September 2010 Archives
I chose for my remix project in EL 236, Writing for the Internet, to combine words from Benjamin Franklin's autobiography with words from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. I fuse them together with some of my own to create a commentary on art as an autobiographical product. I use the word art in a basic sense to mean any creative effort done by any individual, whether the individual claims the title artist, writer, photographer, designer, musician, or another. Something about the product inevitably identifies with the creator. As well, the critic brings a bit of herself into art's interpretation. So you see, art is autobiographical.
I hope this remix challenges you to examine your own creative impulse and methods for interpretation.
Autobiographical Art is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Ed. Charles W. Eliot. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909. Project Gutenberg. Web. 20 Sept. 2010.
Murphy, Kevin N. "Untitled." Photograph. 6 Dec. 2008. Flickr. Web. 20 Sept. 2010.
Playingwithbrushes. "Dark Pages." Photograph. 15 Nov. 2008. Flickr. Web. 20 Sept. 2010.
Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. London: Messrs. Ward, Lock & Co, 1891. Project Gutenberg. Web. 20 Sept. 2010.
It is week four and portfolio time in EL 236: Writing for the Internet. My curiosity has been peeked, my online presence made, and I continue to Look for the Words. An objective for Writing for the Internet is to effectively use the various resources for writing made possible by the web. Along with maintaining this blog, I am tweeting for the first time, a thing I never imagined myself doing. How surprised I was to find value in Twitter's 140 character limit. I even learned how to use hash tags and condense URLs. So, feel free to partake of my bite-sized thoughts. Or if it is depth you seek see my entry on writers' woe.
Blogs and micro-blogs exist to communicate, and I am learning to keep the conversation open by listening and responding to my readers. Pistol Penchant, an entry about men and women's differing tastes, prompted a decent discussion and portrayed my ethos. I got to talk with classmate Katy about Switchfoot's song "Love is the Movement" on her blog. Bethany and I (I am the anonymous contributor. For whatever reason, my name didn't display.) weighed the pros and cons of creative writing books. I even divulged my guilty listening pleasure on Jennifer's entry No Theme, No Problem.
In attempts to bring aesthetic quality and visual entertainment to my blog, I incorporated images and video (all borrowed responsibly):
My entry titles, along with their content, aspire to originality. One good example would be God or Vessel?: Unforseen Roles in Professional Journalism.
Beyond blogging, I learned to:
Edit a Wikipedia page on African Art.
Keep looking, there's more to come....
WARNING: This entry contains ominous themes related to writers' woe which may be too disturbing for the faint at heart. Due to the distressing nature of the following material, viewer discretion is advised.
On any given day I find it necessary to hit the snooze on my alarm more than twice, I know I have my work cut out for me. Today was one such day, but I promise this will not be a rant (well, perhaps a little ranting, but NO whining). Today I allowed my inner critic to have her way with me - and she was cruel, pulled out all the dirty stops. Today words felt too vague, too simple, too bland, as though they themselves were in cahoots with my critic and elected to give me the cold shoulder.
My fellow writers who've went a few rounds with their critic and lost can probably relate to this defeated feeling. But I've found my second wind, albeit at a late hour, and I will write this blog entry. Even if it sucks. Even if I hate doing it. Even if no one wants to read it because it sucks. EVEN IF.... You get the point, right?
So, did anyone notice the picture of Master Shakespeare above?
To write or not to write- that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of writers' woe,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And, by opposing, end them.
You'll notice I've taken liberty with Shakespeare's words, but it's okay, I'm allowed. He died in 1616, so copyright infringement laws have expired (hopefully similar is true for the image I borrowed). My quick adaptation is an ode to all writers - take arms against the critic! It is so easy to fall into the I'll-never-be-good-enough-to-be-a-writer slump. I confess I struggle with it. Don't feel bad for me. I bet many of you do too, whether you'd like to admit as much or not. As English students we sit in a classroom reading classic (and non) texts by brilliant writers. How can we not be tempted to make a comparison that leads to some degree of inferiority complex?
A better question: How can we trick the inner critic into doing what we want? The critic's role is an important one that has its place within the writing process, when it's not trying to pummel your self-esteem. The critic is not something isolated to writers, either. So even if you're not a writer, you're not exempt. Anytime you've self-edited before speaking that was the critic. I've stumbled across inventive suggestions on how to subdue the critic. The most interesting proposed naming your critic. (This particular writer chose to name his Fred.) The idea is that by naming your critic you take away its power and assert control. Freddy seems slightly less daunting than "The Critic." I wonder if this is why natural disasters are given names like Hurricane Earl and Fiona. Hmm.... Best not to go off on a tangent. Back on point.
I don't see myself formally addressing my writing woes by name, especially not out loud. Though, I see value in such creative solutions. What do you think? Do you have your own method for fighting off the fatigue so characteristic of writers?
Guns, she was reminded then, were not for girls. They were for boys. They were invented by boys. They were invented by boys who had never gotten over their disappointment that accompanying their own orgasm there wasn't a big boom sound.
- - Lorrie Moore, Like Life
Lorrie Moore has an impeccable sense of the intimate human portrait. I've only recently discovered her writing (from an anthology of short stories required for one of my classes), but I am already falling in love with her style. Her sentences have a resonance that inflicts a certain candor onto the reader, and does so in a generously humorous way.
The quote above (No offense Guys. Admit it. She called you out.) not only made me snicker but backtrack at its perceptivity: it's got a punch of honesty. It's the difference between the sexes - and I absolutely believe my fiancée is one of these boys.
He owns two guns, a rifle for hunting, and a pistol to just marvel at and feel manly (I presume) because he has no real use for it. If questioned he'll insist it's for protection, and if I allowed it he'd build an armory - in preparation for some apocalyptic, Resident Evil senario expected to unfold on our doorstep.
I understand, or can at least try to. Just this week I purchased a pair of red, peep toe, high-heel booties (at left) I couldn't fathom not owning. I'll hardly wear them, and considered this when I bought them. They're not practical for manipulating the clutch in my car or strolling across the two parking lots and up the three flights of stairs to get to class each day but... I like knowing I have them in the event I would so chose to attempt it. And when I put them on in the store, I instantly felt a little sexier.
What does that say about me? About women? About men? I don't dare speak for my entire sex or stereotype all men. Yet there is a repetitive pattern to be noticed, eh?
What things force reflection? A perfect turn of prose ... an uncanny situation ... the image that quickens the senses? We see them everyday, everywhere. Often in a day a thing will tickle my ear, catch my eye or perplex me momentarily, but busyness - or laziness - prevents my extracting any real insight. (Bad practice for an aspiring writer, I know.) And so, I challenge myself and those who'd like to join me to Look for the Words.
Each week I'll post something notable I've encountered - quote, lyric, photo, conversation - and let it fester into some individual truth. I invite others to contribute their own truths as well. The more perspective, the better.
To depart on a potent thought, I give you "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane, a wonderful example in interpretation. "Remember what the dormouse said...."