Blog Post 11

Give a couple of examples where you exist between categories rather than inside them.

I think people are way too focused on labels.

“Are you introverted or Extroverted?”

I am not part of either one, I am neither super friendly nor super antisocial. I just like my own good balance of alone time and time with friends.

“Asian or American?”

I am Asian but I am also American. People don’t seem to get this one. They thing that I am either a dog-eating Chinese FOB or a completely whitewashed, american boy with no idea of my culture. I am both, and I truly enjoy being able to be a part of both communities.

“Compassionate or pragmatic (if that makes sense)?”

Some of my friends have labelled my as stern and cold hearted, without feelings. Others have said I am super friendly. But no one has said both. I am a person who likes to get things done, and if feelings are in the way of me accomplishing my task, I ignore them. However, there are situations where compassion is necessary, and that side of me will kick in. No one seems to notice that people can have more than one personality.

What people don’t seem to realize is that there are grey areas in life. Things that can never be defined – things with no set answers. They often think things either are or arent, and they can’t accept the fact that there may be some in-betweens.

The Youth chooses art to bring him closer–what do you think has guided your steps towards  The Real thus far?

I think a lot of things have guided me towards “The Real”. But like I said earlier, not everything is black and white. As we saw in the play, the boy kept trying to use other people’s “Reals” as his own and it never worked out. My “Real” will probably never be obtained. Maybe when I am an old man sitting on a rocking chair I will feel as if I have achieved my “Real”. But right now, I am not even sure what that is. Sure, I have world-views, I have beliefs, I have goals and desires, but I don’t think I have a “Real”. And even if I do, it probably changes right now. If I had to guess what my “Real” was and seee what contributed to it, It would probably be a lot of things. My Christian faith, my family, friends, my endless hours of pain spent cycling only to realize I will never be the fastest, my love for sports, my political views, plenty of things. But the one thing, or the everything that has guided me towards my “Real” is my life. My every waking moment, every breath I take, every mistake I make and every experience I have – these things I do every day are what contribute the most to my “Real”.

I still don’t think I will ever know what my true “Real” is. 

I don’t know.

What is real?

What is this “Real”?

Am I real?

I. Don’t. Know.






Blog Post #9 – Pain in Art

I never thought of art this way (or thought of art at all) before this. The article makes an interesting statement, saying that pain can provoke creativity.

I chose quotes #1 and #2

1) The only way people can really describe pain is to objectify it.

Sarah Boxer brings up a book by Elaine Scarry. She says that people never truly describe pain, but they only describe things or objects that can cause the pain. When I thought about this, it is actually very true. We can never describe our pain; we can only use examples of other things to explain our pain to others as best we can. The other day, I stepped on a lego (thanks, little brothers). The pain would described as a “sharp pain”, or like I had been pricked by little needles. I never thought of it at that moment (or any other time I got hurt), but I wasn’t able to really describe the pain, but only relate it to things that CAUSE pain. This challenges us as creators. The first person to describe pain must have had a difficult time finding exact words for it. What if we experience a pain one day that we can relate to no other experience? How will we describe it then?

2) When people forge tools or build things, they are often trying to alleviate discomfort. But first they must define the discomfort.

We’ve already discussed describing a pain/discomfort. But how do we relieve these discomforts? Boxer discusses the tools people use to ease pains. As creators, most of the things we make are made to relieve pain, to ease discomfort, or to make life easier. She uses the example of a chair. We use chairs to help us counter the discomfort of having our body weight for extended periods of time. Many things have been created to ease discomforts, and still we are in the process of developing more. Some are very simple things that many take for granted today. Shoes are an example. Somebody a long time ago was sick of walking on bare feet and getting cuts from rocks and rough ground, so they developed shoes. Whether the first shoes were just a piece of wood or maybe soft cloth, they sought out to ease the discomfort of bare foot walking. Since then, many developments were made and the result was the comfortable sneakers or shoes that we wear today. All in all, pain leads to the need to alleviate it, and that need often results in new technology.

Does this mean pain is a good thing?

Blog Post 7 and 8

Part 1

Judge Soderberg’s monologue and Man on the Wire both spoke on the topic of crime. They are both about contrasting types of crime, however, with different perspectives on the topic. Soderberg speaks of rape, theft, murder, and other crimes that we may regard as horrific or even “dirty.” Phillipe Petit’s crime, however, may be regarded by people as a form of art, a crime which possesses a beauty in its rush of adrenaline. People have even called it a form of art. Even those both talk about crime, Petit’s in considered a form of art, while the types Soderberg talks about are perceived by society as awful.

Part 2

The meeting between Soderberg and Jazzlyn and Tillie and the meeting between Soderberg and Petit held more significance than I first thought they did. At first, I thought Soderberg was just a side character we wouldn’t hear from again. But after his monologue and his meetings, I realized that they played an important role in setting up for future connections. Soderberg displayed a sort of care or pity for both parties. He displayed that he felt bad for both Tillie and Jazzlyn, and that even though their crimes were disgusting they were still humans and that their love for each other was unbreakable. For Petit, Soderberg understood the need Petit felt to walk the towers,. He didn’t want to jail him for something that didn’t harm anyone so he created what he thought was a very clever sentence.

Part 3

The prologue described Petit’s walk between the towers. A task that even he believed to be impossible, yet he dared to try anyway. In the scene, crowds of people stopped on their way to work to watch the walk. After the prologue, however,  I wasn’t sure how the story of the tightrope walker tied in. For the longest time, the book only spoke of Corrigan, Jazzlyn, Tillie, and other more prevalent characters. Then it happened. One by one, almost every person’s story in the book began to mention something related to the tightrope walk or even the walk itself. Throughout the book, we are given views of almost the entirety of New York, its common stereotypes, boroughs, people, and ways of life through the perspectives of people across the city. At the end, it is all tied together when Claire is dying and Jaslyn feels the “world spinning.” To me, this encapsulates the feelings I got from the entire book as it described New York in such a beautiful fashion.

The part that unsettled me the most was the one where Ciaran and Lara met. I thought that Ciaran would be enraged, that the funeral would be ruined, or that they may even start fighting. Their relationship was rocky at first, but they eventually became lovers. I don’t know what disturbed me more, the moment when they first met and I thought they would fight or the moment they fell in love. Who falls in love with the person who killed (kind of killed) their brother? I guess love makes you do crazy things.

The bridge I enjoyed the most was Gloria and Jazzlyn’s kids. From the beginning of Claire’s story, it was apparent that Gloria was not as well-off as the rest. I felt that she was one of the most caring, loving people, however, and I was hoping to hear how she was doing before the book ended. My wishes came true when I read that she was caring for Jazlyn’s kids. I believe that the kids were in good hands, which left me relieved since I was scared that they would be left in the hands of abusive people when they got taken away. In the end, this was my favorite bridge because it left me feeling warm on the inside, like everything was going to be alright.

River Flows in You; You Flow in the River

There is a lot of music I listen to. I have seven different playlists that I listen to depending on my mood. But one piece that I will always enjoy is Yiruma’s “River Flows in You”. The piece is a short, contemporary piano piece. It is one of those pieces that brings back timeless memories. It makes me happy and sad at the same time. I would say bittersweet, but I feel as if that word doesn’t doesn’t completely describe the entirety of emotions it brings. It is nostalgic, in a sense. It often reminds me of memories in my past. When I first heard it, I thought of it as a sad piece, making me long for the memories of my youth, or for a time of happiness I can never have again. As I listened to it more often, my interpretation of the piece began to change. Instead of being just sad that I could never experience these memories again, I began to cherish the fact that I was a part of them.

Instead of allowing the memories to flow within me and make me sad, I wanted to cherish the memories and make new ones instead.

Instead of having the river flow in me, I began to flow in the river.

Blog Post 5

I used to listen to classical music all the time when I was younger. My mother loved classical music, so I am pretty familiar with a lot of the composers and their pieces. However, as I got older, my taste in music changed, and I started enjoying other types of music. But classical music holds a beauty that, to me, no other music can.

Beethoven’s 9th symphony is one I’ve heard a few times. Generally, I listen to classical music when I am reading or studying. I find it soothing, calming, and it helps me to focus. But Beethoven’s 9th is a bit different, and I find it difficult to focus when I listen to this. It is difficult for me to find a clear meaning in this piece. At first, I thought of it as mysterious. Then dramatic. Then happy. Then sad. It is a nice piece, but difficult to place a clear, intended meaning on.

Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake was different. From the beginning, I thought of a swan, probably because the title of the piece subconsciously forced me to do so. Yet the meaning was clear nonetheless. Tchaikovsky’s song intended to paint a picture of a swan in a lake. Graceful, tall, elegant – a simple beauty surrounding it as it stood in the lake. A peaceful environment. At times, the music got louder and faster, and I pictured the swan being hunted by carnivorous animals, or perhaps human hunters. I am not sure if others interpreted it the same way.

Beethoven’s piece held beauty in its mystery. Tchaikovsky’s was a beautiful picture in itself.

What makes something “big”?

I’m not a tall person. In fact, I’m pretty short. When I was younger, I was constantly aware of this fact. I still am, but not nearly as much as I used to be. People always told me I was short. I thought it made me less of a person, that things in life would be harder for me. I thought I’d never get a girlfriend, I’d never succeed in physical activity, or that everything would require more effort. But soon I proved myself wrong. I’ve won races and sports games before, had girlfriends, and was able to everything that anyone else could. As I began to realize that being short wasn’t so bad (when it rains, the rain hits me last) I started to wonder “What is size?”

When we took a trip to the highline, it was cool being up close to the buildings, and they seemed a teeny bit shorter than they normally appear. However, even though they appeared shorter, to me, the “size” was still the same. Sure physically the buildings looked shorter from on the highline, but what it was was still the same. What made the building “big” was not its height, but the teamwork, labor, resources, and overall effort put into building the building to be that tall. What makes someone “tall” is not their height or width. What makes them a bigger person is what they’ve achieved, the people they care for, and the kind things they done. Someday, I hope to be a “bigger” person as well.

Miro, Intersections and Regrets

  1. Miro was a Spanish painter who lived from 1893 – 1983. When the book refers to a “Miro” it is referring to one of his paintings. His style of painting was unique and unlike others’, but some claim that his style is closest to Surrealism. Some of his famous works include the Nord-Sud, Horse, Pipe and Red Flower, and Spanish Dancer.
  2. There are many characters in this book, and many that I would consider to be primary characters. What is interesting about this book is that each character has a role. They are not just “extras”, but each character can be considered a primary character and adds certain elements to the story. Here is a list of the more prevalent primary characters.
    1. Corrigan
    2. Ciaran
    3. Tillie
    4. Jazzlyn
    5. Adelita
    6. Claire
    7. Gloria
    8. Lara
    9. Blaine
    10. Fernando Marcano
    11. Compton
    12. Kid


There are so many intersections in this book. The one that intrigues me the most is Lara and Tillie, when they meet in “The House that Horse Built”.

What intrigues me the most is simply the fact that Lara took the effort to go visit Tillie and to get her to be able to see her grandkids. I feel as if they are both regretful of different things. Lara regrets not stopping when they crashed, and Tillie regrets allowing Jazzlyn to follow the same path she did as a prostitute. Yet, their regrets take them down unbelievably different paths. Lara falls in love with Ciaran, anb Tillie kills herself. Regrets can make people do crazy things.

Of things far and near; Of things different yet the same

Manhattan. Dublin, Ireland. The Bronx. A bar in Queens. Three of these places in the same city, and the other on the opposite side of the ocean. These locations, on the surface, may seem like just a random place. Yet each of these places has a name. An identity. The author of this book, Colum McCann, took us to each of these places and immersed us within each of them for a few pages. We were able to notice the social differences in each of these places around 40-50 years ago. From the business-people of Wall Street to the projects in the Bronx, the drunk-filled streets of Dublin to a quiet bar in Queens – all of these differences are made apparent. Such vivid description has only led me to have a greater appreciation for New York City, to embrace the differences in culture between the boroughs yet bond over our similarities.

The book so far led me through a roller-coaster of emotions. From a mother’s never-ending love for her alcoholic son to a mother-daughter pair of hookers, there is no one word to describe the characters or my feelings after reading this. Even though all of the characters developed their own interesting personalities, a few stood out more than the rest. Corrigan, for one. Corrigan is seemingly trying his best to find religion yet has so many questionable traits that it is hard to tell. His internal conflict between his piety and desires  truly interests me.

One thing that really surprised me from the beginning was the young age of most of the characters. Corrigan having his first smoke at 9, getting drunk at 13; Jazzlyn, a street hooker no more than 17-18 years of age. This really lead to me realizing what a different world we live in than what it was 40 years ago. A much safer, sheltered world for sure.

Is it a better world? Only you can answer that for yourself.