November 2010 Archives

More Pictures and Words

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Begin to wonder what you do write about. Or if you have anything to say. Or even if there is such a thing as a thing to say. Limit these thoughts to no more than ten minutes a day; like sit-ups, they can make you thin. -- Lorrie Moore

I wonder how many people I've looked at all my life and never seen. -- John Steinbeck 

The writer should never be ashamed of staring. There is nothing that does not require his attention." -- Flannery O'Connor

All images ©April Minerd

Not Poetry

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A feeling

[not regret]

craves breath.

An omission

[not hope]

grates against a throat.

Winded lungs

lend to nerves


[not hers]


with words. 

Site Map

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·        About April

o  Biography

o  Contact information

o  Twitter

·        Photography

o  Images by me with brief introductions to each piece

·        SHU Blog

·        Creative Writing

o  My fiction/poetry

o  Samplings of the revision process

§  Writing Tips

o  A collective of websites I believe to be helpful to writers

§  Book List

o  The books I've read or am reading

o  Books on the writing process

Portfolio Three: I Know They're Watching

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What has been my progress in Writing for the Internet you ask? I can now successfully edit images and create videos for the web, and I am in the process of learning html, which is as daunting as it sounds.  I have improved the titles of my entries since portfolio 2, and it shows in that I received more comments this time around. From this course, I am becoming conscious of the role of audience in internet based writing as well as how to make that writing accessible and user friendly.


I commented on several of my peers' blogs. I am the anonymous contributor on Bethany's blog talking about dialogue as a writing prompt. I talked a little about children in the music industry and Willow Smith's career with Ashley. I commented on the quality of Erin and Patrick's multimedia project.


I talk about commitment and what it means to blog purposefully in Blogging as Goal Fulfillment. 

In Dear Semicolon, I spend some time commenting on punctuation usage as a stylistic choice.


In this tweet, I link to an outside source that pinpoints the pros/cons of ranting in a blog, which I shared with Beth Anne.

My entry on Julie Powell's choice to blog her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking started a nice discussion about the purpose of blogging.

Outside Material...

I incorporated photos, videos, or links in each of my blogs. If I mention/ reference something my readers might not be familiar with, I always link to content that will help orientate them with the subject.


17.5 Thoughts Entertained on Route 119 is an example of my propensity for reflection, especially regarding the mundane. 


A Picture and a Word is an entry where I used multiple images that I cropped in Gimp then stored in Picassa.

Kayla and I's multimedia project best represents the progress I am making with technology. 

Dear Semicolon

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Dear Semicolon,

         I wish I knew you better. Your mysteriousness was intriguing at first, but now it is just frustrating. If things do not change, if I cannot make sense of your touch and go ways, I am going to have to say goodbye - forever.

         Conditionally yours,


The semicolon has been omitted entirely; it has been used superfluously. Kurt Vonnegut hated it; Virginia Woolf adored it. And in the last two sentences, I think I've technically used it properly. The problem is using a semicolon is more of a stylistic decision than a grammatical one. It is also one form of punctuation that is entirely unnecessary. According to Noah Lukeman, in A Dash of Style, which I am pulling my information from, it is a punctuation best suited for the creative writer. But how is a writer to decide when to embrace the semicolon?

Like the comma, its uses are up for debate. The semicolon has been called the bridge between the comma and the period and has several functions in writing. Its modern usage was established by Italian painter and publisher Aldus Manutius.  Lukeman explains the semicolon as a luxury that elevates from the utilitarian, and that your use of it can reveal a lot about you. Over-users, for instance, are likely to be more prose than plot oriented.

In short, the semicolon can slow the pace of your writing and give it an artistic edge. But one has to be careful to use it rightly, else she looks amateur.  

Here are a couple writers' views on the semicolon:

Sometimes you get a glimpse of a semicolon coming, a few lines farther on, and it is like climbing a steep path through woods and seeing a wooden bench just at a bend in the road ahead, a place where you can expect to sit for a moment, catching your breath. - Lewis Thomas

Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college. - Kurt Vonnegut

What is your relationship to the semicolon?



A Picture and a Word

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Make yourself necessary to somebody. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

To have a child is momentous. It is to forever have your heart go walking around outside your body. - Elizabeth Stone

There are no facts, only interpretations. - Friedrich Nietzsche

I was born modest; not all over, but in spots. - Mark Twain 

All images ©April Minerd

The Book List

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©2008, Horia Varlan

I am eager for a near future filled with Christmas cookies and books of my own selection, a moment of breathable space before the spring semester.  I intend to steal some ME time somewhere in-between the holiday chaos. I am hoping to get in a few good reads. I don't yet know what.

That is where you, whoever is reading this post, come in. Tell me what I should read? Tell me to read your favorite book, poem or author. Just make sure to tell me why.

Be passionate about your suggestions! If a work impacted you in a remarkable way, I'm interested to hear about it.


17.5 Thoughts entertained on Route 119

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17.5 Thoughts entertained on Route 119 

"Letting the Cables Sleep" is still awesome after the umpteenth time in a row.  The way the repeated line, "If heaven is on the way," just hangs there, letting the weight of the words linger is ... yeah, still awesome. 


How proud I am of me for learning to drive a standard this year. I feel a surge of satisfaction every time the stoplight turns green and I thrust the shifter into first.


Of this new fear of hills, and then how I'd like to roll on top of cars that pull right up against your bumper on hills. (Note to readers: DO NOT DO THIS.)


If clay is dirt, which it is, how then can the label on my body wash boast its powerful cleansing capabilities? This logic applies as well to my Tresemme dry shampoo. (I later discovered people around the world actually eat clay for its nutrients. Hungry anyone?)


Possible blog ideas:

            One about the books I want to read over Christmas/New Year's break.


Another about my son and the conversation we had about dingleberries. Heaven help a mother - and punish the father who brought the subject up.


Another about tradition, namely the things we pass along to others. These things ought not to have anything to do with dingleberries.


It is unhealthy to spend too much time in front of a mirror, a conclusion reached from having to stare at the lower portion of my face everyday in the uncovered mirror on the driver's side visor, lest I should be blinded by the sun.  


I hate getting my own gas.


The woman at Sheetz could have been nicer about punching my coffee card, especially since I got the dark chocolate flavoring when what I asked for was the white.


Iced coffee with hazelnut and white dark chocolate is yum. 


Of the deer, Eliot, in Open Season, who says of coffee, "It's terrible and wonderful at the same time! It's like freedom in a cup!"


Caffiene must be a diurettic.


Of that time J.R. and I parked behind the Giant Eagle building. How the cops followed a red Mustang back to where we were, came over to us, made me step out of the vehicle and asked, "Do you want to be with this guy (meaning J.R.), Miss?" Nine years later, I still am.  


That more driving accidents occur from sleep deprivation than alcohol impairment.  


I sleep too little.



 . . .

Blogging as Goal Fulfillment

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I happened to watch, for no particular reason, Julie & Julia this weekend on Showtime, and I found it to be rather representative of the new ingredient for writing success - blogging.  

I admire how Julie Powell set a goal for herself and kept it. She vowed to cook each one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking  within a year's time. One thing the film does considerably well is revealing the frustration behind the commitment.

 A blog cannot be sustained with frivolous writing. The modern blogger is basically competing against the world for readership, and readership comes from a devotion to quality time and content. It's sort of like being in a relationship. This puts a bit of pressure on the person behind the blog. 

For curiosity's sake, in preparation for this entry, I did a quick Google search of "blogging is hard." How many results do you think I got from my web query? About 119,000,000.

Consensus says blogging equates degrees of stress for the serious/professional (blogger) types.  To me, the main issue seems to be this: There is always something else to be doing, besides blogging. Skimming over blogger's complaints, juggling blogging with other priorities tops most lists. So and so apologizes for not having posted in such and such period of time because certain "real life" tasks demanded being taken care of (as was the case for Julie in the movie).

But blogging has become a near necessity for writers. It is even, in many cases, a major marketing strategy used to build an "author platform" (a publishing term for reaching or influencing a potential audience). In other words, it's about networking, and, ultimately, reaching some level of notoriety. I can think of a few instructors at SHU, writers themselves, who maintain an online presence, I imagine, in part, for this purpose.  

Blogging has its pains and its perks. 

As to the movie, it got me thinking about if, and how, I might pursue blogging outside of academia later on down the road. I would love to set forth a reasonable objective and blog about the process of achieving it. I think it could be a lot of fun. Not a yearlong endeavor, but maybe a summer length ambition.

On a more delectable note, all the focus on food in the movie has me now counting the days until Thanksgiving.  Seventeen days to go.


Finished Multimedia Project

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Hazard Yet Forward: A Meeting of Past and Future Selves

by April Minerd and Kayla Lesko 

The dorm room of Seton Hill University senior Lindsey Andrews. Tomorrow she graduates. She is seated on her bed with a scrapbook, flipping reminiscently through its pages.

 Voice: We sure have changed, huh?

One of the scrapbook photos looks up at Lindsey and waves. Lindsey watches the image of herself leap from a photo and off the page.

Retro-Lindsey, dusts herself off: You didn't forget about me, did ya?

Lindsey: I must be having some type of anxiety induced hallucination. I read about this happening to people.

Retro-Lindsey, laughs: Maybe. I'm just here to remind you.

Lindsey: Of?

Retro-Lindsey, points to the scrapbook: Oh, look! Do you remember English Club?

Lindsey: Is that Grace and Jeff? Wow. I was so shy at the first meeting.  The group dynamic was great, though.  Because of the encouragement and acceptance I found among those people, I grew confident about voicing my opinions. 

Retro-Lindsey: And look here at this newspaper clipping that recognizes our o-u-t-s-t-a-n-d-i-n-g achievements!

Lindsey: Yes. I was--am--very proud of the grades I earned.  My classes and teachers have given me so much more than I started with.

Retro-Lindsey, wincing: In this picture, you would've been the perfect candidate for a weight loss commercial. But now look at you--a fatty no more!

Lindsey: Yes, I'm not a fatty, as you say. Not since I got in the habit of going to the gym in the McKenna Center.

Retro-Lindsey: Hey! Do you remember going to see Iron Man 2?

Lindsey: Of course I do. I loved it so much I went to see it again when SHU played the movie for free in the Sully Hangout.

Retro-Lindsey: Oh, oh! How about your opinion piece that got into the school's newspaper, the Setonian?

Lindsey:  Yeah I wanted to talk about the exiting changes happening here with the Griffin Technology Advantage, and how I wish I could stick around to see them through.

Retro-Lindsey: Is that why you're sulking on this bed, looking back at me?

Lindsey: Well I'm ...  nervous, I suppose, about where things go from here after tomorrow's graduation.

Retro-Lindsey: Follow me. I want you to see something.

The two Lindseys cross to the other side of the room and stand before a framed mirror.

Retro-Lindsey: Before we came to Seton Hill we were afraid, just like you are now, but look at yourself.  Tomorrow, you'll step onto that stage and off into a future you've worked hard for. And guess what? You're ready for it.

Lindsey recognizes herself and smiles. Retro-Lindsey disappears.



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Recent Comments

Emily A. Wierszewski on The Book List: I love _White Oleander_, too -
Irina Benoit - Hypnotherapist on A Picture and a Word: There are no facts, only inter
April M. Minerd on The Book List: Thanks for sharing, guys. I ha
April M. Minerd on A Picture and a Word: Actually, it's a blind deer an
April M. Minerd on 17.5 Thoughts entertained on Route 119: Thank you. And no. I am a beli
PatrickSchober on 17.5 Thoughts entertained on Route 119: Interesting thoughts, I just h
PatrickSchober on A Picture and a Word: Great stuff. Is that a deer an
PatrickSchober on Dear Semicolon: Haha, I love this! And I appre
Bethany Bouchard on The Book List: My favorite book is White Olea
Matthew R Moore on The Book List: I’m looking forward to the bre
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