Essay writing – Optimal J http://optimalj.com/ Sat, 22 Jan 2022 01:55:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://optimalj.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/icon-2021-06-24T001514.613-150x150.png Essay writing – Optimal J http://optimalj.com/ 32 32 RICAS test scores down at Westerly, but there’s a plan to boost them | Where is https://optimalj.com/ricas-test-scores-down-at-westerly-but-theres-a-plan-to-boost-them-where-is/ Sat, 22 Jan 2022 01:55:00 +0000 https://optimalj.com/ricas-test-scores-down-at-westerly-but-theres-a-plan-to-boost-them-where-is/ WESTERLY — Principals and other administrators have developed a plan to improve student performance on the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS) test after results released in October showed declines in nearly every category at every school district reporting to it. was given. School principals and superintendents Mark Garceau, at a school board meeting on […]]]>

WESTERLY — Principals and other administrators have developed a plan to improve student performance on the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS) test after results released in October showed declines in nearly every category at every school district reporting to it. was given.

School principals and superintendents Mark Garceau, at a school board meeting on Wednesday, attributed the poor performance to the effect of students being forced to learn remotely and other changes brought about by the pandemic. of COVID-19. In the spring, students reported for the test for the first time since 2019. The test was canceled by state officials in 2020 due to the pandemic. Students in grades 3 through 8 take the RICAS, which assesses proficiency in English and math. It was the third time the test had been administered in Rhode Island.

Only 36.9% of Westerly students have mastered the English language arts section of the test, down from 51.8% in 2019; and only 17.7% achieved math fluency, down from 38% in 2019. Every school in the district saw declines in all areas of the test except for Springbrook Elementary School, where students showed a slight improvement in ELA from 38.8% percent of students achieving mastery in 2019 to 39.2% achieving mastery. Westerly students performed better, on average, than students from other districts, and attendance was higher in Westerly than in many other districts.

During the 2020-2021 school year, students went to school four days a week and had distance learning one day a week until mid-May, but some families chose to have them learn to their students remotely throughout the school year. The previous school year was halted in mid-March when the pandemic forced remote learning for the rest of the year.

The pandemic has also led to personnel changes that could have had a negative effect on learning. Additionally, some aspects of the district’s elementary school curriculum were not taught, according to a presentation developed by the city’s elementary school principals and delivered to the school board Wednesday.

The pandemic has also harmed the social and emotional well-being of students. For some students, the only time they entered a school building in 2020-21 was to take the test.

“You could see the stress on some of their faces,” said Springbrook Elementary School principal Susan Martin.

Based on test results, essay writing was identified as a weakness for third and fourth graders, as was multi-step math problem solving. Elementary schools emphasized writing, phonemic awareness, text-level reading, and math problem solving. Professional development in the science of reading for teachers, which is required of all teachers in the state, should also help improve student performance, principals said. Schools are also looking to intervene early when students show signs of falling behind or need subject-specific assistance.

At Westerly Middle School, teachers are back to fully implementing a new ELA curriculum and focusing on student writing in response to reading. The school is also increasing its emphasis on reading and test preparation.

The college is also implementing a new math curriculum for fifth-grade students, and math teachers are engaging in curriculum-driven professional development. Students in grades 5-8 focus on problem-solving skills.

School board member Giuseppe Gencarelli, who works as an elementary school principal in another district, questioned why state education officials insisted on administering the test and said the results should be taken as a new baseline.

School board member Robert Cillino, who also works as a principal in another district, said it could take students up to three years to recover academically from setbacks caused by the pandemic. Audrey Faubert, principal of State Street Elementary School, agreed that it will take time.

“Thank you for acknowledging that this is not an easy solution,” Faubert said. “It takes time to recoup some of that loss.”

The return to in-person learning has allowed teachers to return to the kind of small-group sessions that benefit students, Faubert added.

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Center ourselves: we have so many beautiful moments https://optimalj.com/center-ourselves-we-have-so-many-beautiful-moments/ Thu, 20 Jan 2022 02:51:00 +0000 https://optimalj.com/center-ourselves-we-have-so-many-beautiful-moments/ Olivia Gatwood is my favorite slam poet — and probably the only one I can name who doesn’t attend Princeton. My favorite poem is “An alternate universe where I’m not fazed by men who don’t like me”. In the last line, Gatwood sums up his experience in this alternate universe: “I have so many beautiful […]]]>

Olivia Gatwood is my favorite slam poet — and probably the only one I can name who doesn’t attend Princeton. My favorite poem is “An alternate universe where I’m not fazed by men who don’t like me”. In the last line, Gatwood sums up his experience in this alternate universe: “I have so many beautiful moments.”

Instead of, say, asking all his friends for advice or writing an essay about it at three in the morning, Gatwood’s alternate universe deals with unreciprocated, insensitive lovers like this: “While the boy doesn’t call back no, I’m learning carpentry, building a desk, writing a book in the office, I taught myself to count ceiling tiles.

And, yeah, there’s a boy who’s not answering me. But that’s not all that scares me. This is never the case.

other people who don’t like me

If you search for this poem, you will find it transcribed on the generally reliable sitegenius.com. But Genius will really disappoint you if you’re looking for “An alternate universe where I’m not fazed by men who don’t like me.” (And aren’t we all looking for this universe?) The Genius transcript ends with a horrible error. It reads: “I had a great time.” But, you know, I think it still captures the spirit.

In an alternate universe where I’m unfazed by men who don’t like me, I’d like to think I’m also unfazed by someone, even myself, making a public grammar-related oversight. In this universe, I’m also unfazed by professors who would leave a passive-aggressive comment on Canvas’s submission if I left that line in an essay. In this universe, I’m not fazed by professors who indeed leave passive-aggressive submission comments on Canvas when I submit midterms that don’t meet any of our standards because I slept in all after – noon all week. In this universe, I am unfazed by professors who don’t like me, by administrators who pretend to like me but don’t, or by my friends who do the same.

learn to love

A few weeks ago, a friend reflected on the treatment of Eric Effiong’s character in the Netflix original “Sex Education” and said, “Black gay men deserve more than men who don’t know how to love them.” Later, as they wallowed in their own relationship issues, I replied to her, “Gay black women deserve more than women who don’t know how to love them.” And last night, when I was wallowing in something like relationship issues, she said to me, “Queer brunette women deserve more than men who don’t know how to love them.” And that’s true. I deserve more than that. We all do.

The poem “Alternate Universe in Which I am Unfazed by the Men Who Do Not Love Me” appears in Gatwood’s book, New American Best Friend. I bought this book for myself over the summer and in September gave it to someone who was a very dear friend. At the beginning of the book, I wrote a note that included something like “Thank you for being my new best American friend.” But the ones I thought were my best friends in September aren’t really my best friends now. That’s how it goes. I don’t think I know how to love this person, anyway.

But it turns out that we all learn to love. Another friend – I’m so grateful for all these friends – says it’s silly that people expect thousands of horny teenagers with no adult social skills to get along for more than four years and to get a diploma.

We all happen to learn to love each other, so I’m hesitant to turn my read receipts on or turn off text notifications when I know – when I I don’t know how to love anyone either. I just love it, and I hope for the best.

Only a few minutes and so many beautiful moments

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The other weekend I attended something like a costume party where I had planned to dress up as Gatwood. I only had a few minutes to prepare. I found myself back in my room an hour into the party, after an unexpected long conversation with a friend, which we both needed. (I like to think Gatwood would also be late to a party to take the time to talk to a friend.) This friend often tells me and others, “Center yourself.”

Within minutes of allowing myself to step into the costume, I knew plain jeans and flannel wouldn’t cut it. As I sent a text asking How late am I so late? I thought about this last “alternate universe” timeline. I looked at the watch that had been sitting on my desk since August, grabbed a bottle of ugly green chrome nail polish, and drew an infinity sign on the digital display. Look, full suit.

A few days later, I still put this watch on when I get out of bed. I tell myself, I have so many beautiful moments, because I am unfazed. And sometimes I even believe it.

what we deserve

Nobody knows how to love at this age, but we all deserve friends and lovers who know how to love us. And the environment we find ourselves in – this often dark and often harsh school – is not a loving place either. But that does not exempt us from trying to learn. With all our good weather, we can ask for what we want, listen to what our friends need, spend time making mistakes and then doing better. Sometimes I wish we understood each other was painless and quick. But as they say when you create art, it’s all about the process. Deviating from what we have sketched out for ourselves and becoming messy is simply how we create our lives.

Here’s more of what Gatwood says she does in the alternate universe, with all her good weather: are only hours. Here they take a bike ride across Long Island in June. Here is a novel read in one go. Here it is disputes over God or a full night’s sleep. Here I give the crying woman outside the bar an hour. I leave one on my best friend’s porch, send two to my mom in the mail.

Tonight, I won’t get a full night’s sleep. But maybe in the morning I’ll be unfazed, read for fun, give my mom an hour or two, learn carpentry, build a desk and write an essay – one I’m less into baffled only in this one – at this office.

Mollika Jai ​​Singh is a sophomore who grew up in San Diego and is based in Rockville, MD. She loves making friends, reading and writing poetry and embroidering very slowly. At Prince‘, they are Co-Directors of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging and Associate Opinion Editors. To talk about anything Prince-related or otherwise, say hello @mollikajaisingh on social media or at mjsingh@princeton.edu.

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The Peace and Freedom Committee remembers the life and legacy of Dr. King https://optimalj.com/the-peace-and-freedom-committee-remembers-the-life-and-legacy-of-dr-king/ Tue, 18 Jan 2022 10:14:20 +0000 https://optimalj.com/the-peace-and-freedom-committee-remembers-the-life-and-legacy-of-dr-king/ “He dreamed that he would receive a good education: an equal education. There’s nothing I can’t learn. He dreamed that I could drink from a good water fountain when I needed to quench my thirst. There’s no fountain that I don’t deserve,’ fifth grader Keelan English said outside the Palace Theater auditorium on Monday. The […]]]>

“He dreamed that he would receive a good education: an equal education. There’s nothing I can’t learn. He dreamed that I could drink from a good water fountain when I needed to quench my thirst. There’s no fountain that I don’t deserve,’ fifth grader Keelan English said outside the Palace Theater auditorium on Monday.

The 10-year-old Harrison Elementary student was the first speaker for the Peace and Freedom Committee’s MLK program on Monday, moving the socially distant crowd with her words.

“Martin dreamed so that I could dream. That’s what Dr. King’s life means to me,” he concluded.

While MLK Day for many is a day off from work, school, or activities, for Marion’s Peace and Freedom Committee, it is a day to continue the important work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. -same.

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Reviews | Are Trump supporters too gullible? https://optimalj.com/reviews-are-trump-supporters-too-gullible/ Sun, 16 Jan 2022 16:30:06 +0000 https://optimalj.com/reviews-are-trump-supporters-too-gullible/ For the editor: “An Assault on the Truth,” by Rebecca Solnit (guest essay in Opinion, Sunday Review, January 9), obscures the political reality facing our country. I object to Ms. Solnit’s emphasis on gullibility as a factor in right-wing denial of facts. Donald Trump does not change his mind. The beliefs of right-wingers are immutable. […]]]>

For the editor:

“An Assault on the Truth,” by Rebecca Solnit (guest essay in Opinion, Sunday Review, January 9), obscures the political reality facing our country. I object to Ms. Solnit’s emphasis on gullibility as a factor in right-wing denial of facts.

Donald Trump does not change his mind. The beliefs of right-wingers are immutable. They are the opposite of gullible.

Mr. Trump and others are simply creating practical stories that are readily acceptable to an existing psyche. It’s quite easy to do. Focus on white privilege and the demonization of “others” and stand up for individual rights to the exclusion of everything else. You will then have a very helpful electorate ready to hand over power to you.

Any notion that the right-wing psyche is malleable in any way must be dropped. Outvoting the right is the only way to preserve democracy – and, of course, that may not be enough.

Ned Garner
Apex, North Carolina

For the editor:

Rebecca Solnit does not discuss the media’s role in spreading lies among Republicans. There is Fox News, which has become a propaganda front for Donald Trump before, during and since his presidency. And there is the plethora of right-wing websites, whose most outrageous lies are often repeated and fed into the mainstream of political opinion by Republican office holders.

The flow of disinformation is ubiquitous. Democrats also participated, although not as much as Republicans. It takes motivation and effort to sort fact from fiction, and for many people it’s too difficult.

Michael E. Mahler
Los Angeles

For the editor:

As a clinical therapist who worked in addiction treatment centers, I was reminded daily of the basic human need for approval and acceptance. We all seek to feel part of our community, our family and our country. This promotes interdependence and solidarity, and generally strengthens our social bonds.

The need for approval, however, can be so great (even desperate) that we surrender to the group in exchange for the validation it offers. The group hug is very reassuring – especially if the self-image is a little fragile – and eliminates the need for reflection and self-reflection which takes time and effort, and insists that sometimes , we are alone in our ideals and beliefs.

An integral part of the addictive personality, the need for approval further explains the gullibility and cynicism that Rebecca Solnit so aptly describes.

Gary Golio
Briarcliff Mansion, New York

For the editor:

I thought this was a great opinion piece, along with other similar articles you’ve posted. At this point, however, the point has been more than adequately made. The next logical question: what do we do about it? For my part, I would like to have comments on this question.

I myself am completely stunned. How to reason and reach out to someone who only believes what he wants to believe, even hello?

Douglas Reeves
Raleigh, North Carolina

For the editor:

Re “What do you think you should be paid?” (Sunday Business, January 2):

Massachusetts was the first state to ban potential employers from asking about applicants’ compensation history before making a job offer. In response, we began asking potential employees what their compensation expectations were. We were initially surprised that it created new problems.

Some women expressed lower expectations than men for the same job. Others offered wages below average market value and clumsily tried to revise them afterwards. But refusing to engage in salary discussions is also not an optimal strategy, as potential employers want to make offers that are likely to be accepted and match expectations relatively closely.

First, prepare for this question. If you are taken by surprise, you have several options: candidates can ask for the salary range of the position, postpone until they have finished their research or quote the percentile of the market they are targeting.

For equal pay legislation to have the desired effect, education and resources are also needed to help women learn to expect these pay conversations and how to handle them skillfully.

Alexa B. Kimball
Boston
The author is President and CEO of Harvard Medical School Physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Professor of Dermatology at Harvard Medical School.

For the editor:

Regarding “Being homeless cost me $54,000”, by Lori Teresa Yearwood (opinion guest essay, Sunday Review, January 2):

Yes, homelessness causes deep issues for homeless people with regards to trauma, debt, mental health and much more. But the costs are not limited to the homeless. Society pays a lot for homelessness.

According to the Innovation for Justice program at the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law, the cost of homelessness in Pima County (where Tucson is located) in 2018 was $64,740,105 for 9 984 families expelled that year. Costs of homelessness include increased child protection cases, medical and emergency room visits, shelter costs, involvement in the juvenile and adult criminal justice system, mental health crises and more.

Clearly, helping homeless people find housing, work, and pay off their debts so they can be productive, happier members of society costs a lot less. It is time for all of us to work to end this scourge.

Nancy Fahey Smith
Tucson, Arizona.
The writer works on social justice issues for Pima County Interfaith, a nonprofit organization.

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Diana Abu-Jaber explores the past in “Fencing with the King” https://optimalj.com/diana-abu-jaber-explores-the-past-in-fencing-with-the-king/ Sat, 15 Jan 2022 00:11:15 +0000 https://optimalj.com/diana-abu-jaber-explores-the-past-in-fencing-with-the-king/ “I never met her, but I always felt like I had this kind of mysterious connection to my grandmother,” says Diana Abu-Jaber. She recalls that when she traveled to Jordan on a Fulbright in the 1990s, something strange happened: In one of the Crusader castles, a guard approached her with a stern expression on his […]]]>

“I never met her, but I always felt like I had this kind of mysterious connection to my grandmother,” says Diana Abu-Jaber. She recalls that when she traveled to Jordan on a Fulbright in the 1990s, something strange happened: In one of the Crusader castles, a guard approached her with a stern expression on his face. “I thought I was in trouble – that I had trespassed, which I probably had. And he got really close, and he said, ‘Anissa?’

Anissa was the name of the grandmother of Abu-Jaber, a Palestinian who had emigrated to Jordan with her family to escape starvation during World War I. She was a contemporary of the guard, who told Abu-Jaber that the two looked alike.

It was an event that stuck with the author and eventually inspired a scene that appears in his new novel, Fencing with the King, which comes from Norton in March. “I wrote an essay, an opinion piece, about this when the Gulf War started, and I was thinking a lot about the connection between the Middle East and America,” she says. She is now 61 and lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but speaks via Zoom from her mother’s home in St. Augustine, where she, her husband and their 13-year-old daughter are visiting.

After the editorial, Abu-Jaber was busy writing other books: arabic jazz, his first novel, released in 1993 and which won the Oregon Book Award; Crescent (2003), which won the PEN Center USA Award for Literary Fiction; the memory The language of baklava (2005); the novels Origin (2007) and birds of paradise (2011); and the memory Life without recipe, released in 2016. She has also published a mid-level novel, Silverworld, in 2020. Then, one of his seven uncles threw a party where he told how his father, who grew up in Jordan, had been a fencing partner with King Hussein, and was even famous for to be among the king’s favourites.

“I didn’t even know Dad could fencing,” Abu-Jaber said. “Things like that happened a lot with Dad, where we got those surprises. We were on a dude ranch one time, and he jumped on a horse and galloped off, and we were all like, what?

She started thinking about how these kinds of stories must exist for so many children of immigrants, whose parents have left their country and, to some extent, their past behind them. “Unless someone really investigates them, they don’t get brought back to the present tense,” she explains. “A lot gets lost that way.”

Abu-Jaber’s father moved to the United States because, she says, he was angry that someone had refused his marriage proposal: “He basically wanted to go to the United States to hit hard and make her feeling really bad about her life choices.” Back in Jordan, his family and the royal family move in the same circles; he had been a pilot in the king’s air force, and, says Abu-Jaber, “as I understand it, they picked some of the pilots to train as training partners for the king.” Yes, Dad was filled with goofy surprises.

The idea of ​​being in two places but not quite one pervades Fencing with the King. Abu-Jaber’s father came to the United States in the late 1950s, she says, and always thought he would return to Jordan one day. The family did it twice, for short periods, when she was a child. But in the end, “it was as if he had become too Americanized. He was really stuck between two places – spiritually and emotionally – for most of his life.

Thinking about that, as well as the need to go back to those old stories and bring them to the present – “that’s when it all really started to fall into place for me,” says Abu- Jaber. “Like, what if dad could go back and fight the king again?”

In Fencing with the King, this is exactly what is happening. The year is 1995. Amani, a 31-year-old poet, moved in with her parents, Gabe and Francesca, in Syracuse, NY (Abu-Jaber’s hometown), after divorcing her husband. She can’t write, she’s had too much to drink and she’s broken with the university where she teaches.

Then an invitation arrives through Amani’s uncle, an adviser to the King of Jordan, who once fencing with Gabe and remembers fondly. The king is about to turn 60 and he would like Gabe to come back to take part in an all-expenses-paid fencing demonstration. Although her parents refuse, Amani can’t get the idea out of her head, and when she finds a mysterious piece of paper written by her grandmother among her father’s belongings, a poem? a letter? – she is forced to investigate further. She convinces her father to accompany her to Jordan for the party.

“There are definitely parallels between my story and Amani’s,” says Abu-Jaber. Her grandmother, like Amani’s, was a bookish person. “People told me she collected what became Jordan’s first library. Her literary career was very important to her, and she was a deprived person. She had left her family. She had left her land. She had to start over, and she built that life through the books.

Although the novel began with a deep dive into fencing (including reading about the Three Musketeers), it turned into an exploration of the secrets families keep and why, of the trauma of war and losing one’s home, and how we process these experiences. “I almost designed it as the story of Rocky – kind of a very direct story of a person working out physically,” says Abu-Jaber. “And as I worked on it, Amani became much more important, as did her relationship with her grandmother and the mystery of that past. I became really fascinated with this question of how we try to hiding things and hiding inconvenient truths, and how they always come out.

After her last memoir, in which Abu-Jaber grapples with the death of her father, the novel was also a way to bring him back to life, she says, and to “return to Jordan, which I love”. She started “thinking about how daddy used to go watch Zorro again and again. He did not have a choice ; it was the only thing that was shown in his local cinema. But he was obsessed with it, and it was his creativity and joy as a child.

While Abu-Jaber wrote and edited, a process that took more than four years, she also taught writing at Portland State in Oregon, where she has been on the faculty for 25 years. But during the early days of the pandemic, she had a really hard time concentrating, so she started writing essays about food and life for The Sentinel of the Sun, which she says “helped keep me sane.” The coins, like the note found by Amani by her grandmother, have led to new discoveries and efforts. She plans to quit teaching to devote more time to journalism, her first love.

In college, Abu-Jaber had an advice column for the local newspaper called “Ask Mary Ontario,” she laughs. “It was so bad, but it was so much fun.”

This is another parallel to Amani’s life – continuing to evolve with the past and present in mind. “I’m super, super excited to see how the next thing goes,” says Abu-Jaber, who is also working on a new novel. “Funny how, at least in my experience, things just fall out of the sky, you know?” We get stuck, I think, clinging to stuff, but now we’re at a point where we all feel ready to do something new.

Jen Doll is the author of the novel YA’Unclaimed Baggage’ (FSG) and memories ‘Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest’ (Riverhead).

A version of this article originally appeared in the 01/17/2022 issue of Weekly editors under the title: Out of the Past

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Jami Attenberg’s memoir is a portrait of the artist as a writer born https://optimalj.com/jami-attenbergs-memoir-is-a-portrait-of-the-artist-as-a-writer-born/ Tue, 11 Jan 2022 10:00:05 +0000 https://optimalj.com/jami-attenbergs-memoir-is-a-portrait-of-the-artist-as-a-writer-born/ I CAME ALL THIS WAY TO MEET YOU Write to go homeBy Jami Attenberg There is comfort in reading memoirs. No matter what weird or terrible events happen to the main character, we know that in the end, he or she will be essentially fine. The narrator has at least recovered enough to publish the […]]]>

I CAME ALL THIS WAY TO MEET YOU
Write to go home
By Jami Attenberg

There is comfort in reading memoirs. No matter what weird or terrible events happen to the main character, we know that in the end, he or she will be essentially fine. The narrator has at least recovered enough to publish the book. When the dissertation in question tells the story, in particular, of becoming a writer, this effect is redoubled. The very existence of the book gives a sense of inevitability to the author’s struggles to become what it is meant to be. The whole thing should be nothing more than an elaborate exercise in fulfilled expectations. And even. Such books have an irresistible appeal, at least for this reader. We follow with satisfaction the path of the narrator towards her imminent destiny of author.

Perhaps such books are best read by other writers – after all, writers are imbued with a sense of inevitability. Jami Attenberg says exactly that in his new memoir, “I have come all this way to meet you”: “I was born a writer.” Attenberg, the author of seven books of fiction, including the novels “The Middlesteins” and “All This Could Be Yours”, has written a tale that runs through many themes: finding a place to belong; travel the world as a woman; what it is to build a life without taking the expected steps of getting married and having a nuclear family.

But humming under it all, animating the book, is the organizing principle of Attenberg’s life: the will to become a writer. She brings to the subject her gifts as a novelist: a fierce drive towards honesty, a cranky and sociable voice, and an interest in the complicated, floating, and woven ways that people navigate their way. After she made this simple assertion – “I was born a writer“- she continues in the next sentence with a sort of shadowy thought:” I knew I would live with some kind of heartache forever, that it was ingrained in me from birth in some way. of another.”

Rarely do contemporary writers allow themselves to speak so freely about their careers; more commonly, we see a lot of disaffection with the idea of ​​ambition itself. Attenberg’s goals, pride and desire fill every page of this book. For my part, I found that a relief. She has a strong writer’s sense of her own place in the literary cosmos – and, unlike most of us, she says it out loud, as in this passage from a chapter on teaching in a literary workshop in Lithuania: “I was a moderately successful new writer. I have friends who are famous writers, friends who have sold millions of copies of their books. Attenberg continues: “I was not that. There were three cafes in Brooklyn where someone could recognize me, as well as my parents’ gated community in Florida, where my mother had put my books in the hands of all the neighbors just steps from the pickleball court. What did having moderate success do for me? A low-paid teaching position in a foreign country. (It still sounds pretty good now.) “

“I’ve come this far to meet you” is most touching when Attenberg follows the darker thread of her own experience, sharing the story of an assault she suffered at the hands of a classmate in his writing program. It’s not the revelation that makes this story so powerful; it’s Attenberg’s vituperation of how the university has handled aggression, and how she is – and isn’t – valued as a writer, and how those two things tie together.

“I would graduate with $ 25,000 in debt from this university,” she wrote. “I have moved so many times, as far from my past as possible, that former fundraisers have lost my phone number. … They never asked me to come back to speak, although I have published more novels than most of the graduates of that writing program. If they asked me to come back now, I would read this chapter.

It all rings painfully true; above all, Attenberg’s rage – the writer’s rage, especially the writer’s rage, who suffered not only assaults, but endless indignities and injustices. Attenberg writes a few pages later that she “agrees to be angry like my origin story”, and I believe her. Many books – even very good books – have been written in the spirit of justification.

My main complaint about this one is structural: “I’ve come all this way to meet you” is arranged like a memoir in essays. That’s not automatically a bad thing, but recently too many writers (and editors) have seemed to use this format as a way to dodge the demands of actual storytelling. The chapters are turned into so-called essays and organized around a theme, and the reader must settle the resulting muddled timeline. Attenberg’s story sometimes reads like a book running on parallel tracks: there is a urge for chronology, and that chronology is disrupted by thematic chapters / essays. (Note that Attenberg herself, in the quote above, refers to chapters rather than essays.) Her voice and frankness sets the stage for what can sometimes feel like a maze – but the satisfactions are thick on the ground, and we follow. And when we’re done, we have the promised end in our hands, the book itself.

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Speech and essay ideas for students https://optimalj.com/speech-and-essay-ideas-for-students/ Sun, 09 Jan 2022 09:31:47 +0000 https://optimalj.com/speech-and-essay-ideas-for-students/ New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: Since 2006, each year, World Hindi Day has been celebrated in order to promote the language globally. The day also marks the anniversary of the First World Conference in Hindi which took place on January 10, 1975, and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was also a part of it. […]]]>

New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: Since 2006, each year, World Hindi Day has been celebrated in order to promote the language globally. The day also marks the anniversary of the First World Conference in Hindi which took place on January 10, 1975, and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was also a part of it.

The celebration of the first World Hindi Day was started in 2006 by former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. The main objective of this event was to make Hindi an international language.

Difference between National Hindi Divas and World Hindi Day:

People are confused on both National Hindi Diva Day and World Hindi Day. However, the two days are observed to honor the Hindi language and seek to promote the language. While the national Hindi divas are celebrated on September 14, World Hindi Day is celebrated on January 10.

World Hindi Day – Ideas for Essays and Speeches

Address people first, then talk about the history and meaning of World Hindi Day. Next, let’s talk about the importance of our mother tongue. Later, you can also mention former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Manmohan Singh and their roles.

REMARK: Always remember to keep your speech short and to the point in order to grab the audience’s attention.

During your speech, try to mention every important date and some motivational quotes from poets and writers. We can also talk about the World Hindi Conference which was held in 1975 in Bhopal. The conference began on January 10 and began on January 14.

In the end, you can conclude by emphasizing different factors through which we can promote the language. You can also thank the audience for being patient and listening to your speech.

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Mallika Mehzabeen


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Cleveland Museums Offer Free Entry and Activities on MLK Day https://optimalj.com/cleveland-museums-offer-free-entry-and-activities-on-mlk-day/ Fri, 07 Jan 2022 20:46:00 +0000 https://optimalj.com/cleveland-museums-offer-free-entry-and-activities-on-mlk-day/ CLEVELAND, Ohio (KEY WEEKEND) – Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Day arrives on Monday January 17th. On Remembrance Day which marks the birthday of one of our nation’s greatest civil rights leaders, many Cleveland museums are honoring the day with free entry and activities designed to inform and pay homage to MLK. Detail of “Unite” […]]]>

CLEVELAND, Ohio (KEY WEEKEND) –

Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Day arrives on Monday January 17th. On Remembrance Day which marks the birthday of one of our nation’s greatest civil rights leaders, many Cleveland museums are honoring the day with free entry and activities designed to inform and pay homage to MLK.

Detail of “Unite” by Barbra Jones-Hogu(Cleveland Art Museum, Jones-Hogu)

Cleveland Art Museum

The Cleveland Museum of Art will open for a free day of celebration in honor of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. This year, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the museum offers activities and meditations for visitors of all ages on the King Center 2022 King’s Holiday Theme, “It starts with me: shifting priorities to create the beloved community”.

The free museum will feature the “Painting Motherhood Now” exhibition, bringing together the works of a wide range of contemporary artists who interpret what motherhood looks like today.

The museum will also offer a free Family Discovery Pack, a portable waist bag with kid-friendly tools and activities that interact with the ideas and artists of the artwork. Free packs will be available at Ames Family Atrium.

The AMC requires that all visitors, staff and volunteers wear face coverings inside the building.

Find more information here.

From the exhibition "Amanda Wicker: Black Fashion Design in Cleveland"
From the exhibition “Amanda Wicker: Black Fashion Design in Cleveland”(Western Reserve case)

Cleveland History Center

The Cleveland History Center will offer free admission to the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors will be able to explore the newly renovated library and talk to members of the Afro American Archives Auxiliary. The current exhibitions are: “A century of the American motorcycle”, “Amanda Wicker: Black Fashion in Cleveland” and “The Golden Age of Cleveland Art”. Carousel rides will be available for $ 3.

Click here for more information.

Image: Tri-C website
Image: Tri-C website(Tri-C)

Cuyahoga Community College

Tri-C will host its 45th Annual Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. starting at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 16. The virtual memento will include an assortment of musical performances and scholarship awards as well as student speeches honoring the civil rights leader.

The tradition began in 1977, six years before the federal government designated a day to honor King, making it the longest-running MLK event in Cleveland. The event usually takes place in Playhouse Square, but moved online in an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

“Cuyahoga Community College understood early on the importance of honoring Dr. King’s dream of civil rights and racial harmony,” said Tri-C President Alex Johnson. “As we come together this year to reflect on his call to collectively fight injustice, it will be against the backdrop of renewed efforts to protect and strengthen voting rights.”

Three essayists will present essays that reflect a quote from King’s 1965 speech in Oberlin, Ohio. Sydney Hughart, a Mandel scholar and journalism major who is considering becoming an investigative journalist; Austin Keller, a Mandel scholar who aspires to teach social sciences and enjoys volunteering with nonprofit organizations; and TinaRenea Conwell, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society member and CMSD employee who is considering becoming a civil rights lawyer.

Click here for more information.

Dr Khalid el-Hakim
Dr Khalid el-Hakim(Malta Museum)

Maltz Jewish Heritage Museum

The museum offers free entry from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with online registration required. At 11 a.m., an online show called “A dream that moves us” will present performances from Playhouse Square and Karamu House aimed at children in Kindergarten to Grade 5.

From 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Grades 6 to 12 students can participate in the “Stop the Hate” Essay Writing Workshop, and the Lake Erie Ink Writers Group will show how to write a personal essay that tells a powerful story.

And from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Dr Khalid el-Hakim, founder of Black History 101 Mobile Museum, will present an online program on black museums and how race and racism have shaped their current climate.

All online presentations require registration and can be viewed on the museum’s website here.


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CommonWealth Magazine https://optimalj.com/commonwealth-magazine/ Wed, 05 Jan 2022 13:26:55 +0000 https://optimalj.com/commonwealth-magazine/ HISTORY IS HAPPENING crashing down with all the drama that turns the pages of a gripping work of fiction. An opening scene of the 15-year-old protagonist pointing a gun at his mother’s face. A rewind of the story to a stage where he was a 6 or 7 year old boy holding a brick menacingly […]]]>

HISTORY IS HAPPENING crashing down with all the drama that turns the pages of a gripping work of fiction.

An opening scene of the 15-year-old protagonist pointing a gun at his mother’s face. A rewind of the story to a stage where he was a 6 or 7 year old boy holding a brick menacingly over the head of another boy after he had first tied it to the leg with it. Years later, he’s a hardened street gamer, inflicting violence or the threat of it without a second thought, almost dying of a bullet in the neck, but only gets away with being sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, where he now spends days writing, trying to figure out who he is, a dangerous criminal who once gave himself the nickname “Death”.

Despite its literary character, the powerfully told story is not a novel, but a narrative journalistic article of over 8,000 words who made the Sunday headlines Boston Globe.

Long duration World criminal journalist Evan Allen explains in the article that this resulted from his quest to find an example of “what Boston police used to call “dynasty families” – families that seemed to pass violence as a legacy from generation to generation. ”

She found such a family – and a lot of material from which to begin assembling their story – through her correspondence with Anthony Pledger, a Boston native who shared her story with her through a constant exchange of letters from a cell in federal prison in California.

“Anthony’s great-uncle killed his best friend,” she writes. “Her mother went to jail for robbing a bank. Her father was a gang member and a drug dealer. Two of his brothers were serving life sentences for murder, another was murdered pending his gun trial, and a fourth was shot but survived. Anthony himself was a dangerous and brutal man just over half of a 15-year stint in federal prison.

Allen says she sought to answer a central question. “I wanted to know if this was inevitable,” she writes of Pledger’s life trajectory.

Pledger was not only gunned down as a young adult, but he was also abused as a child at the hands of a belt brandished by his mother – having run away at least once to escape to blows. But it is the pleasure he says he felt while visiting the pain of others that jumps out at the most frightening in history.

“Something amazing had happened to him over there on that end of the sidewalk, with the brick in the air and his eyes fixed on the terrified boy, ”Allen writes of meeting Pledger at the age of 6 or 7.

“It was the first time that I shared my pain and felt the soothing pleasure of inflicting it,” she wrote to him in one of her many letters. “The violence has become a breakdown,” Pledger said.

“What I find to inflict pain is company in my dark place,” Pledger wrote to him in another letter. “I needed the victims to feel what it feels like to hurt.”

Allen’s powerful essay unboxes the story of a Boston “dynasty” family, but it is also largely a story of our time. The level of trauma and chaos in Pledger’s life can be difficult for most to understand, but the idea of ​​exploring the past to understand some aspect of how someone is broken today has become the one. daily history of modern life.

This is the blow to contemporary fiction and cinema that literary critic Parul Sehgal offers in the latest issue of The New Yorker. In “The case against the trauma plot”, she writes that “the plot of trauma flattens, distorts, reduces the character to a symptom and, in turn, educates and emphasizes its moral authority.”

Sehgal suggests we are inundated with stories that find PTSD under every stone – or as the backstory of too many narrative offerings. “The invocation of trauma promises access to a well-guarded blood chamber; more and more, however, we feel like we’ve stepped into a rather generic motel room, with all the signs of heavy turnover, ”she wrote.

The idea of ​​traumatic memories is actually a relatively new idea, she explains, first expressed in the 1860s by a British physician who recounted reports of “confusion, hearing voices and paralysis” among women. victims of railway accidents who had not suffered any physical injuries. The idea reached a wider scope with the introduction of the idea of ​​being “shocked” by service during World War I. Fast forward to the present and stories of trauma are everywhere – from COVID report on schoolchildren at the lingering effects of the Capitol uprising a year later on those who lived it.

Stories of trauma seem to have become the literary piñata of the season. Sehgal’s essay follows an equally harsh assessment of Will Self in the December cover of Harper magazine“A posthumous shock: how it all became trauma.”

While awkward invocations of the global power of trauma can pervade modern culture, Allen’s essay hardly seems to conform to the generic denigration of Sehgal’s motel room.

Indeed, a central tension of his piece involves grappling with the question of how much of Pledger’s violence and cruelty resulted from having these things returned to him.

“Sometimes he seemed to consider the idea that life had drilled violence into him,” she wrote. “But in his replies to my long, in-depth letters, he kept coming back again and again to the idea that his sufferings, which were becoming more and more cruel and calculated from year to year, were not creations but revelations. , each returning a different coat. the truth of what it already was. “A birthmark,” he wrote to me. “

Allen breaks with journalistic conventions by bringing his own ‘birthmark’ story into the essay, courageously sharing his struggle with mental illness – and the long line of family members with such a history that points to a genetic predisposition. Most poignantly, she wonders what this might mean for her own young daughter.

Meet the author

Editor-in-chief, Commonwealth

On Michael jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in Massachusetts journalism since the early 1980s. Prior to joining the CommonWealth team in early 2001, he was an editor for the magazine for two years. Her cover story in the Fall 1999 issue of CommonWealth on Young Boston Outreach Workers was shortlisted for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) award from the National Crime and Delinquency Council.

Michael made his journalism debut at Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston’s largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the City Weekly section of the Boston Sunday Globe.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he co-produced “The AIDS Quarterly,” a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s he worked as a producer for “Our Times,” a weekly magazine on WHDH- TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

On Michael jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in Massachusetts journalism since the early 1980s. Prior to joining the CommonWealth team in early 2001, he was an editor for the magazine for two years. Her cover story in the Fall 1999 issue of CommonWealth on Young Boston Outreach Workers was shortlisted for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) award from the National Crime and Delinquency Council.

Michael made his journalism debut at Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston’s largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the City Weekly section of the Boston Sunday Globe.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he co-produced “The AIDS Quarterly,” a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s he worked as a producer for “Our Times,” a weekly magazine on WHDH- TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

Just as she shares her fervent hope that her daughter will not “inherit what I have done,” Allen desperately wants to believe that Pledger can find some version of redemption.

But unlike the quality of the trauma accounts Sehgal and Self so disparage, she seems resigned to the ambiguity of her story and the understanding that things don’t go in a straight line.

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Stories of Hope and Resilience ‘• The Yellow Springs News https://optimalj.com/stories-of-hope-and-resilience-the-yellow-springs-news/ Mon, 03 Jan 2022 19:40:29 +0000 https://optimalj.com/stories-of-hope-and-resilience-the-yellow-springs-news/ Despite being physically separated for much of 2020 and beyond, people have still managed to find ways to collaborate on creative projects during the ongoing pandemic. Connecting in isolation through alternative methods – by phone, mail, email, video conferencing – means that all distances are, in some way, equal. A writer from, say, Spencerport, NY […]]]>

Despite being physically separated for much of 2020 and beyond, people have still managed to find ways to collaborate on creative projects during the ongoing pandemic. Connecting in isolation through alternative methods – by phone, mail, email, video conferencing – means that all distances are, in some way, equal. A writer from, say, Spencerport, NY can contact a choir director in Yellow Springs to help write a book.

That’s what happened earlier this year, when New York writer Teresa Schreiber Werth collaborated with villager and World House Choir director Cathy Roma – among a host of others – to write, edit and assemble “Navigating the Pandemic: Stories of Hope and Resilience”.

The book contains poems and essays by over 30 writers, including Werth, Roma, and villager Dawn Knickerbocker, as well as other Roma-related artists. The writers share a wide range of feelings engendered by the pandemic among the pages of the book – grief and fear, but also hope, joy and, at times, humor.

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Werth, who spoke to the News by phone this fall, said the initial impetus for the book came from her experience watching and dealing with grief as a funeral celebrant.

“All I could think of was the families trying to cope with this horrific loss – not just the loss of lives, but the separation, the disappointment, the feeling of isolation,” she said. declared. “It upset me, because I knew what these families were going through.”

Werth said she also knew her own voice and perspective was not enough for the kind of book she was considering.

“I didn’t have all the knowledge and expertise to deal with this new kind of loss and grief on my own, but I knew people who did,” she said.

The collaborative book, “Navigating the Pandemic: Stories of Hope and Resilience,” features contributions from over 30 writers, including Cathy Roma, who explores the wide range of feelings engendered by the pandemic.

Having had a long career in public relations writing, Werth also has an established history of using writing as a means to navigate crucial stages in his own life.

“In 2009, I was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer, and my way of coping with that experience was by writing a book,” she said.

This book, “Pink-On-Pink: Writing My Way Through Breast Cancer”, a collection of poetry and prose, would ultimately lead to Werth’s first collaboration with Roma. While undergoing chemotherapy, Werth listened to music from MUSE, the Cincinnati Women’s Choir. At the time, the choir was conducted by Roma, who said they received an unusual request from Werth.

“[Werth] I reached out and said, “I’ve published a book about my struggle and I would like MUSE to order female songwriters to set any of the poems in the book to music,” Roma said. “For 30, 45 years, that’s what I did – women writing music – but I had never been approached by a poet. And I said, ‘Why not? I’ll try it! ‘”

The collaboration resulted in two songs: “I Am Forever Changed”, composed by Elizabeth Haskins, and “You Were Meant for This”, composed by Elizabeth Alexander, the latter having also contributed her own writing to “Navigating the Pandemic” .

In addition to Alexander, other artists from Roma’s Creative Network have contributed to Werth’s book, including Ysaye Maria Barnwell, a composer with whom Roma has worked in both MUSE and the World House Choir. Also included are lyrics to “To Propagate a Home” by Ayanna Woods, which was written in the aftermath of the mass shooting in the Oregon District of Dayton in 2019 and debuted that year by the World House Choir.

Another inclusion is the work of Guy Banks, an artist Roma has worked with since 2012. Banks, who is currently incarcerated in Columbus, performed under Roma’s direction in The Kuji Men’s Chorus, which was trained at the correctional facility. Marion. Banks is set to be released on March 25, 2022 and will become a villager himself: his first term as a student at Antioch College is due to begin on April 11.

Banks is a rapper and poet who performs under the name Tron. His contribution to the book, an improvised poem, reads in part:

“This time will reshape the minds of this generation / a virus declared war on all of us / kings, queens, rulers and presidents, convicted felons in all the same elements.”

Roma’s own essay for “Navigating the Pandemic”, titled “Count It Joy: Making Music In Prison”, details her joy in working with The Kuji Men’s Chorus to perform “Hamilton” within the prison walls, in which Banks performed. played the title role. Roma’s play also includes writings by some of the production’s incarcerated actors, including Banks.

“It was a source of incredible joy and resilience, and I kept thinking about it as I thought about what I would write. [for the book]”Roma said.” I wanted men’s voices to be able to speak.

Werth said presenting a variety of voices was part of his ideal vision for the book, especially when it came to under-represented voices.

“The experiences of all these different groups vary so much, and that’s what I focused on – getting input from a diversity of artists,” she said. “One voice does not represent an entire group, but I wanted to improve the voices that I have [could access]. “

Werth praised the work of villager Dawn Knickerbocker, who contributed the “Our Bones Remember” essay to the book. In the essay, Knickerbocker describes her take on the pandemic as an Ojibwa woman, and the ways in which Indigenous history and the history of colonialism intersect with the history of mass illness and disease.

“For many of us, this is the trigger for trauma that is remembered,” writes Knickerbocker. “Almost all of the population in the Americas has been reduced by more than 90 percent because of the disease. … And so on, our Aboriginal nations are no strangers to the danger that a pandemic can pose. Our bones remember. I remember.”

Werth said she hopes that by recording people’s thoughts on and during the pandemic, the book itself will be a telling of history.

“I hope the lasting significance of this book is that it will allow our grandchildren’s grandchildren to understand some of what happened in the first four months of the pandemic, which was actually that the prologue to the whole event, ”she said. “That’s when people started to realize how drastically this was going to change their lives.”

“Navigating the Pandemic: Stories of Hope and Resilience” edited by Teresa Schreiber Werth, was published by Page Publishing and is available at dandelionbook.com.


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