Reader’s / Writer’s Notebook Essay

Reader’s / Writer’s Notebook

            Notebook Entry # 1 Text: Chrysanthemum  (associating the text with a name)

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            “Last night I dreamed that my name was Chrysanthemum.”

No, that was not because I love flowers. In any case, chrysanthemum is not the kind of a plant I would like to have in my garden.

“Last night I dreamed that my name was Chrysanthemum.” No, that was not because I dreamed of having a unique name; although, I would not think that Chrysanthemum is much more different from Jane, Alice, or Paris.

“Last night I dreamed that my name was Chrysanthemum” because I was thinking of the things that make us different from others – the things that make us look different against others. We want to be like Alice, John, Edward, or Mrs. Felon – our teacher. We don’t like everything that makes us different. So, when a person is named after a flower, does it make things different? Does it change us? Does it make a person better or worse than others?

“The name is long”.

“It hardly fits you.”

“It is too long to be good for you.”

“Last night I dreamed that my name was Chrysanthemum”, because I am a personality, and I don’t mind being named after a flower.

            Notebook Entry #2 Text: George Shrinks (what if?)

            One day, when I was alone,

I opened the window and listened to the sound of the night. I listen to

the threatening (or peaceful – who knows?) silence that embraced my body.

Stars seemed to be playing with me; they changed as the night moved closer to morning. I tried to move, but the night was whispering: “I am here – don’t leave”. Somewhere in the darkness, I saw my reflection.

I cleaned the room and finished my homework.

I was sleeping, when my parents came back. I love my parents.

            Notebook Entry # 3 Text: Something from nothing (varied text structures)

            Is there always enough material to make… something out of nothing?” And what does it take to make… something of nothing? How do we know that there is just enough material to make… a dream?

I enter the small bakery at the corner of the street, and feel the mind-bending aroma of fresh cookies and rolls. I think: what does it take to make… something of nothing? Something that will be remembered? Something that will be liked by others?

I order a cup of hot tea. The two waitresses around my table remind me of the two bees busy with making something… out of nothing. I feel the hot taste of the light brown transparent liquid that smells like India. I open my notebook and write. I make… something out of nothing; something that is valued by me; something that may be valued by others; something that carries my feelings and sorrows; something… out of nothing.

            Notebook Entry # 4

            People do not understand why I adore fast foods. Children like fast food because it tastes good. Adults like fast food because it is fast. Many people like fast food simply because others don’t like it. That is just the way we are – we do not like to be healthy.

That people consider me bad because of fast foods tells the three things:

(1) people are too attentive to what others do, instead of being attentive to themselves; (2) they envy my sincere joy each time I enter a fast food restaurant;

(3) they are bad, too, because the majority of those who judge my fast food actions visit a fast food restaurant at least once a week.

They do not even understand that deep inside, I hate fast food, but it appears a convenient and cost-effective means to explore what other people think of me…

            Notebook Entry # 5 Text: Fortunately (repeated structures)

            Fortunately, that was the day when my sister came to visit me.

Fortunately, that was the day when my sister was 22 and she wanted me to spend that day with her.

Fortunately, we went to a restaurant. That was the day when I dreamt that we were of the same age and could leave to another town to have fun.

Fortunately, that was the day when I first talked to a waiter as if I owned a million. That was the day when we first drank wine together.

Fortunately, that was the day when I did not go to school.

Unfortunately, that was the day when we did not go shopping.

Fortunately, that was the day when my mom did not ask me about my homework. That was the day when I could finally do what I wanted.

Unfortunately, that was the day when I dreamt I had a sister to go to a restaurant with; that was the day when I dreamt I could stay at home without the need to do my homework.

Fortunately, that was the day…

            Notebook Entry # 6 Text: The Relatives Came (ending which indicates things will start over)

            Is it true that when they come to visit us and then leave, they dream of coming back next summer? Do we miss those whom we love, or whom we don’t love but consider to be a part of our families? They visit us. They help us. They wander around the garden and fix the things. They eat and sleep with us; they drive us to the town and tell funny stories. The problem is that we take them for granted. We do not think of them too much, we do not value them too much. They are a must, and nothing in the world can change that.

But when the time comes we do feel an unbearable pain for being unable to love them… love them before… before… before what? Before we realize that we love and value them? We miss them, and when they return home they are already dreaming of the next summer.

            Notebook Entry # 7 Text: My Mama Had a Dancing Heart (using similar phrases for the beginning and the ending of the text)

            I sing. My body moves. My feet are curiously light. An unbearable lightness of singing. I see myself in the mirror – and as I move away my reflection disappears and I get a curious sense of loneliness and isolation. I see the snow. It falls, and I think that the winter will never come to an end, and if we always have a winter, and if it is always cold, we will have nothing to wait for. That is why I sing. The time runs faster and I know spring will come soon to make the flowers bloom. I feel the spirit of frost that colors my window panes. I see the people moving across the street. They seem to be dancing. They seem to hear my song. Like me, they also look for spring which is to come soon. I know they need me. I know they need spring. I know they need music to survive winter. And I sing.

            Notebook Entry # 8

            I always wondered what it is like to be a child. Of course, all of us have once been children, but we were true children then, and what would it like to be a child with an adult heart, and most important, an adult mind? Would all our child dreams and childish actions change? I think that adults cannot be children again. They will never be true children. They will spoil their childhood dreams with their adult problems. They will search material things instead of being innocent. They will not understand what it means to be a child. They will never be able to use their second chance. That is why nature does not give us this chance. That is why the time is cruel to us. We quickly forget how it felt to be a child. Very often, we do not our children to be true. We deny childhood. We do not believe in children. We do not believe that childhood has the right to exist. We are adults.

            Notebook Entry # 9 Text: Stellaluna (ending with a lesson learnt)

            In joys or in sorrows, friends do not choose each other;

nor do children choose their parents.

Each time we meet someone new, we decide whether this person has the right to be our friend.

            Somewhere, deep in our hearts we do believe that friendship is real. We meet new people and want them to become our true friends. We lounge for friendship and hate loneliness. Deeper and deeper we fall until we understand that we cannot have friends.

            “You cannot be my friend. You are too different to deserve my friendship. You have to find someone else to be your friend.” How embarrassing! “I will not tell anyone I want a friend, and then no one will know I want one”.

            Suddenly you meet someone and make a friend. You are different but you are good together. You share everything. You go to the movies. You talk to each other. You laugh.

            You are too different to be friends. But you are friends. And that’s the fact.       Notebook entry # 10

            “They fought like demons” – thinks she and turns the page. They fought like demons but never achieved their purpose – I think but show no sign of disagreement. I can read my mother’s thoughts. I saw sadness in her eyes. Women cannot fight like demons. Both my mother and I know that. Women cannot fight like demons because they are not demons and they cannot fight. They can smile. They can cry. They can scream. They can act, but they cannot fight because they are too tired to fight. They are also too tired to be demons. And as I read another chapter, I become more and more confident that I am correct in my beliefs about women. But my mom will never know that I do not agree with what is now running through her curious mind…

            Notebook Entry # 11

            Happiness. Bright and stunning. Warm and so familiar. Frightening but nevertheless… alive. Happiness. It strikes. It cures. It smiles. That means that it is…alive. Happiness. Unlimited. Amazing. Overwhelming. Alive. Alive and amazing. Amazing and alive. Alive means amazing. Happiness means… alive.

            Happiness. It strikes. We wait for it. But it never comes in time. It is always unexpected. It lives with us. Often, we do not understand that happiness is next to us. Our parents. Our friends. Our relatives. They all make us happy. They bring joys. They are warm and so familiar. They cure. They smile. They are alive. Amazing and overwhelming. Bright and loud. Noisy. They come and go, but never leave. They live.

            We do not deserve to be happy. But we do not have a choice. We have to. We must be happy to be alive. We must live to be happy. We must be amazing, familiar and warm. Because our happiness also deserves to be happy.

            Notebook Entry # 12 (surprise ending)

            I remember being a butterfly – the feeling of lightness that cannot be compared to any other feeling ever experienced in life. I remember the feeling of euphoria that usually accompanies an astonishing feeling of having wings, of being able to fly, of being to see the world from above, and of being able to review familiar things from a different perspective. I never thought trees could be so small. I never thought that we people, are nothing compared to the magnificence of the earth on which we live. I could not believe that people do not have even half abilities and skills other animals and insects have. Yes, we do have airplanes. We do have submarines. We can dive and we can fly. But what are we without these devices? What shall we do, if all cars and airplanes in this world suddenly disappear? Evidently, we will again turn into a kind of premature beings. That is the thing: arrogance is not the best friend of evolution.

            Notebook Entry # 13 Text: All the places to love (connections with places)

            There is no other place better than a green meadow filled with all possible colors of flowers and the spirit of freshness in it. There is no other place better than a forest with numerous trees and the sunshine that comes across millions of microscopic cobwebs, creating a kind of a unique and an abstract picture. There is no other place better than a mountain that stretches far behind the clouds, creating a unique atmosphere of greatness. There is no other place better than… being myself, for no matter where I find myself tomorrow, I should feel harmony with clouds, mountains, rains, or flowers; for where else, if not inside me, does the feeling of harmony change the order of things in the whole world?

            Notebook Entry # 14 (repetitive structures)

            My mother always believed people could not hate each other. She was confident that people were initially created as a special kind of amiable creatures, who were born to bring happiness to everyone around. Each time she was offended or insulted by a person, she seemed to challenge her own beliefs but nevertheless, she never betrayed them.

            My mother always believed people could not kill each other. She was confident that killing people was absolutely unnatural. Each time she was watching the news she seemed to challenge her own beliefs but nevertheless, she never betrayed them.

            My mother always believed people had to help each other. She was confident that people were created to support each other in good and bad times, and that leaving people without help was as unnatural as killing them. When her sister refused to give her a shelter after a tragic accident she seemed to challenge her own beliefs, but nevertheless she never betrayed them. She simply thought that her sister was a tragic acceptance to a universal rule of unlimited human goodness.

            Notebook Entry # 15 Text: Diary of a worm

            I have to run. Each time I feel I am being late, I have to run. Is it that our legs really make us cool? I do not think so. We run to catch a taxi. We run to catch the last bus to the center. We run not to wait in front of the elevator. We never run, if we know we have plenty of time to do everything we have to do. Are there really any things that make us better than others? We can think. But there is no proof for the fact that others cannot think, too. We can walk, but plenty of other people can walk, too. Besides, those who cannot can also be cool, so having legs or head does not change anything, but what does? What really changes everything is the way we think of ourselves. If we think that our legs or our heads do make us cool, let it be that.

            Notebook Entry # 16 Text: Chester’s Way (ending which indicates things will start over)

            One day Alice woke up earlier than usual. A weird sensation was punching in her chest. She was waiting. She could not believe something could happen. Years and days have passed since she had gone out for the last time. She never walked. She never talked. She had her lunch ordered by phone. She had her clothes washed by the servant. She did not have friends. She did not have relatives. She did not have dreams. She thought she was a normal girl (who says, she wasn’t?). Suddenly a phone rang. She picked up the receiver. A strange voice was speaking to her. She could understand a word. She tried to talk back to the unknown man, but she did not know the language. She sang. The voice was no longer speaking. Someone at the other side of the line was breathing. Alice sang. Suddenly she heard a beeping sound. She put down the receiver. The weird sensation in her chest became almost unbearable. Next morning she woke up. The sensation in her chest was no longer weird. It was pleasant. Suddenly the phone rang. She was waiting for it. She picked up the receiver…

            Notebook Entry # 17

             We do not need to be greedy. What we need is to be open toward each other and to think better of who we are. We must be more attentive to what other people have to say. We should be prepared to share without sacrificing something really sacred. However, in case of need, “something sacred” may also need to be shared with others. People should value communication. To value communication, people should be prepared to sharing information. We always have something to share. We always have something to value. We do not need to be greedy. We should not be greedy. We must believe in people. We must trust people. We need to believe in higher things. If we want to believe in higher things, we do not need to be greedy. We do not need to be greedy, because we need communication and sharing. To communicate and share, we must not be greedy.

            Notebook Entry # 18 (ending with a promise for a future)

            The day we are born, we come to realize the unlimited opportunities we have to accomplish things we like. We can be anything we choose to be, and the world seems to favor our strivings as we slowly move ahead. We can be actors; we can be doctors; we can be lawyers or even Hollywood stars. The world is open to anything we choose to be, but most of all we need to be honest with ourselves. Do we want to be lawyers because we want to promote justice, or do we want to be lawyers because lawyers can earn good money? Do we want to be actors because we enjoy pretending and entertaining people, or because being an actor means to be popular? For anything we want to become, there is always a simple question “why?” For anything we want to be we should have pure intentions. For anything we want to be we can find pure intentions. Everything we want to be we can turn in ways that will make them pure. And positive. And anything we want it to be.

            Notebook Entry # 19 Text: My Mama had a Dancing Heart (endings where words from the opening line appear again)

            She was sitting in the classroom. A young lady with flawless look, the tint of curiosity in her sight, and with wonderfully and so naturally curled hair. She was the best pupil in her class, and as she was striving to be perfect in her studies, her looks had to be perfect, too. That day however, was different from everything she had ever experienced at school. That day, she seemed to be isolated from everything that was taking place in class. She was the best pupil in her class, and she could afford doing something that other children could not do. She could think. A young lady with a thoughtful smile. No one knew what was running through her head – formulas, punctuation rules, math problems… Did she ever think of anything else beyond her studies? There, five steps ahead she was watching her dream. She was afraid he would know. He was arrogant, ignorant, and naughty. She loved it. She hated everything perfect. She was sitting in the classroom. She was the best.

            Notebook Entry # 20 (repetitive structures)

            Fight. Whenever you feel pain, fight. Whenever you feel that you need protection, fight. Fight, when you feel you can justify your actions. Fight when you have emotions. Fight when you have force. Fight when you believe you need it. Fight.

            Love. Whenever you feel pain, love. Whenever you feel that you need protection, love. Love, even when you cannot justify your actions. Love when you have emotions. Love when you have strength. Love when you believe you need it. Love.

            Believe. Whenever you feel pain, believe. Whenever you feel that you need protection, believe. Believe, because you do not need to justify your actions. Believe, when you have emotions. Believe, when you have power. Believe, when you need it. Believe.

            Live. Live, whenever you have to fight. Live, whenever you fall in love. Live, each time you decide to believe. To make sure you can fight. To make sure you can believe. All this is nothing, if you don’t live. Live.

            Notebook Entry #21 (surprise ending)

            Life has once given me a chance to make my dreams come true. I always dreamt of traveling, but my parents could not afford it. So, all I could do was buying magazines, videos, and watching the Travel channel. I imagined myself climbing the Himalayans. I imagined myself walking the streets of Madrid. I was dreaming to see South America and Iceland. I always sought the most exotic places on earth. I believed that traveling could change people, making them open to others, to nature, to new knowledge and to invaluable information about other people and places. I was confident that traveling would make me feel better. I wanted new feelings and sensations. I wanted changes. I was intentionally seeking changes. I knew traveling would change everything in my life. When life has finally given me a chance, I refused to take it.  I no longer believed in changes. I wanted stability. Everything I needed was my imagination – without any boundaries in space and time. I still dream of traveling.

            Notebook Entry # 22 (beginning with a dialogue; surprise ending)

            “Hi! I have recognized you!” – a young man was standing in front of me. A man whom I had never seen before. A man, who looked weird in his warm coat (in the middle of June) and a hat. “I know you” – he repeated. I passed him with a strange tingling sensation in my feet, as if I feared he would run after me. He seemed decisive and evidently had some sacred truth to tell. By the end of the day I almost forgot about my morning encounter, but his unchangeable figure next to my door has again reminded me of my fears. “Hi! I have recognized you!” – now he resembled a robotic machine, with intonations learnt and movements fixed. “I know you” – he repeated. I felt my feet running past him into the nearest supermarket. I felt a slight relief, being lost among dozens of customers and wandering across the lines of toothpastes, fruits, meat products, and books. I did not want to go out. I was scared. Did he really know me? What did he want me to do? What will I do when I finally have to return home? In a couple of hours, I have finally dared to look out. The street was empty. Why is it that we are so afraid of people?

            Notebook Entry # 23 (beginning with a description of a character)

            He never woke up at night. He never had insomnia. He never had any health problems. He could honestly say he was a happy person. His children were nice and polite with others. His wife was an example of a perfect companion and a true family friend. He had an excellent job and a promising position. That night he felt something was wrong. He was not in pain. His wife was next to him. His children were sleeping. The night was peaceful and silent. He thought. Something impossible was on his mind. He could not believe it. Changes. He wanted changes. He no longer wanted his job. He no longer wanted that house. He was not inspired by his career; nor was he willing to be a perfect husband. He wanted something really bad, and that badness scared him from the depth of his perverted mind. He went to the kitchen. One glass of cold water – and he was back to his bedroom. Next morning he woke up. No health problems. Perfect children and wife. A promising job. A happy man.

            Notebook Entry # 24 Text: The Charlotte’s web (beginning with a question)

            “Do you mind if I tell you a story?”

            “A story about my family – I want to tell you a story about how my family and I usually spend summer holidays.”

            “I want you to imagine that we walk across a long sandy beach, with no one around.”

            “I want you to feel the heat of the sand.”

            “I want you to feel the cool breeze.”

            “I want you to run as if you feel you can be late.”

            “Now feel how the wind blows into your face. This is cool.”

            “Now open your eyes.”

            There is nothing in this world better than human imagination.

            Notebook Entry # 25 Text: Stellaluna (ending with a lesson learnt)

            One day you will have your own house, full of furniture and toys. You will be able to play with them all day long, and no one will be able to stop you. You will wake up in the morning to make a cup of coffee. You will look into the window to watch the sun rising in the east. You will walk in the garden, dreaming of a wonderful prince. One day you will meet him. He will come to your house, full of furniture and toys. He will watch you making coffee. You will walk together in your garden, thinking of something pleasant and longing for a kiss. He will play with your toys. Suddenly, you will want him to leave. You don’t want anyone to play with your toys. You don’t like anyone watching how you make coffee. You don’t want anyone to accompany you while you are in the garden. You will want quietness. He will leave. You will stay in your house, full of furniture and toys. You will watch the sunset. You will clean the kitchen. You will be alone. All by yourself. What can be better?

            Notebook Entry # 26 Text: Diary of a Worm (diary format)

            September, 1st. That was my birthday. I woke up and waited for presents and congratulations. When my mother entered my room, I pretended that I was still sleeping. I heard my parents whispering. I tried not to smile. Then I opened my eyes and saw a big box. The box was heavy, and there was some strange noise within.

            September, 2nd. My mother said I had to open the box. I was afraid to look inside. The box was heavy, and there was some strange noise within. I listened to the noise. It was different from everything I had ever heard in my life. I tried not to smile.

            September, 3rd. My father was trying to persuade me that I had to open the box. I was still afraid of the sound that was coming from the box. The box seemed to move. I thought it could walk.

            September, 10th. My friends came to visit me. The box was in the middle of my room. It was no longer noisy. My friends opened the box. They screamed. A small robotic dog was looking at me. The battery was low. I still keep it in my wardrobe. Sometimes I hear the noise. It reminds me of my childhood and… the dreams that never came true.

            Notebook Entry # 27 (ending with a wish for the future)

            She loved everything. Her school. Her clothes. Her family.

            She sought happiness in everything. In her lessons. Her textbooks. Her dreams.

            She loved drawing. She loved skiing. She loved watching.

            She loved to watch other people moving. She loved to talk.

            Once she did not come to school in time. She was late. That was not usual of her.

            Her mother said she was in the hospital. A tragic accident. She was heavily injured.

            She would not be able to draw. She would not be able to smile. The only thing she would be able to do was to watch.

            She loved it. She loved watching people, emotions, smiles, moves.

            She would spend a lifetime watching how other people loved life. She loved it.

The next day would certainly be better than the previous one.

            Notebook Entry # 28 Text: Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse (getting into a trouble)

            Angelo was running. He was afraid he would be late. He was longing to show his new car to everyone in his class. He believed it would be an astonishing move. He came in. The lesson had just begun. Mrs. Felon was explaining a new topic. She was angry at Angelo. She did not like children to be late. Sometimes Angelo thought she did not like children at all. He took a sit. He could not think about anything but his new car. He felt its body in his pocket. He was excited. He knew everyone would love it. He knew everyone would love him with his new car. He raised his hand. Mrs. Felon did not notice it. She was too busy speaking to the rest of his class. He stood up. “Listen everyone! I have something to say!” Mrs. Felon looked increasingly irritated. She did not like someone interrupting her. He took out his car. Nobody moved. Mrs. Felon asked Angelo to leave the room. He would be punished. That moment he hated his car. He hated himself. Everyone hated Angelo for making Mrs. Felon angry. That was a difficult day.

            Notebook Entry # 29

            “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?” That was the first thing I thought when I finished school. I was trying to decide, what I could do to make my life happy and successful. I was trying to choose the best profession or occupation that would satisfy my material strivings and help me achieve a better social position. “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?” I did not want to be a lawyer. Nor did I want to become a doctor. I wanted something that would satisfy my ambitions and prove that my life was worth living. I was not looking for wealth. I was not looking for fame. I was looking for comfort. I had to feel comfortable with what I would do, no matter how much I would earn. I knew that whatever I chose to do would make me happy. I did not hesitate. I love what I do. I feel that I can achieve unbelievable highs. I will not give up. Now I know WHAT I AM GOING TO DO NEXT.

Notebook Entry # 30

            Why do we decide to have a secret diary? What makes us seek truth in writing? Why do diaries make us feel so much better? Is it because we hold something sacred? Or is it because a diary is the best place to express our true feelings? Regardless the purpose, diaries sometimes save us from tragic mistakes. They do not impose their opinions on us. They do not advise us what we should do. They do not want us to be perfect. They give us a rare chance to be ourselves. It does not matter how many mistakes we make, while we write. It does not matter, what we want to express in writing. It does not matter how often we open the diary to make a new entry. Diaries are never hurt by us being ignorant, sad, angry, or in love. They are never jealous. They share our sorrows and joys. They are never envious. They are true friends. Perfect friends. Ideal friends. Always ready to listen to what we want to say. That is why we choose to have diaries.

 

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