Thursday, October 6, 2011

Simplicity

I am not a good writer in Spanish. Honestly, I'm not. Prose is flat, words are forgotten, and translating tittles that sounded good in my head (Gold Chains and Lighting doesn't sound as good in Spanish as you'd hope) kind of kills any credibility I might have as a talented Spanish speaking writer. Honestly, I thought knowing more than one language would be good. I could be a total badass and translate my own stories for my mom and stuff. Alas, that's rather complicated as my vocabulary in English is much broader than my Spanish one (at least, the vocabulary I actually remember quickly in regards to that language.) So...yeah, let's hope I also become slightly good at that?

Because we're reading Lazarillo de Tormes in AP Spanish, my teacher wanted us to write stories regarding poor people on the streets and how they've...lived...or something (Note: Andddd I knew AP Spanish would have something to peek my somewhat secluded interests--Lazarillo de Tormes was a banned book in Spain due to its criticism to the church (no surprise there), but turns out there was an entire list of publications that were banned by the Catholic Church during that time. I shall find it!).

The subject was very broad (we had some guidelines: it needed to be more than one paragraph, first person, etc, but those were just technical) and we had around twenty minutes to write a rough draft on Tuesday. Because I spend about fifteen minutes trying to remember the right words (and I kissed goodbye the idea of putting accent marks in such a short time--eff that >___>) I decided to write a quick story, whatever came to mind. Now that it's done and corrected, I had to type it up, print it, and draw in a picture at the front. Which would be fine, except I have to add some random fancy stupid font thing DX. UGH! Whyyyy? It's going to be so difficult to read! Why not something more simple?

And in that ALL CAPS RAGE I remember something that happened this morning.

My teacher gave the stories back to us--and believe me, mine was bleeding DX. Accent marks everywhere, lines traced with a question mark at the end, words circled because they just made no sense or I fail at spelling--but surprisingly, she liked it O_o' She called me out in class when she said the stories were very well written. That or she was telling me to put my laptop away. I couldn't tell, except when she came forward to our table and told me my story was very interesting/good/something, I just needed to be careful with grammar (and that eventually, I'd get better at that). I thanked her and she walked away, so this girl at my table asked, "What was your story about?" So I answered with, "A girl who gets murdered in a church."

And...erm...it kinda is.

They gave me a lolwut? face but...really, that's all I needed to say.

Okay, so, technically speaking, it's not the entire point. I didn't write Unnamed Girl stands in a cathedral and gets stabbed and the end, now cry. It did have a narration and a bit of a lead up, but not to the extent my classmates had gone to. I realized a few people were in the process of writing full length novels--explaining all that had happened to the characters, all the terrible things that had occurred to them, etc, while mine was...vague. I'm not saying that makes mine better, I'm sure there's an undiscovered great author somewhere in that class, but it did make me think of something that my dad wrote yesterday on this video depicting one of Steve Job's speech to some graduating Stanford students. I'm not gonna paraphrase, I'm just going to spend the next couple of minutes finding his comment (he had to write it in English despite Spanish being his fluent language, but  his point was made):

I'm a PC man all my life.... But in the Face of Greatness i should bow. I bow in front of you Steve Jobs. You change the world, you show us the way to be powerful torrent of coherent ideas, You show us that simple and elegant is better than brutal complexity. Be at peace you deserve it.

(Side note: Whenever someone famous dies, my dad just bursts into a room and exclaims it in Spanish. When Micheal Jackson died, he exclaimed it by running into the living room and turning on the TV. When Osama Bin Laden died--and I found out because I woke up early to freak out about my AP Psych test--he burst into mine and my brother's bedroom saying "They're saying Bin Laden is dead!" and turned on the radio. And yesterday, I was studying for Chem on the living room/dinner table and he ran out from his bedroom going, "Steve Jobs is dead!" and turned on the computer. What the cheese.../ side note ends.)

Basically, my family owns a record breaking zero Apple products, but I respect Steve Jobs to a certain extent (and I love, love, love Pixar--more than Disney at that, but don't tell anyone, non-existent reader, or I'll get stabbed) and was quite saddened by his death. He understood design, in my opinion, above all else. Sometimes so much can be said in so little. And in thinking of simplicity, I tried to manage that with my story (I doubt I managed too well, but hey, I'm learning). There's no back story, no true reason for what's happened, no lengthy details of all the cruelty my heroine (it was Dream, in case anyone wants to know, but I didn't give her a name here) has faced. It was her, standing at the empty cathedral she had hidden inside for many years reflecting on all the people she had hurt and all the errors that she had committed in the attempt to remain alive (no true details, just few hints about possibly having murdered one child for food and that it hadn't been her first time doing so). As a child of the streets, what was important was survival, but after so much fighting and fear, she couldn't keep fighting anymore. So after having hurt one last person, she waits in the cathedral for a woman she had harmed (indirectly/directly, not stated). The woman of red hair and grey eyes murders her without ever even looking at her directly, but the heroine decides that she cannot fight anymore, and she will allow herself to die at the hands of this woman as if to finally rest from such a terrifying life.

I'm hoping the simplicity of it worked, and if not, I'm hoping I at least got the general idea.

See, there are people in this world who are total badasses at being Jack of All Trades. There are people who are talented in many things--or at least incredibly useful and beautiful things like mathematics, the sciences, etc. Then there are people like me, who kind of, vaguely, not really have a talent of sorts. I'm not a good enough writer yet, but if I can't force some talent to sprout from the blue, I'll at least do my best to learn from the masters.

And so I don't forget: rest in peace, Steve Jobs.
~Becky

2 comments:

  1. Psh, who gives a damn if you can't WRITE in Spanish? Speak it. Just as long as you can write well, and you can, obviously. You've known that for a long time, gurl.

    Poor Steve. Rest in pieces. I love Pixar too, and Apple. Nonetheless, it's sad when people die. Cancer, right? Or am I misremembering? Loosing cancer battles is rough. Should know, our family's lost three.

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  2. Yeah, cancer. But he lived for a while after being diagnosed, so I hope his family's okay.

    And thanks xD

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"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.