Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Problem of Pictures and Posts

I don't know what suitable blog length is.

I keep trying to bridge this gap between writing essays and making posts.

When I wrote in my own livejournal, I had the same prolix problem. I would write beautiful entries, but they'd reach a length when I would sometimes wonder if people made it through to the end. As a friend of mine once said, "you write really well, but I never read them all to the end," and added a little laugh. However, I don't know how to divvy up my thoughts in a way which is any more brief. I don't want to condense myself so much that I lose an important logical step in my thinking.

I wonder about the quality of my posts as well. Twilight is so intensely vapid. Once I get over how shapeless Bella and Edward are, I imagine I can emerge into a new area. Once I begun discussing how they interact, and the impressions that a critical-thinking reader might derive from the text, I might revive what I feel has been dampened. I hope I am keeping in tune with my mission statement to deliver intelligent reasons against the book and not fiery complaints. Complaints are impotent, clever argument is beyond powerful.

Pictures present a problem, because I normally never use pictures in my writing. I know visuals would be an asset to my longer posts... but how much of one?

I Can't Get No Satisfaction

I am not satisfied with my blog posts thus far.

I keep noticing things to revise, and things to take apart and rebuild. But, the assignment is due in less than an hour. It will have to serve as is. I'll quell my perfectionism for a day or so, but the moment I have time, whether over the weekend or in between classes, I will be working on this blog. I want it to be something I'm more than proud of, I definitely have the potential to take it to that level.

With the time between now and when the next eight entries are due there ought to be massive changes to these first four entries. Even though, there is a chance that I might find I've done very nice job already and leave some things alone. Sometimes however, I've already hit my stride and I don't realize it. And there are parts of the blog I'm very proud of, I especially enjoy my second post.

Time is definitely a leading issue as applies to quality. I like to very slowly build up my posts on another word processor where I can see each paragraph and roughly each word. I can change their order and rearrange the sentences until I have something much more polished than before. But, the downside is, this can take hours. I've spent so much time rearranging things that I might have stolen time away from writing down other ideas. I would like to go back and find these other ideas, if they are there, and compare them with what I've already posted. If they are comparatively better, I might tweak the old posts. Or they could go in new posts all on their own.

Either way, I am excited to keep going with this blog. I enjoyed writing it very much.

I wait with bated breath for the next assignment...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pitch the Pictures? Shorten Posts?

How can I make my blog more readable? Last class my group members discussed how long some of my posts were. They recommended making my entries somewhat shorter in the future, or if they were too long to add pictures. I would like to add pictures, but I am unsure of the copyrights on pictures which float around the internet. I don’t know what pictures are free game, and what pictures are not; could it be that as an unpaid, non-profit blogger, I can use any picture I choose? I don’t want to try my luck. And I don't know if shortening my posts is cheating my readers out of a good read or making a good read better.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

So, Now What?

A person can benefit greatly through sound literary analysis. Turning over the symbols and metaphors and discovering connections, even if they are debatable, at least encourages the reader to think and rethink. People who dislike both the book and the film can use my insights to enhance their perspective as well as fans who might be horrified to find they agree.

I’m well-read, and a bit of an outsider: this is why I ought to be listened to on this subject matter. I can use my own gender-bending objectivity as a foil for this culture that mutely abides by rules which trivialize both sex and the sexes. I can use my knowledge of other books to announce Twilight’s inferiority as a novel to the world as a statement of fact.

I intend to gain my audiences trust post by post. I want to build a relationship with my readers through my posts by not only showcasing and fulfilling my purpose, but doing it well. I can be spellbindingly thorough and persuasive. Even if I don’t win them over to agreeing with me with the first post, they might come back for the post that could do the trick. I hope to establish myself as a blogger of quality, and not just another pretty phrase.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Empirical & Vampirical


I’ve been considering merging my two obsessions into one. Throughout my life I’ve had an interest in gender roles, in part because I so often don’t observe them, and I’m having a torrid love affair with English/American Literature.

I also loathe my generation’s fascination with the novel by Stephanie Meyer, Twilight. It is the only book in the series I’ve ever read. I read it at a friend’s hest and from the first page I just couldn’t stand it, but I did finish it, hoping with each turned page it would get a little bit better. I also saw the film with some friends, and managed to catch some of the dialouge through all of our saturnine comments. I cannot begin to describe how much I dislike both the book and the film, on so many levels, but particularly from the standpoint of good writing and gender roles. It might be interesting to explore this blockbuster film, as well as the book, through these lenses.

I'd like to analyze Bella, the female lead's character, and her relationship with Edward, the leading male, in a number of scenes both in the book and the film. Particularly those when Bella is shown to be so pathetic and yet Edward, some ubermensch, is interested in her. It's very interesting that it's a male vampire and a female human; it's very interesting that Edward is something of a male ideal nowadays. I want to know why. I also want to know why Edward loves Bella so much in return for her piteous mediocrity. What do these things say about being a man? About being a woman?

There’s certainly a surplus of information out there about these bloodsuckers. I don’t think I’d have any trouble providing myself with examples to analyze. Also, my audience would know full well what I was talking about even if I inexactly allude to “that scene in the hospital” or "that scene in the parking lot."


I’ll write for “myself and strangers” first.

I’ll write for the fans of the series as well as the critics, either way those who’ve read the book and/or seen the movie regardless of their reactions.

The critics and the fans want to see the same things, but for different reasons. The critics, in this vampire-crazed culture, would like to know that they are not mad for kneeling at the Cult of the Cullens. Some of them might want educated estimates on why the film is garbage to edify their wordless disgust for the film, and the series as a lump sum.

Yet, interestingly, in attacking an object you support your allies’ cause, but sponsor your opponents. My critic of this film will embolden the zeal of its fans; they will have a perfect opportunity to scream their love of these empty fictional characters at the top of their lungs or their CAPS LOCK!!! In this way, I’ll give them something to look forward to as well.

Either audience wants to see a hard and swift critique. Neither would be interested in my going soft on the film. They probably wouldn’t want me to be soft on the actors or the author, Stephanie Meyer, herself. But, I’ll have to be: I’m disgusted by the message, not those who conveyed it, and certainly Meyer can improve her literary craft—perhaps even by reading my blog!


I’ll give my blog my own special touch. I’m mordacious, but highly lovable. I’m a barbed teddy bear.

I can be a little tangential, but the audience will come away with something. The writing will not be purely critical, like I said, I’ll show some clemency, and I’ll stray from querulous rants and dopey complaints. I’ll stick with something smart, swift and thorough in my delivery. I am savage, yet I’m a savage optimist. There will be moments when, even in my thorniest posts when the one pearl of wisdom somewhere in all of that tasteless melodrama catches my attention and I mention it to the reader. After all, they say nowadays that even black holes give off the briefest flickers of light.

I’m thinking of titles such as

  • “Illuminating Twilight”
  • “Why I Hate Edward Cullen”
  • "Empirical & Vampirical"
  • or, “Glittering Vampires. O Rly?”
Among the posts I'd like to make are, a post where I get all the good I find in the series out of the way and disaffiliate my criticism of the film and the book from the actors, the author, the director and the screenwriter involved. I'd also compareTwilight's vampires to the vampires in other works of film and literature. Yet, the mainstay of my posts would be those which examine the scenes and dialouge attempting to answer some of the initial "why's" I've said above. There are specific scenes I could analyze in a post. Though this might mean, to my trepidation, renting a copy of the book... as well as recalling the film...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Five Potential Ideas

Five potential ideas I have for my own clubhouse blog:

  1. stream-of-consciousness novels
  2. perceptions of male/masculine beauty
  3. novel writing; novel reading
  4. campus oddities
  5. non-art major's sojourn to good art

A Moment of Response, II

I agree with Stefanac that bloggers are dismissed as “dilettantes” and “amateurs”--as individuals without any knowledge of that which they write about. Yet this overlooks the deep life experience of individuals who simply might not have the paperwork to prove the time they’ve spent thinking and articulating their ideas about a given topic. Blogs cannot become popular overnight, fellowship and the admiration of other bloggers cannot be one through fraud and misinformation. Bloggers do well if they are able to precisely articulate their knowledge, and that knowledge has a factual or relevant basis. I will cede, though, even a fool can have his followers.

Mr. Jalopy and I both enjoy the “[f]ast and loose” ambience of blogging. Sometimes I’ll write a blog post that turns into a promising short story or something I could better use for class, just because the swift and lax setting of the blog brought out my perfect pith or pathos. Such entries I secret away instead of casting them off into the ether, I’d rather publish them in print than let them languish online which puts my own perspective of “on print vs. blog writing” in a very interesting place.

Mr. Jalopy also wrote that “I am writing for my buddies.” I understand this is what he might bear in mind while he writes for his blog. But, with a blog so successful, and with such a massive following, it might be more accurate to quote Gertrude Stein: “I am writing for myself and strangers…”

There is also the mentioning of being “un-Google-able.” This is an alarmingly intriguing remark. On one hand, it expresses the consequences of having personal information out on the web, and on the other it also expresses a technology which would let any user find that information. It’s interesting Google is synonymous with this invasion of privacy in this statement.

Stefanac highlights several components that go into a good blog, including “personality.” I hope to use his recipe for my own blogging success in this project. I think my personality is too loud for this life, it certainly won’t be muffled or blurred over by virtual realtiy.

To the blogosphere!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Moment of Response

Rebecca Blood’s blog entry “Weblogs: A History and Perspective” ( gives some insight and background into the internet phenomenon of the weblog. Interestingly enough, I was only ten when she wrote this, and I think of all the weblogs that have probably emerged since which have populated and interwoven the internet even further. I have had more experience with personal blogs than meta-filters myself, though I once saw one such blog feature an animation I had made some years ago.

However, I find myself in disagreement with Blood and Greg Ruggiero’s ideas about definitions of media, and what media should be. I think that definitions of media are not limited to the desperate either-or of “corporate” or “public.” These two words seem very deceiving to me. Who is dependent on whom? Is a corporation all powerful? Especially if it is fed on the consumer’s money?

If one’s alternative views aren’t catching “mainstream” attention one might aim one’s displeasure at the public than the corporations. Corporations are not to blame, the public’s demands are. If people want to watch Montel instead of Marlowe then why should one blame the corporation if there is no TV version of Doctor Faustus? Changing the shape of media isn’t a crusade to adjust definitions, but desires.

One can take over the media and replace popular programs with poetry readings but people might decide to turn off their television sets. When people are willing to pay for something more than tedious talkshows and bleak sitcoms, then there will be a media revolution. The question of course being, how does one persuade others from Oprah to opera?

As for "consumers" and making them "creators." Consumers can be creators already. Everyone who has “made it” was once a consumer. The truth of people's passivity might be that not everyone is inclined to be a creator.

Being a creator is a risky business in any given society regardless of who “controls” the media, or what its definition happens to be. Being a creator involves time, effort and confidence. It involves sticking your neck out, showing a little leg and not being guaranteed a success. How many people jump at such a barbed opportunity?

Disagreements aside, I do understand and empathize with Blood’s interest in blogs and blogging. I only just started my own process blog here, and I do have a “livejournal” that I still frequent.

I keep my own journal, primarily because I like to read the blogs of my friends. I especially enjoy turning back through the posts, to see what they’ve said of themselves or others in the past. You catch phrases like “cigarettes are disgusting” written in dated entries by your smoker friends, and you laugh. I fall in and out of the habit of authoring my own posts. I don't like posting too often as it is, I like to remain somewhat of a mystery...

I do not lurk often, but when I do it is to catch up with people I am far out of touch with. I might not have “friended” them, but they still cross my mind.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What is writing?

Writing is a wonderful thing to do to words. Writing is a way to take thoughts and feelings and describe them. Writing is a way to use your words wisely, unlike the spoken word, writing lets you backspace or erase your words and tailor them exactly. Writing is a way to experience old memories, the last good kiss or the dawning of a new personal revelation. Writing has everything to do with taking words, some of which are used daily and some which are used rarely, and saying something brilliant. It's a way to tell a good story, pass advice or wink at somebody. Whether in a journal, or on this blog: writing is, above all, what I do.