Month: October 2015

Fact or Fiction?

So, The Things They Carried, written by Tim O’Brien, I originally believed to be more non-fiction than fiction. Even after reading the book all the way through it still seemed so real. However, after watching an interview O’Brien gave about the novel, I now have to change my stance. The Things They Carried is a work of fiction based around the world O’Brien once knew. The key word O’Brien used was “based on”. Although he added bits of memories into his novel, he also spun fictional stories into the novel as well. I never thought about the book being mostly fiction, but O’Brien himself says that he “…’wanted to write a work of fiction that would feel to the reader as if this had occurred…'”.

Something O’Brien said that I love is that his goal in writing is to “… capture the heart and the stomach and the back of the throat of readers who can lie in bed at night and participate in a story”. The way O’Brien write, it makes you feel like you’re part of the story. The Things They Carried is written to drag you into the war with the characters. The story makes you understand more of what the soldiers in Vietnam went through. He writes about the war how he remembered it. It wasn’t heroic, it wasn’t glorious. It was war, it was real, and it was hell.

O’Brien, Tim. “Looking Back at the Vietnam War with Author, Veteran Tim O’Brien.” Interview by Jeffrey Brown. PBS Newshour. PBS, 28 Apr. 2010. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.

Masks: Not Just For Superheroes

Okay, so everyone, unless they’ve never read a word of poetry, has a favorite poem. This one just so happens to be mine. First off I’ll give you a bit of back story. The first time I read this poem was in my freshmen year of high school as an English assignment. Granted I got to pick the poems I read, but still, just the word -assignment- makes anything painful. However, after reading through probably 30 different poems, I narrowed my list down to 10 for that dumb project, but this one, this poem was my favorite out of all of them. Why you ask? Well, thanks for asking imaginary reader. This poem is my favorite because I do exactly as it says. If you know who I am, and most likely you don’t or you think you do but you only know what I let you know (p.s. I like to hide things from people), then you know that I hide my emotions from people. As the Marines like to say pain is a weakness leaving the body.

I know it’s a bad thing to say, but emotions have always been a weakness for me, either I hide them and hurt someone I care about because I don’t express like I should, or I show them and someone hurts me instead. So, how do you fix this problem? Thanks for asking another great question imaginary reader. Well, I lie, or rather as this poem says, I wear a mask. I hide what my pain behind a smile. My anger shrouded in sarcasm. My despair masked by jokes. I read this poem and knew, this is exactly what I do, exactly how I act. I like to watch people (creepy right? Sorry, but it’s a hobby of mine) when they think no one else sees them. All you have to do is sit and watch. When people talk with their friends they’ll smile and laugh, but when they look away, when they think they’re by themselves? Do they smile? Or do they sigh to themselves? Though you may not mean to, we all wake up in the morning and put on our masks. We all hide how we feel for one reason or another, we all wear the mask.

[I got the image from all powerful Google, thought it looked better than just putting the poem.]

Tunnel Rats

November 1, 1955: War breaks out in Vietnam. Now, before I continue with this we need some back story.

During the late 1940s, communist forces began digging tunnels under South Vietnam. The Cu Chi tunnels were dug by hand and stretched more than 120 miles. However, 20 years after the tunnels were first created, they would be utilized once more. During the Vietnam War, these tunnels were used for many different purposes: cover from aerial attacks, housing troops, mount surprise attacks and the transportation of supplies and communication. After an attack the North Vietnamese soldiers would disappear underground to escape capture.In order to navigate these tunnels.

The Cu Chi tunnels played a key role in combat during the Vietnam War. VC soldiers would lay trip wires that would either set off a grenade or overturn boxes of scorpions or poisonous snakes.In order to combat this, the United States military trained “tunnel rats” to go, armed with only a pistol and a flashlight, and scout out enemy soldiers and detect booby traps. Many different large scale attacks, like that on January 1966, were conducted to try and sweep the Cu Chi district but were unsuccessful. However, after the sweeps the North Vietnamese and VC troops would just slip back into the area using the tunnels. Two years later the tunnels would serve as the North Vietnamese stronghold in their attack against Saigon, during the Vietnamese New Year (Tet), in what would be known as the Tet Offensive.

Politely Opinionated

So, first I went to excessivelycaffeinated’s blog simply because the name is awesome. I read through several of their posts and then scrolled back up to the day the bomb dropped. First off, having a birthday that corresponds with the day the first atomic bomb was tested is pretty neat. Secondly, having a family member that actually witnessed it while just sitting on their back porch drinking coffee is amazing. Also, it’s kind of funny how their uncle sold pieces of glass that were created from the blast in his shop.

Secondly I went to ohlookatthatanotherblog. Other than Indiana Jones (yes I know it’s fake and that most of the “artifacts” he finds are legends, too bad I still like it) I personally have never been all that interested in archaeology. However, I decided to stop and read their Current Events post because it had weird puns about ocean currents (I know I’m a sucker for corny puns, get over it). Okay, so apparently on September 7th there was an announcement about the discovery of a structure (Durington Walls or “Super-henge”) that is 15 times the size of Stonehenge. While scientists aren’t sure how old it is exactly, it was discovered by a settlement that is dated at 4,500 years old, so they’re saying it’s approximately that old until they get any further information on it. Also, there were fossils found in the Rising Star Cave (in South Africa) that reveled one of our long lost cousins, the Homo Naledi. So far the Homo Sapiens were the only Homos known to do something with their dead; with the discovery of the Homo Naledi fossils however, it appears we are no longer the only ones.

Last but not least I visited Rubbish Semantics’ blog. I love to read how other people feel about writing, and I think I get some of what they were saying. First off when I write, half my letters end up in cursive and half are in normal print as well, so I’m kind of glad that there’s someone else out there that can’t figure out what font to write in either. Okay, so I have always wished I was good at writing stories and coming up with interesting characters. I love that they like to write stories, it’s something more people should try.