Author: Virginia Dweck

Final Project

Virginia Dweck

Macaulay Seminar 1

Professor Ugoretz



Different Representations of a Story

Sorry, the fonts and formatting got messed up so the story probably won’t be clear.  

When Push Comes to Shove


14-year-old April

September 18, 2001

Dear Diary,

Today they told us that he was dead. Today, a police officer came to the house and told my mother and I that my father would never come home again. Today we lost hope.

“He was a hero,” the police officer said. “He could’ve saved himself but he chose to save others instead. He saved five lives.” I wish he hadn’t. I wish he had just saved himself. Does that make me a bad person? If I would rather five people have died so that one person could survive, what does that say about me?


 September 20, 2001

Dear Diary,

Today was the day of my father’s funeral. I held my mother as she cried and cried for hours, but I couldn’t do it. I haven’t cried once since they told us that he was dead. Mom hasn’t stopped crying, but I haven’t cried once. Brayden says that its ok, that I’ll cry when I’m ready, it just doesn’t feel real yet. She’s wrong. It feels real. It feels so real that sometimes I think that I’m going to explode from the pain.


16-year-old Luke

November 2002


I’ve never done this before. Never had a journal, never written about my feelings and shit like a girl. But then again, I haven’t had a brother in Afghanistan before last month either, haven’t had anything that I NEEDED to talk about but couldn’t because the person that I would’ve talked to is halfway across the world. I begged him not to go, begged him not to leave me alone with our never-home parents, in our too-big house. He’s the only one that’s ever understood. My friends think it’s so cool that I can do whatever I want, that I never have supervision, that my brother is a soldier. But in reality, I’m just alone. All of the damn time.


November 2003


Gabe has been in the army for one year now and every day I get more worried. Things are pretty bad there, but then again, they were always bad. I’ve thrown myself into football and girls as a distraction, but it’s not enough.

Sometimes Gabe sends letters and I wait for those, but they don’t come so often. A few months ago, he sent me a picture of himself and I barely recognized him with his long hair buzzed, wearing in his uniform instead of jeans and a t-shirt. I carry that picture with me everywhere. I guess it helps me feel like he’s still here with me. Like I’ll know him when he gets back the way I did when he left. But the scariest part of it all is that I don’t think I will.


March 2003

Dear Diary

It’s almost Spring. I love it hear in spring. The surface of the bronze is still cool to the touch, but no longer too cold to touch. I love looking down at my father’s name and knowing that even though he’s not here anymore, he’ll be remembered forever.

The 9/11 Memorial has become my favorite place to escape because I know that this is closest to my father that I will ever get. I come here and run my fingers over his name, tracing it over and over again. I look down into the abyss, and every time, I feel the loss of the thousands of lives that died here that day. I come here often, sometimes alone, sometimes with Brayden. She’s been amazing these past years, sticking by me through everything. I couldn’t wish for a better best friend. I wish I could say the same about mom. She—


“Watch it!” I yelled as someone ran into me from behind. I turned around to see a boy with blue eyes and wavy brown hair looking down at me. He was wearing a Lafayette high school letterman jacket.

“I’m really sorry,” he said. “I’ll watch out next time.”

“Hey Luke, we gotta go!” His friends yelled to him.

He gave me apologetic smile and ran to catch up with his friends.

Just as he left, Brayden walked up to me. “You ready to go?” She asked.

“Sure, just let me get my stuff.”

As I was collecting my jacket I noticed a folded piece of paper next to my diary.

“Come on, April. We’re going to be late for dinner.”

“Coming,” I said, as I picked up the paper and stuffed it into my diary.


Later that night, I sat down in my room and opened the paper. A picture fell out. It looked worn, as if it was looked at often. In it was a smiling, blue-eyed young man probably around 19 or 20 years old. He was wearing the US army uniform, a gun strapped across his chest, holding his helmet under his arm. His brown hair was shorn close to his scalp and in the background you could just make out the front of a tank amidst the desert. Curious now, I looked down at the paper.


Hey Little Bro,

Sorry for not writing sooner, it’s crazy over here. You wouldn’t believe some of the things that I see here every day. It’s been pretty tough, but the guys here are great and we’ve been dealing with it all together.

I can’t tell you exactly where I am, but I wanted you to know that I’m as safe as I can be over here. I’ll write again as soon as I can. Don’t miss me too much,

Love ya kid,



Wow, I thought as I looked down at the picture more closely. Those blue eyes looked familiar. Luke! He must have dropped it when he bumped into me. I’ve got to get this back to him.


I lost it! How could I have lost it? I always keep it on me, safe in the pocket of my letterman jacket. The girl! I must have dropped it when I bumped into her. Shit. How am I going to get it back from her, I don’t even know her name.

Ok, breathe, I remind myself. I’ll get through tonight and maybe in the morning maybe everything will look a little bit better.


Dear Diary,

I’m going to skip school tomorrow and go to Lafayette to give back the picture. Mom won’t care. I’d be surprised if she even noticed. Brayden said she’ll cover for me. I’ve never skipped school before but I know that if it was a picture of my dad, I’d want it back right away.

It looks like he wont be to hard to find. He’s the star quarterback and one of the most popular kids in school according to Brayden, but I’m still nervous. I haven’t been comfortable around anyone besides Brayden in a while and just being around that many new people is sure to be scary.

In and out. That’s how I’m going to do it.


“You can do this. You can do this,” I quietly chant to myself as I stand outside the Lafayette cafeteria. Getting in was easy, now comes the hard part. I pushed open the doors and walked into the noisy din of the cafeteria.

I spotted him right away. He was sitting at the best table with a bunch of other football players and a cheerleader on his lap. I took a deep breath and began to approach the table.

I gently tapped Luke on the shoulder and the table fell silent as all eyes turned to me.

“I don’t know if you remember me, you bumped into me yesterday at the 911 memorial. I think I have something of yours.”


I don’t think I was ever so happy to see anyone in my life. I lifted Carly off of my lap.

“See you later guys,” I said to the table. I turned to the girl. “You mind if we go somewhere else?” She looked nervous.

“I guess not.”

I grabbed her hand and led her out of the cafeteria and up to the roof. I go up there sometimes to think and I knew that we would be alone.

She looked calmer now as she reached into her bag and took out my brothers most recent letter and the picture that I never go anywhere without. I gently took it from her and put it back in the pocket of my letterman jacket. I would be more careful from now on.

“Thank you. You have no idea how grateful I am.”

She nodded and began to leave, but I wasn’t ready to let her yet. Even before I noticed that the picture was gone, I had already been thinking about her. There was just something striking about her. Tall with bright green eyes and long wavy brown hair, face clean of makeup, she was beautiful in a refreshing way and I didn’t want her to leave yet.

“What’s your name?” I asked her almost desperately.


“It’s nice to meet you April, I’m Luke.”


May 2003

Dear Diary,

The last few months have been amazing. Luke and I have been hanging out and we’re having a lot of fun together. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I can be myself around someone besides Brayden and I feel like he can finally be himself too. I think that Luke pretends to be something he’s not around his other friends. It feels like I know a completely different person than the one they do.



Today, April and I hung out around the city. We didn’t have anything planned but we didn’t have to. She’s not like the other girls. She sees past all of the bullshit and knows the Luke that no one else ever has. Everybody else thinks that I want to go pro and play football for the rest of my life, but there’s more to me than that. I don’t just want to be the jock. Gabe saw that and now April does too.


“Luke!” my mother called. “Come down here now!”

I glanced at the clock wondering what Mom was doing home. It was only five and she never gets home before eight.


I walked into the sitting room and saw my mother and father sitting together. This was not good. I sat down across from my parents and waited for them to tell me what was going on.

“Its your brother,” Mom said. ”His caravan drove over a roadside bomb and he’s been hurt, so they’re sending him home.”

No way! They’re sending him home! This is what I’ve wanted since he left. Wait—

“How bad is it? Is he okay? Will he make it?”

My mother looked like she was weighing her words very carefully.

“They’re not sure. But if he’s stable, they say he’ll be home by the end of the week and then you can see for yourself.” She stood up. “Now, if that’s all taken care of, I have to go back to work, I have a client waiting.”


I was sitting in my room when the doorbell rang.

“Coming!” I shouted as I ran to get the door.

I looked through the peephole to see a very distraught Luke looking back at me. I yanked the door open.

“What’s wrong?” I asked as he pulled me into a hug and hung on tight.

“Gabe’s hurt,” he sobbed into my shoulder. “They’re sending him home and we don’t know how bad it is yet.”

“Shhh. Don’t worry. It’ll all be okay.”



Gabe just got home and I’m sitting in the hospital waiting for them to let me see him. I’m excited to finally see him again, but I’m scared of what I’ll see. I have no idea what to expect, but I know that if its bad enough to send him home, it’s probably worse than I can handle.


“Hey,” April said as she sat down next to me.

“I’m not sure I can do this.”

“Of course you can. This is your brother, you love him and he’ll still be your brother and you’ll still love him no matter what has happened or what he looks like. I’ll come in with you if you really want me to, but I think that you should do this alone.”

“You’re right. I can do this,” I said more to convince myself than anything else.

April reached down and took my hand. She didn’t let go until they told me that I could go in.

“I’m right here if you need me.”

“Thanks,” I said as I went to see my brother for the first time in a year and a half.


I sat in the waiting room, and waited until Luke came out.

“How is he?” I asked when he finally came out.

“He’s okay.” He answered. “He has some really bad burns covering the right side of his body and one of his legs and some of his ribs are broken, but the doctors say he’ll be fine.”

“That’s good and how are you?”

“I think that I’ll be fine too.” He turned to me. “Thank you,” he said, “For everything.”



September 2004

Dear Diary,

For the first time in three years, I can honestly say that everything is going great. Luke and I are together now, as a couple and his brother is almost fully recovered. You can’t even see the burns anymore. He’s really cool and Luke is so happy to have his brother back.

Mom finally went to therapy and I finally have my mother back. Brayden started dating one of Luke’s football friends and she and I are closer than ever. I still miss my dad, but every day it gets easier and easier. I think I kind of have my happily ever after. At least, for now.

IMG_1435 IMG_1427


Dear Professor Ugoretz,

For my project I wanted to show that a story can be recreated in many different ways, which is something we spoke about in class. In class however, we spoke about a story being recreated through dance, song, or movies. I decided to use a drawing and a collage, two things that we hadn’t spoken about in class to demonstrate this.

First, I had to come up with the story. I chose to write about the effects that photography and the 911 Memorial have on their viewers. Initially, I chose to write about the 911 Memorial because it was the work that made me feel the most. The event of 911 was so tragic affecting so many people and that felling is reflected in the memorial so much so that I felt that I couldn’t not write about it. Photography was also something that stuck with me so I wanted to incorporate the impact and importance of photography as well. In class you asked us to bring in a photo of someone we love and demonstrate how even though the photo is just a piece of paper, we wouldn’t want to rip it up because it is a representation of that person and what they mean to you. That was an idea that intrigued me and so I thought it would be interesting to see if I could recreate that importance in my short story. This, I felt, fell under the general theme of the significance and power that a work of art can have on its viewers.

I then had to make my collage. My youngest sister gave me the idea to make a collage. In the den of my house we have a huge collage of pictures of my extended family and when I asked my family for ideas on which to do my project she said, “Gins, you should do a collage of different paintings like the one mom made.” I thought that it was a good idea so I used it. I found pictures that reminded me of the story that I wrote. The main picture shows the romance of the story while the other pictures represent other aspects of the story. I then drew nearly the same images, except that with the collage, I had to choose the pictures of others, so I may not have found the exact images I wanted and with drawing, I was able to draw any picture within my capabilities (which were very limited). We didn’t discuss collages in class as an art form but I think that it should be considered one because although it is the pictures of other people are used, the different choices and arrangement of the pictures can create completely unique pieces of art.

Thank you for an amazing semester of new experiences.


Virginia Dweck

Henry IV

I am proud to admit that i am a shakespeare fan. Even before the plays were assigned in school, i had read them on my own and i almost always fall in love with whatever work i am reading. Yet, i felt that this play didn’t exemplify what shakespeare intended it to be, which is fine, except that the play itself was pretty confusing.

I thought that the actors did an amazing job, especially since it was an all female cast all playing males. This rendition of the play was definitely entertaining, but at times it felt a little bit too over the top. I did think it was interesting though that the play was kind of a framed narrative and so even though it was confusing, it was very realistic in the sense that if prisoners were to do this play, it would probably be just as if not more over the top in the lewdness… Even though it came out of nowhere, i loved the song and despite the actual words, i thought the melody was beautiful. I also really liked the fighting scenes, the loud music and the spray paint on the floor, all unique to this rendition of the play I’m sure.

All in all, i thought that it was a very interesting performance. I don’t think anyone ever has or will ever see Henry IV performed quite like that again.

Snapshot Exhibition

I was unable to go see the snapshot exhibition, so i will post about my submission instead.

I took this picture (see below) from the roof of a hotel in New York City. I chose to submit this picture because i felt that it captured another side of the city. Rather than the busy, industrial, super-crowded image that usually represents NYC, i wanted to show that the beauty of the city isn’t only in the hustle and bustle but also in the the appearance, the location, and the architecture. Beauty can be found anywhere at the right time and i had not intended to take this picture, but when i saw the view and was given the opportunity to capture the moment, i couldn’t pass it up and that was something i wanted to share.

I looked at some of the photos online and just wanted to say that everything looked amazing. Props to the curators. I know that it was a lot of work, but you did an amazing job.


Band Reflection

I wasn’t sure what to expect of the Big Band performance, but it definitely took me by surprise. The chilled out and interesting feel of the music had me tapping my foot to the beat.

What I found most interesting was hearing the individual instruments playing so that when they all played together, I could almost isolate the sound that each instrument made and see how they interacted when played together. I also thought it was interesting to hear the difference between the clip Vaughn played for us in class and the actual performance. I didn’t really get what he was saying until i saw it for myself in person.

All in all, I thought that it was an amazing performance that had me humming the songs for days.


Going to the opera was an experience that I never thought I would have. I couldn’t imagine sitting for so long to watch an antiquated plot in a language that i can’t understand, but the experience was better than i thought it would be. Because there wasn’t so much on stage action, it was pretty easy to read and follow along at the same time, which i appreciated, the singing was beautiful and the story was nice and easy to follow. I most appreciated the music and how it set the tone for what was going to happen, by listening to the music i could almost tell what was going to happen next. I also appreciated the passion with which the singers sang and the fact that even without a microphone, their voices were able to fill the whole room. I do have to day though, that i wish it wasn’t so long. By the time the first intermission was over the second act came, i almost forgot what had happened in the act before.

Ballet Reflection

I was pleasantly shocked by my first experience at the ballet. I honestly did not expect to enjoy it much but I found that within the first few moments, I was absorbed in the beauty and grace of the dance. My favorite was Monotones I and II because it was simple, not at all confusing and solely about the dance. There was not any theatrics, just the three performers and their dance. I felt that the Brahms-Haydn Variations was a  good first performance to have seen because it showcased different aspects of the ballet and though it was a little bit overwhelming and very hard to keep up with, it contradicted the stereotype that ballet is slow and almost boring. The Green Table was different from the first two in that it had a story. I found that it was a perfect performance to end on because toward the end, I  was getting antsy but the story held my attention and kept me entertained until the end. What I noticed most about the ballet though, was the importance of the music. How the music and steps work together to create an amazing performance, creating dramatic pauses and setting the tempo for the dance.


IMG_1131 IMG_1133 IMG_1135

I had always read about the High line in books or magazines as one of the “must see” sights of New York City. I have been to the city too many times to count and yet I had never visited this “must see” location.

Our Macaulay Seminar trip was my first time there and I was overwhelmed by the sheer awesomeness of the high line. It wasn’t as I had expected but the unexpected surprises are usually the best ones and this time was no different.

Just the layout, nature above the ground, which is almost like nature taken out of context, was a very cool and different idea. As was the term “park.” this new depiction an idea of park as sights to see rather than area to play was a nice change for me. One of the aspects that I think of when I think about New York City is the art and graffiti that is painted on to the buildings.  So, of all of the pieces that I saw, Damian Ortega’s Physical Graffiti series was my favorite because of the idea of graffiti out of its context which, in my opinion, almost embodies the essence of the high line. These pieces were of metal graffiti suspended above the platform and in two of the three cases, against a plain white wall, which gives the appearance of true graffiti that is painted on plain building walls. And yet these pieces stand on their own,  a new representation of graffiti. The third though, is suspended not in front of a plain white wall, but over the city, making the suggestion that the graffiti is a representation of the essence and creativity of New York City. This piece doesn’t look as natural as the others and almost fades into the background of the city but I think that it makes the biggest statement and is most representative of the message Ortega intended to send.



Virginia: Brooklyn Museum

Last night, we went to the Brooklyn museum and it was interesting to how art differed art evolved through time. In the Egyptian collection, my group and I stopped by the hieroglyphics that were so old and fragile that even light would harm them. Those were interesting because hieroglyphics are the basis of all written language and its amazing that today, thousands of years later, there are people who can decipher them. Next we went to see the triptych of virgin and her son flanked by two of the evangelists which was interesting because I have studied many similar paintings but each one is different and unique in its own way. We also saw and discussed the Bierstadt painting of the rocky mountains, which we had briefly discussed in class, but the difference between the painting as it was from the projector to the painting in person was astounding. It commanded my attention from the minute that I walked into the room and the amount of details and the realism of the painting was truly incredible. I really liked the Savage/Sacred Young Minds, and the sneaker exhibits because they were both unlike any art exhibit I had ever seen.  They both reminded me of the art vs crap discussion that we had in class because although I do think that those are and should be considered art, I do think that there are those who would disagree. When we mentioned the is to one of the ITFs, he explained to usthat the video games are like the living art, the artist had an image in mind that he brought to life through the video game, which I though was really interesting.