting, rephrasing, and rewriting a more censored and “high road” version of your previous feverish writing endeavor?

I hate having to do that, but I do it anyway. Why? Because I am afraid of what people will think. I’ve thought about it many times in the past. I’ve tried to attribute my compulsive editing to politeness, to my upbringing, to a solid work ethic, etc. All these things may be part of it. And it’s not a bad thing necessarily, especially when writing work emails (who wants to get fired over something they wrote in this economy especially? Not I!) BUT I think there is a very fine line between saying too much, and censoring too much.  And I sometimes censor too much because I am afraid of what people will think of me.

Nobody wants to sounds contrived, regurgitating and rehashing a slew of intricately woven partial truths and someone else’s stories and sayings and platitudes. Everyone wants to be original. They want to reach others and be understood. They want to write something that nobody else thought to write. Come up with the idea nobody else thought of. Publish the story nobody read yet. Creativity is a gift. Originality is a gift. Self-censorship is the enemy of these gifts, when it comes down to it.

I was fortunate to be raised in the good old United States, where individuality and freedom of speech is championed and upheld….but I feel like lately we in the US are giving up these ideals in the name of fear. Fear of being called ignorant, or intolerant. We are no longer able to publicly disagree with someone else’s views if that view is a popular trend on the media’s radar. It has nothing to do with majority rule either. Let’s not kid ourselves. Whatever we read about or hear about on our iPhones or favorite news website or blog becomes the accepted reality once it is endorsed not by a majority, but by a loud and uncensored minority or sub group.  A minority that has a loud and uncensored voice will be heard nonetheless, and often championed, whether or not they are right.

Not sure about that? Let me give you an example. In high school, there was always the group of popular kids, the group of nerds, the group of cheerleaders, and so on and so forth. There were also those that bullied, and those that made a campaign of looking out for the environment. The list goes on, but you get the idea. Whose voice was listened to? The loudest. And usually out of fear rather than truth. You wanted to earn the respect of the popular kids so that you could be socially accepted. You avoided and gave in to the bullies rather than standing up for yourself or telling someone out of fear. The nerds and environmentalists were low on your list unless their cause specifically interested you. They weren’t louder than the popular kids or the bullies. In high school, the loudest voices were heard, not the majorities.

Media works the same way. They give you a juicy story to tantalize your interest, and then run the details to death, even if there is very little to tell, so that your brain is full of information about that story, tricking your mind, essentially, into believing that it’s important to know about. Your brain is confirmed about this because the people at your office or church group or whatever heard the same story over and over and discuss it over the water cooler or after service, etc.

Now here is the clencher: The media is highly censored. Why? They are afraid of losing their audience. They carefully and elaborately concoct stories of interest so that they get good ratings. They know that if they drill a story into your head enough, it will be talked about. the more people talk about it, the more “important” it becomes to talk about it. If you know about it, it seems you are in the club. You are now part of the popular crowd and can be considered socially accepted. And the media was a bully all along.

The media wants to appear frank and fearless. But they modify before they go to print. Likewise, writers of emails and blogs and stories and censor themselves out of fear. So then where does the truth go? At a certain point, with all the censorship, the truth gets lost. The originality goes out the window. It’s just another trend.

I don’t want to be that way. I would rather toe the line on censorship. I’d rather err on the side of caution, but I don’t want to regurgitate the tiredness and trendiness of the media around me. I want to keep my sense of freedom and liberty of speech alive.

How about you?



On Comparing Yourself to others

There was a lot of blog discussion yesterday on comparing yourself to others…and how to NOT compare yourself to others…but I just didn’t agree with the popular concensus, so I am reposting my response here on my own blog:
This is only my personal opinion and how I deal with comparisons based on what I have studied:

We all know it is difficult to avoid comparing ourselves to others. There is a reason for that! The Communications Major in me is peeping out to say that it is natural to compare yourself to others…it’s how we as humans develope personal constructs in order to learn about and understand the world around us. So it’s not necessarily helpful to stop comparing yourself to others, it’s more helpful to identify why the comparison is upsetting you, and deal with that emotion effectively. Then you will be more easily able to apply the comparison to your own life, or let it go without it eating away at you.

My advise therefore is not to focus on stopping yourself from comparing, but rather to look at WHY you are comparing, and what purpose it serves. It’s all about perspective! Look beyond the face values and keep in mind that you are an individual with a different background, set of goals, and set of values than the person you are comparing yourself to.

If someone’s running stats upset you for instance, it is important to look at WHY. Do you have an injury? Have you been focusing more on work than exercise? Have you had family issues to deal with lately? The reasons for why the comparison upset you help put it into perspective, and once you understand those reasons, you can set goals for yourself based on your own needs, and not thiers.

Be forgiving towards yourself. Use the information you have been given for a positive purpose, not a negative one. Congratulate yourself on your own personal efforts, and set obtainable goals to keep you focused. Keep in mind that your top priority might still be family, or work, or healing before working on faster runs, and that’s OKAY.

The comparisons you make are merely triggers your mind uses to try to understand the world around you and create the opportunity to change yourself for the better. Once you identify what it is you want to change, comparisons can be a valuable motivational tool.