Voltaire – May I Finally Rest In Peace?

Technically speaking, the revolution has ended. King Louis is dead, and Robespierre’s reign of terror has ended, but France is in a state of recovery. Still reeling from so much death, France is more vulnerable than ever but I believe that the revolution has finally ended and maybe a modern France can begin to exist.

 

I look at the mess that the revolution of France and I can’t help but wonder what it has accomplished. The king is dead, but the reign of terror was even worse than the reign of Louis. They are now vulnerable to any attack and France really must start on making some friends. I think of the revolution has accomplished anything, it is that the people of France can not be antagonized so far, and that eventually they will rise up. I think that the revolution has made history for centuries to come and will be a classic example of uprising.

 

I’m pretty dead by this point, but I hope that I will be remembered as a forerunner of the revolution, poking fun at the royals in the Bastille decades before it was stormed. I hope I’ll be remembered for being the first couch protestor.

 

Au revoir,

 

Voltaire

 

In-Depth Post Number 6

Hullabaloo is soon.

Emma, Jamie and I are really working at our poetry to be ready for this Friday, when we will be first performing. We have all of our poems now written, and now it is up to us to dedicate our many pieces to memory so they are ready to go.

I will be performing (hopefully) five pieces. Assuming we make it to finals (here’s hoping!) I will be performing three solo pieces, and two team pieces over this weekend. 15 minutes total of poetry!

We saw Jacob for the first time in a little while, and he saw the majority of our pieces for the first time during a lovely three hour session (my finger still hurts from snapping during ‘Friendzone’). We all have our homework to complete for Hullabaloo, most of which comes down to memorization.

I wish I was able to show some actual proof of progress in my poetry, but because it is spoken word I think that my poems wouldn’t really have the full effect when read. After Hullabaloo, however, I will be on YouTube a couple of times, and I will be posting links to videos of my performances. In the mean-time, however, is one of my solo pieces, entitled “The Battlefield”. Probably my least polished poem, I still need to tweak the ending as per Jacob’s advice, but overall, I’m pretty happy with it.


“The Battlefield”

By Lyle Hendriks

The warrior awakens to a battle

They survive breakfast

They fight their way to the street, maintaining the upper hand

They step into the humid cavern of the bus and fall asleep

Never sure how long this break in the fight will last, but taking advantage of every moment of rest they can get

Of course, now would be an excellent time to finish that essay…

But alas! An ambush, as our heroic warrior is crippled with a blow to the knee

‘Later’, the soldier grunts

Wounded in body but not in vigour, the warrior enters the evil fortress known only by the name of

High School

The warrior is tasked with their first challenge

An ancient rite of passage, known as the project daunts our champion

Raising their sword, they prepare to do battle with the shadowy waves of the enemy and get towards the intimidating wall  – the task at hand

A slash left, a lunge right, a spinning solar plexus combo and a decapitation finisher makes short work of the dark forces

Safe for the moment, they advance towards the task ahead, a shimmering wall, seemingly impenetrable

As they prepare to strike, our hero is suddenly aware of a sharp pain

Looking down, a survivor of the previous altercation has lost his weapon, and bit the hero in their ankle

The pain is excruciating, but as the inky black venom from the void-filled enemy’s teeth joins with his blood, a numb sensation overtakes any discomfort

As if high on heroin, our hero slash heroine stumbles around in a stupor

They know action needs to be taken but their lord for whom they’ve performed this crusade has vanished

The feeling of total euphoria is overwhelming, but so is the guilt of inaction

The Lord Motivation remains absolute!

The warrior feels the strength within them to raise their sword, and chops off the poisoned leg

The time to take action is now!

They hobble to the project and run it through with their blade, abolishing it from the warrior’s timetable

The hero is bleeding motivation, and blood, but they are almost there!

Stepping towards the exit, the hero feels a swell of pride deep in their belly

Suddenly, everything happens at once

Caught at the ankle, the wind and pride knocked out of a set of struggling lungs

Legs swept, the hero hits the flagstones chest-first. Looking up at the being who now holds the warrior’s life in its hands… he abandons hope

For there, standing above him is an evil figure thought to be nothing more than legend

And yet here he is, standing at eight feet tall in cloven hooves… is Tommorow

He has finally caught up

In a last attempt to fight in the name of Motivation, our once champion raises their blade, but something is wrong

The godly light the sword once possessed is gone, just like the feeling of motivation in the feeble fighters soul

One swing is deflected from the shins of Tomorrow

Another and the blade shatters

Tomorrow cackles, and smites the hero, leaving nothing but a pile of ashes on the ground

In a battle of good versus evil

Now versus later

Motivation has vanished

——————————-

I hope you enjoyed!

This week is crunch time, but I know the team and I are going to make it through!

Voltaire – Every Man is Equal

I spend my days in the darkness, my arms pinned to my sides and unable to breathe as the soil fills my throat. If I had known it would be like this, I would have been cremated.

Don’t ask me how, but despite my death I have heard of the King’s arrest. Finally! It appears the people of France have finally gotten the courage to own their own nation.

I know of much public outcry for the death of the king, without trial. I would like the death of the King as much as anybody, but if Robespierre wants a country where every man is equal, then the King deserves his trial too. With the recent surfacing of his box of correspondence with Austria, any trial that he is granted is unlikely to go well.

I think now that the monarch has been ousted, what should happen is obvious. The republic that Robespierre has been fighting for all this time can now exist. The prices of bread can go down to what they once were, and the people of France can live employed and fed and we can finally move forward with our lives.

However, I feel this Robespierre is up to something. While everything is in place for a progressive France, the pieces are all also ready to fall together in Robespierre’s favour. The potential here for total reign over France is enormous, and I am worried. These words are not what the newly ‘liberated’ people of France want to hear, and frankly, it is not what I want to hear either. But I believe the people who truly wish for a republic of France must hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Voltaire out.

Voltaire – I’m Too Old For This Crap

Bonjour

I am 75, and while most of my life has been spent insulting officials and then subsequently calling a cell in the Bastille my home for a few months, I have never regretted speaking my mind.

I believe there is change sparking in France, and all I can say is, “It took you long enough!”.  I’ve been provoking these pigs in their castles my entire life, and they wait until I can’t even go to la toilette on my own to start stirring things up?

At any rate, France and especially Paris is on the cusp of revolution, I can feel it in my decrepit bones! I wish I could be in Paris at this important time in history, but that jerk of a king Louis XV has exiled me again, a sentence repeated almost as much as his name. I guess imagination runs thin in the family. I write from Geneva, which is likely for the better as I feel I can cut deeper through my writing than through any sword I can still lift in my old age.

I have been corresponding with colleagues of mine who remain in Paris, and they describe a level of tension in the city. Every day the hungry men and women look angrier with the royalty stepping on them, and they agree with me that revolution is near. I only hope that I will live to see the day that the fragile tower of royalty is toppled.

I am confident that France will be a constitutional monarchy soon, like England, a political system I have always admired. France will be free one day, but it must happen soon, for France’s sake.

After drinking my average 60 cups of coffee today, I felt an aching of my chest. I worry again that my life is coming to a close and that I will not live to see a free France. This picture should show how weathered I have become in my old age.

lf0060-12_figure_001.jpg

Is this the face of a freedom fighter, one may ask? Most would say no, this is the face of a grandparent or an old farmer. I may never raise a blade for France, but as long as I have hands my ink will touch paper to invigorate Parisian citizens to rise up!

Now, Voltaire is getting tired, and his hip aches. Talk again soon!

In-Depth Blog Post Number 5

Poetry!

Spring break was relaxing, yes, but I have been swept up in a wave of poetry and have done more poetry stuff in the past three weeks then I have ever have in my life. It’s been intense but I have loved every meeting I’ve gone to so far (six, as it stands).

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ll explain. A decent amount of time ago, before Spring Break, fellow TALONS students Emma F and Jamie approached me and asked me if I was interesting in joining their Hullabaloo team, which is a competitive event dedicated to spoken poetry. It sounded great so I agreed. Things picked up about a week and a half after that, when I performed a poem in front of a a couple dozen people in the TALONS room. It was not as good as it could have been and I was admittedly  a little under-prepared for it. However, it was my first step into the poetry world and our first steps aren’t often pretty.

Soon after my blunder onto the poetry scene I was attending meetings with Emma, Jamie, and their mentor Jacob Gebrewold. Jacob is a phenomenal poet and an equally excellent teacher of poetry and more. He has been indispensable asset to me and the rest of the team, and because of him I’ve completed one solo piece and am on my way to a second.

With Bayleigh, my former mentor, missing in action, I am shifting my primary mentorship to Jacob. His expertise has been invaluable and he is an excellent mentor.

In addition to solo pieces, every Hullabaloo team must write three team pieces between them. Jamie and I have been working on one about the dangers of team literature and we are confident in it’s hilarity. The piece itself grows nearer to completion. Mwahaha.

Reflection Questions: 

1. On our last meeting, Jacob had Emma, Jamie and I analyze rap lyrics for poetic devices, and then perform them in Starbucks. As a group of suburban white kids, we were a little embarrassed but eventually got over it. I can say with confidence that you won’t get bored while belting a few bars of Childish Gambino while the barista gives you a dirty look. Jacob uses many tactics like this to keep things fresh and interesting, which makes it easier to work through a four hour poetry meeting like we did last Sunday morning. It is through these activities that Jacob shows us that poetry is in more places then one might think, in songs, rap, and many other places.

2. As I said before, new learning often comes from Jacob’s massive wealth of experience and expertise, material which is well-supplemented by jokes and fun little games which keeps things fresh. He is excellent at only enforcing a topic until it is understood, and then moving on. Things are always fun and spontaneous, so we’re never bored and can easily absorb new information.

3. Jacob seems to understand that as gifted learners we are proficient in understanding something quickly and our general dislike for excessive repetition. As a former IB learner, Jacob uses methods to review topics without feeling like a chore or studying, and keeping everything time effective.

4. As a group our discussions are about 70% poetry or competition related, 15% is discussion of life or other goals, 10% is general small talk or joking around, and the other 5% is a contagious, thoughtful silence. Often, our meetings will open with a casual update on the events of the last week, telling of any funny anecdotes. At which point we will get down to poetry work, which as I stated before is always something new. It is after reading of poems or watching of poems that the thoughtful silence will occur. As Jacob or members of the team articulates feedback and responses, we usually rock back in forth in our Starbucks chairs and snap our fingers. The discussion of life and goals is often interspersed throughout the meeting, as we go off on tangents.

5. I think that one thing that is going on with our team and Jacob is our casual demeanor with each other. I think that once you move away from being so stiff and constantly second-guessing what you are about to say you are able to complete much more in much less time. I really enjoy our meetings because Jacob does not demand much in terms of our manner, and that level of comfort with each other is a great thing in a mentor-ship.

6. As I stated before, Jacob is a big fan of tangents on life, and the future. He is an excellent conversationalist and takes a genuine interest in those he talks to. I’ve learnt that he is an extremely independent man and holds a lot of responsibility for someone just out of secondary school. He has talked to me about how I viewed myself and much to my chagrin has made me throw my general modesty to the ground in an attempt to improve what I saw in myself. He is an incredibly easy person to talk to and it is easy to be authentic around him.

 

It’s been an excellent few weeks of poetic madness, and I look forward to the future of this!

Lyle