The Semester in Hindsight

Blogging this semester has been a good outlet of catharsis this semester. When I first had heard that I was going to have to start blogging, I was extremely unsure of how it would go. What would I write about? Is there anything I can say without offending people? How cringe worthy am I going to have to get before I get a passing grade? Oh dear god, and I’m being assigned more work?!

Of course, it wasn’t too bad because the whole semester was full of random happenings and feelings that gave me almost too much to talk about at times… So as I said earlier, it was very cathartic. I began to love and enjoy the times I got to write an open-ended blog (as opposed to blogs with prompts) because it became an outlet where I could express myself and my current thoughts and feelings. I was allowed to just be myself and write in a relaxed manner (kind of like now? I’m not sure; this last blog is following a prompt at this moment, so maybe not). When it came to the assigned blog posts, I was honestly never a fan of them. It wasn’t because they were bad, merely that they were extremely academic, which didn’t mirror much of the relaxed and open-ended blogs I wrote. Despite that, I find that blogging was nice and is still kind of nice and I might even continue writing blogs after  I’m done with this course.

One of the major takeaways from blogging this semester was just getting my thoughts out there for others to see. Even though I enjoyed the open-ended blogs more, it did feel awkward at first just talking about my life, things I’m passionate about, and/or about moments I wasn’t feeling good to strangers. But it began to feel easier the more I did it, and I actually liked seeing the feedback or thoughts people would comment to me on my open-ended blogs!

So with that note, I will end this blog post with some cool music! Check out this album by Wintergatan!

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Precise precision in unprecise eyes

I just spent five minutes trying to think of a creative title for this piece. I wish I could have fit in a couple more “precise” in the title, but alas, I couldn’t. Better luck in the next blog.

Anyway, hello my fellow peers and/or future blog readers who are browsing my beginnings now that I’m famous (presuming I actually get famous and this blog isn’t scrapped for whatever reason; I don’t know the future. I’m just trying to cover all my bases right now). For this week’s assigned blog post, we (“we” meaning the students in my class of writing 200 for the fall semester of 2016) were assigned to reflect over chapter titled “On Precision” in the book Letters and Life, by Bret Lott. As the title of the chapter suggests, as well as the title of this blog, it is about precisions, and specifically precision in writing (at least that’s what I got out of it).

So one of the portions of this reading that I found interesting was the story between the author and another writer, and how he was asking that lady about a story she had written, and why she wrote the story the way that she had. The conclusion to that section was interesting to me because it basically indicated that sometimes people discard ideas or write completely different stories from what they had been inspired by, due to not valuing the idea, or fear that it might not be accepted. In simpler terms, sticking to cliche ideas instead of breaking out into original ideas (because the cliche is what everyone is expecting and therefore won’t hate I guess? On this side note, I’ve always found the idea of “cliche” to be weird because we’re told to avoid it since everyone else uses cliche ideas or language, and one must always be original. But if everyone is avoiding cliche, doesn’t that make cliche ideas no longer the cliche, as no one is now performing cliche acts of writing or storytelling? Just a random though). Anyway, I found this interesting because I myself know that I have changed my stories because I want them to fit a more cliche or acceptable audience, i.e. my parents during high school. This, of course, resulted in me never writing the story I wanted to tell, or even finishing the story I was telling at that time, as I wasn’t really into that story I was making.
The essence of this section was basically to be precise to one’s self and their writing, or at least that’s kind of what I got out of it.

Reflection on Publishing

Per this week’s assigned blog post, my discussion will be focused on a video I found on publishing and marketing books (or rather, the mistakes people make while publishing and marketing books).

So first off, I actually thought this video was great. I recently did a research paper on publishing and what is the best way to get published, where I weighed pros and cons of different forms of publishing, and I wish I had seen this video because I feel like it would have been a nice source to add to my list of other sources. Anyway, the overall idea behind this video (as seen in its title) is the top 6 mistakes people make while self-publishing, which she lists as follows:
1. Refusing to hire a structure or general editor,
2. Not hiring a line editor or copyeditor,
3. Not shelling out for a barcode and ISBN,
4. Skimping on a cover design for your book,
5. Bad (or inefficient) Marketing,
6. Pretending your book is not a “real book” (because you self-published it).
However,  I feel that while there are 6 ideas behind this video, there are 2 overarching ideas that are the central suggestions to most of this video.

The first of these overarching suggestions in this video has to do with editing and proof-reading one’s work and to look outside of one’s self for critiques on writing. It is recommended that one should look to an editor or some other form of proof-reader for to help revise ideas and get criticism on it. The reason this is important is because an author might have an idea in mind, but that idea might not be coming across in a way that the author intends. Thus, it is recommended to seek and listen to whatever criticism one gets on a piece of writing before getting it published.

The second of the suggestions from this video deals with the presentation of the book, though this could also be seen as marketing. The lady in the video states the fact right away in section 4 of her video, that people judge books by their covers, and as that is what people are always going to see when they look to your book, it should be a good cover. Additionally, she mentions that many authors typically skimp out on marketing and the issue the is that when it comes to this point, many writers just say “oh hey, my book is published go buy it.” and expect that to work, but it requires more than that. She suggests that people need to go out and do more (despite it being annoying or awkward at times).

Of course, lady in the video has her 6 points that she covers, but the way that I saw this video, it seemed like the two pinnacle ideas behind the video  were proof-reading before publishing so that one’s work is the best, and actually going forward and doing the marketing instead of skimping out and being lazy.

If I told you…

This blog is going to be a bit of an odd one, as it’s going to a conglomeration of many blog ideas I’ve wanted to cover in the past couple weeks, but haven’t due to other circumstances… So rather than simply giving up on the ideas, I thought I’d cover them all in small snippet paragraphs.

Faces-
There’s nothing like the site of seeing a face you recognize and have known for a very long time. On a daily basis, you forget how special a face can really be, for, after a prolonged time, even just the sight of it can alter one’s views of the world. Would you believe if I told you that I’ve been trying to find those faces? I know you wouldn’t believe me at if I told you how many times my heart has begun to flutter with sudden joy, because for one second, I had thought that I saw my best friend from home or my brother. But no, it never is those faces, it’s merely the faces of strangers. Was it the eyebrows I wonder, maybe the nose? Or the way that her hair falls down over her forehead and cover the side of her face. Or that man’s smile. I see all these fragmented pieces of the faces I know, but they never are the faces I hope for.

Nightfall-
I’ve eluded to this story in the past, and have found the desire to find what scraps of notes and chapters I could save to then begin writing this story. I wrote it when I was 12, going on 13, and I know that after skimming at some of the ideas in it, there is so much potential to the story that could make for a good children’s book (which is honestly one of my life goals). I just wish there was more time to write it…

Magic’s Tyranny-
Like Nightfall, this is another of the stories I started writing in my youth. The only difference is that I delayed working on this story because I knew I wasn’t mature enough to write on the ideas I had been wanting to write on. This story was started around the idea of finding that one has an uncontrolled power of sorts that NEEDS to be used, and yet is being hated for having to use it (a very youthful idea), but as it evolved, it turned more into a commentary on people, power, love, God and godhood, sacrifice, and questioning what makes good truly good, while evil truly evil, assuming such things truly are real… The genre typically would be labeled as Dark Fantasy, in that it was going to take a gruesome approach to asking all that I wish to ponder and give thought into. But as I said earlier, I gave this story up because I didn’t feel I was mature or knowledged enough to give life and meaning to my ideas or words… (plus I was lazy)
This is all to say that I’m wishing I had time to write this story as well at some point…

A Bad Week-
So other than my cat dying last weekend and attempting to cope through that while focusing on assignments, my luck went downhill even further, in that while trying to go shopping right before the store could close because I don’t have enough time to go shopping during the day, my car broke down in the middle of the road. So after pushing my car into a parking lot and trying to figure out what might be wrong with it for an hour, I ended up having to abandon and walk a mile back to campus; when I returned, it was 11-ish. The next morning, I got up at 7 and went back to my car to try fixing it before class. I thought that maybe it was my battery, so I decided to unhook that and carry the 40-pound bugger a three or four blocks to get a new one, and then walked that new one back to my car. Alas, after hooking it up, it turned out that the battery was not the issue, even though it was something else electrical according to my dashboard. So basically I wasted $130 for nothing… Anyway, it was around 11 when I finally decided to get ahold of a tow truck, which was an additional $50, and asked him to tow my car away to a mechanic shop, where I found out that my car had other issues that would cost another $600…
Thankfully, because I have parents who could help pay for some of this, my car is fixed now… Still, they say that people are challenged with issues such as these to prep them for completely horrible things… So now I’m wondering what and when the worst is to come. Maybe finals week?

Oh, the Election-
I voted for myself; obviously, I didn’t win the presidential election. To some, I am a complete and total sinner for ruining this country because Trump is now our wonderful dictator- I mean president. I’ll freely admit that I did not support either candidate, which is why I ended up voting for myself. I just couldn’t live with myself if I had voted for either of the candidates, knowing that I had contributed the U.S.’s problems.
Anyway, that point aside, while I know people keep saying that I, as a straight white male, have no right to tell people this, I do believe people need to calm down about this election. Every single election that I can remember has turned out exactly the way this election has, with riots and petitions for states to leave the U.S. and so on going on… But this year, it seems like things are going to an almost excessive extreme.
Because I don’t want to go into the extreme details here, I’ll just post a video that shares somewhat similar views to my own on this whole election business. Warning, there is some pretty strong language in this piece.


I could give a few more short blog post paragraph things… but right now it’s like 1 in the morning, and I’m kind of feeling sleepy, so I’m gonna just end this blog here. So yeah! Night for now, and I’ll probably do a similar blog post for my next open-ended blog.

Creative Collaboration

So earlier this week, my class had a fun creative project that we did in class where we paired up with another student and collaborated in the creation of a story (somewhat).

The way that it worked, was that we had spent 3 minutes writing about the feeling, scenery, and idea behind a story, such as genre, where it is set, and so on. Then we spent another 3 minutes working on the characters of the story, and then finally another 3 minutes on the conflict of the piece. Once we had this, we were then paired off with other students, and then we interviewed each other about what the other’s story was about. After the interview, we then were in charge of the other person’s story, and we illustrated their story through a comic of sorts. Once that was complete, we then interviewed each other once more about the story we created off of the information we had got and explained our comics. And that was the whole creative collaboration process.

I thought it was a very fun and enjoyable project/assignment. My issue with it was that it didn’t really feel collaborative; it felt more like a peer editing phase, or like a brainstorming session. The major bulk of what each of our stories had was done on our own, and then when it came to the interview and the illustration, the stories didn’t change all too much. What this means to me is that either my teammate and I had clear ideas for our stories and were able to communicate that well to the other, or there wasn’t that much collaboration to this project.

If I were to suggest one way to improve this assignment, I would make it almost like mad-libs, or something where a person writes characters, another writes scene/feeling/idea, while the other writes the conflict; and then the idea is melded together.

With that being said and done now, overall, I did like this assignment and I found it to be a whimsically fun point to my day (as recently I haven’t had much time to be extremely creative in my writing, or write fiction). Thus, I would say it was at least a good and fun assignment that acted more like a break from more heavy thought provoking discussions.

In memory of…

I honestly don’t know where to begin.

I’m glad I wasn’t there when it happened, but I wish I had been there for you in your final days. You more than anyone probably knew how hard it is for me to deal with emotions and loss. I don’t know how you could tell, but whenever I was in pain, you’d always be there; even if I found it annoying and tried pushing you away at times, you still showed me nothing but love.

Fourteen years, that’s how long we had known each other. Of course, you knew that. To you, it had been almost your entire life. You were a little awkward at first when we adopted you into our family. You weren’t sure how to act, because before we got you, you had spent most of your life in a cage by yourself. You never wanted to be touched or held, though you knew you wanted some sort of attention. In a sense, I wonder if you were like me, in that you didn’t know how to feel about so much. Maybe that’s why you chose to be my friend instead of choosing my brothers. That or you just really liked my feather down comforter at the time…

Still, I remember that throughout the years, you’d always come into my room and jump onto my bed, giving your signature greeting meow. Even though you wouldn’t want me to pet you at first, you would still come up to the head of the bed and kneed the sheets, before going to the end of the bed to sleep. Over time, you came to be more social, or at least comfortable with me petting you, and in these later years, you’d annoy me constantly, despite it being 2 in the morning until I finally started to pet you. You wouldn’t let anyone pet you, even in your older years you still skirted away from guests and my brothers, and I don’t even know the last time my mom had pet you, but I knew that you would always let me pet you…

I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you in these last few months. With college and work, I was just never home enough to give you the attention you deserved. I wonder at times that if I had stayed home more and been there for you, that you’d have been in better health, that you’d be alive.
But there’s no sense in wishing for how things could have been. That’s in the past, and you’re gone now. You were my best friend, and I’ll miss you, Lena.

Rest in peace. 14344200_10209018957724127_6578162148577343391_n

 

Reflection on self-image and other thoughts…

For this week’s open blog, I thought I’d cover the idea of self-image.

See, I got to thinking earlier today about why I’m always being a try hard; why I put so much effort into being the best I can. I want people to know that I’m trying my best to be better, to be my best. (Side note: It’s a stupid goal to have, trying to be the best, so I don’t aim for that as much anymore… But I do try aiming to be the best I can be.) Why does it matter, though? Why does being my best matter, when I know all I want is to learn how to be a better writer so I could make a career out of it? And why do I put forward such an effort to be my best, when I should just appreciate what I’m learning? Is my asking this question pointing to a flaw or an inner paradox to myself that is just there for some unreasonable reason?

There are benefits to trying to be your best. Of course, trying to be your best gives you a reason to keep going when things get tough, and for that, I see a benefit to my focus on trying my best. And when it comes to showing others that I’m trying to better myself, it shows that I actually care to some degree or another (at least that’s how I’ve viewed it in the past), which makes learning and teaching easier for both sides… However, when I ask why does it really matter that I appear to be the best I can be, I come to a slight blank.

“Am I pursuing my best merely because I am afraid of failure?”

I’ve thought this a couple times the past couple hours as I’ve waited for my laundry to finish. Or perhaps what it is is that I’m trying to prove something… Being the last of three older brothers who have been loved by most sets a pretty high expectation. My oldest brother was the first to do many things in my family, first to get a job, go to college, get a job, get married and so on. Everyone who has met my older brother (for the most part at least) has thought he’s a great guy. Throughout high school, I remember teachers holding me to high expectations because of the great projects that my oldest brother had done in class, how he led by example, did well in his homework, and all that jazz. Of course, I couldn’t hate him for being great and being loved by many, he’s been too cool for that,
Then there is my other older brother, who for several years was deemed the “perfect child” by grandma and I. It was a joke of course, but one of those jokes that are technically true. Again, just like my oldest brother, this brother too was smart and a hard worker, loved by everyone. He is the pinnacle of creative spirit really, mixed with technical and logical reason; he doesn’t need to go to college because he’s already smart enough to make a living. He taught himself how to forge weapons, craft leather, sew, draw realistically with color pencils and so on. He was a boy scout, and almost reached Eagle scout, the top rank in scouts, but decided not too because he felt it was a waste of his time, which is kind of true, because he teaching himself other things, like how to build a cabin with trees he cut down himself. I was in high school one grade below him, and almost constantly was compared to him when it came to education. Like I said at the beginning, he was called perfect child for a while.

Anyway, point being, with two older brothers such as mine leading the trail to success, something I know that I have struggled with is trying to prove that I can match them. But is that why I am always trying to be my best? To prove my brothers that they aren’t as great as everyone else thinks and that I can be just as a good? Maybe that’s part of it… but I don’t feel that’s all of why I strive for my best image. Plus I really don’t care if people think they’re great because to me they’ll just be my brothers… But if this is perhaps part of why I strive to be better, then what is rest of why?

Perhaps I’m trying to prove something to my parents?

I don’t mean to brag, but my parents are great. They’ve always cared for my brothers and me, and have always been there when needed. Between myself and my parents, the biggest issue that every caused a slight rift between us was that I refused to read in my youth (I was a really stubborn child). They’ve always been supportive and caring. With all that they’ve given me, indeed, I do feel that I must do my best to give to them my best in return to show that all their efforts were for something, but I don’t feel that my efforts of being my best image are centered on paying my parents back for what they have done for me. And additionally, I have nothing to prove to them, they just want me to be happy. Again, I feel that it is merely part of why I strive to be my best…

So why then do I strive to put my best image forward?

I think it goes back to the question I wrote out in quotes above… Being afraid of failure. Like trying to achieve the goal of being “the best,” being afraid of failure is completely ridiculous. Of course, there are going to be times where failure is inevitable, and it’s more likely to occur than being the best. I’ve read time and time again that the best of people go through struggles before they succeed, including great men who have led nations, to authors or even fictional character. One cannot grow without facing life and all that it presents.
But knowing something doesn’t automatically change the feeling.

See, I don’t have anything to prove to anyone… I believe the reason why I try my best is because I’m afraid of failing. In all actuality, I probably could have just said that and not have gone over all that I have so far because I’ve kind of known this for a while, I just never acknowledge it. At times when I just want to give up at college and working and the constant effort of trying to do good in life, and I find myself on the floor of my room wishing I could just say screw it and just leave and go home, I tell myself that I do it for them, for my family.

And of course, I do it for myself as well… I want to be a writer that writes stories for both adults and children some day, that’s my goal at least, and I know that getting a degree and then getting a job would at least support me while I try doing what I’d love to do with my life. I know that things aren’t going to be easy and that I probably will fail between now and the future. However, that doesn’t change that I’m afraid of that moment when I fail something.


I do my best for them, because all they want is for me to be happy, and if I fail at that… If I fail at achieving happiness… It kind of looks bad on a resume. But joke aside, it is something I do struggle with.

I laugh at myself a whole bunch, because the one thing that both my parents told me before I started college was to not worry about the grades as much, and that they wanted me to put effort into making friends. Of course, me being me, I’ve done just about the opposite, where instead of making friends, my focus is on my grades.

Where that leaves the rest of this blog, I’m not quite sure. At this point I feel like all that I’m writing is rambling thoughts. And because I don’t want this to start following the same pattern of my rambling mind; let’s keep this somewhat cohesive, as well as have it end on a happier note! I’m gonna share something I was able to draw this last week (because I procrastinated a whole bunch and stayed up till 3AM a couple nights… God I regret that so much!!!). So this is just something I made with my two characters Tanscia and Aufnaher (who I’ve mentioned in a past blog are siblings) and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to goof around and have fun drawing this piece!
brother-and-sister-at-sides

And on a side note to my attempt at making this blog end on a happy note and to add to this happier ending, one of my friends actually made a drawing of these two, and I’ll share that as well!

chibi_couple_commish_for_synnota_by_n3k0manc3r-damwjkr

So yeah, I’m just gonna end this blog here… Laundry is done and needs folding anyway. See you in the next blog!