Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year in Review: 2013

Long, self-centered post ahead. Reflecting on what I've done and what I still have to do. It's been a very long year, with some months (March and October) where I wanted to hide under a table. But there were also high points, and, in any case, I've gotten through it. Hurrah!

Writing finished:
  • The Guts of Warfare: Civil War essay about logistics, supplies, etc which I wrote in January for the Gilder Lehrman contest. Includes a huge section on TOTAL WAR. I might post it later.
  • Orsolya (Unwise Ones): my second finished novel! Clocks in at 167000 words. Took up most of my writing year. Synopsis: Peacekeeper Orsolya rescues Prince Nikodim and uncovers a plot involving mind magic. Features characters from my GW storyline.
  • Rara Avis: a short story of about 10000 words that I wrote this month. Hannah, an unloved girl, realizes she can no longer stay.
  • College essays: so glad to be done. As Snively says, "If at the end of the application process you feel relieved instead of enriched, then you missed an excellent opportunity to learn about yourself." I feel both.

Current projects:
  • Vinyl Eel: a series of essays about school--I realize I have a lot of advice that future generations of students might find useful
  • Protagonist Club: it's been on unofficial hiatus for the past few months since Lieutenant Sarcasm and I have both been super busy; I want to keep working on it, though
  • revising Rara Avis
  • researching Ubermadchen: an as-yet unplotted novel(la?) about a group of girls being trained illegally in magic in the Age of Metternich
  • creating myself: it's an ongoing process

Optimus (Best Posts):

Personal:
  • learning how to code (finishing LPtHW)
  • getting my driver's permit and doing 50 hours (drive test in another week or so, wish me luck!)
  • being principal euphonium for district honor band
  • helping the Teal Knight with assistant drum major tryouts
  • self-studying Calculus with the BC League
  • making it through the mountains (see above)
  • winning the Scrivo in Italiano writing contest
  • getting reelected to band staff
  • leading a band camp team to defeat (Frosted Flakes forever!)
  • getting over it (see above, The Sinusoidal Path /*or my Common App essay*/)
  • becoming involved in robotics on programming division
  • college apps //still need to figure out the morality of using a college counselor
  • using Google Docs for everything
  • leading a volunteer club and recruiting tons of idealistic freshmen
  • going to Hawaii
  • distancing myself from what is not me
  • figuring out that Augustus Caesar is my hero

Best Books:





Defining Music:
  • Unbreakable - Three Days Grace
  • In My Remains - Linkin Park
  • Calma e Sangue Freddo - Luca Dirisio
  • Welcome to the Masquerade - Thousand Foot Krutch
  • Alone Not Lonely - Evans Blue
  • Paradise - Coldplay
  • Video Games - Lana del Rey
  • Tightrope - Walk the Moon
  • Don't Stop - InnerPartySystem
  • Second Suite in F - Gustav Holst
  • Counting Stars - OneRepublic
  • Sail - Awolnation
  • Nothing in My Way - Keane
  • Sonnenbarke - Einsturzende Neubauten
  • Intro - the XX
  • Sea Fog - Keane
  • I Just Wanted to Make You Something Beautiful - Industries of the Blind
  • Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger - Daft Punk
//I should probably just make a playlist or something.

Preparation for 2014:

The usual logbook and calendar.

Wow, this has been a busy year. Second semester junior year, first semester senior year. I can't quite believe it. In fact, I have not processed that I graduate high school in another five months and that a year from now I'll have one semester of college under my belt. I'm writing the words, and they have no meaning.

I have no idea where I'll end up in the fall. 2014 is a huge mystery to me, the part of the map emblazoned with "Here there be dragons." But I shall forge ahead, and keep telling all about it.

-

Friday's post will probably be about the vacation I've just had. Thanks for sticking with me another year.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Good Hunting

Gleaned over the past couple of months.

Art:

The Alchymist, by Joseph Wright of Derby

Writing:
This planet and the people who live on it are diverse and very complicated. We do our writing a disservice every time we forget that.

All novels are in some way about race and sexuality and class and gender, and all the other categories that make up who we are in the world, how able-bodied we are, how neurotypical, our height or weight, whether people we love have died or not. This is true even if we did not intend our book to be about any of those things. It makes our writing much more nuanced and convincing when we’ve thought about those categories and how they shape how we—and by extension our characters—exist in the world.


MIT Admissions Blogs:
I'm guessing that early on you built the cognitive and intellectual tools to rapidly acquire and process new information, but that you've relied on those tools so much you never really developed a good set of tools for what to do when those failed. This is what happened to me, but I didn't figure it out until after I got crushed by my first semester of college. I need to ask you, has anyone ever taken the time to teach you how to study? And separately, have you learned how to study on your own in the absence of a teacher or curriculum? These are the most valuable tools you can acquire because they are the tools you will use to develop more powerful and more insightful tools.
  1. Failure is an option
  2. Work towards a goal, but don't cling to it
  3. Ask for help
  1. ReMOVE the magazine. RePLACE the magazine.
  2. Don't forget to bring your glasses
  3. Don't be distracted by others' gunshots
  4. Every shot counts

Personal Development-like things (including MBTI):

&c:
Bullard as French army corporal

--

Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Imhotep

Written in sophomore year as a portfolio piece.

-

What must you do to be worshipped as a god after your death?

Chancellor. Administrator of the Great Palace. High Priest of Heliopolis. Builder. Doctor. Maker of Vases in Chief. If he didn’t live in the 27th century BC, we would call him a Renaissance man.

Imhotep’s beginnings are obscured by time and deification. Proposed identities of his mother range from Nut, the sky goddess, to Sekhmet, the lion goddess, to a mortal who may or may not be the daughter of the ram god Banebdjedet.

Mortal seems most likely.

Imhotep was born a commoner in a suburb of Memphis, sometime in late spring. Though he lacked noble blood, his father, Kanofer, was a successful architect.

The son, however, would far surpass the father. Imhotep eventually became one of the pharaoh Djoser’s highest councilors; the vizier, in fact, with control over the courts, the treasury, and other departments of the government. He is credited with ending a seven-year famine caused by the insufficient floodwaters from the Nile.

This event likely had little to do with his abilities; climatic issues and luck were more instrumental in ending the famine than Imhotep’s advice to Djoser on how best to please the god of the cataract. But Imhotep’s reputation rested on more than superstition. He was a noted physician, sometimes credited as the founder of medicine. Though it is dubious whether or not he was the author of a medical text with extensive anatomical and curative notes, he was known for plant-based medicines and treatments for a variety of illnesses.

Despite his achievements in the arts of healing, the greatest evidence of Imhotep’s deeds lies in the field of architecture and engineering. To understand the impact of his innovations, it is essential to understand the context in which they were created. Before Imhotep, pharaohs were buried in mastabas – which can be described best as trapezoidal prisms. The name mastaba even means, loosely, “bench of mud”, an apt descriptor of both form and composition.

In designing his pharaoh Djoser’s tomb, Imhotep had loftier visions: he stacked six mastabas on top of one another, creating a stairway to let the pharaoh’s soul ascend to the heavens. The resulting edifice at Saqqara was the first structure of its size (just shy of two hundred feet tall) to be built entirely from stone. It was also Egypt’s first step pyramid and an essential intermediary stage between the uninspired mastabas and the iconic smooth-sided pyramids of the later Old Kingdom.

Imhotep lived to see the pharaoh Djoser interred in the monument he had built. He himself may have died circa 2600 BC, during the reign of the pharaoh Huni. For most people, especially those of common blood, that would be the end of it. After all, as Marcus Aurelius said, “Short is every man’s time on earth…and short too the longest posthumous fame.” But after his death, Imhotep’s fame only spread.

Later dynasties called him the son of Ptah, a creator god, in recognition of his wisdom. Greeks associated him with their healer deity Asclepius. He had a temple at Memphis that also housed a medical school and library of medical knowledge. The cult of Imhotep grew such that scribes poured out a libation to him before beginning their work. Roman emperors Claudius and Tiberius praised him in inscription.

Even after over 4500 years, Imhotep’s name has not been obscured by the relentless march of history; he is more famous even than the pharaohs under whom he served. If you want posterity to view you as a god (and, to be sure, it is a desire not without megalomania), you could do worse than follow the example of Imhotep.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Looking for Terminus

Having just taken my last set of high school finals ever, I am, unsurprisingly, thinking about endings.

I spent the afternoon doing nothing productive: eating food I didn't need to eat, looking at merchandise in stores from which I will not buy, that kind of thing. But I can't bring myself to regret it, and I wonder if I have finally caught senioritis.

My motto is "Fear complacency," and today I was complacent. Yet I wonder--is that really the best way to live, always looking to what you could be doing better? Surely it is, in most cases. But when do you get to take a break?

Last night I just about finished all my remaining college essays (may need to do some final revisions next week--I really hope not). This morning, my dad suggested to me that I should apply to additional schools and that not doing so jeopardizes my chances of getting into a good school and, since those things are inextricably correlated in the parent's mind, having a successful life.

"You want to know that you've always done the best you can," he said, as I sat, irrationally infuriated, at the breakfast table. "What if you end up having to settle for a school that's not the very best you could have gone to?"

The worst part about disagreeing with parents is that they don't listen. The second-worst (see my priorities? You knew you were reading a bratty teenager's blog) is that you know they just want the best for you.

I laid out my reasons for not wanting to apply to more schools: I have a diversified portfolio already, I'm probably going to get accepted into at least one or two of my targets, I will, in fact, have options. Furthermore, I argued that it was a moot point because my school wouldn't be able to turn around the transcript request that quickly.

Also, I mentioned that the best time to bring up additional schools was a month and a half ago (incidentally: how, exactly, does getting deferred to RD from MIT change ANYTHING? This is a good sign, damn it. Am I a failure for not getting in EA? <- rhetorical question, answer = no).

But I held back my real reason because I know it doesn't hold up against the You're Never Good Enough eye of the parental unit. I don't want to apply to another school because I am tired. I am sick of writing essays, sick of forking over fees for the sundry application parts, sick of slaving over the 250 words that, so the reasoning goes, will make or break my future.

This semester has been too damn long. It needs to end.

The problem with the philosophy "always do your very best" is that sometimes doing your best doesn't make sense. I didn't study nearly as much as I could have for finals this year, because it would not have been an efficient use of my time. And applying to another school when I already have enough targets doesn't make sense either.

(This is me trying to justify my emotional reasons for not wanting to do stuff by finding actual reasons. [Because apparently for me emotional reasons != actual reasons...interesting.])

I have to leave in a few minutes, so here is what I think my point is:

-

endeavor.start()

if "worth it" in endeavor_qualities:
    endeavor.do_your_best()
else:
    endeavor.do_what_you_need()

endeavor.end()

--

"And that is my rant for today." --King of Sparta

Will be on vacation next week; posts shall be scheduled.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Game: Villanelle

Finals week has arrived. I can't quite believe that this semester is almost over, especially since I still have a few supplement essays to finish up for Stanford and Carnegie Mellon. At various points this semester I've commented to friends--likewise seniors--that I can't wait for 2014 to get here, so I can finally relax.

I've been working fairly hard recently, and my brain needs a break. Let's play a game.

(I'm making up the rules as I go along. Bear with me.)

-

You will need:


-

My results:

  • color: bright green
  • song: Ich Will - Rammstein
  • word: occupation

-

Okay, now what do we do with these things?

Let's write a villanelle.

-

Say what?

A villanelle: five three-line stanzas + one four-line stanza. "The first line of the first stanza serves as the last line of the second and fourth stanzas, and the third line of the first stanza serves as the last line of the third and fifth stanzas." Fine example: Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night."

Why are we doing this live? Because I've been reading Austin Kleon's blog and his new book, Show Your Work, seems to be all about opening up your process, sharing unfinished things, WIPs, instead of waiting until you have something "perfect" to show for your time.

So. Our turn. Brace yourselves.

-

Forest King

(source)

Sometimes they call me forest king
Crowned with thorns, bedecked with snow
I rather want too many things

The wild birds that lift their wings
Into my arms by storms are blown
Sometimes they call me forest king

The stags their antlers skyward fling
Against my will they southbound go
I rather want too many things

Beneath the earth they are living:
The slumbering beasts whom cold lays low
Sometimes they call me forest king

When bright pale leaves do say it's spring
The town prepares its yearly show
I rather want too many things

So to my heart they children bring
Across my roots their blood does flow
Sometimes they call me forest king
I rather want too many things

-

...I was not expecting that. I also don't think I put in "occupation," but then, the point of prompts is not to build a box to stay inside but rather a board off which to bounce ideas.

Your turn. Share your results if you like; if not, then don't.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Rambles and Plans

Rambling post tonight, mostly about the present and future.

-

At multiple times this autumn, I've thought that I'm not allowed to be happy until all my college apps are in. While I have, thankfully, been able to take some days to breathe, I've also put on hold many things that make me happy. I shall indulge myself next semester with:
  • Sitting in on first period band and playing Disney music
  • Watching films (Sword and Shield, Sherlock Season 3)
  • Drawing character art
  • Rereading children's fantasy series (Harry Potter, Kane Chronicles)
  • Reorganizing my bookshelf to reflect me
  • Buying edibles in the afternoon (hot chocolate at the charmante tea place)

I've just got to get through the rest of the month.

-

Tomorrow is a big day: we have another all-day robotics competition and, furthermore, MIT Early Action decisions get released. I'm nervous, whenever I think about it too much I feel an urge to hide under the nearest table, and I want to punch all the well-meaning people who say "of course you'll get in" on the nose. Honestly. I'll try to keep myself under control, however.

On the bright side, I got into University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign! As a rule I view online college rankings with due suspicion, but UIUC gets consistently recognized as a top engineering school. So there is that.

-

Finals haven't been freaking me out much this year. I posted on my other blog about studying methods.

-

Listening to a lot of melancholy, quiet music lately. It is wintertime.

Take Me Somewhere Nice - Mogwai

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Monstrous Abject

We've been reading Frankenstein in my Lit class this past month. One individual whom I once considered friend has become increasingly ostracized from a certain group this past semester. The two lines converge now.

What is the abject? It is the cast-off, the underbelly, the ugly, the taboo, the rejected. Frankenstein's monster, "Adam," was abject because he was almost but not quite human. He sat on the border of human and corpse, human and animal, human and other, and so he was rejected.

My once-friend is clearly a human, but often he says things that really do not need saying, random facts that distract from the objectives of the group, that he finds interesting but which receive a response of, "I really didn't need/want to know that, dude" from the rest of us. In this way, perhaps, he lies outside of the borders of what we consider a useful member of the group, or outside of the borders of what many consider a pleasant conversant, and so he, too, is rejected.

I'm circumlocuting, probably because there is a slim, slim chance that the once-friend of whom I speak could find this post. You know what--forget that.

Having this guy around brings out the worst in us.

All right, I've said it. Someone who exasperates, who can't focus, who says things that don't matter, who doesn't...fit in. Someone abject. Do you see what is happening? A bunch of easy-going, liberal teenagers suddenly turn clannish and exclusionary, putting down someone for being different.

I never thought I'd be in this position--of someone who is accepted by the group, and participates in trying to get someone else to conform ("stop talking, man," I said at least three times), but now that I'm here I might as well analyze it.

Why do we do this? Why do we want this guy to act contrary to his nature, to compromise for the sake of the group? Because he's not productive as he is now, spouting off random trivia (I use the word trivia in both denotative and connotative ways). But many of us were doing homework, not contributing. Because his non-productivity draws others into it; it's disruptive. Dealing with him diverts attention from the main objective.

Why do we lack patience with him? Because he's been annoying some of the most influential people in the group, the leadership, since junior year. Being rude to him is now reflexive for some of us. Because he tries to provoke a response. Because he says things that make people get defensive or annoyed.

Because...I am thinking about a conversation we had that made me annoyed at him, but which would have left me unruffled if another friend had made the same comments. Because it's hard to take criticism from someone you perceive as being less qualified than you are.

"Less."

(I knew we'd get back here somehow.)

The abject is often viewed as "less than" human. And while this individual is obviously a human, deserving of the full rights as such, many of us don't treat him with the same kind of consideration with which we treat others. Most, if asked, would probably say that he "deserves" his bad treatment for being annoying or because he seems to feel entitled to special treatment/freedom from consequences.

In other words, his personality has made him unpalatable to our society, and therefore the rude treatment is a symptom of our rejection of him.

Look how I am treating him now: as an object, as a focal point of a discussion here, without his knowledge or consent. Maybe he wouldn't want to be discussed. Maybe I am in the wrong, in writing extensively and, for the most part, negatively, about someone I once called friend.

See here, also, this fresh example of the valuation of human beings. He was "once" a friend, and has since been demoted. Does that mean that some people are worth more than others?

Yes. Or at least, we perceive--okay, I perceive, I can't generalize to everyone--I perceive people as being worth different amounts, relative to me. Does that make me just as much of a monster as Victor Frankenstein, who rejected his "wretch" on the strength of his inhumanness? Maybe.

I have been trying to work my way to a satisfactory personal definition of a "monster." Earlier in the post I thought it might be that a monster is an entity that, through its liminality, induces "insiders" to circle the wagons and behave in a reactionary way, that brings out the worst in the people whose identity it threatens.

The root of the word "monster" also led to the verb "mostrare," to show. Perhaps a monster is a being that shows us the worst in us, either by mirroring it (Frankenstein's monster) or drawing it out through the responses it provokes (my once-friend, if he is indeed a monster). Or, like me, using people, carelessly analyzing them in the quest to understand more about my motivations.

I still feel in the wrong. How can we expect someone whom we've excluded, emotionally ostracized, verbally abused, to want to help rather than hinder us? Esteem once lost is hard-regained. No matter what happened--if tomorrow he was suddenly eager to contribute, and uttered not a single irrelevant phrase--we'd still distrust him. We'd probably think it was fake.

What bothers me the most--and this is probably indicative of my immense self-centeredness--is the hypocrisy. We all like the quotes about how outcasts are the ones who change society, how unconventional thinkers end up getting the last wprd. But this guy, who clearly offers a different perspective--well, we call his perspective not valuable and--you know what, I think we bully him.

A monster is a self-replicating device. It is a zombie--a thing on the border of human and inhuman, which touches the human, shows it mortality, and makes it like itself.

If I had time, I'd explore this idea some more: why do I start out with the assumption that group "insiders," of which I find myself perturbingly a part, are "human," or at least "more human" than the guy who has become abject? From whence this arrogance?

The slaying of monsters makes a monster of the slayer. --me

Good night.

--

Bonus for those interested in MBTI:

I am an INTJ, the abjected/objectified guy an INTP. These two articles may offer some psychological context.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Senior Quotes

Turned in my senior quote recently.

For those whose high schools don't do this--the senior quote is a space next to your picture in the yearbook where you can write anything you want, bar references to sex/drugs/violence. It is the last thing most people will see of you--or rather, the most lasting thing.

Lieutenant Sarcasm and I discussed much about what differentiates a good senior quote from a good quote in general. The former is more restrictive: we decided that advice quotes, dramatic deep quotes, quotes about narrow subjects, and critical quotes don't work well as senior quotes. For these reasons, I did not quote Marcus Aurelius (alas).

-

Good senior quotes I've seen:

  • "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." --Winston Churchill
  • "I send this message so that our past will always be remembered. For in those memories, we live on." --Optimus Prime
  • "Quarry the granite rock with razors, or moor the vessel with a thread of silk; then may you hope with such keen and delicate instruments as human knowledge and human reason to contend against those giants, the passion and the pride of man." --John Henry Newman
  • "Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon." --Paul Brandt
  • Beam me up, Scotty, my work here is done.

-

Common senior quotes, and I use the word "common" knowing all its connotations:
  • "Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." --Dr. Seuss
  • "Be the change you want to see in the world." --Gandhi
  • "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." --Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Wall of initials in which one thanks all one's friends/"sisters"/homies
  • "Class of 2k14, we out!"
  • Pithy phrases prefaced by hashtags

As I said, common. The first three quotes are nice, as far as they go, but terribly cliche. The last three are ways to induce my loss of respect, because I'm a petty person who judges people based on how they present themselves verbally.

The wall of initials bothers me perhaps the most because it was something I've considered doing in the past. What better way to show your enduring friendship than with a yearbook shoutout? But now I realize that referring to lots of people in one's senior quote marks dependency. Do you really need all these people to be happy?

Are they so vital to your life--will they be so vital to your life in five, ten, twenty years, that it will be worth it giving them air time in the tiny rectangle that is all yours? I have a stark antipathy toward defining yourself in terms of other people so publicly. I am selfish. That rectangle is the space in which I set forth something representative of my philosophy.

The point of graduating high school is that we're going to be in unfamiliar surroundings, meeting new companions, becoming new people. Growing. Growing apart from, growing out of the familiar. I don't want to go into college encumbered by people I used to know.

(If you're my friend now, know that I don't hate you. I just think that, in the course of things, we probably won't be as close in the future. I still appreciate your friendship in the present.)

I'm probably being unfair. But in a moment when we're supposed to be stepping into a new world, making such a big deal of the past seems immature.

The references to the graduating class are irksome for much the same reason. As I've written before, I can't identify with the mindset that glorifies being seniors. One's class is a grandfalloon: we are brought together by no more than geography and timing, and I value connections of choice more than those of chance. (Destiny/fate is to me a most reprehensible concept. Then again, as is extremely apparent, I'm an angry teenager.)

As for the hashtags--the Python compiler would ignore it. Furthermore, when I was in middle school, up through sophomore year, I got swept up a lot into the newest things. But most slang is transient, and I don't want my quote to become dated. I want to minimize the ways in which I am a product of my times--a futile battle, perhaps. And yet I try. I want a quote that will be relevant in another ten years, a quote that represents me independent of the specific year's context.

A quote that represents who I am, not what I am.

-

After all these judgmental statements, I would be cowardly not to offer up my own quote for evaluation. Here it is:

"We are trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible, because only in that way can we find progress."
- Richard P. Feynman

So who knows how many of these opinions I'll hold next year? I am sure to be a different person--I hope, better.

--

Music for this week:

On the Road - Keane

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tempests and Tricksters

Recently the Oregon Shakespeare Festival held a performance at my school: two actors playing a variety of characters in each of the performances they put on. I was lucky enough to see them for two different periods. The first, they put on a truncated version of Shakespeare's Tempest; the second, which was titled "Tricksters through History" or something like that, was a pastiche of various trickster/conman scenes.

As Shannon Hale discusses in her blog post "Hone your internal reader, not your internal literary critic," when consuming the product of someone else's creative efforts, it's more useful to focus on what you get out of the experience than what the creator "intended" or "failed to do." So here are some thoughts I had around--not necessarily about--the performances:

-

I enjoyed the Tempest performance better, probably because I was more familiar with the source material. What does that tell me? That I'm unlikely to have a great response to something wholly original. To satisfy someone like me there need to be reference points, some kind of lifeline onto which to grab hold.

This tendency to favor the familiar is...well, pretty universal. Inertia, ja? I think this explains partially the immense appeal of works that take a large part of their DNA from fairy tales, myths, etc. Theme and variation: it's interesting to see something known get distorted, stretched. There are more threads connecting the reader to the story already.

Part of the reason I, personally, liked Tempest over Tricksters was that the "a conman gets conned!" plot doesn't work for me. Perhaps I am just simpleminded. Maybe because I dislike people who can't deal as well as they dish (the times I dislike myself most are when I've been hypocritical).

On the other hand, I did enjoy the segments where multiple people were working at cross-purposes. As Ron Weasley says, (I'm paraphrasing) "There can be more than one person plotting something at the same time." The difference between this kind of plot-havoc and the previous is that when a conman gets conned, that's a nested structure, while parallel plots that interfere is more interwoven. You get interesting interference patterns.

Part of the Trickster performance was an excerpt from Oscar Wilde's "Importance of Being Earnest," which I liked for the humor but also for the line "Besides, I am particularly fond of muffins."

-

Some of the actors' comments post-performance were particularly interesting:

"I enjoy playing multiple characters because you get a closer look at the connections. For example, Caliban and Ariel (in the Tempest) have a yin and yang kind of dynamic."

I used to write where essentially every character had a foil (see: the Utopia Project); since then, I've cut back but I still like the parallel structure, the dualism. I don't think I've done anything as clearly-defined as the Caliban-Ariel dichotomy, however, since I favor large ensembles way too much. I wonder what would happen if I deliberately inserted a pair of foils?

"Neither of us can really do the character of Prospero justice, because he is an old man, near the end of his life, and we're too young to understand a lot of what goes into shaping his character."

That's one of my concerns with Orsolya: all the main characters are in their twenties (when they become important, at least) and I'm still in high school. There's a lot that I haven't experienced yet that probably keeps my characters from reading like real people. Which is probably a subconscious reason that my next projects all star young girls, since I've been there. Hell, I am there.

Final comment: the actors mentioned how English colonization of the Americas was just starting up while Shakespeare was writing, and how one could read a subtext of the whites-natives interactions into how Prospero treats Caliban (dehumanizing him, chiefly--which segues perfectly into what we're doing in Lit right now with Frankenstein...hm…), but how Shakespeare probably didn't have that connection directly in mind while writing. Which makes me wonder--in what subtle ways is my work informed by my world?