A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

I got lost in my library search. As I clicked links and side bars, I kept finding myself looking at photographs. I scoured through the Time Magazine covers, the New York Magazine, the National Geographic.  I pulled up images from pivotal moments in human history and was absorbed by the colors on the screen, the power of the images, at how they spoke for themselves with no writing or explanation. After some time, I took a step back, and realized I wasn’t hooked by what exactly I was looking at, but how I was looking at them.

There are millions of photographs and each one captures such a unique and brief moment of time. Photographs preserve moments, allowing them the chance to be seen and talked about later on, when the moment has passed, when the people are gone, or when the event is over. I am fascinated by pictures, by how much they say, without saying anything at all.

From another angle, I am even more fascinated by the pictures that aren’t taken. The moments in time that happen, but are never documented–where the only hope of preservation is through memory. In a way, the moments not captured are far more delicate, far more susceptible to being forgotten. There is something so deliberate about photographs.  They are meant to be seen again, to send some kind of message. I wonder what goes on in people’s lives that they don’t capture on purpose, that they want concealed from the world. There is something (probably a lot) to be said about the pictures not taken.

As tangential as this is, this library search got me thinking about Instagram. This picture-sharing media platform caters to the idea of showing the word the image you wish to share. Instagram lets you edit, filter, sharpen and crop photos so that by the time you share it with your followers, the photograph sends a tailored message, something far from the truth. What comes of this? Of branding yourself in such a “picture perfect” way? There is so much beauty in raw moments, the unedited moments of daily life. That is the beauty, and those are the photographs, worth talking about.

We’ve Arrived

I do not think I have ever experienced a faster four months in my life. Overdramatic? Maybe a little, but I am in shock and awe that my first semester of Junior year has come and gone so fast. I am truly thankful to have a portfolio to look back on and remember that I did in fact do something this term! Below is a link to my portfolio. In that link, you will find a lot of me.  After looking over my portfolio one last time, (that’s so not true) I am proud to say that I see myself in it. As a whole, the pictures, the stories, the quotes, the writing… it is as Anna as it gets. As the portfolio goes into depth discussing, I have truly found my voice, and maybe even my niche.

Through my words, memories and photographs, I hope you see the beautiful journey that I have taken so far. From the years leading up to Michigan to my time spent in Ann(a) Arbor, there is not a second I would trade. Though there have been tough moments, they have made me wiser, stronger, and better for it all.  It is my ultimate hope that my portfolio for the Minor in Writing Gateway course shows you just that.

Please read, scroll, watch, smile, laugh, cry, but most of all…enjoy!

annajber@wordpress.com

It’s Nice To Meet You

My hope for my e-Portfolio is that when people stumble upon it, they learn about a person instead of just being handed a few good pieces of writing to read and think about. I am in the process of creating a portfolio that represents all aspects of who I am as a student and as a creative individual because I touch on all of the varying sides of me in the numerous pieces I have written this semester. Each piece, whether it is the ‘Why I Write,’ the repurposing or the remediation, all are strong descriptions of who I am, what I believe in and what I am working towards. So, it would only make sense that these same ideas are portrayed in a cohesive and visually appealing way in my final portfolio.

I am going for simple. Not in a lazy, cutting-corner type of way, but rather, an uncomplicated, clutter-free, decisive and purposeful way. This presentation will implicitly highlight exactly what I am trying to argue—that simplicity is what I am striving for, in my writing and in my life. My pieces describe the journey that I have taken up until this point, and I hope to create a portfolio that showcases this journey and leaves room for my next discovery.

I am most excited about walking away from this class with a concrete portfolio that is a summation of all of my work. I can take this tangible compilation with me to job interviews and show it off to friends and family. I am proud of it and excited for it because it is a raw representation of my journey, my hard work and the incredible amount of knowledge I have gained from my years here at the University of Michigan.

This blog post is really optimistic about me completing the blog in the exact way that I picture it. Now is the time for me to be a tad realistic. I am technology-incompetant. So, I have high high hopes for my final e-Portfolio, but I also must remember (and warn you,) of my incredibly low level of computer skills. I would love to sit here and say I can code for hours, but there is no need to lie! I am nervous but more excited to see how much I can learn on WordPress in a short matter of time and see how well it translates into my final portfolio.

Here is a link to my work-in-progress… http://annajber.wordpress.com

Enjoy and be critical!

Multiple-Choice Agony

Something you don’t know about me? Well, this should be good.

I am absolutely convinced that multiple-choice exams are the devil reincarnated. I can’t take them; I have never been able to take them. There is something about the four options, all confusing and filled with deception, that throw me off, no matter how prepared I am to take the exam. I am a good student (I think), I put forth a lot of effort and make sure to study way in advance of any exam (I think), and still, I am always rewarded with less-than-mediocre grades to show for my time and effort. Now, HOW in the world is this related to the Minor in Writing Course and my experience thus far in the program? Knowing how terribly bad I am at multiple choice exams has forced me to swallow my pride and realize that there are some things I will never be good at. On the other hand, having to overcompensate for my awful test taking abilities, I have had to push myself to become a writer that I can be proud of.

And so, in search of work that I could look back fondly at in ten years time, I realized last year that I needed to take my existing writing skills and turn them into something admirable. In that moment, I applied to the minor, and to my great surprise, got in!

Now, you’re wondering (or maybe not), don’t you still have to take multiple-choice exams for your psychology major? Yes, yes I do and it is a dreadful, scary, painful and often nightmare-producing experience each and every time.  So, to make it less painful, I make sure that at the completion of every multiple-choice exam, I do something that makes me proud of myself, like write or paint or sing. Something; anything. Yes, that is how I sleep at night.

Life in Color

This was my first experience with WordPress and I must say, it took me quite a bit of time to find a blog that resonated with me.

And then, all of a sudden, I found TornoBambino, also known as Childagain. This blog immediately caught my attention because it is so colorful. Its graphics and texts are big and stimulating, allowing the color to be so filled with life and purpose.

Included on this blog are dynamic features and links that lead you to different pages and videos. In the video, there is a line that says: “Welcome to our creative world, full of colors, games and music.” I love this, and how their blog speaks to this in so many ways. With a focus on selling and marketing their professional careers, this website does so much more. It takes their web design business and makes it relatable because the characters of those involved are so well expressed in the blog and its design. The blog’s organizational strategy is a simple flow of the page with links that take you to different parts of the blog that discuss different features, like clients, projects, new innovations etc. The separation between links showcases how many different elements are involved in the business as a whole, while at the same time, showing how they all seamlessly flow together to create one focus.

In many ways, I live a creative life. I write, I paint, I sing and I feel like I could create a blog that encompasses all of those elements, just like this one does.  Its not just informative, but its happy. Tell me, what’s better than that?

 

My New Best Friend

I have a new best friend, and her name is Lynda.com. We became close a few days ago when I discovered I had free access to her incredible site just by being a student at the University of Michigan! Oh, the perks of a huge endowment!

Thanks to this remediation assignment and Lynda.com, I learned how to make a Tumblr account. A Tumblr is an interactive blog that allows its users to create individual blogs and post all sorts of digital media relating to anything of interest. Tumblr allows the sharing of pictures, links, videos, audio recordings and more. The most enticing Tumblr pages are those devoted to specific themes. I have spent hours getting lost in the millions of Tumblr pages that exist, each one more aesthetically pleasing than the last.

As I begin to create my own Tumblr page, I am starting to brainstorm the theme I want to hone in on, as well as strategically choose which digital medias I am going to include. I want to create a perfect balance between text and image, between visual and audio features. As fun as it looks, I know this process will require a lot of time and attention to make it just right. I have an important idea to convey and I want to make sure my new media platform appropriately presents my topic!

For a sneak peak at the barely-anything Tumblr I have created… take a look!

 

http://annajber.tumblr.com

Beyonce Everything

A website that I have been a fan of for a while is Beyonce’s official website. Yes, I know how this sounds, like an overly-obsessed 14 year old girl, but I assure you, this website is a work of art. Please, see for yourself.

Beyonce.com

This site is a view into the ultra-secret and private life of Beyonce. She, unlike most mega stars, has made an active effort to remain as private as possible, given her insane level of recognition and fame. Beyonce is one of the greatest singers of all time and I believe that  her strategic choice to stay tucked away makes her fame even greater and more sought out.

The media and the gossip magazines are filled with fake reports and rumors regarding Beyonce, her husband and her child. This website is her way of disproving all the claims she hears on a daily basis. Through an updated tumblr of images of not only her singing tours but also her private life, Beyonce has made available thousands of pictures that welcome her fans into her life. In addition to pictures, Beyonce has included videos from moments throughout her life, sound audio bits from concerts and CDs as well as links to her other business ventures, such as her clothing line and fragrance.

This site is inclusive of audio and visual media all with a really inclusive and appealing look to it. This is a new media technique that I would be interested in learning how to implement in my remediation assignment.

 

Strategy

I am an emotional person so it would only make sense that I am an emotional writer. I write how I feel. I am candid and real and from what I hear, I do a good job at getting my audience’s attention. I have had some bizarre things happen to me in my short life, but you’d be surprised to know how many people like to read about bizarre. When I put my story on paper and I write about these startling and rare circumstances, like the loss of my voice for some unknown reason, I capture my audience’s curiosity. I write about things that no one else can write about and that is my most important writing strategy.

I have never written anything of fiction. I like to think of myself as a creative person, but I have never attempted to write a made-up story. I am a big believer in truth, the simultaneous power and vulnerability that truth can provide. I am sure that at some point in my writing career I will create something of fiction but I think my writing is effective because it is filled with such raw honesty. If I write with vivid words and imagery, it is not because I have an incredible imagination, it is because my memory is sharp. As I recall and hone in on all of the little details, the important aspects of my recollection come to life.

To repurpose or not to repurpose? That is the Question.

The paper I am going to repurpose for this assignment is from a course I took last semester. In my Judaic Studies 410 class, we were asked to assess our Jewish Identities with the incorporation of research and evidence found in our class readings and from additional sources that we had to find on our own. I really enjoyed this assignment because it gave me a chance to really explore my Jewish identity and how and why I am where I am today. I want to repurpose this essay because after rereading it over the last couple of days, I think the research I had to include, clouded the strength and beauty of my story. The quotes and the research are so ordinary and are included because I wanted a good grade, not because I thought they helped my argument and my writing in any way.

I am going to repurpose this essay from the research paper that it is, to a letter written to my grandfather. I want to strip the essay of its “extra” skin and create a piece that is raw and thought provoking. Though my ideas are already on the paper, I know that through this repurposing, I will be able to dig deeper and visit new areas that my research paper didn’t allow me to do before. I want to write a piece that is important to me, but also to my family members and my grandfather’s legacy. He is the reason that my family observes Judaism the way we do and it is that point that I want to drive home in this repurposing assignment.

A Disappearing Act

“WHY I WRITE”

I was in ninth grade when I lost my voice. I wish I could tell you that there was a battle involved, that I lost my voice screaming at the top of my lungs at a Beyoncé concert, but those would be all lies. I woke up one morning and it was gone. And what was the worst part? My voice disappeared for three months.

With no warning, no explanation, no known medical cause, my voice just slipped away and took a nice long vacation.

I was a singer. I was notoriously the loudest person in my family. I was a talker, a big one at that, and was occasionally sent outside of my classroom in school for my ceaseless conversations. And then, in one nights sleep, I fell silent.

One truly doesn’t know the power of words, the power of expressing ones thoughts and feelings, until their beautiful ability no longer exists.

It was when no one could hear what I had to say, what I wanted to say, that I began to write. I wrote everything; what I wanted for dinner, what I thought of different stories we would read in class, whether or not I wanted to go to the movies.  I wrote because I had to.

Having no idea whether or not my voice was every coming back, I wrote down all of my feelings which turned out to be pages and pages of fear. When my voice finally came back and I looked back at all I had written over those long and quiet three months, I realized my greatest fear was not being heard. I lived in fear that my words would be forgotten because no one could hear what I had to say, and then it hit me. To write is to speak and though it may not stir up immediate attention, if I write, then my thoughts, my ideas, my words, could never be lost.

When my voice came back, I kept on writing. I kept on writing, and I still haven’t stopped. I write because I can, because it’s an incredible outlet. My writing matters, if to no one but myself, my words mean something, and it is sad that I had to lose my voice in order to realize that.