In-Depth Post Number 7 – It’s Been a Wild Ride

So last weekend, Jamie, Emma and I participated in Hullabaloo 2014. We performed our hearts out and made it all the way to finals along with three other teams.Three solo pieces and one team piece later, and we were up on stage awaiting to hear what our placing was.

After much anticipation, RC Weslowski, our host for the evening announced that the Fedorables (that’s us!) had tied with Slamsworth for second place! We were so happy to make it so far, especially for our very first year competing.

Emma is especially talented in poetry, and always has been, and she did extremely well on the Hullabaloo stages. I couldn’t ask for a better captain of our team and she led by excellent example.

Jamie improved immensely from what his poetry was before, and he was excellent to perform alongside in both Teen Literature, and Friendzone.

On the note of our team pieces, I am especially proud of Teen Literature, a two person poem I performed with Jamie about… well, teen literature. It was a satire in the vein of infomercials like ShamWow. The jokes were well-received and Jamie and I complimented eachother well in the poem to keep our pace up.

Besides the poetry itself, Hullabaloo was a great chance to meet teams from all over BC. I’m now Facebook friends with team members from Delta, and all over Vancouver Island. They were all extremely talented and very friendly, and were a lot of fun to dance into the early hours of the morning at the after-party.

So with Hullabaloo done, we are still writing. Jacob has asked us to write another competition poem, one that we would never usually perform. This is likely so we can step out of our comfort zones in writing. I am working on another satire, although with a different topic matter than usual.

For in-depth night, I plan to perform a few pieces of poetry in front of the audience along with Jamie and Emma. We are looking at doing one solo piece and one team piece each. Beyond this, I will likely just mingle and answer any questions about my poetry.

In-Depth has been a wild ride and the last couple of months has definitely changed my life for the better, and I will never forget the people I’ve met and the poetry I’ve heard and performed. It was an amazing time and I’m so glad TALONS gave me the opportunity to do something like this.

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!

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

 

In-Depth Post Number 4

I have finally begun! After a sifting through a list of ten poems that Bayleigh recommended, I have finally jumped into the world of poetry.

I read all ten poems a couple of times, to properly appreciate the format and meanings behind the verses. I discussed what I got out of the poems, and took into account where I could apply these things in writing my own poetry.

Next, Bayleigh asked me to just take a shot, and write something. I’m not 100% happy with it yet, and I intend to put in some more work before sending it off to Bay. Additionally, I doubt the poem is good enough to post here quite yet, though as my confidence in my poetic ability increases, so will my frequency of sharing my works. For now, I’ll leave the details out, but it is about eight or nine lines long and it’s pretty cheesy.

The most difficult mentoring challenge so far has been logistics, getting a hold of my mentor and maintaining regular contact has been the most difficult, however this is mostly my fault. Because of time differences, and my own procrastination replying, this has been somewhat of an issue.

Something that is working quite well is our colloquialism and comfort around eachother. Lately we have been able to skip formalities and get down to poetry, which is fine by me. I think this is equal parts caused by both of us, which is great!

Something that could be working better would be my prioritization of in-depth, as it is somewhat on the backburner for me. In future I will prioritize in-depth over recreation, so that my project can be done more effectively and with greater ease.

Overall, I would say this last fortnight has been one of my more productive ones. Bye!

In-Depth Post Number Three

Alright before we begin I’d like to thank Shaw internet for the stellar internet I have been getting this weekend and today, and for getting my blog post out like three days late. So here we go.

We have been working some more on reading and beginning to appreciate poetry. Format and form are being taken note of and we are discussing the virtues of different types of poetry. Hopefully soon we can continue to some actual writing, but immersion is good for setting me up for success in my writing.

4. Our mentor relationship, being long-distance, has inevitably gotten a little rocky. Whether through the fault of the aforementioned Shaw internet, or the always reliable Yahoo email, or some issue on my mentors end, I haven’t gotten through to Bay for a while. It’s a logistical problem that I did expect but didn’t really plan or prevent for it.

2b. Our interactions started fairly formally, with introductions and such, all nicely spelled and formatted. We’ve started to become more colloquial in communication however and I think that’s a good thing. With formalities out of the way, we can more easily get on to what’s really important, and that’s the poetry.

5. My three strategies for improving mentor interactions are both logistical and educational. A different method of communication may be beneficial, such as Skype to better communicate with my mentor. A second strategy would be on my part, to ask more questions and take some ownership in interactions with my mentor to enrich my experience. A third would be to take some initiative outside of my mentor’s advice and read and discuss poetry as often as I can.

I realize I’ve not made much headway, but I’m doing everything I can to make week 8 a more fruitful fortnight.

 

 

In-Depth Post Number 2

I found a mentor, hooray! And in probably the last place you would expect.

Yes, reddit! I headed onto the r/poetry subreddit, which, for the uneducated, are categories. I made a post under the [poetry help] tag, explaining the project, telling them who I was, and finally asking for a mentor-ship. I was excited and nervous, hesitant yet sure that yes, yes this is how I would find my mentor. So I hit the big old blue submit button, and I waited.

My heart leaped as I saw the orange light beside my username – (1) New Comment. I scurried and very nearly killed my computer rushing to see what it was. However, waves of excitement were soon replaced by waves of disappointment. PoetryBot had graced my post with an automated comment.

All well. I closed the tab for a while and went off to do other things. Soon, however, I was back on reddit, praying for a response from a human or maybe just a semi-sentient robot.

What if I don’t find a mentor, master Skywalker?

And lo and behold, four new comments!

“Simon Cowell smiling? I thought it was just legend!”

I had three people offering to mentor me online, all very experienced with poetry, as well as one person offering feedback on a part time basis. I was so excited – I hadn’t really expected to get anything!

While all three of my potential mentors seemed great, one of them definitely stood out. Username PoetessBay, she boasts some amazing qualifications. She is a published poet, having two books of poems published and out in the world. She is also an editor for a poetry magazine – and a moderator on the poetry subreddit to boot! I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor short of Hemingway descending from the clouds.

So we have been talking over email. We are currently talking about form and different styles of poetry, and we’re looking at different poems to enforce these. I look forward to writing some poetry soon, but I want to know as much about as I can first. My mentor, who’s name is Bayleigh has shared some of her work with me, including a poem called Thin which you can read in it’s entirety here, an excerpt of which I will exit with:

Really, my ship, the body, 
came into the fire before 
the pain of it made sense, 
before the wood became 
  
heavy with flame and flame 
became mine. 

-Bayleigh Fraser

In-Depth Blog Post Number 1

January 18, 2014

As the day on which I needed to have my in-depth project decided on grew ever closer, I was worried, I had no idea what I was going to do. I initially wanted to do writing, but I spend so much time doing that already, that it seemed pointless to spend an extra five months on it. My mind fluttered over ideas, but eventually I came to poetry, which is what I’m going to spend the next five months studying for my in-depth project.

While I am very interested in creative writing, poetry is something I more or less brushed over. Previous attempts have not been the best, and I find myself with a lot more confidence in the writing aspect than in the poetic one. In my opinion, choosing this will be a good step from my comfort zone, still in the realm of writing, but a different type that I can learn.

I understand that others are doing ‘slam poetry’ a more modern percussive type, but I intend to learn a more general type. Hopefully, as I learn more about the art I will find a certain style that calls to me and I can further focus my area of learning.

An obstacle I can foresee in my path of learning in poetry, is turning all my poems into stories. I have done this in the past, and simply passed poetry off as something that was not for me. I hope to read a lot of poetry from author’s both famous and obscure, so I can remain in the mindset of poetry.

Currently, the identity of my mentor remains a mystery. I am essentially gold-panning among people I know, as well as the online community, to find someone who is qualified enough to teach me. I hope to have a mentor working with me by the time of my next blog post, so I will continue looking for one.

“I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”

-Edgar Allen Poe

I look forward to really jumping into poetry!

Document of Learning

Two blog posts in one day? I know, I’m a force to be reckoned with. The truth is, I don’t even know if I’m supposed to put this here, but really, what can you do?

To be frank, I am not that far from where I started in regards to information on my Eminent person. Five failed interview attempts, obsessive googling, and the watching of over two hundred YouTube videos has yielded me, with… not a lot.

I believe my biggest step was my speech. My original speech was honestly terrible. It was fact after fact, and as I rehearsed it I felt like I was reading one of my middle school speeches, works of writing that I never really felt proud of. So;

Obviously the answer here was to rewrite it entirely, about six hours before I was supposed to rewrite it. Yes, the majority of my speech was written at three am.

But, as I read it over, I liked it, it was something to be proud of. I have always been comfortable in the realm of fiction, inventing worlds and people to thrive or suffer almost independently, and this was as close as I could get.

I took a step to the podium, my eyes dark underneath from lack of sleep, my shirt wrinkled and a little dirty from the wicked fall I had taken on the way to school, I looked around me. My first thought was ‘This podium is a lot bigger than I thought’. So I spread my speech out over the surprisingly large podium, prepared to DO THIS.

And as I opened with that first line, with “I remember being a tree”, with the pitch and the tone just the way I had been planned, I knew I had them. I grinned, maybe even smirked, and kept going.

In my opinion, the whole thing went off perfectly, I mean I got ONE wish and that was from Mr. Albright, not to mention it being more of a star.

Sorry to sound like I’m popping my own collar here, I’m just really proud of the speech.

I don’t even know how many popped collars this guy is rocking but he is that many times cooler than you.

I feel more distant from my person now. I felt like he was jut next door before, but now I’m not so sure. Sonder has weakened in my mind and now I don’t know how applicable it is to my person. I’m a little sad about it, but I’ll keep watching Jimmy’s videos.

Now I guess I’m gonna go panic about my learning center. Cardboard!

Interview Documentation – Kind of

So of the five emails and YouTube messages I sent out, requesting interviews to YouTube musicians, I got…. drum roll please

Nothing.

No response, not even to say no. But all well. So I’m going to try and make an interview post, without… actually… having done an interview.

Damn you Wong! You torture me! (PS Jimmy if you read this I’m not mad hit me up on email).

So here we are, my interview questions:

  1. When and why did you start playing music?
  2. Do you operate on YouTube by choice? Do you think you could go mainstream if you wanted to?
  3. Which of your creative activities do you consider as your ‘primary’ (acting, music, photography etc.)
  4. Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
  5. Which famous musicians have you learned from?
  6. What are your fondest musical memories?
  7. Describe to me a brief overview of your earlier life in regards to your passions/outlets, such as education or important experiences (acting, filmmaking, music etc.)
  8. Do you still get nervous before performing or uploading a song?
  9. Are there any filmmakers or actors you look up to?
  10. How would you best describe yourself in one, brief sentence?

So there it is. I would give you an idea of what I think Mr. Wong would say, but I honestly don’t know a lot about him. In his videos he is, for the most part just goofy, bouncy, and funny. He rarely seems like a ‘dynamic character’ (Albright be proud!), and I think he consistently wears a facade in his videos, so it’s hard to judge his actual personality.

As you may have been able to tell from the interview, there are a few questions there that were left seemingly unanswered, and yet I kind of… answered them in my speech.

I have a confession to make – I improvised.

Here’s a cute picture of a cat! You’re not allowed to be angry!

Basically, I kind of don’t know what age Jimmy bought his first guitar at, or whether it was even an acoustic, I’m not sure if he had to play it in secret, if he had friends that moved to Japan from China that he was trying to call, or whether he ever gave a guitar to an underprivileged kid.

So yeah, sorry about that. Do you see what you made me DO Jimmy!?

I stated at the beginning that I was confident I’d get an interview with Jimmy, but I guess I had the WONG idea.

Interview Request Email, sent to Jimmy Wong!

A copy of the email I have just sent to my eminent person. I’m really nervous and excited to hear back. Wish me luck!

THE EMAIL IS AS FOLLOWS:

Mr. Wong,

My name is Lyle Hendriks. I am a Grade 9 student at Gleneagle Secondary in Coquitlam, BC. My class is doing a month-long project called the ‘Eminent Person Study’, in which we focus on one individual we deem as ’eminent’. I have chosen you, as I find your work in music, acting, and more extremely inspiring.

Part of the project is to secure an interview with an expert, either on your person, or in your eminent person’s field. However, since many select a dead eminent person, few have the chance to actually interview their person. The purpose of this email is to request an interview with you, to be scheduled for some time this week. The questions will be fairly simple, asking about your career on YouTube, your earlier life, and some opinion questions based on your online following and what that means to you.

The interview can be conducted however is most convenient for you, through phone or just email.

The earliest I will be able to do the interview will be on Monday, around 4 PM, and it shouldn’t take more than half an hour on the phone, and possibly less if exchanging emails.

Here are some links to information on the project, and TALONS (The education program I am in):

TALONS Blog: http://talonsblog.wordpress.com/

My School Blog (Currently used for Eminent Person project): http://talonslyleh.edublogs.org/

Thank you in advance for your time, and I look forward to your response,

Lyle Hendriks