Monthly Archives: April 2014

Home is where the Heart Dies

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Posted by on April 29, 2014 in Penn's Diary


Star Wars?

Star Wars


I am, by no means, the greatest Star Wars fan. I enjoyed the movies,and I feel comfortable with all of the main characters and a good amount of the minor characters. So, when my son wanted some Star Wars gummies, I had no problem making that purchase (in fact, I was pleased that he picked Star Wars over Diego, Scooby Doo, etc). My problem was when I looked closely at the box!!!! I feel like some random employee put his face on the package and nobody caught it. Who is this guy? Someone please help clear my brain… I cannot advance in life until this is resolved.


Posted by on April 23, 2014 in From the Desk of the Author


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Death of an Albatross


Death of an Albatross : A Catalyst for Change

In the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Coleridge takes the death of the albatross and uses it as a catalyst for action in his poem. The death of the great bird changes everything within the poem. The mariner changes, of course, but there are also changes within the sailors, the weather and the wedding guest. Therefore, it is important to understand the albatross and all of the elements and themes Coleridge chooses for the bird. The mariner goes from a man that obviously cared little for creatures which inhabit the earth to a man compelled to teach others about respecting all of God’s creatures. This is the most obvious of the transitions within the poem, and it takes nearly the entirety of the story to complete. The mariners’ fellow sailors are also swept into the action caused by the killing of the sea bird. Their demeanor and attitude toward the bird go through transitions, as well as their appearance. Lastly, the wedding guest seemingly makes a drastic change in the way he views the world around him. However, none of these changes would have taken place without the death of the albatross. So, as we delve into a greater understanding of the bird we will gain insight into the transitions that follow.

Coleridge immediately uses personification as he introduces the bird to the crew and the reader. “As if it had been a Christian soul, We hailed it in God’s name” (Coleridge 293).This line and the salvation from the “rime” that follows, starts a definitive parallel between bird and Jesus. It can be argued that Coleridge symbolically used the albatross to represent Christ. First, there is the fact that bird is slain with a crossbow, “With my crossbow I shot the Albatross” (294). Of all the weapons available to a sea faring man at the time, Coleridge chooses his mariner to use a crossbow. Jesus was killed on a cross. The mariner is forced to wear the dead albatross around his neck in much the same manner in which the crucifix is worn. “Instead of the cross, the Albatross About my neck was hung” (295).  The albatross, which initially delivered the sailors from their captivity within the icy confines, is praised a savior. “The ice did split with a thunder-fit: The helmsman steered us through!” (293). However, the sailors quickly turn on the great bird and agree that his death was good. “’Twas right, said they, such birds to slay, That brings the fog and mist” (294). These ideas clearly mirror the manner in which Jesus was treated during his final days in Jerusalem. The people, who initially praised Jesus as the Messiah, had killed him within a week’s time.

The sailors make themselves accomplices to the mariner’s crime at this point, and their punishment is severe. Initially, there is extreme thirst despite the fact that there was “water, everywhere” (295). The men “could not speak” (295). The same lips that had cried out in laud of the great bird and then turned to accordance with its death were now “black lips baked” (296). The sailors that once played and ate with the albatross now “could not laugh or wail” (296). The separation, by death, of the sailors and the bird wreaked havoc on the men’s health. However, the pain of thirst was soon sated by the retribution of the spirits. Death came for the sailors. “The souls did from their bodies fly—The fled to bliss or woe! And every soul, it passed me by, Like the whizz of my crossbow!” (297). Even with Death portrayed as a character in the poem, the driving force remains the slaying of the great sea bird. The mariner is reminded of the sound of his weapon even as his fellow mates are dying around him. The crew, although dead, are still bound to follow the commands of a higher power and are forced to sail the ship once again. When the mariner has his epiphany, the crew are given some sort of life in order to sail the man back to shore. “They raised their limbs like lifeless tools—We were a ghastly crew” (300). It is here that the mariner first learns of his need to tell his tale.

The wedding guest hears the tale just as the reader first hears it told. The story of the death of the albatross changes the man for good. Initially, he is on his way to a wedding where he is “next of kin” (292). Oddly, the man cannot seem to break away from the mariner’s story even though “the feast is set” and he can “hear the merry din” (292). The wedding guest eventually comes to fear the ancient mariner. “I fear thee, ancient Mariner!” (297), but is calmed by the continuation of the story he was intended to hear. By the end of the tale, the wedding guest “Turned from the bridegroom’s door” (307). The changes wrought by the mariner’s tale of death caused him to become “a wiser and a sadder man” (307).

Clearly, the death of the albatross brought about change in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The mariner, himself, goes from an uncaring sailor to a pious bard. The sailors transition from life to death through a series of unfortunate experiences. The wedding guest becomes wiser, even at the cost of his merriment. All of the things are the result of the death of a sea bird.

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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in From the Desk of the Author


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We Find Ourselves Blind

“There was nothing to do but what we were told. All ten of us climbed under

 the ropes and allowed ourselves to be blindfolded with broad bands of white cloth.”

(“Battle Royal” Ellison 130)


We Find Ourselves Blind

“Battle Royal” is just a portion of Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man. In his story, Ellison chronicles the struggle of a young man and his inability to be perceived beyond the color of his skin. “Battle Royal” takes place toward the beginning of the young man’s life, just as he is graduating high school. The boy finds himself in the midst of a great battle where he and other black men are being exploited by some elite white males. They are set against one another and humiliated, but the rewards the white me promise are just enough to keep the boys running.We will be looking at four major elements of the passage above.

There is an overwhelming sense of helplessness conveyed in the sentence, “There was nothing to do but what we were told” (Ellison 130). The narrator makes it clear that he feels that there is simply no other option than to do exactly what is instructed. The idea of denial has not even taken root in his mind. At the time, the “Invisible Man” had not developed any sense of standing against the overwhelming tide of white oppression. Ellison seems to suggest that one of the major problems facing the black youth of the time was the inability to think for themselves. Over and over throughout the story, the young men are forced into situations that both humiliate and harm them. Yet through it all, they just keep doing what they are told.

The ropes seem to indicate the status quo. The men are forced “Under the ropes” (130). By this Ellison is representing the way in which black people of the time were forced to go below what was deemed to the norm. There is no doubt that the black community during that time was nowhere near being able to go “over the ropes”. So they, all ten men, crawl under the ropes to join in a battle that is only for the delight of rich white men. These white men are so far detached from the battle that they will never have to even be gauged by the rope. They created the rope, and they control it; they seem hell-bent on keeping the blacks forced under the ropes.

Ellison chooses an interesting way of wording his next phrase; “allowed ourselves to be blindfolded” (130). The verb “allowed” is very important in this excerpt, as it denotes accountability to the people being blinded. By allowing certain things to happen, we are essentially causing them to happen. It does not say that the young men were forced to be blindfolded, but it is clear that the narrator at least partially understands his role in the events. As long as black people continued to allow white oppression, then there would never come any semblance of reformation and equality. Throughout the battle, the young men allow themselves to be humiliated and pitted against one another. The whites wanted the blacks to continue to fight amongst themselves, for if they could keep them focused on one another then they would be far less likely to join together.

When dealing with race, color is almost always important and symbolic in some fashion. The “broad bands of white cloth” (130) represent the scope and total control the white men still had over the young black men. Ellison describes the cloth first as being broad, which conjures to mind the idea of being extensive and vast. This is a fitting description of the expansive control the white men seemed to have over the blacks. The scope of racism and hate was large and cast a pall over the nation. The fact that the blindfolds are white is obviously ensuring that the reader understands who was responsible for this horrible undertaking.

Ellison makes good use of the passage above to bring to light so many of the race issues that were plaguing our nation at the time. Throughout the story, the “Invisible Man” struggles in a world created to keep him from realizing his full potential. As he swallows his blood, he also swallows his pride. By the end of the story, the young mas still does not understand that the white man is going to try to keep him running in circles, hoping to keep him right where they want him. Ellison paints a grossly accurate picture of racism, and uses wonderful symbolism and wording to get that message across.


Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Penn's Diary


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Bedtime Stories (Dessilus Creation Myth)

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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Penn's Diary


And The Winners Are!!! “Tell Us Your Elven Story” Awards Go To…

Legendary Post

Sean-Connery-Highlander2And The Winners Are!!! “Tell Us Your Elven Story” Awards Go To…

First of all, I’d like to take a moment to Thank All of Our Participants for Submitting Your Entries

Our Judges were Very Pleased with what they Read

Secondly, I’d Like to Thank All of our Judges

Our Judges

Lorna @ Lorna’s Voice

Terrii @ Brautigan’s Girl

Quill @ Quill Wielder

Cobbie @ Restawyle

Kirsty @ La Plume Noire

DarkJade @ Here & The Written Word


And Now For The Winners!!!

Best Character Goes To – Entry #8 Crimson Legacy by Len Weatherly  @ The Kraken’s Wake

Best CharacterCongratulations Len!! You May Place Your Award Proudly On Your Blog!!

Most Imaginative Goes To – Entry #10 by Isaiah Silkwood

Most ImaginativeCongratulations Isaiah!! You May Place Your Award Proudly On Your Blog or Site if you have one!!

Most Magical Goes To –Entry #7 A Thin Layer…

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Posted by on April 11, 2014 in Penn's Diary


Fixing Up

I realize that I need to update some of the links on the site. I also realize that I have a couple of unfinished stories lingering around out there. Ties That Bind is nearing completion and I have been putting off ending it due to the fact that I enjoyed the characters so very much. Demon Wrought is just getting started, and I am waiting until the summer to really try to tackle this more adult project. Zoe and the Outcasted will not take very much time at all, but I simply have not had time to run with it.

All in all, the site needs some love from me. I have sketches to add, and stories to link. I really want the site to be easy to access, with information no more than two clicks away. I will get there. Stay with me.


Posted by on April 8, 2014 in From the Desk of the Author


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