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After finishing "100 Best Loved Poems", it was so difficult to just choose 10 poems to find pictures for them, but I chose the 10 poems that caught my attention the most. The first picture chosen is "Annabel Lee" by Edgar Allan Poe speaks of a love attraction between two children, which is the picture chosen is two little kids nearly kissing each other. The two sonnets by Shakespeare, "Sonnet CXVI" and "Sonnet XVIII" have very symbolic pictures. The moral of the first sonnet (CXVI) is that love is not all that it's meant to be, which is why the picture representing this sonnet is a heart with a lighting bolt through it. The second (XVIII) speaks of a beautiful, powerful woman. During the Renaissance, Botticelli painted a masterpiece, "The Birth of Venus", which depicts perfect beauty that parallels with Shakespeare's sonnet. In Emily Dickinson's poems, "I'm Nobody! Who are you?" and "This is my letter to the World" both have a clear message, so finding a picture to represent both was not onerous. Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken" is said to be the most misinterpreted poem ever; however the direct image you get after reading this poem is an empty road. Out of these 10 poems and pictures, some had deep meanings and symbols, while others were straight-forward and to the point, but this diversity among poems is what makes the book successful.
"Gospel according to Larry" by Janet Tashjian
Interview between Josh Swensen (JS) and Anissa Nadal (AN)
AN: First of all, can you please identify yourself as either Josh or Larry.
JS: Well, in reality, I am Josh Swensen, your average adolescent teen; however my internet altar ego is Larry.
AN: How did this Larry idea come along? Were you just bored one day and decided to blog, or did deep thought come first?
JS: My best friend, Beth, and I are very close-minded, not in a stubborn way, but in a way that we have our ideas and we stick to them, not easily influenced. I'm extremely opinionated and I feel like the world should be aware of my thoughts and what is going on, just not as "me", as "Larry". The whole Larry identity was a secret that I only knew. Beth was familiar with my secret website already and wanted me to join. Little did she know, I was the one who had created this blog.
AN: Oh! But don't best friends tell each other everything? Why was this a secret that had to be kept for you only?
JS: Yes, Beth was my best friend, but I also liked her ever since I can remember. Plus, she admired Larry so much that if I told her it was me, it would be such a disappointment to her. To be honest, I must admit that I could not tell Beth because she would think I was using her for her knowledge. For instance, we'd have a discussion one day, and the next, it would coincidentally be posted up on Larry's website.
AN: I now understand why Beth could not be in on the secret. You mentioned discussions, can you be more specific?
JS: It wasn't only discussions between Beth and I, but also with students, teachers, everyone on school campus. Even with my stepfather's business! For example, in Sermon #93, "Larry" talked about brand names, companies, and how the advertisement has society "used and abused". On the website, was a variety of sermons from ads to "phonies" to nature.
AN: Interesting! Besides these discussions, what else did the site consist of?
JS: Well, I do have only 75 prized possessions in my life at the moment. Why have more? So, on the website, I'd photograph them and post them on to give out slight hints about my identity; however, I made sure to not give it all away.
AN: I see. Can you identify some of these possessions?
JS: Some of the pictures I scanned and posted up were of my belt, my boots, my laptop, some clothes and books. All of these are normal things you can find in any teenager's room, so no one really knew who I was.
AN: As I can see, people were intrigued in knowing who you really were. Did you ever encounter problems?
JS: Oh yes, I did! This one person, who wouldn't reveal him or herself either, but who used the name Betagold would not stop bugging me and demanding me to say who I really was. Of course I didn't but I received threats! This person even said he or she was going to come looking for me where ever i was!
AN: Wow! They were really desperate to know who you were. Well, these problems really did not affect you? What impact did this website have on you, the town, or even the world?
JS: The website was a huge hit. I did not let the haters ruin what i had been waiting for all my life: to make a change. Everyone always wants to make a change in the world, and i never thought I could do it. This website proved that I could. As for the town, everyone was reading my sermons and ideas and taking what I said into perspective. It was great!
AN: How rewarding! Your identity ws finally revealed at the end. How did you feel about this? Did everything go as planned?
JS: No. It completely backfired on me. I nearly got arrested, everyone was a against, people I did not know, as well as people I did know, like Beth and my stepfather. People that loved me had now lost respect for me for lying and for being a "traitor". What they didn't notice was how well it was going, and the improvement in society, until my secret spilled (thanks to Betagold, who succeeded in finding me where ever i was!).
AN: That must be hard having the people you love turn their back on you. Well, Josh Swensen, thank you very much for your time. Any last thought you would like to share?
JS: Yes! It is always great to want to make a change in the world, whether it is globally or in your backyard, just do it the right way!
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