Writing Wednesday: Musical Mingling

How often do you use music as a method of stimulating your muse?

Does each muse for each writing project possess a taste for a different type of music?

For as big a role as music plays not only in our writing process but also in our daily lives its quite a rarity to see it playing such a substantial role in a story. The stories where music might play a very small role in are those set during a time when music was changing the social dynamic of the time. Can you think of a few time periods where that is evident?

Prompt:

Write a scene where music plays a main role in the narrative. You will know if it plays a main role in the narrative when you try to remove it completely and the whole story falls apart. To spice things up, choose a type or genre of music that you know very little about or don’t listen to very often and use it as the basis for inspiration.

Graphic Novels: “Real Books” or not?

Graphic Novels have not always been as prevalent in the mainstream. The first graphic novels seem to have become a part of the comic word during the late 1980’s but did not become a subsection in mainstream bookstores until 2001. Same can be said for Manga which did not become prevalent in the United States until mid-way through the 90’s and a section in mainstream bookstores until the 2000’s as well. So it begs the question, can either of these be considered “real books”?

During my teen years I could never write off a graphic novel or manga as a finished book for my reading classes. Most often I was told that they were 20% actual writing and 80% drawings, it didn’t count towards my expansion of reading knowledge.

But what makes a book a book? Is it the length of the written aspect or technical terms we learned (dialogue, plot, characterization, metaphor, motif, theme, etc)?

How would you describe a children’s book? A book mostly composed of colorful pictures with very little written words. These are considered without a real discussion that these are books albeit specifically for those who have a young reading level. If that is the next issue with graphic novels is that the reader’s are often older and should be reading something more word dens. If this is why graphic novels cannot be considered books, why do we put so much pressure on others and ourselves to read things more suited to our age?

In the end, it should be left up to the reader. If they don’t want to consider graphic novels “real books” that is up to them as long as they understand why they think that. As for every one else, well, go ahead and be a grumpy adult about it.

 

Media Monday: Books on the Nightstand Podcast

Books on the Nightstand

Books on the Nightstand

When you first arrive at the website for the first time you might find it rather quaint and haphazardly thrown together. Once you flip through a couple of the pages and get an idea of the content you might be listening to, you take the time to download the first ten episodes. What kind of podcast is this going to be?

There are a million podcast that are out there that review books and that is mainly it. This podcast is different. If you google book podcast anywhere, this podcast pops up alongside the podcasts from media outlets such as the BBC and the New York Times. What this has that many of the others doesn’t is a personal look into the book industry. Both Michael and Ann have been working in the industry but not as the top executives. This affords the listener the knowledge that they aren’t above the industry, but more or less in the depths of it every day.

The most interesting aspect is instead of revolving around one book, there is a bookish theme to each episode. Often times the theme revolves around a question or notion about the industry that a lot of people either are discussing currently or haven’t really dared to touch on in the past.

Either way, it took less than three episodes to convince me to listen and now I am twenty deep since the beginning of the week.

Monday Morning Mash-Up

The goals for this weekend hangover follow as such:

  1. Finish Z the story of Zelda Fitzgerald. My issue isn’t here but Scott; I just want to punch him in the face.
  2. Work on more of A Darker Shade of Magic. If you have not started reading this series, do it now!
  3. Write up a few more poems and/or pages of a writing project. (min 15 minutes a day)
  4. Work on refreshing my memory of foreign languages I learned in the past (imagine reading a text in its original language).
  5. Listen to a few more podcasts and determine next week’s content.

Feedback Friday: Moranthology

Moranthology

This book is separated into a couple of different sections with each their own title and supposed theme. The themes were never clearly defined by the essays, nor was I a fan of the italicized paragraphs that prefaced the actually essays. Like others who have reviewed this book in the past, I did not feel like it added to the essays.

Part one of the book was very difficult to meander through mostly because the choice of essays always seemed to revolve around something rather inconsequential about her life. It wasn’t just the choice of essays for the first part but also the way she chose to give voice to them. In a couple of the essays in the first part it seems like she is really trying to garner some sort of approval (think manic pixie dream girl). When she wasn’t trying to garner attention, her essays sounded more like fangirl moments (there were two Sherlock chapters about the amazingness of the show).

After I finished the first part, I was worried about the contents of the second. Much to my amazement, the first couple of essays make a point but nothing too deep. As a writer who claims to write about political subjects and to claim the mantle of feminism, it seems she knows little about how to move deeper than just claiming to do as much.

There were a couple of essays that seemed to counter this identity of feminism, mostly because she either is criticizing a woman for dressing like a “hoe” in particular Rihanna (a pop star known for dressing to break stereotypes and make statements about her body and independence). I took offense to her choosing to go after an African American popstar by name but leaving alone all the white, female pop stars who do much the same thing she claims. The other issue is the essay about fashion in which she claims no one woman in her right mind would ever choose to wear something that didn’t make her look thinner. This negates the fact that there is a movement going on currently that is tossing that stereotype aside, but also that it defines women and womanhood in such a superficial manner.

All in all, I could not make it past the end of part two and was struggling to get through the third part that I ended up giving up. If I wanted to read a collection of essays that were one part personal and one part political, there are much better collections out there. My worry now is that a lot of these memoir, essay collections are starting to be rather on this side of ridiculous. They are all about pop culture and the obsession with it. I won’t deny that pop culture permeates our society, but there is only so many books a girl can read about how obsessed people are with trashy t.v. and celebrities.

Writing Wednesday: Meaning of Writing

What does writing mean to you?

For me, it is the sun just peaking over the edge of the horizon during the winter months. It feels like a brief pleasure that seems to find a way around the rigid corners and endless to-dos of the day.

It is said that writing, in particular writing everyday in a journal can assist in overcoming emotional, mental and physical stress. There is something to be said about vocalizing on paper  the most difficult  feelings that we are too scared to speak of with someone.

Prompt:

Create and write about a character (minor or major) who depends on the ability to write. Why they depend on writing can be up to you, but it must be clear that without writing a huge piece of who they are would be missing.

Thoughtful Tuesday: Can Books Come Between People?

Have you ever judged someone for what they read?

It was as prevalent in the English department as the hipster style choices. There were two types of prejudices that ran rampant. Firstly there were those that judged if you weren’t reading the most indie and obscure books. The irony of this prejudice was that many of those who judged their classmates were often times not well-versed in the books of the past. How can we consider the thoughts and contents of books now if we don’t know where we as readers and writers came from?

The other type of prejudice were the strictly readers of old. They treated any book published after 1950 as nothing more than trivial trash. If you were to be considered a true scholar of the written word you must read only the worlds and thoughts of those long dead. But how can a reader only be curious about the old without seeing the truth of the new and the current times?

This elaborate set-up leads into the question of the morning: can a book come between people? I believe that it is possible. There are people as aforementioned who have allowed reading choice to divide a class, but what about friends or couples?

It is easy to write off someone we barely know who refuses to read or refuses to read the types of books we enjoy but what about a friend?

Imagine your good friend finally confesses that though she likes to read she barely reads and when she does it is mass paperback romance novels. Or even worse, someone you have been dating for months confesses that they find the act of reading rather tedious and boring. How can either situation be handled as easily as a first meeting or date and finding out this kind of information?

 

Weekend Hangover

It is Monday: slow, foggy and full of cups of coffee.

 

This morning on hangover recovery, the goals are as follows for the week:

  1. Finish Moranthology
  2. Get through half of Z.
  3. Find a new book podcast.
  4. Watch an interview or two for motivation.
  5. Discover new book quotes.
  6. Write two pages of any story.
  7. Write five poems.