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Motivating Distraction

As the semester comes to an end, we scramble to complete our final assignments and study for our exams. Time seems to drag on as we hope for the days when our sleep patterns will return to normal. With one week left, the pressure seems infinite and our deadlines appear to be closing in on us. However, as we all know, appearances can be deceiving. As this is my last blog post of the semester, I’d like to dedicate it to all the Obscurians who can and will succeed. You got this!

 

In William Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence,” the speaker states, “to see a world in a grain of sand / and a heaven in a wild flower / hold infinity in the palm of your hand / and eternity in an hour.” This poem reminds me of all the different thoughts I have when I sit to do my homework.  I begin to fantasize about the beauty of the natural world and it becomes a welcome distraction of escape from homework. William Blake, however, used his observations of the world and his thoughts as inspiration for the poem above. With a little motivation, we can persevere and use our distractions as inspiration while we strive to finish the last few pages of that essay, or try to think of more effective ways to study. The speaker continues by stating, “the questioner who sits so sly / shall never know how to reply / he who replies to words of doubt / doth put the light of knowledge out.” Do not doubt yourself. You are in the final moments of the semester and you can succeed.

 

William Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence” reminds me to have faith in myself, and I hope that it will inspire all of you to have faith in yourselves. You have made it this far into the semester, and with just a few days left you have it in you to work hard, study hard, and successfully complete the Fall 2017 semester! Wishing you all the best of luck: until next time Obscurians!

 

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

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Posted in Arlinda's Newest Posts, Homepage

Finding Balance: The Faun, the Shadow, and the Song

Whether we are chasing our dreams, running from our past, or looking for our futures, we are in constant movement through the unknown moments of life. Time is relative; it can ostensibly move quickly and make a day feel like an hour, or it can seemingly move slowly and make an hour feel like a day. With the semester coming to an end, time seems to be moving rather hurriedly along as we try to finalize our assignments and begin looking forward to a few weeks of relaxation before the new semester starts.

Oscar Wilde’s poem “In the Forest” always reminds me of the bustle that occurs at the end of the fall semester, with final exams and papers, and the excitement of the upcoming holidays surrounding our Decembers. The poem begins with the mention of a Faun leading the speaker through the woods by stating, “out of the mid-wood’s twilight / into the meadow’s dawn, / ivory limbed and brown-eyed, / flashes my Faun!” The imagery in these lines allows the reader to picture the speaker’s journey through the forest. The mention of the Faun is symbolic of a lost traveler seeking their path through life. The speaker then continues by stating, “he skips through the copses singing, / and his shadow dances along, / and I know not which I should follow, / shadows or song!” In these lines, the shadows and the songs can be perceived as a metaphor for distractions through life; will you follow the shadow and find the light leading to the fulfillment of your dreams, or will you become distracted by the temptation of fun and freedom contained in music. The speaker concludes by stating, “O Hunter, snare me his shadow! / O Nightingale, catch me his strain! / Else moonstruck with music and madness / I track him in vain!” If you allow yourself to be diverted by the music, you may lose your direction.

Oscar Wilde’s poem “In the Forest” conveys that balance is important. If you are constantly chasing after a shadow in order to stay on the path to your future, you will miss out of the fun aspects of life. Similarly, if you always allow yourself to be diverted by the music while forgetting to follow the path, you will become lost in the darkness of the forest. In order to succeed, one needs to find the balance between following the road to success and taking the time to relax and have fun. As this semester comes to an end, we are busy trying to find our way out of the forest, but in just a couple of weeks, we will be enjoying the holidays and some much needed time off.

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

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The Bravery in Art

Art is expression; it is an act that allows for creativity, imagination, and most importantly, it allows one to share their voice. Through descriptive language, imagery, symbolism, metaphors, and a variety of other techniques, writers are able to capture the essence of a person, thing, place, or moment and convey an image that can be seen and understood in the minds of readers; art is able to establish mutual understandings and inspire others to use their voices and create their own forms of expression. Through hosting an Open Mic Night event, Obscura hopes to promote expression through art; it is an empowering experience to be able to get on stage and use your voice to create an image and comprehension in the minds of listeners; it is equally empowering to be in the audience and be able to understand someone else’s point of view through art.

William Wordsworth’s poem “She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways” phenomenally depicts the notion that one person can make a difference. The poem is as follows:

She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove,
Maid whom there were none to praise
And very few to love:

A violet by a mossy stone
Half hidden from the eye!
—Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.

She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
The difference to me!

The speaker of the poem conveys what a difference Lucy has made for them. While the poem is eerily morbid, it does contain the important concept that one person can make a difference. If Lucy made such an impact on the speaker while she was mostly “unknown,” then what kind of difference would she have made if she let herself be known? We hide our voices away due fear of not saying the right thing, or being judged, or because we are shy; we can make a difference to others by just being courageous enough to first make a difference for ourselves by expressing one’s thoughts and emotions.

Through one simple action, through a few words, and simply through noticing another person, a difference is made; we all contain the ability to make a difference by speaking out and using our voices to express ourselves and by listening to those who are brave enough to step up and express themselves. So, if you are on campus Wednesday November 29, come by Obscura’s Open Mic Night in SLB 111 between 4:30PM-7:30PM and support all the individuals willing to use their art to share their voices. Maybe you’ll even become inspired to sign up and express yourself at our next event!

 

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

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Time to Re-tune

As November comes to an end, most of us are preparing for Thanksgiving. We buy tons of food and sweets and look forward to spending our day off with our family. Our family and friends are important; they are the people who constantly impact our lives, and each Thanksgiving I am appreciative that I get to spend my day with them. While I become excited each year to spend time with my family, I always dread the black Friday sales the day after. As someone who works in retail, I cannot begin to describe my shock each year when people line up outside stores at the crack of dawn less than a day after they spend an entire day being thankful and appreciative for everything in their lives.

We spend our Thanksgiving appreciating everything we have, how then has black Friday become one of the biggest sale days in the year? It is saddening that instead of valuing time with one’s family, people are rushing and strategizing where to start shopping and how early they need to arrive in order to secure a decent spot on the long waiting lines. William Wordsworth’s poem “The World is Too Much With Us” reminds me that we need to learn to appreciate the real, living, and valuable things in life rather than focusing on material gains. In the poem the speaker states, “the world is too much with us; late and soon / getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; / little we see in Nature that is ours… / for this, for everything, we are out of tune.” The speaker of the poem draws attention to the notion that humans have lost their ability to appreciate the natural things in life and because of this humanity has become lost. This poem reminds me that we need to remember to appreciate the world and the people around us because they are the things of true value, not material items.

Thanksgiving is just a few days away; I hope you all have a wonderful day spent being thankful for the phenomenal people that are in your life. While black Friday deals are great, there is nothing greater than living in the moment and being able to spend an entire day off with your loved ones while eating delicious food. As the speaker in Wordsworth’s poem “The World Is Too Much With Us” states, “we are out of tune;” hopefully, this Thanksgiving brings the world back into tune with the important things in life.

 

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

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Seven Billion

There are some that are acknowledged for the differences they have made in the world; they win prizes, and trophies, and are written about in books, magazines, and newspapers. Then there are some that go about life never realizing they have made a difference. As you grow up, you wonder what you want to be in the world when you grow up and how you want to affect those around you; when you grow up, you realize that being able to make a difference in one person’s life is more than enough. You don’t need to be a famous prizewinner; you just need to be you.

Emily Dickinson’s poem, “If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking” allows me contemplate the importance of our humanity and the ability to influence others around us. We are able to make a difference, and it doesn’t take a grand gesture to do so, it just takes a little compassion. In Dickinson’s poem, the speaker states, “if I can stop one heart from breaking / I shall not live in vain; / if I can ease one life the aching / or cool one pain / or help one fainting robin / unto his nest again / I shall not live in vain.” While it is important for us to build a life for ourselves, it is also important for us to use our humanity in order to inspire someone else to do the same.

There are seven billion people in the world; if each person was able to perform one small gesture of kindness a day, then that’s 7,000,000,000 gestures of kindness each and every day. As the end of the fall semester nears, we’re all stressed out; we are tired and we cannot wait to get all of our final projects done so that we can finally relax. With that said, if you see your friends or peers are too overwhelmed, take five minutes and talk to them. You have the ability to help someone simply by listening, simply by letting them know that they are not alone. We all need a boost of encouragement every once in a while. We each contain the ability to make a difference in the world; it is up to you to decide what kind of change you will be putting forth each day.  As Emily Dickinson’s poem “If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking” states, “if i can ease one life the aching…I shall not live in vain.” There are seven billion people in the world, and it only takes one to begin making a difference by simply by showing a little kindness.

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj