Commonplace Book Full

Entry One:

Original: It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

It was the best of times and it was the worst of times.

It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times.

Entry Two:

Intro 1:

“The book that follows is about the relationship between public discourse and built space in the contemporary United States. It is about how the physical organization of our neighborhood, cities, and metropolitan areas affects our practices of political expression and debate- the ways we represent our histories to one another, render and negotiate our differences, and determine together our future. It is about how environment influences whom we talk to, what we talk about, and whether or not we value that talking in our hearts and minds. And it is about how those political habits and dispositions, in turn, shape the design of the built world. Using multiple kinds of evidence, I argue that growing spatial stratification of our physical landscape- the decentralization, fragmentation, and polarization of our local geography- is both cause and effect of our increasingly impoverished political relations with one another.” -Preface of City of Rhetoric, by David Fleming

Having read multiple chapters out of this text perhaps I am not the best (unbiased) source to use when speaking on the meaning and format of this paragraph, but I will anyways. I will admit I did read the preface before starting on chapter one, a habit I’ve had since reading The Magician’s Nephew as a child and seeing a forward written by some author or another. To me this paragraph sets up the relationship between the author and the outside world. Though it could be me projecting, I feel as if the author has an almost defensive voice to his writing, as if it had been dismissed multiple times through his life and only now was he allowed to present his full case. Because of this the “they say” of his argument is present only in the subtext. His “I say” is obvious enough, he lays it out as he presents the basics of his idea, but the subtleness of his “they say” is much harder to pick up on. Because of this it doesn’t exactly follow Graff’s set up for a “they say, I say” discourse, but the subversiveness of his statements make it obvious his opinion on “they say”.

Intro 2:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in in possession of good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” –Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Say hello to one of my favorite lines in literary history. This line is simply a genius. The first time I read Pride and Prejudice I was probably 14, it was the first time I had read a female classical author and it felt as if she was speaking to me and only me. Anyone who says representation isn’t important has obviously had it their entire life, as this introduction of female writing changed by perspective on my place in the world. But that’s for another time. This line, so gossipy but beautifully phased, has a they say enumerated but an I say that is completely opposite. Though it is possible that without proper background knowledge on the time and author the I say of “that’s bullshit” could be overlooked, the tone of the sentence ensures that the reader should at least do a double take on it’s intended meaning. Graff’s form of “they say, I say” is followed to the tee, with a twist that can only be described as a woman’s wit betraying it’s true meaning.

Entry 3:

“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.” -Thomas Paine

Root Sentence:

What we obtain cheap, we esteem lightly; dearness gives everything value.

The words that I’ve taken out here give the sentence qualifiers. They impress upon the reader the extremes of the point that Paine is trying to articulate. Without the filler words like “too” and “only” the sentence looses its power of conviction.


When we change views, we judge too harshly; it is opinions on that gives discourse its quality.

Entry 4:

“Shall Property owned by the University System of Georgia and utilized by providers of college and university student housing and other facilities continue to be exempt from taxation to keep costs affordable?” -Georgia Referendum to amend the State Constitution

  1. Property owned by the University System of Georgia exempt from taxation.
  2. Words that jump out: other facilities, utilized, providers, student housing
  3. To me it seems that this isn’t a statement written out by a lawyer for the actual referendum, but rather a summary piece for the general public to understand the referendum’s goal. It’s possible that this was a press release piece, or from an article on the proposed continuation, but the audience it is aiming for is probably not one trained in law due to the lack of specificity and technical jargon.

Entry 5:

“Ah was born back due in slavery so it wasn’t for me to fulfill my dreams of whut a woman oughta be and to do. Dat’s one of de hold-backs of slavery. But nothing can’t stop you from wishin’. You can’t beat nobody down so low till you can rob ‘em of they will. Ah didn’t want to be used for a work-ox and a brood-sow and Ah didn’t want mah daughter used dat way neither.” Their Eyes Were Watching God pg. 56

I find this quote to be so misleading about Nanny because she claims that slavery held her back in what a woman could be and do, yet somehow, she became a new brand of slavery for her granddaughter Janie. The dichotomy that this presents is perhaps representative of the time Nanny was in, but it is still present all the same.

Entry 6:


We took a class trip in my MFP class today. One of the girls in my class interns at the National Cathedral so we were able to get a behind the scenes tour usually reserved for top dollar donors and interns. This was taken outside of one of the belltower windows towards the west.

I found the tour to be enlightening, I was able to speak to someone to see if they could find the 16 23ft long banners my Grandfather made by hand for the Cathedral. Every view was designed to be magnificent, every arch meticulously carved to stand the test of time (though maybe not earth quakes) As I stood in the cold wind that whipped through the belltower however, I can’t help but to wonder if instead we’ve built something that glorifies man over God. It’s an uncomfortable emotion, but the longer I stood in the bricks defying the wind and the towers that blocked out the sun the stronger it grew. We need not built cathedrals to glorify God, God is already glorified in the things we destroyed to make them.

Entry 7:

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

See this is the perfect example of a place that I would want to stick a comma and completely mess the whole thing up. Through grade school I was taught not the real purpose of a comma, but that a comma meant a pause when you’re speaking. I learned that and internalized it for years before realizing that I was quite wrong.

Now, in my writing, commas are used to remind me to stop as if I was speaking. Many of the speeches I write are riddled with grammatical inaccuracies specifically because of this reason. The commas remind me to stop when I am speaking. Or pause for effect at the very least.

Entry 8:


I enjoyed doing a photo so I think I’ll do it again. Life imitates art right? Well if you count Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as art then I’m totally right.

The reason I chose this picture is because I believe there’s a certain rhetorical irony to it. In the original scene from the movie the main trio capture this iconic scene on a day that they are playing hooky from class, the Chicago Museum of Art being one of the many places they visit. Well this isn’t in Chicago, it’s at the National Gallery, but what’s really ironic to me is that technically we’re in class.

My Intercultural Understanding class went to the National Gallery on a class field trip a couple of days ago to defy the boundaries of the definition of intercultural by doing our best to understand the art. Granted at the time of the picture we were ignoring what our professor had to say, but it’s so odd to me that by taking this picture we unwittingly conformed to what the original picture stood against.

Entry 9:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness:

only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

One day I dream to be able to emulate the orations of Dr. King. The genius that is this sentence is simply beyond compare, changing anything, would deny the gravitas of it’s meaning.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.

Suddenly it becomes that much less impactful, that much less resounding within the soul. Change any of the words and the meaning is lost. Truly, Dr. King manages to pen two sentences that could never be changed without creating a new beast.

Entry 10:

“this life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road.” – Martin Luther

LIFE IS A PROCESS. This quote has lifted me up many a time during moments of weakness or uncertainty. I find that it speaks to this long lasting idea that we as flawed beings are ever on our way to something better.

If I could leave the world with only one token to mine own legacy let it be this; we are all things growing together, let us help each other grow towards the light.

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