The Counselor Diaries

Hi everyone! I meant to post this a lot earlier, but i forgot i had this account….

it’s been a long week.

but please check out my final project called the Counselor Diaries

And please forgive my forgetfulness. i have the memory of a goldfish.


A Commentary on a Commentary

I was first drawn to this article by the title. In Tezapsidis article called, “Modernization of Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’” he makes a comment on society by reflecting the style of the original work by Carnegie, and putting a new spin on it. The title caught my eye, since in high school I was told to read the book over the summer and found it, surprisingly, interesting. I’m not a fan of self-help books, but much of the advice seemed useful when trying to find work or when meeting new people in new environments. The spin-off of Tezapsidis writes seems to be more of a commentary on our own society, and how flawed these books can be.

                The advice given by Tezapsidis is usually highly frowned upon and would create a lot of contempt in a work setting. However, this usually occurs more often than thought. This advice is usually seen in offices and is meant to booster reputation in any environment. The ‘helpful hints’ also show how much of these are based on making others feel less important. It is very common in certain environments to see others being put-down at the benefit of others.

            It is sad to think that, in order to feel superior, that people have to make others feel worth less. It can also be seen that trying to be, and act, as this perfect ideal person causes personal problems, as well as problems created by one’s own actions. And although this is never really taught, society dictates how we act and causes these problems.

            I enjoyed the satire of this piece. I believe it really points out many of the flaws of society, and how people continue them because we believe this must be done in order to succeed in the world-economy of today. I’m also a sucker for reading lists, but that’s purely personal.


Outside Literary Review-David Shapiro

When going to the David Shapiro reading, I at first did not know what to expect. The Barnes and Noble space was very small, but had a spectacular view with the clock moving in the background, which made the setting even better. But I am unaware of many elements of poetry, and only go by what others have previously taught me before (high school teachers are also very bias and critical when teaching poetry). But, as soon as Mr. Shapiro started, I felt more connected with his work and started to understand more and more the stories he tried to tell through words.

            A funny man who grew up in New Jersey, Mr. David Shapiro is a poet and writer. Although his poems are more of a serious nature, for the most part, in between readings he would crack a joke or make small talk with a familiar old-school accent that comes with being raised in a Jewish family. When speaking of his poems, any humor he had in his voice left. He was very serious about his work, for the most part, and so read seriously.

            Not knowing much about him or his work, I listened to some other students speak fondly of his work. One student brought up how he loved to use snow in his work. When Mr. Shapiro read, some of his poems spoke true of this statement. I found he had a fondness for nature, like many other poets. The elements of nature can symbolize so much in a piece of work, especially the more somber pieces Shapiro wrote, and read.

            An example of this can be seen in his poem, “About This Course.” In this work, Shapiro uses the imagery of water and goldfish and plays on the colors to make his point. When the poem reads, “And if we, in a sense, sink in the water/the goldfish, I am sure, will retain/Their silver dignity,” it can be believed that Shapiro uses the element of nature, the fish, to represent the people and how nothing can change inner selves. I find that the water can also be society, or, in some instances, just water, for sometimes the simplest things make the work more meaningful.

            Another example of Shapiro’s love for using natural elements in his pieces can be seen in his poem “The Night Sky,” where it seems to me that Shapiro is personifying the sky into a woman. In this poem, Shapiro speaks to the sky about how “Your body is no bigger than the earth/Dreaming outside the sudden switch of the sun/…” making these elements seem more and more human, and able to relate to. Shapiro seems to have infinity of turning natural events into something more beautiful, and more symbolic. The way Shapiro goes on about describing the night sky as this woman, makes me feel like the sky does actually have these feelings and desires.

            Although the reading seemed a bit informal, I did really enjoy it. Being able to listen to a poet is very different from reading his/her work. The pauses and stresses change as soon as the poet presents their own work. When reading, the emphasis changes to what the reader want sot focus on. Or, to an untrained eye, it may seem like a bunch of sentences with very odd punctuation and a lot of repetition. That idea changes as soon as the poet begins to speak his own work. The way one thinks and speaks can be very different from others, so haring from the actual poet can change the meaning drastically.

            Shapiro takes longer pauses in his work, then when I read. I realized that by looking over his poems, and then trying to remember how he read. It’s a lot more difficult than one would expect, for his tone dramatically can change a work. The pauses help emphasize certain points other than others. He told the audience that he use to play violin, which shows up very often in his works, either through music analogies or symbolism, but I also feel it helps in speaking. The rhythm of how Shapiro speaks can be compared to the rhythm of music. In a more general sense, poetry can be seen as a type of music of its own for it has its own rhythm it must follow, or will not make sense to the reader.

            Editing was also mentioned as Mr. Shapiro spoke. He would sometimes pause in a reading in his work, and explain or detail some edits he made. Being so bad at editing or adding myself, I found it so interesting to hear another’s process. A friend of my mine even asked Mr. Shapiro how to edit, and he explained how sometimes too much editing can also be a bad thing. One must be able to pause, step away, and then come back and think about the edits. It’s not an easy process, and takes a while to learn how to edit without ruining a piece.

            By the end, Shapiro spoke about his children and family often. I really liked how Shapiro spoke about his own experiences, and especially of his recent family. He explained that some of his poems were written by his younger son. I thought this was very cute, and was intrigued. I have heard kids say many, many, ‘interesting’ things, so hearing Shapiro say he made a poem, I was very curious. I wanted to re-read one of the poems, but could not find it on the web, but still remembered the tone and somberness for his son, who said some very strange, childish, things. I believe this really shows how even a few lines can be turned into something beautiful.

            Overall, I liked Shapiro’s work, and how Shapiro writes. It’s very raw, and filled with symbolism and analogies. Though, I am no expert on poetry, I can see how well Mr. Shapiro writes, and I enjoy it immensely. Image


Red Riding Hood-Assigment 3

            When looking at “Red Riding Hood” by Donna Leishman, I was quite shocked. She had taken a classic fairytale, and reinvented the story for a more modern, sinister, tale. Her tale shows how not everything is as it seems, and how different perspectives can really shape a story. In this story, displayed through (now a little outdated) animation and text, red is in a very urban area, and the ‘wolf’ was already on her mind before meeting him in the woods. There are many different options the reader can click, pursing different of this girls thoughts. All together, they make one story, with many different points. One story, without going into all the background, shows a little girl going to her grandmother’s, getting stopped by a wolf, and then getting in some sort of trouble with some killer in the end. When trying to view the story again, there are many more subplots going on, further explaining the first plot the reader is drawn into to.

            In all honesty, it has taken me a few times to actual grasp what is going on. I have played, and replayed, this very surreal story. Personally, I am still trying to figure out if this was an older Red’s dream, memories, or something else altogether. The ‘wolf,’ portrayed as a young boy at first, seems very sinister. The deeper one gets into the story, the more the ‘wolf’ seems to be, from being a being a killer to something more to Red, maybe even some form of a Lover; since she does seem pregnant with, what looks like, the wolf-boy. Before that scene however, Red somehow falls unconscious (I would say just feel asleep, but it seemed like a very unnatural sleep) in a field of flowers and the reader is allowed to go through her dreams.

            In one of the dream scenarios, a battered angel runs in front of, what believes to be, a younger, nude, Red. She sees this angel, and as it runs away, faith is restored in her that there must be a god. This can leave the reader wandering what has happened to Red, for later on, in another dream scenario, she goes to a ‘meat market’ which seems to be a very seedy area, and once again the wolf is seen, along with some other strange oddities ( like a dancing, cooked, chicken and small sheep).  The music in each scene also tells the reader a lot about the atmosphere, and the story. It is very slow, and creepy. Each time I heard a note, I felt tense. It helps bring an uneasy feeling throughout the piece.

            Even though I’m still confused, I still have the desire to re-play “Red Riding Hood.” I want to try and go through each and every dream scenario, and try to find out what happened to Red, and who the wolf really is to her. This piece leaves the reader to speculate, one, was Red ever actually in these situations, two, why is the wolf so important, and three, what happens after the animations stops? Does Red ever get out of this dangerous environment, or do these things keep happening to her.

            Image To see the work yourself, please click the link

Family Pictures


           Whoever decided it was a good idea to take a picture of this, did not realize how Jimmy felt about cameras, or how Grandma still thought cameras stole people’s souls.

            Aunt Maria was telling Margret how she had the best gossip. Aunt Maria was always in the know. Her hair was so big because, as the kids thought, it was a secret satellite to listen into everything. And Margaret, poor Margaret, just wanted to fit in. She would do anything for her cousin. This included flirting with Mike, the football player, just to find out if Aunt Maria could date him.

             What was really funny was Great Aunt Josephine, trying to listen into the gossip. The children always found her funny, and the adults tried to humor her. As she got older, she became more and more eccentric. Right before the picture was being prepared for; she was telling Aunt Maria she should go to some exotic place to find a man. That’s where she found love, but was unfortunately cut short by some mafia interactions.

            Little Timmy was all the way in the back, sitting next to his brother and grandfather. He did not like his seat, for grandfather smelled old, and of syrup. He tried to his mom to let him sick next to his father. Then he could hear him talk to Uncle George, and all his escapades. Timmy wasn’t sure what a “bimbo” or “Tijuana” was, but the stories sounded really fun. But every time he got close, his mother would grab his ear and pull him away. She was never any fun.

            And nor was she at the moment. She was stuck in the corner, away from Aunt Maria and Margaret, whom she loved to speak with, rather than grandma. Grandma was an old fashioned soul. Not only did she believe in cameras stealing souls, but she still believed that the Devil was still chasing after souls, and Jesus was going to return soon. Every other day there was some sort of Apocalypse. Mother tried to console the elder, but grandma wasn’t having any of it.

            Mother felt bad for poor, old, grandfather, having to put up with her. Grandfather was a modern man, waiting for opportunity to knock on his door. Though he also had his moments. Nobody spoke politics with him anymore. He was convinced anyone against him was probably a communist spy. The family now felt bad for Edward, since Grandfather loudly called him a “Commie lover” and sent him away from the table. He came back a little later, quietly sitting at the other side of the table, away from crazy grandfather.

            But Thomas was ignoring all those crazy cats. He was a boy of his times, and was really wishing Becky wasn’t his cousin. He wondered why he could never get a cool kitten like her at school. He saw himself as an ideal boyfriend. He was on the football team (he never told anyone he was mostly the water boy), and he was smart (he never told anyone he cheated off Eugene). He was perfect in every way, didn’t people see his hair? He was totally hip.

            Becky was wishing, at the same time, that she had a better seat, maybe near Aunt Maria or grandma. She was not interested in Thomas’s lying. She had enough of that from her Ex, Eugene.

            “Everyone, please smile,” Uncle Bert begged, “Mom, please stop saying the camera is devil’s work!”

            Uncle Bert just wanted a nice Thanksgiving for once. What was wrong with a nice family meal?

            Apparently, everything.

            He finally just took the photo. Sure Aunt Maria was still talking to Margaret, Timmy, Thomas, and Becky weren’t looking at the camera, and Mother wasn’t in the shot-and God forbid if his own mother looked up!  But it was done. The photo had a few smiles from strange Jimmy and Great Aunt Josephine, and the table was gorgeous. And the turkey! It looked huge in his mother’s hands.

            So, he guessed, it wasn’t too bad a photo. Better than the photo of Becky heading into the principal’s office, or Timmy sitting Santa’s lap. That had been a very long day.