Book Review: “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt” by Anne Rice

I use my religious beliefs in this review since the novel is over a religious figure. I respect your beliefs, so please respect mine.

Thoughts Before:

My mother read every one of Anne Rice’s Vampire ChroniclesAlthough I had seen these novels around our house throughout my childhood, I never read nor watched any of her work until I picked up one of her more recent novels, The Wolf Gift. I loved how she brought the supernatural in to the reality.

Cover of my copy. Click through to purchase from Amazon.

Growing up hearing about Anne Rice produced a picture of this great Horror writer. When I saw her book Christ The Lord: Out of Egypt I felt drawn to read her perspective. As a non-scholar and known as a horror writer, I wanted to see how someone of this perspective would portray Jesus, a character and deity I’ve grown up learning about.

Child Jesus: A Lost Perspective

Growing up in a Christian household, I heard the stories of  Messianic Jesus throughout my life. In the Bible, Christ as a child is limited to the most extraordinary events possible.

Christ the Lord shows Jesus before he was Christ. Jesus is portrayed as a young boy looking for answers to his past and his powers. I never thought of Jesus as ignorant of what his purpose is as we are of our purpose. Reading him pray for answers and facing prejudice because of his birth renewed my understanding of who Christ is as a deity.

(Small Religious Rant; Skip if You Desire)

Churches tend to focus on the God Jesus who died for us. In reality, it was the human Jesus that lived as a child, went through puberty, became a man and died as a human for us. He lived as an example to lean on God throughout life.

(End Rant)

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

This novel held my attention and showed well-researched. Confusing moments in the book addressed the idea of Jesus being both human and divine simultaneously. It’s a hard concept to grasp in normal religion anyway, but I think Rice does an adequate job at explaining it through her story, similar to how Jesus used parables.

 

 

If you’ve read Christ the Lord or thought about it, please leave your (respectful) comments below! (Featured Image: taken from my copy of Christ the Lord: the Road to Cana)

Third Person Autobiography

Introduction to

Writing for Mass Media: 2033

The ‘Oh-Shit-How-Do-I-English’ Class

At the esteemed University of Oklahoma, all journalist majors have to endure a class that will stretch their writing skills far beyond their sanity should allow.

JMC-2033: Writing for Mass Media

In this class, we are required to write an unGodly amount of material and in the process discover if we have what it takes to survive in the world of Mass Communication. My first assignment already had me questioning my writing abilities.

The first assignment was a third-person autobiography about a small aspect of our lives. We were to write, edit, and finish it by the end of class. 350 word minimum, should be easy. Right?

essay-stressIn the forty-five minutes given to write it, I struggled through each sentence, agonizing over my love of complex sentences and the self-promotion I had to do. I only wrote one draft, not even giving it a proper closing because I could not think of one in the ten seconds I had left. Sadly, I knew a multitude of edit markings would appear on the graded piece.

But to my pleasant surprise, my returned copy of edits contained few markings. Of course my lack of proper ending was noted, but over all I had a total of three small mistakes.

In celebration for exceeding my own low expectations, I will share the autobiography, which focuses on my unusual singing voice,  here!

Enjoy!

Devon Gadberry may look like an average young woman, but she certainly does not sound like one. Even at a young age, Ms. Gadberry’s voice possessed a certain man-like quality. This proved a problem when she started taking singing lessons.

With music stars such as Christina Aguliera and musicals like Andrew Llyod Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, Devon longed to belt out the high notes. Vocal lessons were often filled with arguing over how her higher warm ups sounded. Her vocal teacher Ms. Sarah Harkins* insisted on stopping the warm ups before reaching those notes Devon so craved to sing. Later on, this insistence saved the young girl’s vocal chords. At the time, however, the precaution destroyed her self-esteem as a singer. She had never heard of any female artist, in a musical or in popular music, who sang lower range songs, specifically. The lack of precedent lead to the conclusion that she simply could not sing.

Over time, as the lessons continued, Devon’s vocal warm ups pushed her voice lower and lower, instead of higher and higher. Paired with school choirs and private lessons, Devon’s singing voice developed much faster, revealing the bass under the feminine face. As an alto in her eighth grade year, she could sing lower than most of the boys in her choir. Even though she had the advantage of the boy’s unbroken voices, Devon’s lower register stretched well below F3, which she considered the lowest note for the average alto. Ms. Harkins stated that Devon’s vocal depth was “a freak of nature.”

Devon’s high school years allowed her to explore the hidden benefits of her freakish alto voice. Musicals through the school theatre department and her community theatre contained roles for mature, and lower, voices, which Devon quickly auditioned for.

Her first major role was Marmee for the musical Little Women. As an older role, the gravelly quality of Devon’s voice gave the illusion of age better than any makeup could. The role that truly showcased her masculine voice was Ursula in Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr. As a junior in high school, Devon negotiated with her music director into letting her sing the most powerful songs in her lower register.

Devon Gadberry as Ursula in Disney's The Little Mermaid Jr.

Devon Gadberry as Ursula in Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr.

Her deep-as-the-sea voice instilled fear into children during the show and caused them to flee when she greeted them after the show. Some songs brought her voice so low that one parent did not believe Devon was female until she showed them a  normal, non-theatre picture. The recognition Ursula brought Devon gave her pride in her manly voice.

[Impromptu ending for it]

As she moves forward into her college career, Devon continues singing as an alto in the Redliners, an a cappella group on OU’s campus. Every now and then, she drops down and joins the basses, too.

*Name changed for privacy reasons.

What do you think of it? Should I post an example of my singing voice? Do you even believe me? Comment your thoughts below!

Essay: Fandoms & Social Media

Something Academically Nerdy

College is the time to discover your passions, and none have served me so well as the Honors class, New Literacies. In it, we examined how the ‘new literacies’ – e-mail, texting, blogging, all social media- could possibly be an equivalent to the book when it was a new technology, and how the these literacies could change over time.

The class itself was invigorating and challenging, a class that I did not so much focus on the grade, but on the ideas being taught. It taught me to put aside moral ambiguities and look at the different communication platforms available to us through an objective viewpoint. Even more useful, the class taught me how to write a good essay for college, the subject material making it much easier to improve my technique.

The final essay required a self-analysis of how I utilize ‘new literacies’ and what I thought ‘new literacies’ could look like in near future. Since it was such a broad topic, my professor expected all of the students to choose a narrow topic to use. Being the nerd I am, I chose fandoms.

After many grueling hours (and my floor mates will agree that they were grueling), I found myself 99% satisfied with this essay. I would not have reached this level of satisfaction without the help of my honors writing assistant, my good editor friend, and her editor friend as well. Out of respect for their privacy, I shall keep them nameless. But without their edits and suggestions, the essay would not be half as good as it is. (The remaining 1% is just the writerly perfectionist within me that cannot accept that something is completed. ) And now…

Without any further adieu…

Fandoms & Social Media

 

 

Leave your thoughts and comments below! Since I had only a twelve-page limit (only 12 pages… ha!), there are many social media platforms I left out! What other social media platforms do you think are critical to the fandom culture development?

(featured Image taken by me)

One Story: Many Audiences

Our lives run on stories. From the moment we look at our phones, turn on the TV, or talk to our friends, we hear and see stories everyday. Stories told in the form of a post, a news cast, and so on. With growing amount of ways to tell stories, however, media professionals, both present and future, should focus their attention on a certain media platform rather than on all platforms.

Know a Little About All, Expert on None

Companies utilize as many media sources as possible, and they need people who can work on multiple platforms. However, having a multitude of people who know a little about different platforms is not as useful as having a few people who are experts in a certain field.

For example, Jenna Marbles is an internet celebrity, who in the beginning focused mainly on YouTube Videos.  After her first upload in 2010, she has vastly improved and popularized a simple, low-budget video blog (also known as a vlog) genre.

(Warning: the following videos contain vulgar and explicit language.)

Here is the video that brought Jenna Marbles to fame. Uploaded July 9, 2010, the video made her an internet sensation.

Now here is her latest video as of December 7th, 2014.

While the style remains the same, Jenna Marbles has vastly improved her visual quality and effects of her videos. She focused publishing her stories on YouTube, but she also increased her social media audience. With over “1 billion clicks” (NY Times), she has a Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and an Official Facebook Page, all of which promote her character and vlogs. After four years and 225 videos, one can consider her an expert in social media marketing and YouTube storytelling.

Jenna Marbles’ success can be attributed to her devoting her attention to the said two platforms. She does not blog with text posts, focusing almost exclusively on visual media.

Finding Your Strength & Complimenting It

For all media practitioners, each one has their own storytelling style. How a person tells a story will depend on their strengths in telling a story. Some media professionals, like Jenna Marbles, are better at telling stories through video and broadcasting. Others, such as authors and newspaper writers, are better at getting their story across through text. Focusing and honing these talents allow media practitioners to become experts in a certain field, making them a much better storyteller.

However, in this multi-media world, having some knowledge of other platforms can strengthen a professional’s storytelling ability. For myself, I believe I am a better storyteller with words. But as you can see on this blog, I have used other media platforms to enhance the storytelling experience. However, my main focus is my text. I work through words and compliment the story through simple inserts of visual media. With the visually focused, understanding how to write good descriptions or well written summaries can enhance the visual storytelling experience.

What do you think your “media strength” is? If you’re more textually based, comment below! If you are more visually-based, make a video/picture and link it in your comment below!

 

(featured image)

Makeup & the Media

(Written by Natalie Brown, with edits by Devon)

The (Special) Effects

$15,000. To the average student, that’s at least one semester of education, food, or emergency money. However, according to InStyle, to the average woman, that’s the amount of makeup she will buy in her lifetime.

The media constantly pushes a perfect ideal on women that requires them to purchase insane amounts of makeup in order to be “pretty.” But the reality is that this perfect “pretty” girl does not exist.

Every image you see in the media of women smiling modeling a product has been severely edited beyond recognition. Even under heavy makeup, models still contain “imperfections” that the media chooses to erase with a click of a button through image manipulation programs. Imperfections such as freckles, wrinkles, flat hair, and the natural shape of the body.

Such heavy editing may seem harmless at first, but it has severe, sometimes fatal, effects on the body image on teen girls and women everywhere. Media is known to have a stronger effect on young adults than it does on children and adolescents, according to NEDA. The study also suggests that long term exposure during women’s childhood creates a foundation for the negative effects of media during the beginning of adulthood. On average, 8 to 18 year olds spend 7.5 hours engaged in some form of media each day. With all of this negative media consumption, the chances of young women developing some sort of eating disorder due to the unhealthy portrayal of women in the media.

How can we fix this?

As adults we have the responsibility to make the world a healthy and stable place for girls. Girls need to realize that being “pretty” is not the only thing that matters. A way to support women and encourage them is to support organizations geared towards portraying a positive body image. For example, Operation Beautiful, a non-profit organization, uses sticky notes to post uplifting messages in places like bathrooms, where many girls often criticize themselves in the mirror. They believed that by leaving positive messages like “You are beautiful” and “You are amazing just the way you are” on mirrors of public restrooms and the walls of their school that they could make someones day just a little bit better.

1C6400925-danika-fears15B36DB2-DA1E-3362-D409-CF10B4361D3A.blocks_desktop_largeRecently students from Plano Senior High School in Texas decided they were going to support Operation Beautiful by having makeup-free Friday. 1,000 female students showed up to school without a trace of makeup. The goal of this day was to make the students feel comfortable in their own skins. 80 percent of the schools 1,300 female students participated making it a success.

It’s events and organizations like these that help fight against the negative images the media portrays. We as a society need to come together, like in Operation Beautiful, to promote the acceptance of natural beauty.

What are your opinions on the media’s portrayal of ‘perfection?’ Comment Below!

Links Below for the Images and Information Provided in the Presentation:

Confidence Coalition: http://www.confidencecoalition.org
Operation Beautiful: http://www.operationbeautiful.com
Hours/Year Statistic found: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/24/women-daily-appearance-study_n_4847848.html
Revenue Statistic: http://www.statista.com/statistics/243742/revenue-of-the-cosmetic-industry-in-the-us/

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