Saturday, September 8, 2012

Writing & Creativity

Dear All,

Writing may seem boring, but...!

Please listen to at least one of the following talks about writing, storytelling, letters, blogs, and creativity in general, and let us know what you think of it [click on "comment" to share your views]. Feel free to add any other thoughts and/or links you would like to share about these topics.

Thank you,


Here the list:

Chimamanda Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story

Isabel Allende: Tales of Passion

Amy Tan: Where Does Creativity Hide?
JJ Abrams: The Mystery Box

Andrew Stanton: The Clues to a Great Story      

Joe Sabia: The Technology of Storytelling

Ryan Lobo: Photographing the hidden story

Lakshmi Pratury: On Letter-Writing

Neil Pasricha: The 3 A's of Awesome

Isaac Mizrahi: On Fashion and Creativity

Authors on Writing

More Authors on Writing

The Power of Words

Storytelling & Identity

Advice for Writers from Stephen King

Advice for Writers from Garrison Keillor

Advice for Writers from Kurt Vonnegut

Writing Lessons by Jack Kerouac

Wit & Wisdom from Writers about Writing, I

Wit & Wisdom from Writers about Writing, II (critics)

Jaques Derrida: Fear of Writing

Peter Elbow: On Writing

Garrison Keillor: Writing in Different Forms

Toni Morrison: Motivation for Writing

Salman Rushdie: The Creative Process

Margaret Atwood: The Creative Process


  1. I watched the video on "The Danger of a Single Story" and it really highlighted the impact of the incorrect paradigms present in our everyday lives. Oftentimes, knowledge is acquired by society's willingness to accept the views of people with higher authority or perceived power. This is why in the video, Chimamanda Adichie created her mental construct on the image of Mexicans based on how the media portrayed them. We may find it so easy to trust knowledge given to us by our parents, the government, media, teachers or doctors because we have been conditioned since we were born to comply to authority. Our parents would scold us if we were naughty, teachers would punish us if we were disobedient and the government creates serious consequences for people who do not follow laws. To thrive in society, a certain kind of obedience is required and therefore, acceptance of knowledge which may be biased or one-sided is also a type of obedience.

    We can live our lives unknowingly creating these stereotypes in our mind without once questioning whether they are justified or correct. However, once we watch videos such as the talk by Chimamanda Adichie, we may be stimulated to challenge our own ways of thinking and to bring about the paradigm shift necessary in order for us not to be subjected to thinking only from the point of view of a single story.

    1. I also watched and very much enjoyed this video. To me, the talk really portrays stereotypes as you point out. Chimamanda Adichie descibes that a "single story" is often misleading and that people, especially children, are very influenceable to what they are told by the government, media, parents, teachers, etc. This makes me think about the book, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." I read this during my third year of high school and really loved the theme of society in the book. The story points out that conforming to society and following the laws is expected, but not always the right thing to do. The people who stand up for their own beliefs, even if it is against the norm of society, have the power to make the world a better place. Without these brave individuals who care enough to make a difference, America could very well still have slavery, which i feel is the main point of "Huck Finn." This relates to the video in many respects because one needs to learn to think for themselves about what is morally right and act in that manor. Once people accept there are multiple ways to perceive a single story, stereotypes will seize to exist.

  2. Andrew Santon’s talk about “The Clues a Great Story” opened my eyes to the ingredients that not only make a story good, but worthwhile to the reader. I really enjoyed his presentation, as Santon is a captivating speaker that gets to the point. He referred to quotes, and films that he has produced to reinforce the points that he was sharing. I also found many of his “clues” to a great story informative and applicable to various different pieces of writing, not just storytelling. He tells the audience to use what they know, and to extract ideas from their personal experiences, as this is what makes an honest and realistic story. His first point was “make me care”. He talked about the importance of taking the writing somewhere that is worth the reader’s time, and also to evoke emotion within the reader. The analogy he used was one that I found interesting which compared a well told promise to “a pebble being pulled back in a sling shot and it propels [the reader] forward through the story to the end.” I interpret this quote as signifying the idea that it’s essential to make things happen, and push the story forward to a strong conclusion; the “punch line” as he called it. This allows the reader take away something from the story, whether it is knowledge, insight into human nature, etc. which likely relates to the main theme running throughout the story. Anticipation also draws readers in. If the story is static, the story dies as it lacks the energy the reader requires to continue on. He also mentions that a reader is drawn to an absence of information, which allows the reader to put together the clues to form a conclusion. Andrew Santon says to give the reader “2+2”, rather than giving them “4”. And last of all, a good story needs a likeable main character that also has faults. It should be someone that we can empathize with and relate to, like Merlin in Finding Nemo. Merlin is overprotective, yet the audience understands the love he has for Nemo. Writing can teach us so much, and be insightful, if the right techniques are used. Andrew Santon’s speech revealed how to improve as a writer, and I not only gained knowledge about writing but also found this video enjoyable to watch as well.

    1. Like Kawindi I watched Peter Santon’s talk about “The Clues to a Great Story” and found it had many wonderful insights into story writing. I found Kawindi’s analysis of the TED talk to be quite similar to my own so I will not bother discussing all the points in Santon’s talk again. However I would like to discuss and expand upon Santon’s idea of 2+2 because I found it particularly interesting.
      In his speech, Santon suggest that all humans are naturally curious and are drawn to an absence of information. This forms the basis for his theory that an audience or a reader is more engaged when they can put together the facts themselves rather than having them all directly given to them. Santon says in simple terms to give the audience 2+2 rather than giving them 4 because it is more engaging. However he also said that it cannot be too hard to put together the facts because the audience can get lost or bored. After hearing this I discovered that this is the very reason why I love some of my favorite movies and books. For example, in “Ocean’s 11” George Clooney is leading a crew of 11 to rob a casino in Las Vegas. Most of the movie consists of their preparation and planning, but the audience is never given complete transparency into the plan. So the audience is always wondering how some seemingly unrelated piece of preparation will fit in to the actual heist. When seeing the movie for the first time I was completely engaged by this writing technique.
      I also think this technique can be used to engage a reader’s imagination. For example when I read the “Game of Thrones” series I loved how the fantasy world was depicted. In the series every chapter is written from a different characters perspective and because of this, the information about the setting or other characters is always tainted by bias. In my case, it made me always question what information I was given and try to imagine what was really happening. So the reader is always putting together the facts themselves. I found Santon’s TED talk to be very insightful and it allowed me to understand I writing strategy that I would like to recreate in some of my future writing pieces.
      Erik Cernik

  3. I watched the video by Peter Elbow entitled "On Writing", a very basic and informative interview in which Peter describes his experience's as a writer. In discussing certain strategies and developments that Peter made as a writer, it allows the viewer to evaluate their own history in writing, and reflect on the suggestions that are presented. Failure in writing has always been a major roadblock for myself, and Peter talks about learning from this failure through assessing the nature of the issues. We can learn to grow from this failure if we constantly keep track of what got us to that point, and what we can do to progress from it. This idea is very basic but very powerful, and can be applied to many more aspects of life than just our writing. It's important to not allow the disappointment of failure slow us down from moving forward. Peter then discusses the idea of freewriting, in which he would find direction in his works by "making a mess" of ideas, essentially opening up the doors to his own creative side. Just as we did in lecture last week, this free jotting of ideas is a great way to inspire our writing. It often times will open our mind up to completely unrestricted thinking, and after these ideas are compiled and rigorously critiqued, our works can be organized.

    I love the approach to writing that Peter presents, as it allows ourselves to access our creative sides easily. These strategies can help diminish writers blocks and poor ideas, but if appropriately followed, this could become a very long process to writing anything; a lengthy routine of self-collaboration and self-critique.

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    1. I often consider evolution through a conservative lens that focuses on biological evolution. After watching Joe Sabia’s TED talk on “The Technology of Storytelling” I recognize the value evolution has as an intrinsic part of societies anthropocentric paradigm. Although I find he lacks originality and I am disengaged from his personal story, I cannot disregard the message looming in the background. Joe Sabia touches on technologies role in enhancing the creative process. As technology evolves there is a paralleled evolution in creativity, thinking, and storytelling. At the base of this theory is that technology influences language. Our scope of language now includes words that were not invented just 10 years ago. Added to dictionaries this year were ‘aha moment’ thanks to Oprah Winfrey and ‘sexting’ thanks to teenagers and cell phones everywhere... This evolution in language ultimately changes our paradigms and influences the way we perceive stories.

      Circling back to the TED Talk – does technology have the same ability to capture a reader (or now, viewer) and retain the integrity of a story the same way a physical book can? As highlighted in the TED talk, the way we tell a story has evolved and not necessarily the story itself. I believe this is misguided because a person will abstract meaning from a story based on their current paradigm - paradigms that are influenced by evolving technologies. It’s important to note this TED Talk is about the evolution and survival of storytelling, which can be communicated in various forms, and not the survival of writing or reading. That’s an entirely different set of doors.

      I admire creativity in all respects. I believe it is and should be fundamental in all fields of study and all forms of growth. Technology has the ability to aid in the survival of storytelling through its' various broadcasting methods and its’ ability to consistently tap into consumers demand for new creative outlets. As long as we can agree the meaning of the story changes as technology advances and social culture changes, we can utilize this evolution to intrigue and spark interest in what’s important – the joy we get from becoming captured in the details of a well 'presented' story.

  5. I watch the video, The 3 A’s of Awesome by Neil Pasricha. I found his presentation extremely engaging and relatable. Pasricha started his talk by describing to the listener events from his past. Some occasions were extremely wonderful, while others were of great hardship. I felt that by starting with his life story, Pasricha made it very easy for the reader to relate to him. I felt more engaged by his talk simply because he took the time to find common ground with his listeners. Pasricha then goes on to describe his 3 A’s of Awesome. They are attitude, awareness, and authenticity. He believes that if one is to embrace each of these three qualities, they can be extremely successful in life. They will be able to have a life that they feel satisfied with, a life without regret. Pasricha continues by reminding the listener that they only have one hundred years to take advantage of our time on Earth. Life on Earth is so precious that it can be taken from a person at anytime. Therefore, it is best to live life each and every day and never waste a second. He ends by challenging the listener to always see the positive in a horrible situation, to find the tiny joys often over looked, and to never turn their backs on who they are. Today’s society expects its members to conform to a certain mold. We are expected to work continually, look a certain way, even have specific opinions on various issues. To live a fulfilling life we have to do none of those things. There are more important things out there. Do the things you love with the people you love and never waste the time you have. I was moved by this speech and it has taught me a lot about living my life in a way that is enjoyable.

  6. Neil Pasricha: The 3 A's of awesome

    It is rare that I come across inspiration by people who actually influence me to reconsider my attitude in life. This man Neil Pasricha is an optimistic realist (yes I know, that’s an oxymoron). Devastating events have happened in his life and he is aware of the tragedies and all the bad news in the world, yet he makes an effort to pass around happy moments he finds that we can all relate to through his blog “1000 Awesome things”. I’ve seen this blog before and really, everybody should check it out at because he makes even random things like flossing seem enjoyable. His blog reminds me of a quote by Benjamin Franklin I once heard, "Happiness consists more in small conveniences of pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom to a man in the course of his life.” This goes in accordance Pasricha’s blog which is full of all the special things that make us human beings feel all warm and fuzzy inside. He makes me want to look past all the obstacles in my life and see the enjoyable side of everything, as cheesy as that sounds. We all have to face the harshness of the real world sometime, but seeing the brightness of opportunity and satisfaction to be gained from small occurrences to our liking can really brighten the mood. To be real, enlightened feelings are fleeting and usually last until the next challenge comes up. However, we can all learn to take a deep breath and think about all the little things that make us happy when they do – be it old school candies or getting the best seat in a theatre. Pasricha’s three A’s: attitude, awareness and authenticity can really turn around a person’s point of view. Although when Pasricha talks about letting our three year old selves roam about, I see it as more figurative advice than literal because honestly, I don’t remember anything from when I was three except for maybe crying a lot. I do enjoy how Pasricha adds some comic relief into his anecdotes though. With the saying, a little goes a long way; these small matters in life can make a day a lot brighter. Without trying to sound too cliché, we could all consider spending a bit more time appreciating the small things that we enjoy like picking up a q and a u at the same time in Scrabble, instead of dwelling on unhappy things like missing your bus. For those of you who were at imagine day, you would know that the word awesome is overused but I have to say that Pasricha’s blog is actually awesome.

  7. I did watch another video because I wanted to see more of where creativity for writing arises, specifically for Amy Tan.

    Amy Tan: Where does creativity hide?

    This video is relevant to writing a bit more directly than the previous one. And before anyone asks – no, I am not related to Amy Tan. I did, however, choose to watch this video because when I was very young, I watched the show “Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat” based on her books of the same title. Also, in fifth grade I did a biography of Amy Tan in the hopes of somehow finding out I was related to this famous author but that never happened.

    Watching the video, I enjoyed how Amy started off her presentation with some humor and also added bits of comedy in between; it enlightened the mood of the audience and kept me interested. Amy tries to explain her creative process through different views from multiple theories: with influence from childhood trauma, nature and nurture, advice from her mother, quirks from temporal lobe seizures and mental states, moral ambiguity, coincidences and accidents, luck and fate, God’s will, and most importantly – associations from unknown forces.

    Her perspective on creativity is different than that based on the conventional ideas of creativity arising from elements such as intelligence, artistic skills or writing skills – all of which Amy did not excel in as a child. Amy is a big believer in deciding her own fate which is how she overcame the B- on her English paper in elementary school and came to be a well-known author. In a way, we all have to decide for ourselves what to believe to be true because oftentimes people will tell us things that may not hold to be true in our own circumstances.

    Amy talks about the “the uncertainty principle” which I find very interesting and realistic as to what all writers consider while holding their pen; I definitely have pondered these thoughts before. Amy makes a good point when she discusses the outcome of the “Observer Effect” when people try too hard to look for things to write about because I know when I’m told to just sit there and write about something, my paper will come out worse than if I were to write it on my own time wherever I wanted. It is true that when we look for something too hard, those things may no longer be there but may appear instead from serendipity or “accidents”. It’s like when I first wake up from a dream, I try so hard to remember what I just dreamt about, but later on in the day it’ll come back to me randomly while taking a walk or something.

    Amy ends up bringing it all back to the bigger picture by saying that with a focus, writers may be able to see the things already present around them. With a clear mind writers can find what they want even if they don’t know what exactly they are looking for. I feel exactly the same way - when I have an idea of what to write about things just start popping into my head and the pen just keeps going. Amy tells writers to immerse themselves into their unfinished stories and see through the eyes of the tale.

    Within the whole video, Amy Tan tries to answer the question “how do we create something out of nothing?” with many unique and thoughtful points. Additionally, she provokes the audiences’ minds by asking even more questions dealing with the mysteries of the world and peoples’ roles in life. Ultimately, there aren’t any complete answers to these intriguing questions but it really did make me think about my place in this world and how I perceive myself.

    I found these videos to be very long but engaging. I had to watch them a couple times to fully absorb what was said but I did gain some insight as to what it is to write something awesome out of nothing.

  8. I watched "The Technology of Storytelling" by Joe Sabia. Seemingly direct, Joe takes the listener on a journey through the history and progression of story telling. I noticed how Joe implies that people have the natural urge to share tales and stories in today's technologically advanced world. I never realized that everytime someone uploaded an album on Facebook or a tweet on twitter that I was immersing myself in a story of someones day or recent experiences. That however was just the latest example of humanities ability to innovate using the already innovative. Although there was one big point that I didn't see the speaker bring up during his talk, which was the utilizing of music and rhythm to tell stories and share experiences. Though it can be considered as a bit of a cliche, much of today's artists and artists in past have used music to share memories from their childhood and darkest hours. From movies purposely shot with a shaking camera to Joe Sabia himself who rely entirely on tablets and visual slides, humanity has shown that they do not just evolve as a society, but also artists and authors.

    1. I agree with how innovative the methods of using the internet to convey our stories to the world is. It is so easily forgotten that with every Facebook update or tweet on Twitter is a simple yet effective way of expressing ourselves to the world around us.
      However, I would respectfully disagree with your opinion that this video is "seemingly direct." Even though Joe Sabia seemingly talks subjectively about the evolution of storytelling, it could be interpreted as a metaphor relating to the rapid evolution of the human race due to technology. Regardless, I just felt like voicing my opinion as apart of my constitutional right of freedom of speech. No harm was meant to your thoughts or ideas.
      Good day to you, sir.

  9. I watched Andrew Stanton's TED talk on "The Clues to a Great Story." Stanton has had the drive and passion to evolve him into one of the foremost storytellers of the industry. He shared with the audience that it is the intricacies of characters that make them loveable. When characters have an internal motivation, a deep underlying engine constantly pushing them forward and influencing their decisions, it makes them more relatable. Allowing the viewers to piece together the story like a puzzle and allow them to discover new aspects of characters persona keeps them riveted on the story; the anticipation of what's next or the "ah ha" moment keeps the audience intrigued and wanting more. Nobody is perfect and people thrive on imperfections; therefore, Stanton mentions, a more relatable main character should have flaws. Writing is a winding, twisting path full of rockslides and barred by mountains. It can ebb and flow like the waters of a river or it can stand firm and strong like an old tree. However, you must know where this journey is taking you. Know your punch lines as it were. Everything along that journey is build up to the finale. When you have the audience on the edge of their seats, when they have added up all of the 2+2's, you must be able to drop a bombshell. Make them laugh or cry or curse; emotions guide us through the world around us. Andrew Stanton is a magnificent speaker who has had an amazing career, I have learned much from watching his video and I hope to use some of his clues and tell my great story.

  10. The “Tales of Passion” talk by Isabel Allende focused on the topic of passion.

    First of all I asked myself, “what exactly is passion?” Well, passion is a strong feeling or emotion towards something.

    Usually, when we talk about passion, we would associate this to someone having passion for something, like for a sport, a language, or a game. But these thoughts aren’t good enough because we must think much deeper about this and also act from our hearts. So in this talk, Isabel explains that we must have a passionate heart because our “heart is what drives us and determines our fate.”

    In the beginning of this talk, Isabel talked about her being a flag bearer at the Olympics in Italy. Through this, she brought out and introduced the topic of her talk, passion. She gave several examples of this, many relating to feminism. For example, she said that a young American dental hygienist volunteered at a clinic in Bangladesh as her three week vacation. During this trip, she helped many people, especially women, which relates back to the subject of having a passionate heart.

    A question that stood out to me in Isabel’s talk was “what kind of a world do we want” because this question relates to everyone single one of us and matters a lot. This question makes us think before acting.

    After watching this, I am now aware that if we have passion for something, like for writing, then we can do it much more easily even if it was hard to do before.

  11. I watched the video “The Power of Words”. Although short, the video conveys a powerful message on the importance of diction and creativity in general. Initially, we see a man, whose sign claiming that he is “blind and needs help”, unsuccessfully beg for money. A woman passing by helps him with his dilemma by simply altering his sign to read “It's a beautiful day, and I can't see it”. Through this creative change in diction, we have a new outlook on the situation as a whole. Whereas before the multitude of passers-by ignored the man, we are now able to connect with the sufferings of the man, feeling pity that he cannot enjoy the same pleasures as us due to his blindness, and as a result are able to sympathize with him. Through this, the video demonstrates the power of diction, and how a simple change in words can alter our whole perspective on a situation. Although similar writings may hold the same meaning, they can be interpreted differently due to use of diction, evoking various emotions, and changing the perspective one may have on it. This lesson is important in our everyday lives as we use writing as a mean to communicate our ideas towards one another. Knowing the power words can have, it is important we choose our words wisely within writings, inducing the emotions we want the reader to experience as they read. This skill becomes important to what makes a good writer a great writer. Although writers may try to express the same ideas, one can express it better and more clearly through creative use of diction, causing the reader's emotions and perspective to change.

  12. I watched "Isaac Mizrahi on Fashion and Creativity" because I was unsure how fashion design could draw parallels to creative writing. While I found that the talk could be slightly disjointed at times and he was prone to going off on tangents, Mr. Mizrahi still had some excellent points on how to be inspired to be creative and how everyone's process for doing so was diffrent. Mr. Mizrahi points out that sometimes the classic way of researching a subject is not always the best, for instance he often finds himself jumping out of a taxi to inspect clothing he saw on the street, while his designer friends often go hiking or traveling for the same spark. Though these are not conventional ways to find inspiration they work for each individual. This theme helped me realize how I could improve my ways of finding creativity, something as a science student I sometimes lack.

    However, perhaps the most intresting idea in the fashion designers talk was the idea that the most creative people in the world are really just constantly bored. Creativity is an escape from everyday life, and if one does not enjoy what there doing it is an excellent way to amuse oneself. This concept really helps reveal what inspiration and creativity is about. Whether going for walks or doing research there are many ways to be creativity and find that extra spark, and therfore one should not limit themselves to one method.

  13. I watched Ryan Lobo's "Photographing the hidden story". In this speech Mr. Lobo discusses the use of photography as a method of conveying stories for those who may not have a voice. Throughout the speech Mr. Lobo tells stories of his journeys through countries struck by brutal wars. To accompany his stories Mr. Lobo uses a myriad of pictures he took on his trips. The pictures strengthen the feeling in his story and helped me to further understand the different scenarios. Mr. Lobo describes photography as a way to break down barriers amongst the many different cultures in our world. Pictures can be universally understood and therefore can go above the language restrictions between members of society. He uses the images to create a shock and awe effect and change the perceptions of others.

    One particular story about a Liberian war lord stood out amongst the many tales Mr. Lobo had to tell. He describes and shows the brutality of a war lord named Joshua, showing his numerous crimes against humanity and the lasting problems he has caused in the Liberian community. The cruelty in the photos is alarming. Then his story changes. Joshua seeks redemption from the people. Mr. Lobo follows Joshua on his journey throughout Liberia seeking forgiveness and retribution from the families he so violently destroyed. Having seen the previous pictures, I couldn't believe that any family or person would ever forgive this man for his cruelty. However as proof, Mr. Lobo documented one of the most remarkable things I have seen, forgiveness. Mr. Lobo photographed Joshua begging for forgiveness and some granting him this wish. The ability of these people to absolve their issues all for the sake of repairing the damage and moving forward was artistically conveyed through both Mr. Lobos stories and his photo's. Mr. Lobo then comments on how his faith in the power of story telling has been questioned and reaffirmed many times. Mr. Lobo's story showed that "story-telling" is not just a juvenile pastime that can be used for amusement and pleasure. It can be a way to illuminate the lives of people around the world and change the perception of things we one thought were truths.

  14. I watched the The Mystery Box with JJ Abrams on Ted. In the talk, he speaks on the idea of mystery which immediately got me hooked. He is a great writer and throughout the video shows some of his favorite clips from his best pieces and then elaborates on what makes those scenes so special. For those who don't know, JJ Abrams is a writer for the Lost series, which I was addicted to in my younger years. He speaks on how the concept of mystery made Lost what it is. The mystery does not only make for great storytelling, but keeps the audience thinking. He states, “in whatever it is that I do, I find myself drawn to infinite possibility, that sense of potential.” This is what made the series such a hit; the viewers could believe what ever they wanted. Even at the end of the series, the viewers are left boggled at what it all meant. Some may find this upsetting or annoying that there is no real “answer.” In my opinion, this is what makes it so great. The show leaves it up to the viewer to decide what it all means, which brings me back to JJ Abrams idea of infinite possibility. As a writer, I strive to keep the reader indulged and I think that mystery is great way to do this because it will keep the reader turning the page in hopes of finding out the answer.

    1. I too watched The Mystery Box and the quote that meant the most to me was,"In whatever it is that I do, I find myself drawn to infinite possibility, that sense of potential." This simple phrase means so much to me personally. The fact that so much in the world is such a mystery is what keeps it so interesting and fresh. Just think about black holes and the distant galaxies, what do we really know about them? These questions have lead to extensive research on unraveling the mystery that is our universe, while at the same time this mystery has at one point in their lives allowed almost every human to think critically about the mystery, and try to come up with our own answers. Going back to the quote you mentioned, infinite possibilty and potential should not only be about the mystery, but can be used to think about one's own life, use it as the motivation to accomplish your dreams.

  15. Reflection on the video: Photographing the Hidden Story by Ryan Lobo

    Words can create many stories and sometime they can twist them as well, just like how Japan can remove the Nanking Massacre from all of their history books. If words are full of propaganda and scandalises, then what can people believe in the world right now? As Ryan Lobo said picture is really powerful and I really agree on it because no one can deny the story behind the picture. When people see a picture, it is so visible that no one can deny the story in it especially the feelings of a human being in the picture.
    In the video, Lobo talked three stories by pictures. The first one is a Liberian war criminal turned good. Although he has killed many people, now he is striving to rescue more as a Christian evangelist. If Lobo did not take the pictures about it, till today, no one will simply believe it from words. However, the pictures have shown his guiltiness and the want to help which words simply cannot deliver. The second one is about the UN women soldiers helped raise the women status in Liberia. This is a story where no one would have known because most people conception about the UN women peacekeepers are simply cheap labors from India. I was feeling the same way as well but until Lobo shows a picture that the Liberian woman looks at the soldier eye with respect, I have changed my mind instantly. This has once again shown that the emotion and humanity can truly deliver by pictures. The last story is about the heroic Delhi firefighters where no one was respecting on them at first. Like the last two stories, the pictures have shown the emotion of the characters in the story and these are something that only pictures can do.
    Pictures can prove many things and all of them have a powerful story behind them as well. They can show reality where like the Tiananmen incident, it wasn’t known to the world till an American photographer took the first picture of it. In Lobo case, he used pictures to show the emotion, humanity and the nature of human being where he breaks down stereotype and show empathy to people. In my opinion, words might be important, however, pictures are truly the one that delivers the undeniable fact to people.
    By Mandy Tam

    1. I completely agree with you! A picture is not only worth a thousand words; a picture can describe emotions and states of being that words cannot grasp. They can create understanding, tell of misfortune, prove honesty and invoke judgement all at the same time. They are one of the most powerful sources of information we have today. From your posting I have learned that Lobo obviously knows this and is spreading the raw power of a photograph. Information spread by word of mouth can be warped or lied however a picture stands true ready for judgement.

  16. In the interrogative video “Margaret Atwood’s Creative Process” a listener is made to perceive two peculiar elements that the renowned author addresses, the possession of creativity and the portrayal of creativity. Judging by the enlarging fan group of Atwood’s, I also being one who basks in the enlightenment of her words and the canopy of her story-telling, one would be righteous to say that she is truly a ‘good’ writer. Through the video, which vacillates between questions and answers, Atwood not only edifies her avid readers on how she writes but also, may it no be directly, clears a misconception prevalent in today’s society. The use of superior vocabulary, the proper employment of intricate grammatical techniques, and the ability to collect all the proposed information in perfected paragraphs are not qualities that would make one essentially a ‘good’ and engaging writer, additionally, not if it took forever and a day to conceive such. Imaginative places, incarnated characters, or enthralling story outlines are demiurgic features that are not thought upon but facets that occur naturally, “simultaneously”. The writing process of a ‘good’ writer is such that occurs without giving great heed to or having preparation for likewise biological procedures such as hunger and thirst. The portrayal of language, the careful and magnificent placement of words becomes a routine affixed with such great intensity in one’s life that it doesn’t seem like work but life itself.
    At a particular point in Atwood’s speaking, I was also capable of relating a portion of her answer that was given in respect to her writing process to the assigned book for our course “They Say, I Say”. Taking Atwood’s literary pieces in perspective, one realizes that the brilliance of her writing, the supremacy of her creativity, comes from the exclusivity that resides in the pages of her bound books. The signs of a good writer are portrayed when a writer places their mind not behind barriers of patterns or similarities, but allows it to take the plunge once in a while. Atwood’s incapability to control her attraction to risk-taking diminishes the possibility of confining herself to a pattern of storytelling, or a template as it is called in the book. It is not such that Atwood wishes not to use the template or mocks the idea of such, but in actuality welcomes any such ‘formula’ that she can base her chapter one, her chapter two upon. Her writing is such that possesses a mind of its own, sometimes moving with the waves (‘a surfer’) or yearning to ride faster than them (‘white water canoeing’). Although, in my opinion, the ideas that Graff and Birkenstein present in their well-titled book are valuable as stepping stones in a young and aspiring writer’s path. Nevertheless, a sturdy career cannot be built on fragments of stones; one requires a broader and a sturdier platform upon which they can place their substantial ideas and have belief in their risk-taking without the fear of falling through. When one writes, it should not in the future serve as merely a representation of much time spent in scrawling or typing words on a page, but a depiction of a memory. Creative writing, as perceivable through Atwood’s words, should not be something one is forced to do but something, as Elaine of Atwood’s novel “Cat’s Eye” would say, you could base ‘[your] life entire’ upon.

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  18. Andre Stanton's "The clues to a great story" utilizes the wordless movie "Wall-E" to illustrate the audience's urge to "fill in the sentences". He suggests that a story's well-organized lack of information is what possesses the ability to draw the audience in. I find story telling without dialogue intriguing because of its pure simplicity: wordlessness can propagate us to expand, imagine, and create in the empty spaces provided by the screenwriter. Like artists standing before blank, white canvases, we are incited to sketch shapes and splash color onto the free space, almost as though we cannot help but occupy the entity of the board with our plentiful flow of imagination. The control producers and writers have over the audience is also interesting to me. They provide guidelines of what the audience is allowed to think, almost like the edges of the canvas, in that they provide the audience with an unlimited, yet limited amount of freedom. I wonder what techniques they use in order to create these unique moments of freedom if the film were to contain dialogue, and how the plot would shift if too much freedom were offered.

    Stanton suggests that people are always learning who they are, and are drawn to dynamic stories, as their own lives are never static. He also encourages writers to draw from their experiences to tell stories. I wonder if people fear to write because they feel as though they are at risk of exposing themselves. Perhaps we turn away from writing because every time we write, parts of our thoughts and feelings are leaked onto the page, and the thought of another person seeing those parts of us is frightening. I enjoyed listening to Stanton’s talk, and will keep in mind of his suggestions as to what make up a great story. Like Kawindi Muthukuda, I also found his analogy of the “pebble being pulled back in a sling shot” that propels [the reader] forward through the story to the end” rather interesting, and believe that it embed the idea of keeping a story dynamic in my mind.

  19. I watched Neil Pasricha’s “The 3 A’s of Awesome” on TED talk because I found the title to be intriguing. At first, I just wanted to know what he has to say about “awesomeness” but the mere curiosity gradually turned into genuine interest as I could not believe how much the video influenced me and inspired me. He starts off with personal stories about his parents immigrating to Canada, his childhood, his life and all the hardships he had to endure. It is amazing how someone who has gone through so many tragedies can still live life with such a happy persona. He shared his secret later on with his “3 A’s of Awesome”: attitude, awareness and authenticity. He proposed that there are two ways to deal with unsuspecting or devastating situations. One can wallow in self-despair and live life unhappily or face the tragedy, overcome it and move on with life. He suggested that focusing on the little positive things that occur every day can slowly improve the mood of a despairing person and this I found to be true because so many people become overwhelmed by their negative thoughts that they don’t realize the good things that are happening to them. Although I agree with his perspective as self-belief and courage is important in overcoming difficulties, I think there is more to it than that. I believe that while having a positive attitude is beneficial in overcoming problems, having the support of others such as parents, friends, mentors or teachers is essential. Some things in life are not meant to be challenged solely and having caring people by one’s side can greatly aid and speed up the recovering process.
    His second point, which is awareness, was also interesting. He mentioned how children spent a great deal of time perceiving and observing the world and the simplest things such as picking a dandelion on a field amused them. I believe that as a society, we are too caught up with the idea imposed by the media about the importance of having a high paying job, money to feed our families, money to buy expensive things and money for expensive cars. We stress ourselves too much for the wrong things and we ignore and forget about the things that actually make us happy such as noticing or appreciating the little unique things in life. If we are aware of the world around us and aware of what actually makes us elated, we might lead a life that is more enjoyable and special. The points Neil Pasricha brought up in his discussion have really influenced me to look at life in a different way. Life can be indefinitely better if we cherish the small things that can compound into something significant. Difficulties and hardships can be manageable if we live life according to his 3 A’s. From now on, I will try not to haggle over trivial things such as having a bed that is too small for me. Instead, I will think more positively and appreciate the fact that I actually have a bed with clean sheets to sleep on while others might not be as fortunate. We all only have several decades to live so why not use this short amount of time wisely and live it out fully and happily?

    1. I completely agree! I was hooked on by the title as well because it stood out to me as something potentially awesome. Heh. But it really turned out to be a great read and opened my mind to a different perspective. Have you seen his blog yet? I can spend forever reading his posts. They are very interesting to read.

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  21. After watching Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk on “The Danger of a Single Story”, I was captivated by the fact that a simple topic in the hands of a wise person can in result convey strong messages.

    The primary idea of Chimamanda Adichie’s talk was that one must not base the whole of their opinion, upon the limits of their experiences. She states that we become impressionable and vulnerable when we are in face of a story, but instead we should just take the stories as references and view the world through many different lenses. By doing that, we can discover the brilliance and surprises that the untold stories can hold. , I believe that the importance of this talk is to realize how important it is to step outside of your own viewpoints and to look beyond what we’ve been taught is right or wrong.

    Personally, I moved to Canada at an older age, and have always found myself struggling and fighting against these uncomfortable stereotypes, such as “all Asian people are bad at driving.” However, at my school, 90% of the car accidents that happened were not by anyone of Asian-ethnicity at all. I believe that stereotype is a global issue that often revolves around the topics men & women, rich & poor, religion-based, personalities, preferences, race, and much more.

    After watching this, I believe that Chimamanda Adichie’s talk could teach the world something that desperately needs to be learned. In a world that is constantly at war with itself, whether over political, social or religious issues; people need to learn that they should embrace a more open view of the world. It could be a more beautiful world in which people can wholeheartedly, yet peacefully, disagree with one another and share the stories of our experiences. A world where we could come together under a common banner, and realize that there is more to life than a single story.

  22. As soon as I had my eyes fixed on the title “fear of writing” by Jacques Derrida, I was immediately compelled to watch the video because I felt that it was a topic that everyone could relate to in some form or another.

    Derrida states that when he is awake and writing, his mind is free from the grips of fear over the views that he expresses. He is never hesitant about exposing his thoughts on wide array of issues, and is devoid of shame about saying things that he believes must be said.

    However, when immersed in the deep recesses of sub-consciousness, such as when falling asleep, Derrida confesses that he is overwhelmed by a sense of terror, doubt and uncertainty over his work and the views that it expresses. He is gripped with panic and fear because he cannot come to terms with the fact that his controversial thoughts and ideas would be known to others. He compares this feeling to being exposed naked to a large group of strangers, where he feels he has done something that is disgraceful and irreversible.

    I believe that this innate fear of exposing our thought to others is common in all of us. The fact that a controversial writer, like Derrida can suffer from regret and doubt proves that at least at an instinctive level, everyone feels the burden of sharing their inner mind process. However, I think almost everyone can agree that just like Derrida, that encumbrance is significantly reduced when we are actually writing with a pen and paper in hand. Indeed, for many people, including myself, the most difficult part of writing is to start writing. I suspect that a large part of that is due to the fact that we are reluctant and unsure about how to present our ideas to others. However, when we discard those feelings and just start writing, the creative juice starts to flow and we are able to become a more successful writers.

    Jacques Derrida’s video teaches a lot about the inner human nature and demonstrates that it is not unnatural to feel uncomfortable when writing and expressing one’s inner self. I think the fact that he does not suffer from this anxiety when he is awake and writing demonstrates that to be a successful writer like Derrida, we must learn to let our mind loose without being caught in a torrent of worry and shame.

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  24. The short video entitled “The Power of Words” conveys the beauty of language, along with its radical power that can be used wisely to change the world.

    The video tells the story of a blind man, who sits down on a piece of cardboard with the sign “I’m blind. Please help” and a tin can, holding the coins that people throw at him. At the start of the video, people keep going past him without feeling any sympathy towards him and decide not to give him a cent. However, after a woman changes the words on his sign to “It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it” the blind man receives a lot of sympathy and hence, money.

    The transformation of the words on the sign has highlighted the power behind the words that we choose to use. The first sign has a straightforward phrase emphasizing the fact that the man is “blind” and he needs “help”; while the second sign has a more emotive language affecting how the people think about the blind man. Although the diction of the second sign is rather simple, it grabs the passerby’s attention; it says more about the implication of being blind, which is relatable to the passerby, rather than just stating a fact that the man is blind, which might be noticeable from the behaviour of the blind man. The phrase “It’s a beautiful day” serves the purpose of including the reader into the context that we are all live in the same world, yet the blind man can’t enjoy the world as conveniently as us, who can see the beauty of the world directly with our eyes. By phrasing it that way, people will feel more sympathy towards the blind man as they now can relate to how he has to suffer with his disability of perceiving the world with his own eyes.

    We often take our ability to assemble string of words to communicate with each other in understandable, comprehensive language, for granted. However, as we see from this example, where two different phrases with the same meaning can have different effect on people, we should now realise the importance of choosing the right words in order to give a positive impact to the world around us. “Change your words, change your world.”

  25. What is mystery? How do mysteries innovate our world? "The Mystery Box" by JJ Abrams is a wonderful story that brings inspiration into our minds.

    Our curiosity is what introduces the existence of mystery into our lives. Ever since his youth, JJ Abrams has been captivated by the wonders of the objects present in this world. He loved to take apart his belongings, trying to discover the reason behind how they worked. He would tear apart a box, trying to understand exactly what it is that makes a box the way it was. This profound curiosity is the tool that we should use to interpret stories. How is the story created and why are they made in that way? As we attempt to comprehend things, we should dissect our problems to its individual components so that we can understand the inner meanings that are hidden from the outside, just like the way we would try to discover what's inside a mystery box.

    Mysteries are also like magic. JJ Abrams explained in his show that the way we interpret ideas represents their true meaning to us. How are stories created? These profound works of written art are inspired by the boundless imagination of our minds, of which is motivated from our sense for mystery. Each individual person is special with their own unique imagination. This is what leads us to view the same context different perspectives: because our opinions vary. During his talk JJ Abrams presented the movie "Saw". He points out that the most memorable scenes for the majority of the people after watching the movie would be the suspenseful horror and action during the dramatic scenes. However, JJ Abrams believes otherwise. The most intriguing moment in the movie for him was of a father and his son - staring at one another while drinking from their cup. The interesting silence in this atmosphere brought forth curiosity to him and made him wonder of the true meaning behind the creation of the movie. Mystery is what makes us search behind the scenes for a truth. As we unlock the door a mystery, the result is to only find another mystery waiting for us in the next. These mysteries continue to expand our imagination and unfold countless events and introduce unforeseen ideas, and this ultimately guides us towards the current life that each and every one of us has today.

    Through our imagination, mystery inspires to create our modern world. Without the thought of curiosity at a mystery, there would not have been the existence of any inventions. For example, the computers we used today are a product of countless of modifications and developments from the first-ever invented typewriter. All these processes are made possible only because we wonder at the mysteries behind these inventions, and ultimately develop it based on our imagination. Since we are the infinite possibility, hope, and potential to spark our imagination, we just have to search inside ourselves to discover what is really is that brings us curiosity. We are the biggest and greatest mystery box.

  26. Competency and power. Admittedly, these are not two words that are usually used in the same context. However, they are central to my philosophy on writing. Recently, I watched the video "On Writing", featuring Peter Elbow. As Peter Elbow is one of my inspirations when it comes to writing, the interview resonated with me on a profound level. Our philosophy on writing, while expressed in different ways, shares many basic principles. My philosophy contains two basic elements, constantly in a struggle for supremacy: competency, and power.

    First, allow me to paint a portrait of the element of competency. Imagine competency as the middle-aged man who lives across the hall. He lives alone, never goes out late, and is cautious in all endeavours. Simply put, he always plays by the rules. As a result of his lifestyle, competency has a steady job, he is well liked by his peers, and he is a functional member of the machine that is your mind. Truly, he is the personification of order and rules.

    Now, turn around and look at power. You know that party animal who lives on the next floor down? The one who likes his music loud, his women many, and his nights endless? That, humble reader, is the element of power. Power never knows whether he'll have a paycheque, and he has as many enemies as he has friends. He is the personification of all that is raw and untamed.

    Indeed, it is very tempting to say that power is the antithesis of competency, but to do so would be a magnificent fallacy. While power has a different lifestyle, he is still a functional part of the machine. Rather, think of competency and power as two forces that are constantly struggling within your mind while you write. On the one side, competency is fighting to keep your writing orderly and 'correct'. On the other, power is trying to add ferocity and emotion to your text. In order to create a good piece of writing, one must keep both forces in balance. Allow the element of competency to take over the creative process, and you risk running into roadblocks. Even worse, the finished product my turn out as dry and boring as uncooked ramen noodles. If you do the opposite and allow the element of power to run wild, it is true that your words will possess the ability to captivate a reader. However, your thoughts will be disorganized. The thoughts you are trying to convey will be lost in a storm of emotion. In order to write well, you need to balance these two forces. While it is important that you let power influence your writing, you must wrestle him down just enough so that competency can infuse your piece with organization and clarity. In doing so, your writing will convey its message in a way that is crystal clear, powerful, and thought-provoking.

    Although Peter Elbow presents his message in a very different way, he and I share many elements in our basic philosophies of writing. By achieving the correct balance of competency and power, you will find that your writing is more powerful while still adhering to the rules of organization, style, and grammar.

  27. I watched Isabel Allende's Tales of Passion and it really emphasized the lack of feminism in today's society. I'm not referring to the minority of women who live in first world countries, but rather to the majority living in small villages and suffer from physical abuse on a daily basis. I'm referring to those women who are powerless to help themselves, to those who are trapped in prisons, and to those whose only thought is to survive for another day.

    Today, we expect to see equality in both men's and women's rights. That is not the case as many women still get paid less than men for the same work. Even in our society, there are men who treat women not as equals, but as slaves who live only to do their bidding. We have come to think that the issue of feminism is dated because of the the viewing of one or two powerful women on TV, but the fact is that behind closed doors, across an ocean on another continent, the issue of feminism is a major problem.

    Allende brings to light the issues in other countries through her storytelling. She talks about Jenny, a Dental Hygienist who travelled to Bangladesh for a three week vacation. On this trip, she was supposed to clean the teeth in at a clinic in Bangladesh, but the clinic turned out to be a fly-filled hut and the cleaning became molar extractions because the teeth were too far gone. Although Jenny lacks the experience and the license to extract molars, she attempts it anyway because the pain on the faces of the patients was too much. One day later, a woman came back with her face so swollen that her eyes were not visible. It turned out that it was not Jenny's fault, but rather it was the husband who caused the swelling. The husband beat up his wife for not coming home on time to make dinner for him. Should we give support to women who are too weak to stand up for themselves?

    Allende's views of women do not agree with my own however. In her video, she says that when men run this world, it becomes a mess. She says that women will bring peace and prosperity to the earth. One cannot generalize all 'men' as bad because of the false actions of one man. She states that the men who run this world make it a mess, but what of those in the past? Have there not been men who have made a significant change in this world? Allende then says that if women ran this world, they would bring peace and prosperity to the Earth. Greed, corruption, and power are not values of just men, but of humankind as a whole. Women are just as vulnerable to greed, corruption, and power as men. However, I agree that females need to come to power. If we keep on suppressing women, we are not utilizing their talents and in the end, we only hinder the human race as a whole.

    After watching Isabel Allende's talk, my mind has been opened to the problems of this world. Although her talk clearly presents the problems of feminism, I do not believe that just listening to the issues is enough. We are capable of empathy, but in order to be passionate about feminism, we must travel to these problem areas and see for ourselves the injustice that occurs there.

    1. I’m glad you pointed out that things like greed and corruption are characteristics of all mankind in general and not simply men. However, I would to add to your point here. I am not against feminism personally, but to guarantee that women will improve the world when given power is simply absurd. To say so, is more or less saying that all women are fundamentally good and will continue to be good when given power. Power corrupts and we see this all the time. Leaders become leaders based on all sorts of promises of change but once they are in a position of power, often nothing is done. Even women will do these things, our Members of Parliament, our Premiers, and our head of states. Campaign promises do not always get carried out. This darker side of humanity is the same in all of us. Luckily, so is our passion.

      Passion lives here, according to the Turin Olympics. The Olympics were brought up and I would like to point out something related to them. We separate male and female athletes during the Olympics in all events. This is because we are biologically different, from our neurochemistry to our genitals. This distinct difference is recognized in our world as well. In many jobs, positions are set aside for women. This means that even if there were a greater ratio of skilled men to skilled women for the job, these men will be displaced by women of lesser skill. This could even be a cause of pay differences between males and females in the same position. It may come down to the fact that women cannot work as fast or as well. There are many unseen factors affecting pay other than getting the work done.

      There is also one last point I would like to make, there is an unfair bias Isabel Allende's speech “Tales of Passion” as she only chooses examples of women doing good things. When we give characters in a story a gender, it automatically brings with it a lot of things we associate with that gender. For example, if that dental hygienist had been unnamed or of unknown gender then the story would be truly a tale of passion and not of feminism.

  28. I watched JJ Abrams: The Mystery Box. He gives an enthralling speech on the simple yet complex concept of mystery. Mystery is the most powerful thing any of us can have control of and Abrams explains why. In his words,"In whatever it is that I do, I find myself drawn to infinite possibility, that sense of potential." Mystery allows for exactly that. You can set your own parameters, only you know the extent of your mystery, the audience is left guessing or better yet using their creative abilities to create their own version of what they believe is true. Abrams illustrates this as being the driving force to a lot of his work in the films he has been a part of. Mystery in his creates such a compelling plot that the audience is almost hooked in after just one viewing. That is the power of mystery.

    Furthermore, you don't have to look any further than our pop culture, to realize the importance and the gift of mystery. Just take a quick look at one of the biggest box-office and critical success in the history of films: Inception. It so beautifully put to use mystery, that audience members were left captivated, shocked and unsure of what they had seen. People raved for months and months after the release of the movie on purely the mystical content of the movie. There were endless debates on what people truly believed had taken place. This was all due to the open ended nature of the movie. This movie was probably one of the purest form of mystery the world had seen on a large scale and what followed was a whole society captured by the claws of this film. It allowed people to create their own versions of what they believed the mystery was supposed to be, it was truly magical.

    I believe the point that Abrams was trying to get across was simple, yet allows for something so complex and exquisite. Mystery gives us all the chance to create our own amazing stories just through creative process. We are all capable of creating our own stories while utilizing mystery to create something greater. It's a wonderful ability that shouldn't be put to waste. Dig deep into your mind and turn what you find into one of the greatest stories told.

  29. After watching some of the videos regarding the different types of literature, I was extremely inspired by Chimamanda Adichie’s “The Danger of a Single Story.” I realized that everything has more than one sides to it, and often we are only able to know the one side. Throughout her presentation, she constantly provides examples of the consequences from only knowing this one side of certain things. For example, she wrote stories, which consisted of only British story-based components, because she only read British stories. From this, I understood that our imagination and thoughts could be limited if we are only exposed to a single perspective of subjects because this is the only available resource that we can build our imagination and thoughts upon. In her presentation, she also mentioned the presence of stereotypes. In general, stereotypes are generated due to the constant exposure to the same single story about something. Therefore, if we could all discover the various stories about certain subjects, stereotypes would no longer exist. Adichie hopes that this could become possible by saying that if we “reject the single story, we would regain a type of paradise.”
    I think our thoughts are formed from the stories that we hear, the knowledge that we learn and the conversations that we have with other people. If we could all have the opportunities to form our thoughts from these various ways, then we could all understand each other more. This blog is a perfect tool for us to share the different perspectives that we have. As a result, we could expand our thoughts and understand each other better.

  30. I watched the video “Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story”. This video is about how it is dangerous to know only one single story of a place. By having only one single story, people will not be able to fully understand and have a complete perception of the place.

    Adichie grew up in eastern Nigeria and read British and American children’s books when she was young. As an author, she wrote exactly what she was reading. All her characters in the stories were white and blue-eyed. They played in the snow, ate apples and often talked about the weather. These settings, characters and their behavior differed from the place where she lived in. This provoked me to think that stories can not only give hope to people in the poorer regions of the world, it can also give motivation to people who think that they are not doing well in their lives. By reading stories, it allows them to imagine about the lives they will like to lead in the future and hence, a motivation to work towards that goal.

    In the video, she also mentioned that what this story of hers demonstrated is that human beings are impressionable and vulnerable in the face of a story, particularly as children. In my opinion, this shows that storybooks have a role in building up the sense of identity of a person. It is important for each country to have storybooks with characters and settings resembling that of their own countries. As she had said about the impressionable nature of children, by having such storybooks, it will be able to strengthen the ties of children with their country in the long term.

    Having a single story could prevent you from having broader perspectives. However, sometimes it would be tough to not have a single story given the strong influence of media today. I would think that the only way of not having a single story in today’s context would be to interact more with people coming from different backgrounds and hear a firsthand account of what life is actually like in their countries.

  31. One of the videos I watched was "The Power of Words." It shows us how different choices of words can be a variable of one's outcome in everyday life. I think that the video is highly unlikely to happen in real life but it did a good job of giving across the message to the viewers. Most people are unable to express their true message to others due to the lack of right words. The video promotes English literacy as more than just knowledge but a malleable tool to transform a person and to engage with others clearly. This short clip states "Change your words, Change your world" on the bottom description. I think that it also applies to what we have discussed in class. We can change other people's views through our choice of words. With this in mind, we hope to trigger a positive domino effect to create a better world.

    The other video I watched was "The danger of a single story." Guest speaker Chimamanda explains the consequences of only hearing one side of the story. She describes the single stories as not being false but incomplete. People in a specific culture or location in the world tend to hear only a part of what is really happening. Some of them are trapped by mass media and literature into believing their "single stories." Chimamanda also points out the influence of stories and its effects. They can damage something but they can also patch things up. Stories come in different forms and can be interpreted differently. Due to these stories, stereotypes are created. She informs people that these single stories are only part of the bigger picture. We end up thinking about the difference between races or cultures instead of the similarities. Our perceptions of others are altered, thus creating a division most people are unaware of. We end up judging without realizing based on that single story we heard. Chimamanda not only opens our minds to see beyond what these stories just tell us but to understand and to be aware.

  32. When I first looked at the title "The 3 A's of awesome" by Neil Pasricha, I assumed it to be just another talk about techniques to a better writing or storytelling. However, after I started watching it for few minutes, I realized that it was something more personal as well as relevant to our own lives.

    Neil started talking about how he took things, which his newly settled parents could not have, for granted in his life. This line provoked me to ponder about how I have lived my life after I moved to Canada, and without any reluctance, I was able to say that I also followed the same path as Neil. Therefore, I was engaged to learn how he changed from the state of “taking things for granted” to appreciating life, and I could easily find what I was looking for.

    Neil summarized that what helped him change and grow were the three A’s of awesome; they were attitude, awareness and authenticity. At first these words felt somewhat unfamiliar to me, but with his sincere words of past experiences, the importance of these words became much clear. All of the three words carried very significant meanings, but what impacted me the most was the attitude. When he emphasized the importance of attitude by stating one can either choose to “whirl and twirl, gloom and doom forever” or “face the future with newly sober eyes”, I was caught in an overwhelming emotion because it reminded me of the days when I lost my dearest friend back in middle school. I could absolutely agree with Neil about being optimistic because I had chosen to be positive after the long moment of grief.

    After I finished watching the video, I realized how fortunate I am to be with my family and friends. I also learned that most people, including myself, are taking things for granted. We can actually make our lives better with the 3 A’s of awesome because they can change us to appreciate and be fulfilled with what we already have. I hope more people can watch and share this amazing video.

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  34. Why are we so drawn to mystery? What is it about the unknown that captivates us? In JJ Abrams TED Talk entitled “The Mystery Box,” this film and television pioneer invites us all to revisit our childlike desire for the unknown while answering the question: why is not knowing sometimes simply so much more interesting than knowing?

    We’ve all had our “mystery boxes,” or our questions. I remember when I was young, I used to sit on a stool in the corner of my house, facing my black cassette player (those little tapes that probably seemed prehistoric long before I was born). I would plug in my headphones, slip the cassette into the player, and listen to whatever story my mom had rented for me from the local library. But as soon as I hit the play button, I would watch as the motionless spools came spinning to life, I would listen as the ambient noise of my house was replaced by the static hum that filled the five seconds before the narrator’s voice would come to introduce the newest story that I was going to hear, and while that was happening, I would shut my eyes and imagine that behind this black front panel, lay every single character that I’d ever have heard through these headphones, patiently awaiting my return so that when I slipped in another cassette, they would know exactly what gears to turn, what switches to flick, and what adventure to make me a part of that day.

    Now, my thoughts as a child were a bit far-fetched, and secretly, although I’d never want to admit it then, I knew that inside the cassette player lay a simple mechanical explanation to all the wonders that this box had. But, it was a simplicity that I had to let myself believe was mysterious. Abrams said, “Sometimes mystery is more important than knowledge.” At first, I questioned this statement, but as his talk went on, this idea began to remind me of another quote by Albert Einstein, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Abrams was right, “sometimes mystery is more important than knowledge” because mystery paves the way for imagination. It is our perceptions of the unknown, and what could be true, that allow us to explore every aspect of the world. But back to the original question: why is not knowing sometimes simply so much more interesting than knowing, because not knowing allows us to be curious and adventurous, to be creative and innovative, and to hold onto that intangible childlike that encourages us to keep questioning.

  35. “The Power of Words” is a short video which illustrates how something as simple as rephrasing a message can bring great change to a blind man in need of help.

    The video begins with a man sitting on the sidewalk, with a sign begging passerbys with the words “I’m blind, please help”. He has minimal success until a woman walks by and writes a new message on his sign before leaving. Later, more people than before stop to give the man some change, with the reason heavily implied to be because of new sign, although it is not visible to the viewer. At the end the of the day, the woman returns, and the blind man asks what had she done to his sign, to which she replies that she had written the same thing, but in different words. The man thanks her, and the camera shifts to the sign, finally revealing the message: It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it.

    In “The Power of Words”, the passerbys are unable to relate to the message “I’m blind, please help”, because they only see a statement that the man is blind, and they have little idea of how it is like to be blind because there is no prompt for them to put themselves in his shoes. With the message “It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it”, the passerbys are able to sympathise with the blind man more easily than with the previous sign.

    I knew that memorable writing does not completely rely on the idea behind it, but also the words that present it. I realized that although words are indeed just as important as the idea, it is not always the big, complicated words and phrases that matter, but the ones that draw out emotion from the reader. If I read a novel today, I may not remember the names of the characters or any of the things they said in ten years, but it is hard to forget how they made me feel.

    Prior to watching “The Power of Words”, I had already watched several talks and interviews, but I was indecisive about which video to write about. Out of the several videos I watched, the simple yet powerful message in “The Power of Words” leaves behind a lasting impression.

    1. This video truly illustrates how the power of pathos can move the audience’s actions. The woman uses pathos to make the people, who pass by, respond emotionally, specifically sympathy instead of pity. By changing the words, the sign become more persuasive, which leads the people to give the blind man money.

  36. I decided to take a look at "The Mystery Box" by J.J. Abrams because as a long time supporter and fan of Lost, I knew it would be a very interesting and intriguing discussion. I was not disappointed as Abrams carefully utilizes personal connections and humour to engage the audience and cause emotions to be brought into play. His touching story about his grandfather immediately caught my attention and allowed me to reminisce on my own childhood relationships and symbolic items. The center point of the discussion was, as the title suggests, mystery; and Abrams wisely presents his own symbol of mystery in the form of a box and displays it throughout the symposium. The box allows the listener to visualize mystery as a physical form and not only an abstract concept. Abrams goes on to discuss how mystery "is drawn to infinite possibility" and that it is a magnificent tool in motion pictures. I understood the value that J.J. puts on the aspect of the unknown and applied it to my own life and where it would be useful to me. Seeing as how I don't have any aspiration to pursue film-making I took the information and related it to writing. I thought how the element of mystery would be extremely advantageous to creative writing and how it would engage the reader in so many ways, just as how Lost did to me. Abrams' stand on how mystery is more important than knowledge in the art of story telling inspired me to strive for the utilization of it in my own writing. The reason Lost was so successful is that, much to the dismay of many fans, the element of mystery was always present and so many questions were unanswered. I found myself frustrated while watching the show due to the uncertainty at every turn in the plot, but now that I look back, that is the trademark and what really engaged me in the show. If I can use the blank page as a magic box, as Abrams states, I feel I can improve my creative writing skills and ultimately become more experienced at the art of english in general.

  37. When I was looking down the long list of videos to watch, the first title that caught my mind was "JJ Abrams: The Mystery Box". This title instantly drew me in and I had to watch this particular video. During his talk, JJ Abrams constantly mentioned that mystery boxes are everywhere and we just have to have an open mind to accept the fact and use it wisely. Throughout his talk, I became curious of my own little mystery box that I have in myself. I have had some practices with free writing in the past, but I never actually thought about what I was doing and how that affects me and my writings in the future. However, when I was listening to JJ Abrams talk, I became curious of 'What would come next?', 'Where would my unconscious thoughts go if I keep writing?'. These thoughts made me realize that when I am writing, not only the blank page is a mystery box, but myself is a mystery box as well. The idea of infinite possibility made my heart pound as I got excited about writing without knowing where I am going.
    The second video I watched was "Margaret Atwood: The Creative Process". I personally like Margaret Atwood's works because I think her books are very unique in a way that I cannot explain. I was particularly interested in hearing about how she starts a piece of writing. She said she prepares a pen or pencil, and a paper, and let them take her away. It was shocking at first because I have always thought that professional writers always have everything planned before they start writing. After I got to know that Margaret Atwood starts writing a piece as I do, I find free writing more useful, and I want to try to make the best out of the experience because I know that it will help me in the future.
    By.Jenny YoonJi Lee

  38. I watched a few of the videos, but the one that struck me and really started to make me think was “On Letter-writing”, even though it was quite short. The lady in the video talked about the legacy we leave behind and how letter writing is a dying art. She has letters and a notebook from her late father which she plans to compile with her own writing in the future and publish it in a book for her son. What caught my interest wasn’t what she said, but the implications of her words. What she said got me thinking about disappearing things like handwritten letters.
    People no longer write letters because it is much more efficient to use a different medium. That’s indisputable. It is not surprising that letters are not used as much as they used to be, they are slower, more expensive, they can get lost; overall, they are just more of a hassle. We still try to give what we say a personal touch, with the words or symbols we use, but it is not quite the same as a letter that had been hand-written by the giver. Letters are material things that are becoming rare and old-fashioned. But what is interesting to think about is that there are many things that are becoming obsolete which, in the past, were used so heavily. When we get older, to younger generations, things like VHS tapes will just be stories or relics from an older, less sophisticated time. It’s strange to think of living what is already becoming history. Time is moving fast and what we are doing now is already becoming our legacy.
    Would you be satisfied with what you’ve left behind? (a bit of a segue to our taking responsibility topic)

    1. When I watched this video and read your comment, it reminded me of a day not so long ago when I got my first cellphone. Before then, I had always waited each day for my parents to leave the house before I sneaking onto the home phone to make calls. I would chat for at least an hour or two at a time...from the moment that garage door closed to the moment I could hear the car rolling back in at around midnight. Those moments were priceless, being able to hear every nuance and giggle from the voice on the other end. You must wonder why I had to resort to such actions just to talk to someone. Of course, I would love to talk with people face to face rather than over a phone, but sadly I was still working on getting my parents to allow me to go out on a regular basis at the time. The other reason was that I needed a really good reason to be talking on the phone for such a period of time and I couldn't exactly provide one to my parents. But enough of explaining myself and on with my point!

      As soon as I got my cellphone, I discovered the perks of instantaneous messaging from anywhere at any time. I abused the unlimited texting on my cellphone to no end, and the midnight calls just died off. It wasn't until I saw the list of texts I had sent in the past month that I realized that something was seriously wrong. Texting over a thousand messages in a week or two definitely could not replace the kind of communication I had once enjoyed through phone calls. I didn't need to be instantly texting away my life each day. At this time, I really wish I could trade all those texts for few phone calls, or even a few more words that would have been left to converse about when I was talking in person. I agree with Chandel that sometimes a slower communication medium is richer in meaning and emotion.

  39. The video that really reached out to me and grasped my attention was "The technology of storytelling" by Joe Sabia. In this video, Joe Sabia highlights the numerous methods in which storytelling has evolved. In the era of our earlier human ancestors, storytelling was done on a much narrower scale as opposed to the broad options provided to us today. In our modern day, the vast possibilities of how we get our tale across ranges vastly due to the countless methods of human interaction provided to us. These span from simple person to person communication, phone calls, texting, and other methods which could be achieved through the world wide web or simply put the internet. As Joe Sabia highlights, the internet could broadcast our stories on a global scale giving your experiences the ability to outreach a much greater audience of a much higher variety.
    This video, however, prompts more than just methods of storytelling. The story told by Joe Sabia in this video emphasizes how the rapid evolution of technology has allowed us humans to mature as a species. Technological evolution and evolution as a species will continue to advance as long as people "refuse to fold to the conventions of normalcy" and venture out to achieve their dreams. The previous idea conveys the message of be who you want to be even if it isn't "currently" accepted by the general society. Which may be interpreted as an outdated cliché but nonetheless still holds validity in the world of today.

  40. Similar to how constructors need to build a solid base to create a sturdy tower, writers need to build the fundamental skills of writing in order to write well. The video “Advice from Stephen King” on YouTube, is a short clip of the first few steps to become a good writer. King’s main advice is for people to do the work before dreaming to become a writer. King emphasizes how writers have to be motivated to practice. The first step, King advises people to “read a lot”. The purpose of reading regularly is not only to give an example of how others write, but is also a type of inspiration. Indeed, reading improves any writer’s active vocabulary since it gives a direct example of how each word is used in context and grammatically correct. Novels also illustrate how writers create consistent tone, realistic characters, fluid dialogue, and plot development, which is basically a template for beginner writers. The knowledge of how others write builds a base for people to begin writing. Subsequently, King advises that the second step to become a good writer is to practice writing. The purpose of writing is to learn how to organize thoughts onto paper and to develop one’s personal style. Although King does not point out how to practice writing in this particular video, he has once said to “read and write four to six hours a day” (On Writing by Stephen King) in order to become a good writer. Knowing how to flow ideas from our mind onto paper smoothly comes with practice. In some cases, following a template can work; however, good writers have their own type of structure and style. Developing a style is the last step that King mentions in the video. To create a well written novel, style is the finishing touch that draws the reader into the story. With a lot of practice of building a solid base, anyone can become a good writer and experience the “magic moment” when one would put down a book and say, “this really sucks. I can do better than this, and this guy published”.

  41. The video that caught my attention was "Joe Sabia: The Technology of Storytelling" where he explains that the way the stories are being told have progressed, evolved and changed throughout the history of mankind. He begins his very own story to the audience at the invention of the whimsical children's pop-up books. He speaks to the audience, concisely, crispy and captivatingly as he weaves through the history and legacy that humans have left behind to tell their stories. I enjoyed the way he used his visuals and choice of language to engage the audience as I found it relative to the way he told his story. He touches and on a few subjects such as opera, radio, film and finally the internet; the story telling powerhouse of the present. He expands on the topic of the internet as it gives opportunity to numerous way in which we can communicate, interact and socialize with other human beings. I believe that in his video he wants to convey the tremendous evolution that story telling has undergone to get to the point of where we are now. He utilizes sounds, video, and pictures to show that story telling is no longer bound to any single medium. He emphasizes that the technology of story telling can only progress as we continue to progress. A comment that Joe Sabia made in the video that I also agree with was that the stories that have been told are often recycled. His point is relevant because stories such as Shakespeare and the Odyssey are being read to this date. I believe that stories are timeless and that despite all the different types of stories in the world each relate back to ourselves. Joe Sabia reflects on the point that the stories will always resonate with us, but the technology of the way they are being told will continuously develop as long as people will continue to challenge normalcy.

  42. Chimamanda Adichie’s talk on “The Danger of a Single Story” is a fresh take on the power of stories and their role in stereotypes. She begins by telling the audience stories of how she fell into very general stereotypes from a young age. These included her perception of books, and a young servant. She describes how her once limited collection of British and American literature had embedded their settings and characters in her mind as a definition of all books. Adichie believed that the culture of the books she always read belonged in all writing when she first began writing her on her own. Thus, she demonstrates that books can create stereotypes. But she does not neglect how books were also the key to “[saving her] from the single story of what books are”. Almost as if she abides by her rule of avoiding a single story, she continues to expand her idea of the creation and removal of stereotypes, with her story about a servant named Fide. In this account of her past, Adichie recalls how her mother’s singular story about Fide was his poverty. Here, she proves that not only stories that are in books create stereotypes. However, once again she shows how this stereotype can be resolved by another story. This time it was a story created through her own experience when she met Fide’s family.

    After viewing this video, I’ve come to a new definition for stories. One that is both all encompassing, yet incomplete. It is a definition that neither dictionary, nor any language can convey. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to call it a greater understanding for stories, rather than a definition. This understanding encourages me to live my life through a collection of stories that I can read, listen to, write about, and simply experience. It also reminds me that these stories will always only be a few pieces in a puzzle that will never be complete. To live in this way, where no one believes that they have completed this puzzle is to dismantle all stereotypes.

  43. The topics technology and storytelling are very close to my heart. I am passionate about science but I will never forget the childhood filled with countless novels. Joe Sabia in his TED talk on “The Technology of Storytelling” is very much the same. He tells us about how technology has made stories more accessible than ever before and at the same time more original and creative, as each story can be told using mediums that are just beginning to be invented. In fact, the method he used to express his ideas on evolving stories was perfect for our technologically savvy generation. The presentation itself was wel-paced, entertaining and creative as he used various applications on the iPad to keep the audience’s attention and in doing so, making sure his story would leave an impression.
    Personally, I believe that technology has helped us preserve and pass on our stories and the knowledge that comes with it. It allows a story to be presented in many different ways, empowering us to connect to more people and audiences than ever before. Now with technology to aid us in translation and broadcasting, we can share our experiences with an international audience. Not to neglect the existence of less technologically advanced options, books are still available to those who desire them. However, if one prefers something a little more lively, there are movies or even interactive games to tell the same stories in an entirely different way.
    People have said before that technology has harmed our storytelling traditions. In our technology-centered world, we often require something to enrich the storytelling experience or sometimes just to keep our attention. Our generation has become accustomed to viewing pictures or videos rather than letting our imaginations create these images for us. Technology has given us ways to get away with bad storytelling as we can now choose to show pictures rather than describing them. This technology has also caused the art of conversation to be slowly degraded by texting and online chatting. When face to face, we often are unsure of what to say or are too busy texting to someone else to talk. However, this communicative technology also means that we can tell a funny anecdote via text, get the latest news from BBS feeds, or even post what we did today on Facebook for all our friends to see. And thus, this same technology can help us tell stories in ways that can coexist with our newfound shortfalls. As a race, we are bound to change and so will the different parts of our society. Storytelling is not and never will be an exception to evolution.

  44. I watched several videos because most of them are too short. The first one is "The Power of Words". This video shows how different words can change our world. A woman helps the blind man to change the sign from "I am blind" to "It's a beautiful day and i CAN'T see it". More people are touched by the second sign, and the blind man gets more money. Sometimes, if we can change our sentences, even only some words, we can make a huge difference in our lives. This is the magic and the power of words.

    Another video I watched was Isabel Allende's Tales of passion. Her talking is very funny and attractive. She talked about her experiences in Olympic opening ceremony in 2006. She is one of the eight women who carry the flag in the ceremony. This is so significant to her because the theme of Olympic is passion. She believes that if one person has a passionate heart, then he/she can make some changes in their lives. Isabel is a raging feminist since she was five. Even though most women live in a peaceful life, there are still many women who can not control their own bodies and lives. She talked a lot of sad stories about women. They didn't get education and they were abused by men. Women need some power in the society so that they will bring peace and prosperity to the planet. We need passion to fight for women's right and then we may creat a better world.
    Qianhu Sun(Tianna)

  45. Isaac Mizrahi's "On Fashion and Creativity" has a very fragmented presentation; however, it seems to stem from his general characteristics as a person. Just as someone above had mentioned how Mr. Mizrahi had disjointed quirks in his speech, it did somewhat inhibit my understanding of what points he was trying to make. After watching the video several more times to fully grasp the concept of the video, I do not believe that he necessarily went on uncorrelated tangents; yet, each little side story came together into an underlying lesson. His entire introduction on his insomnia really gave a powerful insight on how Mr. Mizrahi is as a human being. He finds inspiration for his creativity in everyday situations, but specifically to those that have error or those that play a trick on the eye.
    I find that Mr. Mizrahi brings an extremely valid point in the perspective of how he finds “creativity” or “inspiration” as a person. Human beings are exposed to a vast majority of ideas through a magnitude of mediums; however, we are attracted to those that are “surprising” or “different”. Those thoughts that do not follow a “cookie-cutter” template bring out the nature of curiosity, which appear to be an aspect of “creativity” for Mr. Mizrahi. This is evidently displayed when he explains how he is drawn to “a shirt or something” that has a mistake or concept “that he has never seen before.” He also makes a strong point in how he is disappointed if there is actually an “error” or a “hole” in an article of clothing which he finds interest in, because he believes that someone “already made that mistake.” This brings forth an even greater discipline for the stride in originality and creativity, where whether a person intentionally made a mistake or not, the concept or idea had already been done.
    His quote “Style makes you feel great because it takes your mind off the fact that you’re going to die” really struck a thought in me on how style is used as a medium for distraction. It captivates our interest in more than one dimension, as style could be used in writing, fashion, music, or even in thought processes. In Isaac Mizrahi’s case, his style appears to have a general chaotic or even spastic nature, which comes through not only in his explanations, but also in his presentation (such as when he stutters). This style is developed, and is constantly in growth by the experiences of everyday life, and his presentation has really brought forth a new perspective for me. Death is always going to be inevitable; however, the unnoticeable aspects of life can bring forth a retreat from this inevitability, and allow one to live in the moment.

  46. I watched the video “The danger of a single story,” by Chimamanda Adichie and I completely agree with what she said. One thought or one story about a place, nation, race, etc. should not make it the primary focus on the topic. It is the stereotypical thoughts that people often look at even though at times they know it is ‘only a stereotypical though.’ For example, approximately a decade ago my aunt was approached by a group of African-American which included 15 students or so to get her vote for student elections in her university. Having heard a frightening story from her mother about Africans, she started crying while screaming “Don’t hurt me!” This was an act of ignorance of course because she only took one story from her mother, a person whom she trusts.

    People are often misinformed about many things because of the source they rely on. Sometimes our family, and friends will give thoughts and opinions of certain topics, and we automatically tend to believe them because they are someone we know. Rather, we need to accept their opinions but make our own decisions by doing further research on their advice, and information. Take advertising as an example. My relatives in Nepal think that everyone lives the luxurious life in Canada. They also think that my family is has a lot of money now because we live in Canada. For the citizens of Canada, we know this is not true. Their image of the Canadian high life comes from music video scenes and movie scenes which show downtown Vancouver with the high rises, expensive sport cars, and people dressed up in suits, etc.
    I certainly agree with Adichie that there is never one story and will never be only one story. People need to be updated and open minded to other thoughts too than the general stereotypical ones.

    I can imagine how irritated Adichie was when the announcement referred to Africa as a country, as I too am somewhat irritated when people think Canada is where all the rich people, and when my relatives assume we are rich.

  47. I watched Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk, “The danger of a single story”. Adichie eloquently told of the danger in having only one story about any particular place or culture. She spoke of how growing up the stories she wrote were western stories, simply because she had never read a story that was not from England or the States. As she continues, it delves into deeper issues, such as racial stereotypes that are rampant today. When your information is limited to one source, you will have only a limited understanding. Racial stereotypes are one example, and although as Adichie expresses that the stereotypes that come from the single story aren’t necessarily untrue, they do take that one story, and will in your head make that the only story.

    This affect has a direct relationship to the influence of a culture or place. Because America has a dominant culture, it has diverse stories, which are readily available. Places like North Korea on the other hand are lesser known; one story about them could be the only one you are exposed to, therefore defining North Korea for you. As Canadian’s I feel that this affects us to a certain extent. We live in the shadow of the USA, and often to other cultures we are the more polite versions of Americans that have managed to survive in the frozen North. Of course in the past I have derived some entertainment from convincing some naïve Americans that I have had a pet penguin before; this goes only to prove how easy it is to get away without a full understanding of something. Although we have not been restricted by this story, I personally believe that Canada should be known worldwide for its achievements such as peacekeeping or medical innovations.

    Listening to Chimamanda Adichie in this TED talk has left me feeling challenged. I want to seek out other stories, to give myself a more complete knowledge of the world that extends so far beyond my current understanding.

  48. Thank you all so much for posting. Many of your comments are really interesting and thoughtful. I hope we will keep the discussion about this important topic going. Please feel free to listen to more of the talks and get inspired by what your friends have posted!

  49. You can only get out from something what you are willing and motivated to extract. From watching the video "Neil Pascricha : The 3A's of awesome" I feel that he has greatly influence people to do more with their lives and enjoy the little things, because the little things are what make the whole. From my point of view i believe that what he was saying was very true. Everyone experiences great highs and lows in their life that are inevitable, and it is how you react to these lows that define how much you like living. I greatly appreciated how he emphasized that when people experience something bad they do need to grieve; however, there is a limit to the amount of grieving that is acceptable. Everyone views their problems as the worse it can be but in reality there are always worse things. Anyone can find a reason no to do something or to feel bad for themselves, that is easy to do, the hard and rewarding thing is to find the reason to do something and make it better and more enjoyable.

    He relates throughout the discussion how his parents moved from nothing to give there kids the luxuries of Canada that we all take for granite. The move was not for the parents, it was to give their children a better life. He relates this to how he owes it to his parents to enjoy his limited time on this planet since they gave up a part of their lives for him. I really enjoy how everyone can relate to this, no matter who you are there is someone out there that gave something up, whether their lives or anything, to put you where you are today. We experience a great deal of luxuries that are not abundant throughout the world because somebody did something to put us in the position to be able to enjoy them.

    He goes on to talk about the "3 A's" which each demonstrate something special. He illustrates how whatever situation you are in you can enjoy it. No matter what happens to one, there is always something good that can be drawn for the surrounding. Further he depicts how if you live how you are then you will maximize happiness. The best way to enjoy life is by doing what you like and not caring how others view it, as long as you are happy them[n that is what counts in the end. He highlights that everyone has the first time of doing anything which is always intriguing. When people develop too much of a rhythm and stop enjoying the little things, then life becomes repetitive and repetition is boring and stagnant.

    The end of the video is summaries by showing how something that is so custom and routine and boring to some people can be the most exciting fresh new experience to someone else. We all need to take ourselves back a step every now and again and really enjoy what we may deem as trivial task or events.

  50. I watched Advice for Writers from Kurt Vonnegut because I read a book that he wrote in high school for my English class. It was Slaughterhouse Five and I remember the story quite well because we analysed the story quite thoroughly. Although the video is short, the 10 facts are a lot to handle all at once when writing. But I recognized a majority of the key aspects he pointed out in the video in the book that I read. What really intrigues me is the fact that the facts he stated sound relatively simple to do and to understand. But when a reader reads a story, he/she can only read one line at a time, and eventually the reader will get through half the book, three quarters of the book and finally finish the book.
    He mentions to give the readers as much information as possible as soon as possible, and even says “to hell with suspense.” In Slaughterhouse Five, I remember the beginning of the novel was the end of the story, so to speak. Which Kurt also mentioned as one of his 10 tips. To “start as close to the end as possible.” Kurt began the story by telling how the story ended. To many readers, this would seem like the story was ruined, and may even be annoying for some as the author literally spoiled the ending on the first page of the story. But from personal experience, it actually makes the reader want to find out exactly what happened in the story even more. Rather than having to build up the suspense, the reader would want to turn to the next page and find out what happens next from the beginning. Kurt Vonnegut also used a stream of consciousness style of writing to further enhance this “to hell with suspense” way of writing. With this method he could jump from one perspective or moment in the story to another instantaneously as if he was controlling a time machine. Kurt changed the entire structure of how a story was told, he practically told a story in reverse and yet the reader can still understand the whole picture simply by piecing together the story as it unfolds itself in a stream of consciousness style. I find this method very intriguing as in the end, despite reading a story in a scrambled order, you still end up reading the entire story and you aren’t missing a single piece of it. Almost as if putting a puzzle together, you put the pieces of the story together and you see the big picture. No matter what order you put the puzzle pieces of the story together, you still end up completing the puzzle.
    Kurt also adds that "readers should have such complete understanding of what's going on where and why that they can finish the story themselves." I see exactly what he means when he said this in the video. While I was reading the story, even though I did not finish the story in one go, I was able to understand in a nutshell of what actually happened even though I was halfway through the novel. Of course that did not stop me from finishing the novel, but I can relate to exactly what he means by this.

    I really recommend reading his short story novel Slaughterhouse Five as it really opens up a new way of writing for everyone. When I first encountered a story that used a stream of consciousness back in grade 8 or 9, I really could not follow the story at all. But after reading this novel, it allowed me to get a grasp at stream of conciousness stories and I can relate everything Kurt said in his video to my experience.

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  52. Although short, the video “The Power of Words” encompasses a lot of meaning within it. The video brilliantly shows the difference between simply slapping words together and creating an art with words. The difference between the statements “I’m blind. Please help”, and “It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it” and the impact both make to the reader is bluntly shown in the video. In one case, almost no one bothered to think about what they have just read since the phrases used are just too simple,direct, and ordinary, rarely did anyone stop and give money to the blind man. In the other scenario, everyone is made to consider what they have just read since the core meaning of the phrase (to ask the reader for money) is implicitly made. In addition, the reader is now able to sympathise with the blind man, as the statement is now in the reader’s perspective, since the reader can see the beautiful day, but the blind man can’t. With the direct statement, the reader is made to visualize the blind man’s perspective, but because none of the passerbys know the feeling of being blind, it is extremely hard to visualize the proper perspective. In summary, the video “The Power of Words” truly shows the power of words and how using words properly can change one’s life.

  53. I watched "The Clues to a Great Story." by Andrew Stanton. I was engaged from the beginning right until the very end. He begins with a joke which successfully grasps the audience. Before describing/explaining what a story should be like, he briefly demonstrates it with the joke. He goes on to show brief clips to portray the points he is making. This talk was inspiring and gave me a new perspective on perceiving stories. I have seen all the animation movies he referred to but had never once thought about the different components of the story or the characters. Even though I enjoyed them, I didn't realize it was the subtle way the stories of these animations were crafted that captured me. Like Stanton said, all these movies gave "2+2" and left the rest up to the audience. A good story is not predictable but is clearly leading somewhere. It makes the reader or the audience care about what is happening and try to figure out the lines in between. It was interesting to know that the idea for the beginning part of Nemo came from Stanton's own personal experiences. He says that when we draw from our experiences and values that are important to us, it will lead to an interesting story that has integrity. I found this video informative and very enjoyable.

  54. I watched "The 3 A's of awesome".

    The very first scene that appeared in the video attracted me instantly when the word AWESOME was displayed. The colours of the letters reminded me a book that I bought a year ago named "The book of Awesome". Right away, it hit me that the speaker, Neil Pasricha, is probably the author of the book. I paused the video, found the book, and yes, their names matched. It is such a coincidence because I value this book so much. I had a habit of reading a few of the short but interesting "awesome stories" before bed when I first bought the book. I also love it because reading those little stories cheered me up everytime when i felt kind of depressed or tired of working. We often neglect the little awesome things that happen in our every day lives, which leaves us to feel stressed, frustrated and pessimistic about our problems. "We are all gonna get lumps and we are all gonna get bumps.. and we are all going to have high highs and proud moments in life too". Neil Pasricha encourages everyone to be optimistic and make the right choice when facing the difficulties in life. He says, "There are times in life where you will be tossed in the well with twists in your stomach and holes in your heart, but there always two choices: 1). you swirl and twirl and gloom and doom forever, or 2). you are grief and face the future with newly sober eyes. " We should always make the second choice to take small steps towards the future, instead of giving up. Although there are ups and downs, we should learn to appreciate every awesome detail that happens. the 3 As of awesome including: Attitude, Awareness and Authenticity are three important factors that allow us to be a positive person. In order to be simply happy and satisfied is having a good attitude when making choices, be aware of our surroundings and appreciate the small wonders we see, and being our true selves and open about our unique characteristics, hobbies and habits. Let us all treasure any awesome moment in our lives and be thankful about everything we have. =)

  55. I watched Joe Sabia's "The Technology of Storytelling". I found it quite intriguing how he used a different method of story telling to tell a story about different methods of story telling. It was kind of like a story telling method vortex, like a "storytellingception". Besides that, I realized that all of these technologies of storytelling are crucial. If not for Lothar Meggendorfer inventing the first pop-up book, it probably wouldn't have occurred to people that different methods of storytelling mattered so much. From this, people continued to develop different technologies such as, the TV and the internet and used them as tools to tell stories. This then transformed into what we today enjoy on a daily basis.
    - Davin Chan

  56. I watched "Where does creativity hide?".

    Amy Tan is a great speaker. She engages her audience in many different ways. In the beginning of the talk, she successfully catches everyone's attention with some humor, and as she changes her tone when she talks about the death of her family members, she really spreads that mood among her audience. While watching the video, I also noticed the fact that Amy is consistently talking smoothly throughout the whole speech. That, to me, is really amazing even though I know she has a lot of experience in public speaking.
    The content of her speech is also, to me, quite interesting. My opinion is that creativity can really come to us in many different ways, and Amy is just discussing some of those ways that she has discovered in her writing career. Amy believes that creativity will come to us if we ask questions that contains uncertainty. That way our imagination will come into play, and creativity will start to appear from there. I find this method logical and quite useful. If I ever need my creativity in the future, I will definitely give this method a try.

  57. I watched the video “The danger of a single story” by the famous Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie and I absolutely enjoyed and completely agreed with what she said. The main idea she conveyed was that some critical misunderstanding and misconceptions are caused by hearing and believing in the “Single Story”. There is an old Korean saying that “'a lie told a hundred times becomes the truth”, I somewhat believe that it is in the human nature to embrace 'A Single Story', just like I am convinced that a human being is destined for its own destructions. Every human being has, for some point, bought into ‘A Single Story. It is part of the weaknesses that make us human.

  58. I watched the video "The Power of Words" from the youtube channel purplecontent.

    The clip is very short but moving and very inspiring to everyone. That is what I found truly fascinating . Everyone can relate to the clip in that the way the message is displayed or said can achieve much different outcomes.

    At some people feel pity for the blind man and spare him some change when they walk past and see his plight. However, when people see that he is unable to enjoy the beautiful weather, they feel much more sad and sympathetic to him and the donations begin rolling in.

    It is examples like these where it really shows how the different in words can really lead to difference in outcomes. If that woman had not shown the people the true sadness of the man, then how could they ever feel generous enough to help him. Through the power of words she was able to change minds from "Being blind must suck here is some money," to "In the midst of this wonderful weather this poor blind man get no's enjoyment out of it."

    Something as simple as that can change someone's day, maybe even their life. The power of words are limitless and if we use them to the best of our ability we may truly be able to reach our potential and help others reach theirs.

  59. I watched the 3 A's of Awesome.

    Life is full of inevitable obstacles that often interrupt the normal pattern of our everyday lives and lead to unexpected outcomes. Overcoming these obstacles can be quite challenging and overwhelming. However, instead of dwelling on depression and complaining about the unfortunate encounter of these unwanted obstacles, we should exhibit an optimistic attitude and look into the future with hope. In Neil Pasricha’s inspiring speech, he stated that "There are times in life where you will be tossed in the well with twists in your stomach and holes in your heart, but there always two choices. You either swirl and twirl and gloom and doom forever or you are grief and face the future with newly sober eyes.” Instead of escaping reality with futile attempts, we should face it and find solutions to our problems. We should value the little things that happen around us everyday which can potentially make our lives more joyful. A positive and optimistic attitude is essential in making life worth living.

  60. I watched Writing Lessons by Jack Kerouac. The video was definitely informative revealing 30 different lessons to improve writing. Every one of these lessons can be connected to the idea of freewriting by Peter Elbow. How each lesson was phrased dips into that creativity aspect of writing where writing has no bounds and can also be interpreted as wisdom from a drunken man as the author himself died due to the effects of alcohol. His words indeed are strange and display a drunk man's voice but provide insight a sober man might not.
    One of my favorites was "Something that you feel will find its own form" meaning that if I continue to write out my thoughts, it will develop into a piece that I can understand and share to others. Another one was, "Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind", which I felt meant randomness was the key towards creativity. Although the video was short, the advice given will open some minds for future viewers just as it has opened my mind for creativity.

  61. I watched "Lakshmi Pratury: On Letter-Writing".

    Lakshmi talks about the legacy people leave behind they die, particularly the one left to her by her father through a notebooks and letters. Letter-writing is disappearing from the world as people turn to emails and text messaging. In our own legacy, we should leave behind something with a personal touch. In the video, she mentions compiling her writing and her father’s into a book to leave to her son.
    What her talk reminds me of is a tradition at my high school. In my first year, I had to write a letter to my future self. I could write whatever I wanted then stuff it into an envelope with a small item if I wished. Roughly five years later, before my graduation, I opened the letter and read what I wrote. It was quite disappointing for me as my past self only wrote nonsensical things. My sentences were disconnected and discussed nothing related to the life I had at the time. Leaving behind something with a part of your life has a special, almost indescribable feeling to it. Overall, I believe regardless of medium, it is good to leave something with a personal touch behind to tell your own legacy. Electronic mediums have that missing feeling as the written text itself is not as unique as when it is in one’s handwriting. Sort of like the feeling as if you were the person themselves as they were writing it. I enjoyed the video as it made me realize some things I never got around to thinking about.