Rachel's Blog

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Fatal Tornado Crushes Chucktown

An F-3 Tornado ripped through a portion of Chucktown killing at least 3 people and demolishing houses as well as, Adams Elementary School.
The three victims have identified as 16-year-old Rhonda Tracey, 36-year-old Victor Jones, and former Chucktown mayor 57-year-old Julie Rudiani.
The tornado touched down at 10:59 AM, only 8 minutes after the warning sirens went off. The tornado had winds up to 180 miles per hour and sustained winds of 165 miles per hour. It traveled northeast for approximately 2 miles and caused extensive damage in its path.
County coordinator of the Emergency and Disaster Agency, Axel Dent said "Adams Elementary School is basically down to a couple of walls left standing."
Adams Elementary School was closed that day due to a faculty work day. School Principal, Jerrie Potter was at the school when the tornado hit. Potter said "I heard the sirens go off, but I kept working, then at around 10:30 AM I heard what sounded like a freight train."
As the ceiling caved in above her, she sought safety underneath of her desk. She came out of the ruins with only a few scratches, but some of her associates suffered more serious injuries.
The worst of the injured was Thomas Tibbits, the school guidance counselor who was buried by bricks and lumber when they found him and bleeding from his head and legs. He was taken away in an ambulance to receive surgery for internal bleeding.
The school was attended by 300 students and 25 faculty members. Classes have been cancelled until the school can find a temporary location.
Another victim of the Tornado, Kathryn Koffee, Assistant Vice President of the 3rd National Bank of Chucktown, said "It was the most scary thing that ever happened in my life, my first thought was I gotta get the kids."
She and her children sought shelter from the storm in the bedroom closet and stayed there until the howling winds subsided. When they came out there was nothing left. "It looked like a war zone, completely flattened."
Damages to the town due to the tornado include $125-150,000 in residential damage as well as $10-12 million in damage to the overall area.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Communities

I feel like a member of several diverse communities. I exist as a member of the community at Randolph Macon College, at my job at Essex Insurance, and in smaller communities such as a member of the RMC Chambers Singers, Jazz Vocal Singers, and Choir (all three distinctly different communities), as well as member of the community within my group of friends outside of college. All of these groups carry different weight, in that, some groups are more formal than others and the people that compose these different communities play different roles in my life and my role differs in association with these communities.
Randolph Macon, as a whole, acts as a more formal community for me. Since, I don’t live on campus, I spend most of my interaction there studying with others or taking classes with others. However, certain niches of communities through RMC provide me with an informal community. Through Chambers and Jazz Vocal, we work hard, but we all interact on more of a friend level. Most of us are ages’ 19-22 and have similar interests in a career path. We tend to get along really well even when we don’t want to. Many members are music majors or minors, but not all which makes the environment a comfortable one.
I joined the RMC choir a year ago because a member of this community told me I should, and that advice changed my life at Randolph Macon. Before I joined this community, I lacked the outlet to get to know very many people from the school on a more personal level. Now, I feel that I managed to make some incredible friendships, and I feel more in tune with the whole Randolph Macon community.
Another more formal community I joined about three years ago is "the world of insurance" at Essex Insurance Corporation. What I was thinking when I decided to join this community, I have no idea, except that I needed money desperately! This particular community troubles me more than any other. I hate and I mean that in the strongest sense of the word, the community of people that encompass that office. It acts as a festering ground for people with money to look down on those without it, and for people without money to pretend that they actually have it. Rarely, have I met a person in this community whom I consider an honest, sincerely kind, and interesting individual. Most of the people I connect with in this community have ulterior motives or wear two faces.
In this community, similar to many others, the members strive to get what they want at any cost and no matter who they must climb over to get it. It, being a promotion, a raise, or something as simple as a stapler that actually works. In this community, penis equals power, meaning that a man has a much better chance of being promoted or just coming into a position than a woman with the same qualifications. Not only that, a man, in an "equal" position to that of a woman, receives better pay. The "man’s world" mentality dominates many of these career-based communities, so this community simply provides the world with another example of that.
Finally, possibly my favorite community, embodies my community of friends outside of Randolph Macon. I joined this community when I was in high school, and therefore, have stayed a member for a long time. I met these friends through work and school, one in particular, my friend Jorge acts as a sort of social director for the whole community. Over the years this community has maintained its strong roots, which might come as a surprise when we consider how many highschool friends actually remain friends after they get out of highschool. A strange aspect about this community lies in its ethnic and interest diversity. Most of the members of this community are men. Jorge came to America from Brazil, as did Gago and Jonathan and his sister Stephanie. Mylik has a mixed ethnic heritage because his father comes from Panama and his mother is American. John, Kevin, Zoe, Erica and I all come from America, but a new member to our community, Maria "Maica" comes from Bolivia. One of our jokes we say when we have all of us hanging out at the same time is "all nationalities are represented in this room." This may be a quite large generalization, but most of the time the members of this community, listed above, bring other members into our community who come from different nations as well. Last weekend, Jorge’s apartment contained three Brazilians, one Panamanian/American, one Swiss, two Poles, and five Americans. The ethnic diversity of this community always provides a more interesting atmosphere and cultural feel.
One thing that holds this community together comes from our interest in going out downtown and having a good time. We drink and dance at Tobacco Company and Richbrau or go relax at places like Lucky Lounge or Element. Every Sunday we eat brunch at Sidewalk Café, on Main Street, and share pitchers of mimosas. The boys all play or watch soccer, an activity that enables our community to keep in contact and remain in tact. However, this community contains massive flaws and controversies.
As I said before, I am one of a few girls in this community of friends and problems in regard to gender relations occurs in our community on a regular basis. Most of the girls who hang out with us date one of the guys in this group. I dated a couple of these guys in the past and learned how difficult it is to remain friends with a group of guys if you decide to date any of them. One problem arises from the fact that guys tend to gossip, a characteristic mostly associated with women, but that goes both ways. When your friends find out what you are like on a girlfriend level their feelings may change toward you. Two of the consequences that I experienced include; one: a friend might develop more than friend feeling for you, and two: a friend might not want to be friends with you based on what information he learns from his friend. This all seems confusing, and trust me, it is.
The communities that I shared above all contain their pros and cons, but for the most part, they are communities I chose to be a member of for good reason. I decided to enroll in Randolph Macon because I loved the campus, my fellow students, and the faculty. I chose to join RMC choir, chambers, and jazz vocal because I love to sing and the friends I made through these different groups will be lifelong friendships. I chose to join Essex Insurance because I needed money and my mom works there so she sort of pressured me into it, and I chose to join my group of highschool friends because we have fun together and enjoy many of the same activities. Yet I face controversy in all of these communities as well.
At Randolph Macon, I struggle with commuting and because I live at home in Richmond, I have a difficult time meeting new people and having the ability to just show up for a study group or work on a project any time. Choir takes up a lot of my time, and causes me to have to rearrange my schedule for performances. I already spoke about the controversies I face at Essex Insurance, no need to go through that rant again. Finally, I face conflict in my group of friends just by being a girl surrounded by boys all of the time. These are boys who act vulgar in front of me constantly, which I am used to because of my two older brothers. We also face drama when friends within the group date each other and especially when those relationships don’t exactly work out. Yet over all, I enjoy my role in each of these communities and hope to gain experience and knowledge from interactions in each one.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Peer Review #3

Dear Ariel,
I enjoyed reading your paper, as I have with all of yours thus far. You approach your controversy from every angle and you do so effectively. As I mentioned before, I like your conversational style of writing. You write warmly and invitingly, and you make your audience feel as if you are sitting with them at a Starbucks sipping on a chai tea carrying on a conversation about housewives and working women.
From a technical stand point, I enjoy your sources because they add even more character to your style of writing. Your sub headings help divide your paper and make your sub-topics stand out. If you work more on your transitions, you will make the paper clear and it will flow much easier.
I perceive that, in this paper, you wish to convey that it does not make any difference whether a woman decides to work as a housewife or venture off into the business world. You seem to stand on neutral ground, and you put the choice in the individual woman’s hands. I feel that your paper has a decent balance between informative, narrative, and persuasive intent. You clearly offer us aspects of each side of the controversy, but you state your stance early in the paper and the rest of your paper gives examples of each side and how society perceives each of these lifestyle choices. I enjoyed the narrative parts about your aunt. As I understood your paper when I read it, you want to say that women can do just about anything they want and that the line between a housewife and a business woman becomes blurred because of women like Martha Stewart.
I noticed that you added some historical background and I believe that helps give your reader somewhere to start. You know what you are talking about and your writing reflects that fact. You need to work on your transitions from one idea to the next. Your paper felt choppy and the interruptions in the flow derive from your unclear transitions in a couple of sections. There were a couple of paragraphs in the Martha Stewart section where you repeated yourself. Did you do this to emphasize your point? However, your style engaged me and kept me moving from page to page.
You write with credibility because you know your topic and you use good sources to enhance key points in your paper. You also get to the point of your paper right away, and this allows the reader to sit back and relax while they read. I felt connected to your paper because I am a woman and the choices you discussed in your paper are ones that I and other women will need to make one day. You approach your problem head on and you grab your reader’s attention with your overall tone.
Sincerely,
Rachel Powers

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

An Appeal to Arms (full draft)

Richmond’s appeal to his soldiers in Act scene is written in iambic pentameter. This means we give each line 5 beats and when reading we accent the second syllable (dee dum dee dum...and so on). Since Shakespeare also wrote the passage in blank verse, it has no rhyme scheme. The meter is consistent throughout, meaning there are no short lines or other variations in meter.
Richmond’s speech to his soldiers in Act 5.3 appeals to the soldiers morals and values. He directly contradicts King Richard’s speech to his army which invoked his soldier’s fear. Shakespeare makes these speeches paradox one another because he wants the readers to blatantly understand that Richmond is a better man than Richard. Richmond appeals to various morals in his speech; goodness, God, heroism, patriotism, and their tole as protectors of their families.
Beginning with the lines "Richard except, those whom we fight against/Had rather have us win than him they follow/ For what is he they follow? Truly, gentlemen,/A bloody tyrant and a homicide;" Richmond says Richard is the only one they are fighting who actually wishes to follow Richard ( Act 5.3 244-247). In these lines he calls Richard a tyrant, which means Richard acts for only himself which is why he is the only one who truly follows himself. If we look at these lines from Barton’s theory of reading these plays, the comma after "Richard except," indicates a pause in the voice and stresses the separation of Richard from everyone else. Within the line, "For what is he they follow? Truly, gentlemen," Shakespeare throws in a caesura which magnifies his use of the words truly and gentlemen (Act 5.3 246). Shakespeare does this to emphasize that Richmond speaks the truth about the country’s situation with Richard as ruler, and he refers to his soldiers as gentlemen rather than yeoman, as Richard does in his speech to his soldiers. In these four lines, Richmond begins his appeal to his soldiers by reassuring them that they picked the right guy to back up. He tells his soldiers that Richard’s supposed followers only support him because they fear a tyrant and a murderer.
In the next five lines "One raised in blood in blood and one in blood established;/ One that made means to come by what he hath,/And slaughter’d those that were the means to help him;/A base foul stone, made precious by the foil/ Of England’s chair, where he is falsely set;" Richmond appeals to the soldiers by pointing out that Richard is not the rightful ruler (Act 5.3 248-252). Instead of inheriting his title through the bloodline, he makes himself King Richard because he pretends to be friends with those who are in line and then kills them. A true king cannot make his crown, it should be passed down to him from the dying generation. The line "A base foul stone, made precious by the foil" is an antithesis because Richard is this despicable excuse for a man, who has made himself royalty (Act 5.3 251). In these lines Richmond also calls upon these soldier’s patriotism for their country and its traditions. He demonstrates how Richard disregards the way a king should behave and how he should receive his position.
In the following three lines "One that hath ever been God’s enemy./ Then if you fight against God’s enemy,/ God will in justice ward you as his soldiers," Richmond appeals to the soldiers’ spirituality (Act 5.3 253-255). He calls them God’s soldiers, and tells them they fight for God. In this section of his speech he speaks of God to appeal to their religious morals. He also calls Richard a rival to God, which stems from a tyrant’s belief that he is above God and law.
The next four lines "If you do sweat to put a tyrant down,/ You sleep in peace the tyrant being slain;/ If you do fight against your country’s foes,/ Your country’s fat shall pay your pains the hire;" coincide with the previous because Richmond tells the soldiers if they fight against Richard and his "followers" than they will serve both God and their country (Act 5.3 256-259). The soldiers will, therefore, be repaid with glory and peace for performing their good deed.
In the last six lines of the passage from Richmond’s speech, "If you do fight in safeguard of your wives,/ Your wives shall welcome home the conquerors;/ If you do free your children from the sword,/ Your children’s children quits it in your age:/ Then in the name of God and all these rights,/Advance your standards, draw your willing swords.", Richmond appeals to mens’ morals as the protectors of their families (Act 5.3 260-265). If the soldiers fight for their wives and childrens’ safety, than they will be revered as chivalric heros. Richmond also says that if they create peace now, the soldiers will keep their children from the need to go to battle. In the last line, "Advance your standards, draw your willing swords." (Act 5.3 260) he tells his soldiers to seek out their morals/values and fight for the them.
To summarize, Richmond infuses his soldiers with morality to fight against Richard and his men.. He calls on their goodness as gentlemen, their patriotism, their spirituality, their civic duty, and their role as protectors of their families. This speech emphasizes that Richmond should and will overthrow Richard because he represents God and morals whereas Richard represents a tyrant on a killing spree. This speech foreshadows the outcome of the play and the victory of Richmond and his gentlemen.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

An Appeal to Arms (part of Shakespeare paper)

Richmond’s appeal to his soldiers in Act scene is written in iambic pentameter. This means we give each line 5 beats and when reading we accent the second syllable (dee dum dee dum...and so on). Since, Shakespeare also wrote the passage in blank verse, it has no rhyme scheme. The meter is consistent throughout, meaning there are no short lines or other variations in meter.
Richmond’s speech to his soldiers in Act 3.5 appeals to the soldiers morals and values. He directly contradicts King Richard’s speech to his army which invoked his soldier’s fear. Richmond appeals to various morals in his speech; good leadership and actions, God, heroism, and patriotism.
Beginning with the line "Richard except,........a homicide." ( ), Richmond says Richard is the only one they are fighting who actually wishes to follow Richard. In these lines he calls Richard a tyrant, which means Richard acts for himself and himself alone which is why he is the only one who truly follows himself. If we look at these lines from Barton’s theory of reading these plays, the comma after "Richard except," indicates a pause in the voice and stresses the separation of Richard from everyone else. Within the line, "For what is he they follow? Truly, gentlemen," Shakespeare throws in a caesura which magnifies his use of the words truly and gentlemen. Shakespeare does this to emphasize that Richmond speaks the truth about the situation with Richard, and he refers to his soldiers as gentlemen rather than yeoman, as Richard does in his speech to his soldiers.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Ads Friend or Foe?...continued

In our current world of media, advertisers use venues such as radio, internet, television, and newspapers to grab a consumers attention. In these small interludes of time we encounter these advertisements the advertisers want to influence our opinions, call us to action, and persuade us. However, the line needs to be drawn when these ads negatively influence children. An example of negative advertisement that grabs children’s eyes is Ronald McDonald. This red-haired, red-nosed, yellow suit wearing clown lured children into McDonalds restaurants with his happy go lucky nature, and child-like appeal. We know that McDonalds sells greasy and salty french fries, a monstrosity known as the "big mac," and plenty of other unhealthy products. America’s children feed off of the idea that because Ronald McDonald represents McDonalds than they want and need to do what he does which means eat at McDonalds.
McDonalds no longer uses Ronald to reel in children as predominantly as it did in the past. They now use the idea of community or everyone eats here, so why don’t you? There new theme, "I’m loving it," addresses the idea of togetherness, family, love. Most commercials use the appeal to emotions because they understand that a consumer will not be persuaded unless an ad appeals to their intelligence and/or emotions. When we consider the number of obese people in America, we see that these McDonalds ads work. People continually eat at McDonalds even after they hear that a chicken head was found in a pack of chicken nuggets or see the movie "Supersize Me."
After that movie came out, McDonalds refurbished their image. They brought healthier products such as salads and fruit cups to their menus. This movie also brought up the way McDonalds caught children’s attention with Ronald, their play stations, and their kids meal toys. I remember as a child, I used to think going to McDonalds was like finding the holy grail. McDonalds happy meals were a huge deal and I recall my family going there together which reinforces the family and community atmosphere McDonalds wants to promote. Although I have these fond memories of family outings to our neighborhood McDonalds, I also realize the addiction that stems from eating McDonalds and the realize the consequences that overexposure to this unhealthy food can cause including obesity, high cholesterol, heart problems, acne, and much more.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Lesson 10 Summary in Style

Lesson 10 of Style Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace, discusses the importance of ethical writing. Writers must write clear and elegant sentences for readers to understand them and for their own sake. A writer needs to write with the reader’s understanding in mind. We may understand our ideas, but that does not mean other people will. Our sentences must be trustworthy and not mislead our readers. It is one thing to de-emphasize ideas and quite another to avert responsibility for our ideas. When writers manipulate or purposely write too complexly, readers lose interest or trust in that writer. However, readers too have a responsibility to delve further into their intelligence and extract meaning from a writer. Williams describes this interaction between the writer and reader as a contract. The writer is responsible for the ethos in what they write and the reader needs to try and understand. Some acceptable exceptions to this rule exist.
If a writer wishes to discuss an idea that is still in the educational or intellectual process, it might be difficult to write in a manner for which a reader can understand. We also may reword our ideas to show kindness to our audience or to avoid offending our audience. Bosses, speech writers, and company representatives use these two methods to interact effectively with their audiences. However, the significance of this lesson still remains the importance for the writer to write clearly and the reader to understand.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Wal Mart Causes Divide in Ashland

June, 3 years ago, a Wal Mart Superstore opened it’s doors in the Ashland area. Wal Mart faced protesters from Ashland businesses and civilians before it was allowed to do so.
Ashland Coffee and Tea, referred to as "Ashland’s Living Room," was one of the most adamant protestors against Wal Marts arrival. This coffee and tea café has been in Ashland for 10 years. It has strong ties to the Ashland community through its regular customers and its entertainment.
There is good reason behind its nickname because its yellow, orange, and red wall provides the illusion and warmth of a huge furnace, its antique tables, chairs, and couches give it a touch of home, and its chalkboard menus provide a 1950's soda shop tradition.
This shop offers Ashland an eclectic and inviting place to sit back and relax and for Randolph Macon students to study while sipping a gourmet beverage.
Ashland Coffee and Tea employee, 23 years-old Megan Prichard, has worked at Ashland Coffee and Tea for six years or since her freshman year in college.
She says that Ashland Coffee and Tea employees have a closely knit relationship, "We’re like family, coming in and visiting each other even on our days off."
During her six years working there, she was one of the civilians protesting against Wal Mart’s arrival into town. "Wal Mart comes in and takes over." Megan chooses not to shop there and show her support for the smaller businesses in town.
She also named the council members who pushed for Wal Mart to come to Ashland. Tommy Herbert, Lynn Wood Atkinson, Jim Moore, and Stew Reed, who was the only one against Wal Mart coming in.
Although most of these members wanted to bring Wal Mart in, they kept the protesting civilians in mind. Wal Mart’s location in Ashland is nestled off of Ashland Junction Road, instead of being directly on Route 1.
This appeased some of the protestors because the desire to keep the small town charm was recognized and the committee sought to not commercialize it which Megan says "happens when huge conglomerate businesses come into a small town."
Another protestor was Cross Brothers Grocery Store, owned by 48-years-old Kathy Waldrop, and her brother. This family owned business was acquired by Kathy’s father and the Hawthorne family in 1973. However, this small grocery has been in Ashland since 1912.
Kathy said, "Wal Mart has definitely affected our sales, they can sell products cheaper than we can buy them."
She also said that they are lucky because they have so many loyal customers, but that a lot of the people who originally petitioned against Wal Mart are not shopping with them anymore.
Williams Bakery is the newest of these three businesses in Ashland. It has been open in Ashland for five years, but it has two other locations as well.
The Bakery looks like a southern kitchen, with its quilts hanging from the walls and its antique furniture holding unique creations like their apple and peach pie candles, shaped like real pies.
Employee 48-years-old Karen Arbaugh, has worked for the bakery for four months now. Although originally a loyal customer, she needed a job there after her husband passed away.
She said, "This is a family run business and has been a god sent to me."
The Williams Bakery has existed for 30 years, and is now in it’s third generation of family ownership. Ronnie Williams is responsible for all the baked goods in their Ashland location.
Karen said that Wal Mart has not affected the bakery because "all of our baked goods are made fresh daily, and much of our business comes from custom orders like wedding cakes or catered events."
She said people prefer their baked goods over the prepackaged products that Wal Mart offers.
Although these small businesses protested against Wal Mart coming into Ashland, Wal Mart customers and employees are in favor of its arrival.
Lori Fortune, 44-years-old, is a customer service representative for the store. She has been working there for a little over two years and says, "I enjoy my job because I love to interact with other people." She also said she lives by the motto of "treating others as you want to be treated."
Lori says that this location gets plenty of business but is not as overwhelming as other Wal Mart stores in the area.
Wal Mart Customer, Terry Wilson said, "I love shopping at this Wal Mart because it is less crowded and much more accessible than the one in Short Pump."
Terry, like many other customers shops at Wal Mart for the cheap prices on groceries, but she specifically comes there for the good prices in their fabric department.
She said that she still shops at specialty stores for produce and baked goods but that overall their product is quality and a good bargain.
Cissy Washington also shops at Wal Mart. She likes Wal Mart because of its cheap prices and it’s close location to her house.
"I can get pretty much anything I need there so I don’t have to make 20 stops before I can get home, I also buy a new movie there every week because their prices are so reasonable."
Wal Mart faced opposition coming in but business has picked up at their location in Ashland. Many smaller businesses in Ashland have had to close their doors because they can’t compete with Wal Marts prices, but some still remain and continue to have a loyal customer base.
Wal Mart employees, like Lori Fortune, enjoy their job, and customers say that this location is the best one around because of it’s accessibility and discreet location.
Ashland’s small businesses say "we have to accept it, Wal Mart is here to stay."

Friday, April 21, 2006

Ads..friend or foe?

In our current world of media, advertisers use venues such as radio, internet, television, and newspapers to grab a consumers attention. In these small interludes of time we encounter these advertisements the advertisers want to influence our opinions, call us to action, and persuade us. However, the line needs to be drawn when these ads negatively influence children. An example of negative advertisement that grabs children’s eyes is Ronald McDonald. This red-haired, red-nosed, yellow suit wearing clown lured children into McDonalds restaurants with his happy go lucky nature, and child-like appeal. We know that McDonalds sells greasy and salty french fries, a monstrosity known as the "big mac," and plenty of other unhealthy products. America’s children feed off of the idea that because Ronald McDonald represents McDonalds than they want and need to do what he does.
McDonalds no longer uses Ronald to reel in children. They now use the idea of community or everyone eats here, so why don’t you? There new theme, "I’m loving it," addresses the togetherness, family, love. Most commercials use the appeal to emotions because they understand that a consumer will not be persuaded unless an ad appeals to their intelligence and/or emotions. When we consider the number of obese people in America, the starting point of McDonalds, we see that these McDonalds ads work. People continually eat at McDonalds even after they hear that a chicken head was found in a pack of chicken nuggets or see the movie "Supersize Me."

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Smoking should be Banned From Restaurants

The more I eat at restaurants, the more I realize that smoking needs to be banned from them. I do not smoke, but I constantly inhale cigarette smoke when in public places. People who smoke make the decision to smoke and although I have no problem with their decision to do so, but I make a conscious decision to ensure the health of my lungs. Smoke inhalation causes problems such as lung cancer, throat cancer, bad breath, stinky clothes, yellow teeth, and more. I choose not to inflict any of these problems on myself, so why do I want other people to? Some of my favorite restaurants are bars too, and I make the decision to eat there, with the knowledge that people smoke there, but restaurants also false advertise when they claim a no smoking section exists in a closed in space, with ceiling fans that run full blast and redistribute the smoke throughout the entire restaurant. If a person wants to light up, why not step outside for the two or three minutes it takes to finish a cigarette? I just saw a movie called "Thank You for Not Smoking." This movie is about a man, Nick Naylor who is a spokesperson or lobbyist for a tobacco research company that receives it's funds from cigarette companies. Nick works this job as he says "to pay the mortgage," and because he speaks persuasively, charismatically, and gets paid for the job he believes he is the best at. Nick doesn't necessarily believe in the product he promotes, but he believes in free will and therefore chooses this controversial role. He teaches his ethics and skills in argument to his son who starts at the beginning of the movie embarrassed by his father, but by the end, he is proud of his father for his ability to argue about free will. Although I don't spoke or think that cigarettes are a positive attribute to society, I believe that people have the right to choose to put these harmful chemicals into their body. However, I do not believe it is fair for smokers to invade others lungs with their smoke. Smoking in enclosed areas, such as restaurants or bars, endangers non-smokers with second degree smoke. We constantly hear that second degree smoke is just as harmful if not more so than a person who inhales the smoke directly. There is no such thing as a non-smoking section in a restaurant that allows people to smoke.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Can Writing Be Taught? Expanded Version

Can Writing Be Taught?
(An essay directed towards fellow students and professors)
Writing may possibly be the activity we hear the most complaints about in almost every field of life we come across. {Many people believe that writing comes from natural ability or some mystical "gift." in which they were not predestined to obtain.} This assumption leads such people to struggle with their writing, whether in writing a research paper, a witty note to a friend, a career resume, or even something as simple as an instant message.
Writing fortunately stems from an individuals desire to write and their resolve to become a better writer rather than from a "gift." Therefore, yes, writing can be taught. Writing exists like any other activity we get involved in. A musician, in most cases, decides that they want to learn to play an instrument, they practice (because practice makes perfect), and gradually they transform into a better musician. Writing takes much of the same process as a hobby or sport. A person decides they want to write, they practice their craft, and eventually they enhance their writing skills. Luckily, for people who desire to write, plenty of venues exist in which they can practice their skills. The sources are limitless.
We write to convey our thoughts through emails, letters, theoretical papers, and instant messages. We also write for class and/or jobs through research papers, notes, resumes, self evaluations, peer or professor evaluations, etc. Finally, we write in everyday life activities, a letter of complaint to the postal service, a grocery list, a survey, and many other forms. The problem that exists derives from the preconception that "I’m not a good writer," therefore, "I can’t get better."
Most people don’t start out as good writers and especially not great writers. Yet through schooling, whether in a creative writing class, a general English class, or even a history or art history course, we develop, practice, and expand our writing. It would be nice if we could just wake up one morning blessed with the ability to write a 500 page masterpiece, but writing takes work.
Speaking as someone who struggles with writing and feels frustrated when writing a research paper about the meaning behind a Shakespeare sonnet, that perfect line still missing from a poem or short story, or even that perfect witty comment in an email to someone I am trying to impress, writing can be a hellish process. People must develop their own way of writing, which takes practice and sometimes long, painstaking hours of drafting and redrafting until we are even remotely happy with what we have on paper. As bad as all of that sounds, nothing feels better then churning out an A paper to a professor who wondered whether we understood a single word lectured in class or just the satisfaction of knowing we won’t have to write another ten page paper for that class. Clearly, writing produces all sorts of emotions from its authors.
Everyone has the ability to write and to become better writers. Through practice and guidance we learn to write better but the desire to do so must drive us. Whether or not we write well comes from that desire because only the individual can choose to do what it takes to enhance their writing skills. So evolves the question, can writing be taught? The answer depends on the persons devotion to writing, and if we are dedicated to writing than yes, we can be taught to write and even write well.
Sometimes we go through slumps in our desire to write. This slump comes in the form of a block of frustration that may discourage us from writing at all. When these moments of derailment encroach on our writing process we believe that we are not good writers or that we have lost our ability to write. This belief causes many good writers and potential great writers, to give up on their craft because they think they have learned all they can about writing or their frustration causes cut their losses and try something new.
However, these moments are part of the writing process and we need to recognize that every writer goes through blocks or desires to give up or take breaks. These writers may choose to stay away from their craft forever or they may choose to "suck it up" and keep writing even if what they write sounds like crap. Again, writing can be taught, but only to those who wish to learn it and continue to practice their skills.

The Rise in Gas Prices has Helped One Store in Ashland.
By Rachel Powers
The Cobblestone bike store sits sandwiched between Iron Horse and The Whistle Stop Café on Main Street in Ashland, Virginia.
It’s a venue that does well in this town, which is frequently occupied by both sport cyclists and a new rise in commuter cyclists.
The owner, 41-year-old, Joel Street resides in Richmond, Va., but moved his store recently from Goochland, Virginia to Ashland. He said Ashland "Is a great town with a great cycling community."
Street also said sales have been about the same as they have in past years, but the increase in gas prices over the last few months has increased his sales of commuter bicycles both from local town members and from students.
The majority of his sales comes from sport bikes and gear. He said "Lance Armstrong’s promotion has caused a huge number of people, young and old, to start cycling for sport."
One of these recent cyclists is 27-year-old, Brad Moss. He spoke about his integration into the world of bicycling. Moss started because he wanted to do triatholons, and his missing link was bicycling. He began about 11 months ago.
He said "Bicycling is expensive to start. I had to buy a bike, safety gear, and tools to keep his bike in good shape."
"Your bike only rides as good as you treat it"
Moss rides with three or four other cyclists on rural, less busy streets from 35 to 75 miles. He has participated in two 100 mile centuries and the Heart of Virginia bicycling event which started at Randolph-Macon in Ashland, Virginia.
Moss and Street both expressed their opinion that bicycling has become popular and will remain popular because it is a sport that a person can continue to do even in old age. "It is easy on the knees and joints and therefore less physically demanding than other sports."
Street thinks his store will continue to do well in Ashland because of the growing popularity of bicycling and the fluctuation in gas prices. He also felt that the strong cycling community in Ashland will keep enable his store to continue to prosper.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Buffets are Disgusting

I have never been a fan of buffets, from Shoneys to Golden Coral they all provide the same over or undercooked foods that make your stomach feel like a series of knots. Buffets are also an unsanitary method to eat. Imagine the amount of people who walked through that buffet before you, probing and sampling the food with their unwashed fingers. FDA studies show evidence of urine, sperm, etc in buffet food from these very same people. My brother loves buffets, in fact, he goes to buffets like it's his job. On weekends, we wake up and the first thing my brother says is "Are you guys ready to go to Shoneys?" He half way does this to pick on me and completely gross me out and he partly says this in complete seriousness because he loves the variety a buffet offers. My brother can eat 2 helpings on his own plate and finish off what the rest of us don't eat. We always tell him he has hollow legs because he never gains an ounce. Buffets completely fulfill his appetite. He fails to pay attention to all the gross potential a buffet has which I mentioned above.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Lesson 9 Summary in Style

In Lesson 9 of Style Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace, Williams discusses how all of the information we’ve learned thus far in the book come together to form both elegant and clear sentences. In order for our sentences to be elegant they must be balanced and ordered. In other words, the correct verb must follow the correct subject and be modified with resumptive, summative, or free modifiers. Elegant sentences also need words or phrases that stress the significance of our subjects. The key words to connect ideas in sentences are and, or, nor, but, and yet. Sentences should be organized with the intent of clarity at the beginning of each sentence and elegance by the end of each sentence. Williams discuses ways we incorporate elegance into our sentences.
We add elegance by adding of and following it with nouns that add emphasis to the subject. We can also add emphasis and grace when we echo a significant idea in the original sentence, in the second part of our sentence. This method can be accomplished simply by repeating a key word. Williams also discusses a method known as chiasmus, which "crosses" the ideas in the beginning and end of the sentence. Some writers emphasize their sentences by using metaphors. However, when we use metaphors to describe or emphasize the ideas in our sentences, we need to make sure we use them correctly and consistently. When writers combine all of the methods discussed in this and previous lessons, they can write clear and elegant long sentences.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Importance of Sunblock

I advocate sunblock use all of the time. In fact, I wrote and presented a persuasive speech about the importance of sunblock use. Obviously I need to practice what I preach because I decided to lay outside and work on some homework yesterday and get a little sun in the process. The cloudy day manipulated me to think that I did not need sunblock. I look like casper with the fairest skin known besides those albinos so I thought wrong. A half an hour into laying out I noticed my skin turn pink, so I put a 30 spf on and flipped my body to lay on my stomach. When I finally decided to call it a day and go inside I felt a little stingy. I went in and got in the shower, and we all know the shower brings out the burn. I stepped out of the luke warm shower and I looked like a lobster....but only my front side.
Today, I can barely walk because whenever any article of clothing rubs against my skin I want to die. I wear flip flops because the top of my feet, as tomato-colored as the rest of my body, sting when I try to put tennis shoes on. Lesson to learn hear is.....practice what I preach. I plan to use at least a 45 spf from now on!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Smoking should be Banned From Restaurants

The more I eat at restaurants, the more I realize that smoking needs to be banned from them. I do not smoke, but I constantly inhale cigarette smoke when in public places. People who smoke make the decision to smoke and although I have no problem with their decision to do so, but I make a conscious decision to ensure the health of my lungs. Smoke inhalation causes problems such as lung cancer, throat cancer, bad breath, stinky clothes, yellow teeth, and more. I choose not to inflict any of these problems on myself, so why do I want other people to? Some of my favorite restaurants are bars too, and I make the decision to eat there, with the knowledge that people smoke there, but restaurants also false advertise when they claim a no smoking section exists in a closed in space, with ceiling fans that run full blast and redistribute the smoke throughout the entire restaurant. If a person wants to light up, why not step outside for the two or three minutes it takes to finish a cigarette?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Style Lesson 8 Summary

Lesson 8 of Style Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace, we learn how to shape our sentences. Williams suggests a variety of methods to rearrange, extend, and organize our sentences. He suggests rearranging sentences by transforming long introductory phrases into their own sentences because to the reader these long introductions to a sentence may confuse or bore a reader before they get to the main point of that sentence. He also suggests that writers need to have a clear and concise subject for each sentence. We also need to get to the verb for our subject as soon as possible and avoid interruption with prepositional phrases or free phrases that can be moved to the beginning or the end of a sentence. We may not want to write short grade-school sentences, but we should also avoid adding one clause to another and then another. These sentences confuse the sentence with too much information. This problem can be fixed by dividing the sentence into two. However, if we do with to add information about the subject of our sentence, we need to incorporate it rather than just plop it on the end of our sentence.
Williams discusses three ways to extend our sentences effectively by using resumptive, summative, or free modifiers. Resumptive modifiers take a significant word from the original sentence, repeat it, and add the additional information after the word that. Summative modifiers find a word or phrase that sums up the original sentence and adds additional information after it. A free modifier is a phrase that adds information, but can be moved to any part of the sentence, and reflects information regarding the verb it is closest to. These modifiers help connect and organize a sentence, but long sentences need to be organized in other ways as well. Sentences that contain too many clauses need to be condensed and great way to condense these clauses is to arrange them from short to long clauses and less complex ideas to more complex ideas.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Personal Narrative Final Draft

The Real World
I was 16 years old, slender, pretty, shy, and in completely unfamiliar surroundings. I sauntered through those double automatic doors and raw bleach cleanser smacked me in the face. I wore a royal blue polo shirt, khaki cargo pants, and a sticky name tag with RACHEL written in huge, black, Sharpie letters. All eyes set on me as I passed the silver metal registers and made my way through the doors with the sign that read EMPLOYEES ONLY. I searched five minutes before I found a tiny plastic square with my name, Rachel Powers and a black and white scan bar; then I took a deep breath and slid it through a machine that clocked me in.
My stomach tightened and coiled like a fruit roll-up as my supervisor, a giant, chubby man, Dave, guided me from one department to another. We started with the a warehouse full of extra grocery products, I saw the cardboard and plastic cartons full of extra Cocoa Puffs, Diet Coke, and Mr. Olive pickles. My eyes scanned the dark and dingy room until they rested on a massive, metal machine with a baseball-size red button on its front. I looked inside the machine’s opening and a stacks of boxes as well as plastic bags full of trash scrunched in the bottom of the metal box waited for a tall, lanky dork, Sean, who pushed the red button and sent a flat wide metal slap of steel down on top of the debris, condensing it until brown and white shards remained. I wanted to push the red button too, but Dave said "girls aren’t allowed to tough the machine." We ended my tour at what he referred to as "the front end." Curious and skeptical looks followed the back of my head as I approached the clean, silver, metal station that evolved into a part of my weekly routine at the end of the cash register. The small, Richmond area chain grocery store called Ukrops referred to me as a "courtesy clerk." I bagged and loaded customers’ groceries into their mini vans, small compact cars, or massive SUVs, with a constant smile on my face and polite conversation. I struggled with my shy nature during my first week. Other male employees, especially Scott, James, and Colin targeted me as the brunt of their fun and games.
Those three young men decided to play a joke on me one night while I pushed an older woman’s groceries to her vehicle. As I unloaded her groceries from the cart, they serenaded me with the song from Top Gun, "You’ve Lost that Lovin Feeling." My cheeks turned into tomatoes. Scott and James called their actions my initiation, excusing the fact that I appeared unprofessional in front of my customer. The same week, Scott and Colin asked me on dates, told me how pretty I was, and blatantly stared at my butt or breasts. Scott, an older, blonde, tan, remotely cute co-worker, checked my work schedule, rearranged his schedule to work the same days as me, and called me when I misread the schedule and failed to come in the night they scheduled me to work. It sent goose bumps down my spine when he called because I never gave him my phone number, and two days later he asked me out.
I felt extremely uncomfortable so I approached my manager, a thirty-year-old, blonde, short, fat, man with no wife or kids. He said that I led the boys to approach me that way because I smiled and flirted too much, and he said that my khaki work pants hugged my curves too tight. I felt helpless, I needed to smile all of the time so that the customers felt welcomed, but if I smiled too much I supposedly gave mixed signals to my male co-workers.
I spoke conservatively around Scott, James, and Colin because I feared any misinterpretation of my words, tone, or body language resulted in a misunderstanding or unprofessional interaction. Yet that method of speech provided little aid to my work situation. Scott called me "cold" or a "tease" and said, "I strung boys along." I averted eye contact with him or avoided communication and he retaliated and told the other guys (Colin, James, etc.) that I lead him on. I finally approached a member of the human resources department and told him my concerns.
The human resources director, Mike, listened to my complaints and took action to rectify the problem. He held a meeting for all employees to attend that addressed two issues. He addressed the necessity for a professional relationship between co-workers and how we needed to interact appropriately with one another. Mike spoke to James, Colin, and Scott individually and reprimanded them. At first I feared I got them in major trouble, but I realized they acted wrong. At times I also wondered whether I gave Scott or Colin mixed signals or subconsciously flirted with them. At 16, I thought naively because I failed to understand that these boys and my managers’ actions constituted harassment.
My manager, who did nothing to help me, transferred to a different location. I felt as if I wronged him in some way. However, my family and my human resources director, Mike, helped me get through it. After he left a new manager replaced him who stayed attune to the interactions in the work place.
The interactions between me and James and Colin became more platonic and professional, which made my job more comfortable. Scott, the boy who checked my schedule and jacked my number left the store. I befriended all of the other boys that, at first, gave me so much trouble. Through these friendships, I realized many of these guys acted the way they did because they did not know any other way to act. Their actions remained inexcusable, but I understood why they talked to me on a personal or vernacular level rather than professional.
Today, I take my experiences at Ukrops and incorporate them into my job. I work in an environment consumed by powerful men. I approach these men with confidence and I do not take any crap from them. I make it abundantly clear that I want only professional interaction with my co-workers and if they disrespect my choice and ask me out, stare at my butt, or tell me my skirt is too short, I report them without guilt.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Reworking of My Favorite Narrative Essay

The narrative essay High Anxiety, by Sharon Levine engaged my attention the most. Her witty and conversational tone gave me an instant reaction and made me want to continue reading her story. When I read her second paragraph on the first page, I felt like it was me writing the narrative because her description of her life mirrored mine at that point. She talked about dealing with parents who constantly held her to high expectations, struggling with her career, and just over all trying to find herself. Her honesty really appealed to me and portrayed her as a trustworthy narrator. One of my favorite quotes of hers was "I listened as the woman, tried to translate "vegetarian" to my crew, explaining, "nothing with eyes or feet." She also compared to the stars she saw on her journey up Mt. Kili to a "Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular." She described her hike up the 19,000 feet high Mt. Kili with vivid detail, so much so, that I felt I met her guide Musa in person.She captured his personality when she mentioned the songs he sang climbing up, and his attitude towards illness from climbing. He seemed like a laid back kind of dude. This narrative is an example of the personal narrative. Basically in the narrative Sharon represents herself as a young and rather unfocused person who needs to do something extraordinary with her life in order to pull herself out of the rut she resides in. She overhears a friend talking about his trip to Mt. Kili and decides she wants to climb it. This climb becomes her focus, her goal, and it motivates her which she explains when she sells her car and air conditioner to raise money for her trip, as well as, the vigorous training routine she undergoes. She describes the event in a chronological order by days traveling up the mountain, but she plays with the chronological order because she starts the narrative from the point of being finished with the climb and then looks back. Her message seemed to me to be that people should not settle for a life filled with boredom and/or depression, especially to please others. The goal should be to please oneself first. The event, her climbing up Mt. Kili provided her with a tangible goal because it allowed her to discover her strength and courage by enduring physical agony. I connected with Sharon because I too have a mother and father who want to run my entire life and have certain high expectations that I do not always feel I measure up to. Neither of my parents went to college, nor did my brothers, so they live vicariously through me and expect me to to indulge their own need for the college experience. I also feel disoriented about my career path after graduation just as Sharon feels bogged down by a job that brings her stress and strife. I might not choose to do something as extreme as climb a 19,000 foot high mountain, but I understand her need to challenge herself and search for something she loves.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Draft of Narrative Essay

I was 16 years old, slender, pretty, shy, and in completely unfamiliar surroundings. I stepped through those double automatic doors and raw bleach cleanser smacked me in the face. I wore a royal blue polo shirt, khaki cargo pants and a sticky name tag with RACHEL written in huge, black, Sharpie letters. All eyes set on me as I passed the registers and made my way through the doors with the sign that read EMPLOYEES ONLY. I searched at least five minutes before I found a tiny plastic square with my personal information; then I took a deep breath and slid it through a machine that clocked me in. I had no clue, but this new step in my life would completely change me.
My stomach tightened and coiled like a fruit roll-up as my supervisor, Dave guided me from one department to another, starting with the stock room and ending at what he referred to as "the front end." Skeptic but curious looks followed the back of my head as I approached the station that evolved into a part of my weekly routine at the end of the cash register. The small, Richmond area, chain, grocery store called Ukrops referred to me as a "courtesy clerk." The job duty entailed bagging and loading customers’ groceries into their mini vans, small compact cars, or massive SUVs, with a constant smile on my face and polite conversation. The shyness factor proved to be an obstacle all around in my first week working there. Other male employees targeted me as the brunt of their fun and games.
Three of the young men decided to play a joke on me one night while I pushed an older woman’s groceries to her vehicle. As I unloaded her groceries from the cart, they began serenading me with the song from Top Gun, "You’ve Lost that Lovin Feeling." My cheeks turned into tomatoes, showing the embarrassment I felt. The boys called their actions my initiation, excusing the fact that I appeared unprofessional in front of my customer. More incidents occurred with these same boys and others who I worked with at the store. They continually approached me asking me on dates, telling me how pretty I was, or just blatantly stared at my butt or breasts. One boy named Scott checked my work schedule to see which days I worked that week, rearranged his schedule to work the same days as me, and called me when I misread the schedule and failed to come in the night they scheduled me to work. It freaked me out because I never gave him my phone number, and two days later he asked me out.
I felt more and more uncomfortable and eventually approached my manager, a man in his early thirties with no wife or kids. He implied that I led the boys to approach me that way because I smiled or flirted too much, and he went as far as to say that my khaki work pants fit too tightly. He put me in a helpless position, one minute telling me I need to smile all of the time so that the customers felt welcomed and the next minute telling me if I smile too much I am giving mixed signals to my male co-workers.
I found myself speaking conservatively around these men/boys who I worked with, fearing any misinterpretation of my words, tone, or body language might lead to a misunderstanding or unprofessional interaction. Yet even that method of speech provided little aid to my work situation. The boys called me "cold" or a "tease" saying, "I string boys along." I wondered how I could string someone along whom I never talked with on an unprofessional level. I finally approached a member of the human resources department and told him my concerns.
The human resources director, Mike, actually listened to my complaints and took action to rectify the problem. He held a meeting for all employees to attend that addressed many issues, but the main issue, being the need to keep a professional relationship between co-workers and how to interact appropriately with one another. The specific boys I mentioned were spoken to and reprimanded individually. At first I feared getting them in trouble, but I realized they acted wrongly and might continue acting that way towards other women. At times I also wondered whether I gave them mixed signals or subconsciously flirted with these boys. If so, I thought It unfair to reprimand them if I spoke carelessly. At 16, I thought naively because I failed to understand that these boys and my managers’ actions constituted harassment.
My manager, who did nothing to help me, transferred to a different location. I felt bad, as if I wronged him in some way. However, my family and my human resources director helped me to not feel like I hurt them. After he left a new manager replaced him who stayed attune to the interactions in the work place.
After the meeting, the interactions between me and the other boys at my work became more platonic and professional, making my job more comfortable. The boy who checked my schedule and jacked my number somehow left the store. I befriended all of the other boys that, at first, gave me so much trouble. Through these friendships, I realized many of these guys acted the way they did because they didn’t know any other way to act. Their actions remained inexcusable, but I started understanding why they talked to me on a personal or vernacular level rather than professional.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Letter of Reference

9201 Timbers Edge Court
Glen Allen, Virginia 23060

To Whom it May Concern,

For the past 22 years I grew up with my big brother, Jason Shepard Powers taking care of and protecting me. He pushed me to reach for my goals and constantly inspired me with his hard work ethic, devotion, and love for the people who enter his life. He loves his children and displays this love through his cubscout participation, attending their baseball practices and games, taking them bowling or to a movie and more subtly when he frets over sending them to a sleep-over because he misses them so much. Speaking for myself, his baby sister, Jason continually watches out for me and makes sure I make good decisions. He always shows his love for me, our mom and dad, and our oldest brother.
Jason struggles with his alcoholism, but he also takes actions to change overcome his problem with alcohol. He attends AA meetings and counseling. He also understands that he needs a support system to help him quit, and he turns to his family for that support. We know Jason made mistakes in his past, but we also know that he recognizes his problems and desires to amend them.
Sincerely,

Rachel Powers

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Country's Fifth Most Dangerous City in 2005

The Fifth Most Dangerous City in 2005
By Rachel Powers

In the year 2005 a survey of the country’s most dangerous and most safe cities reported Richmond, Virginia as the fifth most dangerous city in the country.
Taking a look at the Richmond Police daily incident reports for the new year, does this survey accurately depict Richmond and will Richmond follow the same path in 2006?
The first week of January Sun, January 1-Sat. January 7 of the daily crime report shows the reported crimes committed in Richmond, Virginia.
In this first week, we see a number of robberies, assaults, and burglaries, but January 3 displays three incidents of murder which took place in Richmond. Many of these crimes included non-fatal shootings and use of weapon.
One of these murders consisted of 4 members of a family found in their own residence on W. 31st Street. Another report involved a black male and a black female found murdered.
January 3, 2006, a fatal day of the first week of the year, shows 3 separate incidents of murder, two of which had multiple victims.
The number of aggravated assaults, burglaries, robberies, and sexual assaults accumulate on these first days of the year, the lightest day being January 4th, the day after the heaviest day of crime.
On January 4, 2006 the following crimes were reported; two robberies, two aggravated assaults, and two burglaries. This days contrasts January 3, 2006 which consisted of, eight robberies, four aggravated assaults, two kidnapping/abductions, one sexual battery, three murders, and ten burglaries.
We must also remember that these crimes did not necessarily occur on the day reported day, many of the crimes were committed a couple or few days before they made into the incident report. But the crimes discussed did occur either close to or in the first week of the year.
The crime incident reports in which the Richmond Police Department offer us a sense of the crime occurring in the Richmond area and evidence as to why Richmond was named the fifth most dangerous city in the country.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Lessons 6 and 7 from Style

Lesson 6
Lesson 6 of Style Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace, focuses on how to interpret the meaning behind a sentence. One of the ways in which we can infer meaning from a sentence comes from where and which words are stressed in the sentence. We, therefore, need to know which words we wish to give the most importance in each sentence and we need also to know that there should be important words throughout the entire sentence in order to make the sentence understandable and meaningful. In deciding which words to stress, this section brings points from other chapters such as the importance of placing unfamiliar material at the end of the sentence. A sentence needs to open up with collectively knowledgeable material to make the reader feel comfortable. We also need to realize, while we write, that the very first words we write in a sentence are the most important because they should include our main subject and the actions of that subject. Lesson 6 also offers us ways we can stress which words we believe to be the most important such as starting phrases with the words, there, what, or it.
Lesson 7
Lesson 7 begins a new section that focuses on writing gracefully. In lesson 7, we learn how to cut the words that we don’t need in our sentences because these words are redundant, meaningless, or just too many. We use meaningless words subconsciously in our writing, similar to when we speak. In our writing, we use words that carry the same meaning or we say something the reader doesn’t need us to spell out for them. These make the sentences too wordy and less direct. Repetitive language also comes from trying to tell a reader what we want them to think, feel, react or how well we know the subject and how we want to say what we have to say. Lesson 7 also points out that the only way to become a concise writer is to revise, revise, and revise.