Into the Rabbit Hole: Another Form of Fiction

I have to admit that this may not have brought me any closer to a succinct idea but I do feel a bit more bold in potentially experimenting with things. I was immediately drawn to the Arts and Humanities sections because I wasn’t familiar with the “research” side of them. Surprisingly, I had no idea of the depth of available research in the Arts and Humanities sections.  

“Comic Books and Graphic Novels” was a guide that was incredibly interesting. I had always pictured this genre as mostly containing Marvel/DC superheroes, Manga and Archie comics. Other types of novels seemed to be a small subset. But, I guess, Betty, Veronica and Batman don’t even begin to cover this genre. There are so many different forms and stories that a comic book/graphic novel could take. There were different denominations (eg. independent, mini comics, etc).  I quickly realized that comic books/graphic novels could be portrayed differently, written differently and speak different message to different audiences.

I discovered the Expresso Book Machine. Did you know you could actually print books? You can actually get published (not officially, but at least have a print copy of a book). This is a great opportunity for anyone to print a project in book from. 

The other subject area that I was intrigued by was “Theater/Drama”. I had never read or seen too many plays. I visited the resource“Theater in Video” which had fantastic recordings of original performances from plays but also contained productions on “non-artsy” topics like Rehabilitation history and Dentistry. The definition of theatre is defined differently from what I expected. 

From a project perspective, this exercise broadened my view of the different forms that my writing could take. This semester, I wanted to explore more of my ability in writing fiction. However, rather than simply typing words as a story, I now see that this project could take different forms. I could create a comic book. I could write a play or create a video/film depicting some sort of story. It’ll be interesting to see what form of fiction I’ll end up with. 

On Failure

When I was writing the title to this blog post, I instantly thought of Ralph Waldo Emerson and his essays. For those of you about to stop reading because you really don’t want to read about Emerson when you just finished the assigned reading you were supposed to have done the whole semester, I’ll stop very soon. I feel like Emerson. I am writing a post on “Failure” as if I have had years of experience and words of wisdom to everyone. But, what I can offer to my fellow MIW classmates is some words of comfort.

We’re almost done with finals. We’re almost done. I don’t think finals necessarily frighten us because of the experience. Everyone does hate sitting in a room for hours with a crick in your neck as you’re scribbling answers. But, that can’t be that bad? Underlying the whole finals experience isn’t the test-taking environment but the fear of failure. We fear failure. No matter how many times we convince ourselves that failure is acceptable and approachable, we balk in the situation where we actually need to face failure. I think, after a while, inspirational quotes and hoopla seem cliche. As soon as we read inspirational quotes, we believe them and internalize them. But after a few hours. the effect starts to ebb away like pain reliever.

It is hard to internalize these thoughts but I will say this, failure really isn’t that bad. Sometimes, we are so focused to look into the future that we forget about seeking confidence from the past. All of us have failed at some point. And, was it really that bad? Some of you may say that your failures in the past were nothing to the possibilities you face now. But, then I ask you, honestly, are you going to remember this exam in x years? And is your career/education going to be the biggest part of your life? For most people, it won’t be.

I know all of us are facing (or have already faced) finals in this month. And, most of us (even if we don’t care to admit it) will have at least an inkling of fear about failure. For this, I urge you to think that failure really isn’t that bad. Although, this post shouldn’t motivate you to not study. Instead, I hope it encourages to take a happier/more positive perspective on your studying. We’re almost there!

I know I discussed how temporary these motivational quotes can seem. But, here are a couple:

Censorship

These days, I’ve been trying to be more grateful for the things that I have. I’m starting to keep a gratitude journal. Yes, yes, the emotion behind this post may be more appropriate around Thanksgiving time, but do we need a holiday to be thankful?

What am I grateful for today? : The freedom to read whatever I want. And I am sure that there is a still material that is censored but the amount of censorship in this country is negligible to that of others.

Just take a look at this banned book list.  What if you never got the opportunity to read some of these books. Could you imagine never being able to see Holden’s internal struggles in The Catcher in the Rye or going on adventures with Ron, Harry and Hermione?

 According to the article, we may have never met Katniss either. We can probably say that J Law’s career would have been quite different. 

I didn’t intend for this post to be any sort of “position paper”, “editorial piece” or instigate a debate over when and where censorship should be allowed. But, I did want to emphasize that we often our freedom to write and read for granted. As writers (and readers), we come to realize how it’s not even our own writing, but it’s the writing of others that motivates us, shapes us and encourages us to keep writing. I, myself, have been inspired by other authors and we all know that writers are notorious for “stealing” ideas and techniques from other writers.

So, on this Sunday afternoon, I encourage you to think about the source of your writing. Who are you inspired by? Would you still be able to be inspired by their work if there was rampant censorship? Would you work be allowed with censorship?

As writers, we need to accept and understand the world in order to write about it. But (especially in the case of censorship), sometimes the world needs to accept us as well. Be grateful for its acceptance!

Spring- Daring Duos Activity

Yesterday, Lena Dunham tweeted, “After Spring Breakers I now view my booty as both a weapon and a liability. Also, I call it a booty.” Spring Breakers is a movie that follows four college friends (Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, and Rachel Korine) and their Spring Break escapades. Desperate to afford the trip, they rob a restaurant. They are bailed out of jail by a drug and arms dealer (James Franco), and then get caught up in his schemes.

Linda’s Take:

The trailer is a montage of racy clips flashing drugs, alcohol, gun violence…and our favorite childhood Disney stars, Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens. That’s right- Gabriella, the math wiz Wildcat, has put down her pencil and picked up a gun.   Whether or not we like seeing these girls portrayed in this way, the fact of the matter is, they’re actresses. They act for a living, and that’s just what they’re doing in Spring Breakers.   I look forward to seeing Spring Breakers. I can’t wait to see these actresses step out of their classic roles and take on entirely new personas. I hope that after watching this movie, I too can “ view my booty as both a weapon and a liability.”

Veena’s Take:

I think Hollywood has tried to do its own take on Spring Break, Girls Gone Wild, or just in general, teenage craziness in the past. The new movie, Springbreakers, seems to look at all of these ideas. When I first heard about it, it seemed like a teenage version of The Hangover or another repeat of something like Project X. But, when you watch the trailer, it looks strangely serious and silly at the same time. We see the girls attempting to get cash for something…for Spring Break? And, they meet Lil Wayne looking James Franco on their trip? I think the movie, itself, will be interesting to see. The cast includes some popular actors like James Franco, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and Vanessa Hudgens. Though some people may not put this role as out of James Franco’s territory, I don’t think it’s something he has done before. And, I hope 12 year old Selena Gomez fans (although it’s rated R) don’t see this movie because their image of her might just be shattered. Benson will be leaving “A” from Pretty Little Liars and Hudgens won’t be singing “We’re All In This Together” from her High School Musical days. With this movie, I think Hollywood will once again, provoke controversy and surprise us at the same time. I hope Spring Breakers will at  contain a deeper message (if possible) or at least exemplify how crazy Spring Break can actually be. Maybe it’s so crazy, that the craziness, itself, is the message? Ha ha, I think it’s also safe to say that all of the actresses won’t be wearing proper clothes for at least 3/4 of the movie. It’s bikinis all the way in Spring Breakers.

Can Writing Become Viral?

We are past the age where the word “viral” only refers to a sickness (although Emily’s Norovirus seems pretty menacing). YouTube has taken the word “viral” to whole new levels. In this perspective , “viral” refers to the sheer millions of views that a YouTube video can garner. There are so many YouTube viral videos (insert link of top 50 list)!  A funny/quirky video on YouTube now has the possibility of bringing someone fame, fortune and recognition at the same time. Psy’s Gangam Style may not have been as popular or none of us might have heard Rebecca Black’s singing in Friday.

Photo Credit: viralblog.com

I think this YouTube virality is both exciting and frightening at the same time. Anyone can view a video but the popularity can be short lived. Every week, it seems like there is always another video that is more popular than last week’s video. A few weeks ago it was the Harlem Shake. This week, I’ve been hearing about a Mila Kunis BBC interview.

But as a writer, I really have to ask, can writing become viral? With the increasing use of online videos, can a piece of writing ever reach the level of virality of YouTube videos? I think technology has definitely helped increase the access and availability of “writing” for everyone. The fact that I’m writing in an online blog and you’re reading this on a computer is a testament to this fact. But, in this day and age, will we actually hear of a fantastic article or blog post that someone wrote in Korea or in Florida?

We are far off from the virality that writing like Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence probably generated in the late 1700s. The only recent example of writing virality that I can think of is J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter or even the recent Fifty Shades of Grey. But these are actually full blown books and someone may argue that this type of virality is related to the stories. But, the internet is such a great tool. Anyone could read an article from TIME or post from Andrew Sullivan. But, can these ever be viral? I think technology definitely could make writing viral. Personally, I don’t think we have seen any true “viral” online pieces yet. Maybe the subjectivity of writing doesn’t have the same appeal as the “universality” of a video. Maybe, people just don’t like to read anymore…. Or, maybe writers are not “entertaining” enough… Maybe, people are not willing to spare the few minutes it takes to read something versus the seconds to view a video. These are all things to consider.

Why hasn’t a piece of writing been viral at this point? Or has it? Sound off in the comments below. I want to hear your opinion!