Digital vs. Analog Writing

Click-clack-click, click-clack-click, are the sounds of the keyboards’ keys beneath my fingertips as I type out this writing log. Ah yes, we’re in the world of digitally typed up manuscripts, roughly written down notes, and the inconsistent savior we call auto-correct. The simplicity of typing gives us such ease that we almost forget how nostalgic it is to put pen to paper. Our pens/pencils sit idly by on our desks in cups, drawers, or pencil pouches.

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My QwerkywriterS: a typewriter-inspired BlueTooth keyboard

More often than not, they’re only picked up to keep our hands busy.

While our fingers tap away at the keys, our pencils sit in their designated areas woefully. Thier erasers untouched, the points left either unsharpened or brand new, and they’ve never felt the warmth of a hands’ embrace; or at least, they don’t remember the feeling. Even the iPencil gets more attention than the average pencil or pen. It comes with the ease of digitally drawing or writing, as well as the several options the iPencil plus the iPad gives us.

However, the iPad isn’t the only thing that provides us several options when it comes to the digital world. As I’m typing, I’ve found that you can read this more legibly than if I were writing this by hand.

I’ve often found that I tend to take advantage of the ease of access during a digital writing session. The thesaurus is just a mouse-click away (even though there’s a physical one on my desk), and instead of drawing out photos I can just Google them. However, there is something that writing with a pencil gives us that typing on a computer doesn’t and that, my dear readers, is nostalgia.

Picking up your handy black Ticonderoga, shoving it into the sharpener in front of a class or at your desk, and cramming that #2 pencil onto a piece of paper can take you back. Writing by hand can give you more nostalgia than typing will ever give you, (Unless you have one of those orange desktop key covers from fifth grade – ya know, the typing test ones?).

Regardless, just look at these results! The differences between the two are so clear and obvious.

Halfway through the “old-fashioned” writing, my hand cramped up! I’m not sure if it’s the many years of 12-hour RockBand marathons, or if I’ve been writing too much, but ow! Also, did you notice the cursive? It seems as though it’s a lost art in today’s society. My fifteen-year-old brother was never taught how to sign his name or write his ABCs in cursive and he’s already in ninth grade! It’s ridiculous.

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Just a few of my pen/pencil cups.

I remember back in first-grade when we got those little handwriting journals to practice in. They were always my favorite because we got to write in the books and you don’t get to do that often. Still, to this day, I’ll admit I love workbooks. I’ve even bought a few from Barnes&Noble, ya know, the “100 Writing Prompt” or “List Yourself” books? They’re usually no more than $10, but I love them. Like I said, there’s just something about writing in books that is just so revealing and, here’s that word again, nostalgic.

It seems as though nostalgia is the number one difference between the analog and digital worlds of writing. Yet, how important can nostalgia be if we continue to ditch our pens/pencils in their rightful places? I’ll tell you all one thing, I’d choose the click-clack-clicks over the hand cramps any day. While nostalgia may be a fun characteristic of life, we’ve evolved into the digital world for a reason: simplicity.

Yes, I said it.

Simplicity.

The digital world has made it to where we can avoid those writing cramps and illegible notes. It’s wonderful that we have the option to alternate between the two as we desire unless you’re an online student like me… then it all has to be digital. Fortunately though, currently I can watch Freaks and Geeks while typing this blog, so the all-online option definitely has its perks.

Now, don’t forget about the pens/pencils you’ve bought and forgotten. While they may be with others in their many jars, they could still be used for art, writing, or just simply jotting down reminders. So, next time you go to write, pick up a pencil and let it take you back to the days in grade school before you learned how to type.

Also, make sure to keep up with me these next few weeks.

There’s bound to be more.

 

 

Podcast: Fiction

From the time I learned how to read, I’ve always read fiction. I could get lost in Wonderland or Hogwarts, just by opening up a book. The simple stumble into a couple hundred pages could result in many hours, or even days, spent entwined in the content between the cover pages. Yet, one of the best parts is the smell. Oh, the smell of a book. If you’re an avid book reader who’s in love with printed literature, describing the smell is almost impossible. It’s easy to get lost in it. Just picking up a book and sniffing the pages, old or new, it’s enticing. A digitally printed book doesn’t even compare to a hard copy, especially since a hard copy could be placed on a shelf. Personally, I love having my books on display.

Ah, the display. IKEA really has some fantastic bookcases even though they’re cheap. Alphabetically organized and divided between read and unread, the books give off a floor-to-ceiling library effect. Now, let’s not forget about the people responsible for my aesthetically pleasing case.

There are currently 266 books, or rather 178 authors that are alphabetically aligned on my shelves, but let’s get down to the authors I have the most books from. Off the top of my head, there’s JK Rowling (who we all know and love), Danielle Rollins (a, as she puts it, candy-coated horror novelist), and Chuck Palahniuk (who you might know as the man behind Fight Club).

These three authors have the most books on my shelves, and here’s why:

For one, all three authors write in some form of fiction. Whether it’s considered fantasy, horror, or transgressional, fiction is always my go-to.

Joanne Rowling, or JK Rowling, is the writer behind the entire Harry Potter franchise. Naturally, I have more books of hers than I do anyone else’s (besides Chuck’s) and I’ve been reading and rereading her books since 2006.

The Harry Potter series has had such a big impact in my life. Right from the start, my mom read me 60 pages a night so I could get through them before the big AR tests we had. Now, for those of you who don’t know what AR tests are, they’re Advanced Reading tests we used to have to take in elementary school. We got points for each one depending on our grade and I was number 2 in all of the fourth-grade class of Martin Walker Elementary, all thanks to JK Rowling and her magical books. Immediately, I got hooked on Severus Snape (RIP Alan Rickman), Mad-Eye Moody (may he rest in peace, as well), and all of the mythical creatures throughout the books. While the series may be finished, Rowling still continues to produce widely-loved novels even to this day. I’ll always appreciate the boy who lived under the stairs, and I’ll always appreciate the woman behind it.

Danielle Rollins is a different story. She’s a fireball with her words. One minute I’d connect with a character and the next I’ll start feeling queasy due to some gory scene she slipped in. Her books are like roller coasters and if you go under her pseudonym, “Vega,” they just get gorier. Now, I’m not talking Saw-gory, because she is technically candy-coating some of the scenes and the books are for young adults. Yet, somehow, someway, I can’t read them all the way through without taking a few breaks. Rollins, or Vega, has published a total of six books, and I barreled through them in a matter of weeks. Now, let’s get into my all-time favorite author, Chuck Palahniuk.

From this point forward, for the sake of not mispronouncing his last name, I’m going to refer to him as Chuck. Chuck is a trangressional fiction novelist who refers to his fans as Chuckleheads. All of his books plotlines were written so that the main character broke out of societal norms. For instance, in Fight Club, the main character got tired of working a nine-to-five job, so he started doing illegal activities after hours. Which, coincidentally, I can’t talk about due to the number one rule: “Don’t talk about fight club.”

Chuck has published a total of 21 books and I have 17. Alphabetically, by book title, there’s Beautiful You, Choke, Damned, Diary, Doomed, two copies of Fight Club, Fight Club 2, Haunted, Invisible Monsters, Invisible Monsters Remix, Lullaby, Make Something Up, Phoenix, Pygmy, Rant, Snuff, Survivor, and Tell-All.

Surprisingly, there’s actually a story behind one of the copies of Fight Club. On Black Friday, my fiancé and I woke up at 7am to go and get a signed copy of it. Now, we didn’t meet Chuck because he wasn’t there, but we now own a signed first-edition copy of Fight Club and we’re planning on putting it in a shadow box. It’s become one of our prized possessions and we don’t let anyone touch it, which sounds obsessive, I know, but the Chucklehead in me can’t resist.

Anyway, I think that’ll be enough for this podcast. I hope each and every one of you go out there and find a good book, get lost in the pages, and have the same experience I do when I find a new favorite. Make sure to keep up with me to find out more about the vast world of literature, multimedia topics and the study of writing.

Reflection

My composition process changed by switching to a more audio approach because I had to think about how I’d say it while I typed it. I included commas where I’d usually take a breath.  On Microsoft Word, I typed up the blog so I could read it easier. That way, I could double-space the text and increase the readability. Overall, this was an interesting and fun experience and I’m glad I finally did a podcast.

Writing as a Metaphor

Writing is an art. 208cf27b2e80467fb7fed0b834ee564f

As Lakoff and Johnson state in Metaphors We  Live By, life, in general, is a concept. It’s a concept that we cannot understand because it is not obvious (Lakoff). However, it’s up to us on how we choose to live that concept. Sure, it’s easy to dissect and evaluate your own life, but there always seems to be an underlying meaning behind it all. The simple four-word sentence I wrote above could be dissected in a number of ways, so here I am to do just that with help from the aforementioned book.

When anyone asks what I do, the first word that comes to mind is “writer.” Yet, it used to be “artist.” I often wonder why it can’t be both. Writing is an art. It’s a form of expression and it leads to a result you’re proud of; even though you’ll always be your worst critic. After all, writing is never perfect and neither is art.

secrets-of-short-story-writingIn Metaphors We Live By, they used the metaphor “argument is war” as an example. They said that if we were to change “war” to “dance” we would view arguments differently (Lakoff).  When I think about war, the first words that come to mind are strategies, defense techniques, artillery, military, treaties, and foreign countries (unless it’s a civil war). When I think about arguments, the first words to come to mind are defensive,  close-minded, social media, debating, and a resolution. By combining the two, it makes the word argument out to be this horrid thing when in fact, it can be eye-opening. However, would comparing an argument to a dance make arguing come off as any less evasive? Yes, yes it would, but would it make the statement about an argument being similar to war any less true? No, it would only lighten the load a little. paint-brushes-jar-over-wooden-aqua-blue-background-51063951

Well, let’s get back to the original metaphor at hand. “Writing is an art.” When we take the two contents of the metaphor; writing and art, what do you get?

Personally, when I think about writing, I think about pens, pencils, laptops, BlueTooth keyboards, and notebooks. Coincidentally, art involves most of those things too. When you write, the whole point is to put your voice on a page. When you draw you’re putting your personal view of things on a page. No artists are the same, they merely contain different mediums or styles, just like writers do. Except in the writing world, we call our styles our, well, styles and we call our mediums fonts.

Putting a pen to paper, a brush to a canvas, or your fingers on a keyboard are all similar. They all do one thing: express the style of the person behind it.

download (4)As a writer, I feel it’s important to consider writing as an art. It’s not just a task you set out to do just because you’re assigned a paper or have to write a resume for a job. Writing is another form of expressing yourself, as I stated several times above, therefore, it is an art regardless. While you read you can create your own versions of the stories you read in your head. You create the images, but the writer creates the imagery. The mind is such a crazy, imaginative, and wonderful thing and when you express yourself, it’s even better.

 

 

 

Reference

Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson. Metaphors We Live By. Univ. of Chicago Press, 2011.

15-20 Seconds of Creative Non-Fiction

As I laid my head down on the already fluffed pillow, I heard a small sound. At first, I wasn’t sure what it was or where it was coming from. It sounded almost in agony, yet it was so soft, so quiet; I didn’t realize it was coming from my own bedroom. Quickly, I threw my maroon comforter off of my recently cocooned body and I got up. My first instinct was to turn on the flashlight on my phone and check under the bed.

Around the light, it was pitch black,  and the chilling feeling of someone watching me crept over me. The darkness under my bed always creeped me out; I’ve seen too many horror movies. After too much overthinking, the hairs on my neck stood up; the noise was back. Except, this time, it was closer. I quickly scanned the room with my flashlight in hand and I saw it.

Or rather…  I saw her.

Underneath the dark wall of clothes that lined my closet, I shined my flashlight in her direction and her shiny blue-eyes looked up at me with exhaustion washed over her face. I walked over to her and saw that the blanket on the floor was spattered with blood. I quickly inspected the area around her and at a closer glance, I saw quite a few jellybean toes, along with ten unopened eyes, and five pink and black noses. My beautiful blue-eyed baby girl just gave birth to five squeaky little kittens.

Disclaimer: This is a creative non-fiction story about a 15-20 second moment in my life. I decided to write about this particular moment because it was the day my grandkitties were born (April 24, 2015). I kept two of the five and they’re pictured above.

Theodore Toe-fur Meowsevelt is the kitty on top. He almost died at six-months by eating a shoestring (you can read about it here: A Matter Of Four Days ). I’m so happy he made it through and he’s still my baby munchkin.

Patrick Meowsevelt, on the other hand, is still a chubby little man. He’s definitely grandpa’s cat, but he’s very particular and judgmental when it comes to who is in his house. They’re both such characters, and they’re little punks, but I love them unconditionally.

To read more on my boys and their mama, see the following:

Baby Blue Eyes

They Pounced

Theodore “Toefur” Meowsevelt: A Memoir From a Cat’s Perspective

To Whom It May Concern;

To whom it may concern,

The simple idea that anyone could drive an individual into such a mediocre state of depression is absurd. But the idea that someone who swore they were your friend didn’t help you out, hold your hand, or pull you out of that state is even more absurd. I’m writing today to tell all of you what happened to me these past few days. While leaving out all of the personal names and specific circumstances, I’ll make an attempt at sparing any over exaggerations.

With the eclipse occurring on the 21st, and Mother Nature taking over my lower region, I’ve been a little bit off. There are rumors that people become more sensitive, their weak traits come out more, and several personal aspects can just get screwed up. Well for me? I became vulnerable. School started on Monday, Mother Nature attacked me on the same day, and everything was just falling apart. Until I had somewhat of an epiphany.

The epiphany I had was a cliche, but that doesn’t make it any less of a sudden realization. I had the realization that no one actually cares unless it’s a way for them to use you. Your time, your emotions, your ideas, your love, anything. Regardless of how long you’ve known each other. Regardless of the labels or the open mindedness you’ve tried to achieve. No matter how nice and how rational you try to be to everyone, none of it matters unless they get something out of it. You can give out advice, you can compliment them, you can have civil debates, you can wish them a happy birthday, etc. but no matter what you do. No one really cares.

I’m tired of trying to please everyone. These past few days I took three mental health days from school to just lay in bed, sob, and play games on my iPad. I fell behind in school, I questioned things in my life that I never have before, I blocked everyone on my social media accounts that I thought were annoying, and I even took a depression nap.  Which let me tell you, I never ever do. When I take naps, I hibernate. If I’m tired, I drink coffee. But the other day, I took a nap. I was so mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted that I fell asleep after a disagreement I had with someone very close to me (no names remember?). Last but not least, in my battle with my emotions, I took down my Facebook and closed my Etsy art store. Like I said, I was done.

Even though everything I’ve stated above sounds terribly cliche and not unusual for a 21-year-old engaged college student, I don’t care. My whole family was worried about me, the two friends I have left were worried about me, and even my cats checked on me from time-to-time. I was a complete mess. But someone who I thought would’ve been there for me, wasn’t. I shouldn’t have been surprised honestly, but I was. They proceeded to ignore me crying out for help but continued to reach out to someone else instead.

Needless to say, a few years ended up going down the toilet. I’m finished. I’m done. I’m kaput. I give up. I was at my most vulnerable and at my worst. So whoever wasn’t there for me, doesn’t deserve me at my best. The people who did reach out, however, I greatly appreciate, but after this week the vulnerable Danielle is being put to rest.

I’m tired of tip-toeing around people who are spineless. I’m tired of everyone telling me what is and isn’t correct. I’m tired of everyone being so sensitive and whiny (ironic that I’m whining right now). I’m tired of the few individuals who claim their personal issues are more valid than my own because they’re a little more extreme.

The sad and depressed Danielle is diminished, the walls are back up, and my “doesn’t-give-a-shit” attitude is (hopefully) back for good. Now I can’t promise anyone that this will all stay because who knows, maybe I’ll break down again in the near future, but for now, I’m done. I honestly cannot say that enough. Just the idea that people can be SO horrible is enough for me to make an attempt to stick to this realization.

Also, if you want to come at me (if anyone actually reads this), don’t. Just. Don’t. Because more than likely, the shoe will fit and you’ll find something to argue about and I’m not having it.

With no ragerts,

Danielle

You

The other day..

I cried.

Not for the sake of a mental breakdown,

but because of my love for you.


The curves of your face,

the smell of “you”,

the way your lips look,

when you smile.


From your head,

to your toes.

You’re mine,

just like you’ll always be.


For better,

for worse,

til death do us part.


The vows haven’t been exchanged,

just yet.

But the piece of paper required,

isn’t that far,

from being signed.

I just hope you realize,
that I’ll always be there.


AllBee there for you,

during the rough times,

and during the bad.


AllBee there for you,

during the happy times,

and during the sad.


Just know that even though,

we aren’t where we wanna be,

just yet.

I’ll always be with you.

No matter what.


Simply because I love you,

oh so much.

Favorite(s) Nack

Crunching in

every bite.

The chewing masks,

the noise emitting

from the screen.

But,

I don’t care.


The oil coating my fingers,

makes this even better.

It adds more flavor,

to every handful.


Savoring each

and every bite.

As the plot progresses,

the outside of my jeans,

become textured.

From the wiping of the grainy,

specks of this sent-from-god snack.


I go to lick my fingers,

and the taste of butter fills my taste buds.


I need,

to ask for a refill.


Could you guess what delicious
morsel I’m describing?

If you didn’t see,

the original picture?


 popcorn

The Black Sheep

Standing outside.

Shaking.

It was the middle of February 2017 in Colorado, and we were third in line at the door.

Our email said to be at general admissions at 5:00 PM to check in, but we got there at around 4:45 PM. It wasn’t until almost an hour later that the ticket guy for The Black Sheep came out holding our VIP lanyards and passes. My fiancé and I were frozen, our hands were turning red and I could almost feel my leg hair growing back. The man holding the laminated pieces of paper in his hands came up to us. After we told him our names, we were sent off into the line leading to one of the most iconic nights of my life.

After they opened the doors to The Black Sheep, they led us in a single file line through the door. “Just put one foot in front of the other. Don’t shake, don’t let your anxiety come out,” I thought to myself while I proceeded to follow the line in a semi-circle in front of the band. The girl behind me fangirled with me about touching Tilian and shaking all their hands. We couldn’t believe that Dance Gavin Dance was right in front of us.

After the first two groups finished, we walked right up and shook the hands of Will Swan, Andrew Michael Wells, Matthew Mingus, Jon Mess, Tim Feerick and finally, Tilian Pearson. They were all there, in-the-flesh.

The ‘camera guy’ was just an employee of The Black Sheep who used the fans’ cell phones for the photos. He instructed us to squeeze in the middle between Matt and Jon so we could get a picture with the group. I got to touch the drummer and he put his arm around my waist, while the man holding my phone counted down so we could prepare ourselves for the photo. It was such a euphoric feeling, being that close to a band I’ve loved since 2010. I couldn’t believe they were right in front of me, in the same exact room. My inner fangirl was jumping for joy and I could hardly contain myself when we took the picture, collected our VIP merchandise and walked away from them to rejoin the line.

The second time around, one of the employees of The Black Sheep told us we could get our things signed and just chill out with the band until it was time for the concert to start. My fiancé and I went right up to each band member and had them sign my Instant Gratification record cover, and my fiancé’s’ VIP pass. In order, we went from Will to Matthew, then to Tim and Andrew, and then Jon. We saved Tilian for last, because frankly I’ve had a massive teenage-girl-like crush on him since he joined the band five years ago. When I walked up to him, I managed to hide the inner fangirl fairly well. Tilian signed my record and my fiancé’s pass, just like the others, but we made sure to get an individual photo with him before we went off to get IDed and get more merchandise at the booths. I was still in awe that Tilian, along with all the other members, were just so chilled out and honestly some of the coolest people I’ve ever met.

After we put our merchandise in the car, we decided to head back in to watch the concert that was about to start up soon. We were standing by the bar in front of the merch, when I met my (even though I didn’t know it yet) best friend Stephen for the first time.

We all stood around for maybe thirty minutes before Eidola, band one of four, came on stage. We were still standing by the bar, when we saw that the touring guitarist for Dance Gavin Dance was also Eidola’s lead singer. Which we kind of thought back and realized it was a little weird that we got him to sign our record, but we just shrugged it off.

We weren’t entirely sure what band was going to come up next after Eidola and the second band were done performing. The whole tour was called Robot with Human Hair vs Chonzilla, so it could’ve been either band coming up. All it took, was Matthew Mingus walking to sit behind the drums to realize that Dance Gavin Dance was in fact, next. The crowd went wild and we managed to get a little closer to the stage.

As soon as the band started playing, these little teenagers started a mosh pit and my fiancé, his coworker and I, were right in the middle until they shoved us onto the edge. It was my first time in a bar, and my first time at a concert where there would be a mosh, so it was kind of overwhelming but fun nonetheless.

During the concert, all I could focus on was Tilian. I didn’t think it was possible for him to be better than what he was in person, but on stage he was fantastic. Tilian and Jon coordinated their vocals so well, and I recorded practically the whole show. The feeling of being in the same room as them was so euphoric and surreal. I didn’t want them to stop playing, but as soon as the final note of the last song hit, they left the stage and we left for pancakes.

Losing Parts of You Like;

I am losing parts of you like I lose eyelashes,

unknowingly and everywhere.

I am losing parts of you like I lose my creativity,

unwilling to produce art.

I am losing parts of you like I lose so many pieces to puzzles,

puzzles I’ve held onto for years,

in hopes I’d complete them.

I am losing parts of you like I lose little pieces of my sanity,

with every anxiety attack,

every crying mess I’ve hid in the bathroom.

I am losing parts of you like I lose my hair,

shedding thick broken strands,

whenever I comb or wash it.

I am losing parts of you like I lose my concentration,

letting ADD from my childhood take over my brain.

I am losing parts of you like I lose my train of thought,

filled with over-thinking and questioning.

I am losing parts of you like I lose one of my socks,

whenever I put a load through the dryer.

I am losing parts of you like I lose pieces to my Lego sets,

each scattered piece picked up by felines

that jump on the organized piles strewn about.

I am losing parts of you like I lose my place in my book,

the bookmark remains on the floor,

unnoticed.

I am losing parts of you like I lose my patience,

getting angry over every little mistake.

I am losing parts of you like I lose my hydration,

sipping away at coffee and tea,

refusing water.

I am losing parts of you,

whenever I look into the mirror,

and see someone I don’t recognize.

 

– the old me

 

Italicized fraction from:  Milk and Honey, pg. 127, Rupi Kaur 2014

In the Wintery Weather of Colorado

In the Wintery Weather of Colorado


swirling flurries fall

from the sky. The ground becomes wet

as the swirling flurries fall,


like butterflies gone mad.

Cold wind blows as the earth

beneath my feet continues to


dampen. The daughter of the

North Wind, blows her frosty mist,

all over the cold mountainous state.


The Greek sun god brought his

own toys out to play. Hot rays beat down

on the cool snowy debris left by


the daugther of the North Wind. Melting

what was once fallen swirling flurries,

into murky puddles in the dirt and grass.


Dogs play as the sun starts to beat

down on the moist ground beneath the little pads

of their feet. It’s warm outside, the snow


has officially melted away. The wintery mix of

swirling snow flurries are gone,

it feels like spring again.