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Moving Forward

2015 has been an incredible year so far, and I imagine it will only get better.

My Spring semester at GPC went really well. Managed to obtain an A in all four classes, and bring my overall GPA up. I applied for five scholarships and was awarded them all.

  • The Atlanta Writers Club Scholarship
  • The Landon Coleman Scholarship
  • The Helen Friese / Village Writers Group Award for Poetry
  • The Dianne P. Jennings Scholarship
  • The Ann M. Knight Scholarship 

I cannot thank the individuals and organizations who award these scholarships enough. Without the finances they provide, I would be hard pressed to continue my education.

In addition to those great scholarships, I was also recently inducted into both the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. These grant me valuable access to exclusive scholarships and networking opportunities.

One other thing from the past semester: I had two poems published in the college’s arts magazine, Creative License. My poem “Jekyll’s Driftwood Native Ancestor” won the Rosemary Cox Award for Poetry.

Outside of school, I’ve submitted some work to the Georgia Review and The Loraine Williams Poetry Prize. I can dream big, right?

This May 30 and June 6, my play, “In Memory,” will be produced by Onion Man Productions at Lionheart Theatre Company.

To continue on that thread about thing yet to come:

I have a poetry reading lined up for June 10 at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. How cool is that!?

I have also gotten myself set up for three upcoming writing workshops. One for news writing, one for poetry, and one for play writing. I am looking forward to the experiences.

This Summer Semester is the first I will take online classes. Three, in fact. Music Appreciation, Computer Science, and Physical Education (An online phys ed class? Yea, online).

Just a few more things (As usual I have made myself entirely too busy this year).

I quit Marlow’s Tavern. I am sad to see that time has past, but grateful for the new opportunities it has made available for me. For instance, I now work at Roly Poly on Main Street. It is a lot more relaxed than Marlow’s. Less money, but also less stress.

This summer I have also accepted/taken on a new internship. This time with The Champion Newspaper. This will prove to be exciting, and a very valuable experience. I can hardly wait to see my name in print again.

Well, that about does it for now. Just a little review/preview of this year in progress. Everything is looking and feeling pretty good, and I couldn’t be more excited about the future.

Now to get back to my #summerreads. I will be posting all of the different plays I am reading on Instagram. Fun times. \

Thank you for being a part of this journey. Without you all I could barely have made it this far on my own.

“Crimson Queen” by Justin Beaudrot

Crimson Queen

Color of fresh blood in full sun breathes
life into these bright leaves. Each one reaches
towards the light, then falls short of the sky
to brush just above the ground. She grows
with branches to shape a dome over the trunk
as a mother who protects her young. Or
as a victim that hides white scars that mar
brown bark. At night, violent vibrance
subsides under moon’s glow and becomes
sanguine allure. Deep purple waves in wind
as if to uproot and move. November
bears on her the red like no other. A red
that resembles flames of a fire. A red
that resembles a fierce, stormy morning.
Surrounded by White Pines and pink Crapemyrtles,
she resides. Acer palmatum variety dissectum
‘Crimson Queen’ ignites landscapes
like no other with red desire of nature
while hues of pastel blues and heavy greens
calm the passion. Were Monet to place
these plants himself, the fluid commingling
of one hundred orange roses, fifty purple
rhododendrons, and one ‘Crimson Queen’,
would live on forever, though
life is less forgiving.

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Call for Submissions: Migration

The Hooch: News & Events

The Chattahoochee Review seeks submissions for its Fall/Winter 2015 double issue with a special focus on Migration. Literal and figurative translations of the theme welcome. Not only flight, but also movement; not only movement, but also kinetics; not only kinetics, but also conflict; not only conflict, but also arrival; not only arrival, but also immersion. Dare to be topical, but also sincere. Microbiology, Animalia, suburbia, electronica, strata—relocate, dislocate, elocute. Deadline September 15 or until the issue fills. Note the call in a cover letter and follow the guidelines. If you have an essay or story fitting Migration that you would also like to submit to our Lamar York Prizes before January 31, why, so much the better! Note the call in a cover letter and follow the Prize guidelines.

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The Road Not Taken

I would like to share a famous poem by Robert Frost. This poem is nearly cliche with how much it has been shared, discussed, and overused. Even with that being said, I’m going to share it anyway. I am going to because it honestly resonates with me right now. The title is The Road Not Taken,  which hits me personally, because of this new journey in my life is not a road I had taken before, despite having been able to at various points. To clarify: I knew I could go to college, explore my intellectual and creative interests, and pursue a life full of artistic satisfaction, though I did not. So now I will take the road not taken. Lines 2-4 speak to me in that though my interests are great and many, I am but one person and can only explore all of them so far before I have to choose just one and commit. Lines 18-19 say that the path I have chosen is not one many have successfully taken, though, it is the one I have decided should be best for me. Line 20, well, line 20 is hope. Let me hope it will make all the difference and to let that difference be good.

The Road Not Taken

BY ROBERT FROST

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 

“Jamaica mission trip is eye-opening experience for GPC student” printed in The Champion Newspaper

Original publication by The Champion Newspaper.  ((Check out the link for the accompanying photos I took!!))

 

“by Justin Beaudrot

Those were my favorite days—the days when our Jamaica Study Abroad trip took us to Watford Hill Primary School. In collaboration with DeKalb-based nonprofit Unconditional Love for Children (ULC), Georgia Perimeter College was able to give 12 college students and many Watford Hill students one of the most unforgettable experiences of their lives. The two-week summer camp program at the school supplemented student’s literacy and math skills and for four of those days we, the GPC students, were able to assist in the activities.

The school’s L-shaped building is painted in an earthen color with images created by students and teachers depicting different aspects of Jamaica and Jamaican culture. It features the faces of Sam Sharpe, leader of a slave rebellion, and Nanny of the Maroons, who resisted slavery, along with other Jamaican national heroes, a depiction of the national anthem and a map of the island.

After a few quick photographs, I was introduced to the students and teachers. Elizabeth Hernandez and I were paired with Quinta Russell and Nadine Valle for grades 5 and 6. Our classes began with showing them all into the computer room and getting everyone signed up with an email address. It’s laughable how much we underestimated some of these children’s computer literacy. By the time it took us college students to figure how their computer system worked, most of the children were already logged into their emails and were on Facebook.

The second class moved us from the computer lab to a large room with ULC volunteer Marian Johnson and her Math 24 card game. Everyone acclimated themselves to the game right away and were soon moving through the cards faster than I could pass them out. The smiles witnessed and the joy felt are nearly indescribable. It was amazing being part of something so beautiful as the education of children in the hill country of Jamaica. It put into perspective the perseverance and dedication of a small group of people fostered by the resources of Unconditional Love For Children.

We also explored various literacy exercises during the third class period. While the students worked on their assignments, we worked closely with those who needed help and it felt like a genuine teaching experience. I spent time working with student Rodrick England on his paragraph about his love of football (soccer in the U.S.). We began to see the challenges of teaching as it requires judgment calls on how much time to spend with children who need more help and how much time to spend on lesson plans. Sometimes, most of the time, we had to improvise.

The first afternoon was meant to be split into two separate events: arts and recess. However, with the threat of rain looming, we retreated indoors for arts and crafts hosted by Tabitha Dacres and Joshua Durant. The children drew and adorned paper masks which they wore with pride and joy. On others days students decorated Jamaican flags or crafted bracelets and necklaces from decorative pipe cleaner straws.

I remember July 16 being especially difficult as it was our last day with Watford Hill Primary School. Many heart-felt hugs and goodbyes and kind words were shared as we made ready to leave. The bus could be heard pulling around the corner, almost as if it was the sound of reality coming to carry us home. Although, I had not felt more at home in Jamaica than I had at that school.

We all shared incredible experiences thanks to Earl and Carolyn Glenn and Betty Palmer from Unconditional Love for Children, Nicolette Rose and Terry Bozeman from GPC, and the staff and faculty at Watford Hill Primary School. Through their efforts, I came to realize how important it is to foster education.

Education is not an expensive accommodation meant only for the wealthy and privileged.

Education is a human right meant to move people through their time on this planet.

Education is how we learn to communicate, how we learn to build and how we learn to grow.

At Watford Hill Primary School, students of Hopewell in Hanover, Jamaica, by are given the gift of education. We all should realize how valuable that is and understand we can each do something to help foster education together.”

 

Jersey [Polluted] Shore

Toms River by Dan Fagin, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction, is a tale of a chemical industry operating ignorantly, families stricken by cancer, and incredible perseverance. The book is actually much more than that as well. Dan Fagin has completed a text containing more than 100 years of history; from scientists in the 1800’s to as recent as just a few years ago. Fagin sets the reader up with valuable, and extensive, background information in a very readable, page-turner way. Recognizing the wealth of information from mountains of research compiled for this book allows the reader to realize exactly how complex the situation(s) in Toms River really are. While at some points in the book the passages feel a bit tiring with the deep science being explained, however, that is all a part of the narrative of the lives affected; especially towards the end where test, study, and lab results come piling in.

My favorite aspect of this story is how real it is made for the reader. Right up until the end, the incredible adventure is nearly picture-perfect and fit for fiction. Though we all know nonfiction doesn’t work like that, and we see that evidenced in how the Toms River scenario was resolved (or not resolved). Toms River is another shining example of excellently written and researched narrative nonfiction such as Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Not only does it share the true story of extraordinary people, places, and events, it also delivers the lesson to be learned from those people, places, and events.

Our society built on rampant consumerism and blissful ignorance is not sustainable and must be talked about and altered. What Toms River shows is how the ignorance of chemical producing plants and their waste handlers ignored the dangers of irresponsible waste management for the sake of convenience and money. The book further goes to expose the bureaucratic nightmare of how these industries and situations are dealt with (not very well).

Brief Review of “Redbone”

This is review is later than usual so I’ll have to be briefer than usual. (Also: I need to get to class)

Redbone by Ron Stodghill details the gruesome murder of millionaire Lance Herndon in 1996. While the book was well written, the crime itself interested me little. That being said, Redbone shed light on something else that certainly peaked my curiosity: Atlanta history. Although not that long ago, just 18 years at this point, the crime’s characters were heavily involved with the Atlanta wealthy and powerful; the movers and shakers. Stodghill writes about driving down Piedmont and neighborhoods in Alpharetta. These places are familiar to me and it goes to show that the stories here in my home-town can be impressive.  There is a powerful and moving history here in Atlanta that can be expressed literarily. Continuing to read books based in facts and actual places further pushes me to explore the true stories that surround me. Redbone made it clear that Atlanta can be a wealth of knowledge and adventure.