Cultural Appropriation: When the Chicken Doesn’t Hatch from the Egg

I recently wrote a short story for a creative writing class that had a heavy emphasis on feminism, equality, and the removal of appropriative stereotypes (not the story; the class). Throughout this class, I’ve felt more and more dour about my place in it: every day we meet, I am told how I have flouted my power to oppress and dehumanize everyone not me. I am aware of this. I work hard to remove the bias in my life. I work hard to use my privilege for good, if possible. I watch preference given to others who have had to work twice as hard as me to get where they are, and I respect the preference. I don’t know how to write about what I want to write anymore because of all the boundaries and expectations. This gives me a whole new twist on “write what you know.”

But this short story has me confused and bewildered. A long while back, I wrote a story about the most fierce and independent women I had ever met: my ex wife. She was a warrior, a fighter, broken and not, flawed and abusive and everything complex about a person you could possibly want. And exotic. And powerful. Given this class is about the empowering of women, and minorities, and those traditionally without voice, and she’s as untraditional a person I had ever met, I revived it, revised it, reviewed it, revised it again, and handed it in.

If I had problems with the insane amount of, “you can’t write effectively about this because you’re white,” and, “you can’t write about this because you’re male,” restrictions–and then being told I must write it in a social justice vein, where I’m expected to write about an issue I have no business writing about–surely I found a way around it by telling a fairy tale story based strongly on a real life, honest-to-god person.

Not so much. Continue reading

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My Nine Year Novel, and Why It Isn’t Published

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Warmest winter day ever.

Spring break is almost over! Yaaay (boo)! I still don’t have all my homework done. Exactly what I expected to happen this break, despite spending over 15 hours on courses already.

Between paper research that may or may not include multiple watchings of Idiocracy and This Film is Not Yet Rated, I’ve also been tackling professional representation/improvement on my writing work. My journey with this, the greatest failure and success of a novel, is a long and sordid one: one I wish to talk about for others in a similar field.

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Structure in the Age of So Much Literature

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(I imagine Yes is the only living thing ~ EE Cummings)

I recently read a Twitter post from a pro-tip wielding writer (by the name of Delilah S. Dawson), and did a little bit of research on what she referred to (that bit o’ info is a blog I’m subscribed to, filled with extremely helpful information. I recommend you subscribe to him as well. WARNING: offensive language used on that site) concerning “Story Structure.” That link is far more succinct than anything I could say  about it, so I won’t say a whole lot more about it beyond anecdotal evidence.

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This is What Happens When I am Inspired

Artist and glassblower Chihuly, as shown at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

Artist and glassblower Chihuly, as shown at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

I try to surround myself with inspiring things, people, conversation. I try to also surround myself with moments of conflict and moments of peace. When it’s in balance, I find an overwhelming love of existing, of simply walking through this world in balance. I find few things more rewarding. I have a need to live a fulfilling life (as we all do).

If not for my dreaming, I’d be a completely different person. My imagination isn’t so great, while waking. It’s corny, cheesy, lame. I must work really, really hard to create. It has a penchant for the ridiculous. But while sleeping? It’s as if I developed a whole other person that sometimes orchestrates whole novels in a single night.

I dreamed last night. Like I used to, so long ago, I dreamed a great big vast dream that laid out several passive questions I’ve been asking myself, and answered them. But before I talk about the dream, I must talk about what inspired it.

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Reading, Writing, Video Blogging, Hiking, and Podcasting, a Whodunnit Thriller

Taken at Carondelet Park.

Taken at Carondelet Park.

I recently made two major changes to my life. One, I had the good fortune to catch the eye of a phenomenal woman (who I call Orchid, on here), and Two, I began pursuing alternative ways to keep my work from overwhelming me. I can’t write while I work: no access to a computer, a desk, or anything resembling a stable surface. I can’t read while I work: too little time, too much work to do, and the job is rarely finished until I’m driving down the road and onto my next one.

So what did I do? I listened, and in more than one way. My coworkers have been bugging me to buy a bluetooth earpiece so we can talk while we work, and Orchid mentioned how much she enjoys listening to podcasts on her long drives to and from work (1/2 hour each way, if traffic cooperates). I bought the bluetooth with two things in mind: socialization with others and listening to music/podcasts.

Podcasting has changed the way I see almost everything. Continue reading

I Prefer Music With a Punch

Took this over the weekend.

Took this over the weekend.

I had a spiritual experience at a gay bar in Buffalo, New York, four years ago.

If you know me at all, you shouldn’t be surprised.

I went to Buffalo for two reasons: as part of a paranormal investigation crew investigating a pair of haunted locations, and to eat as many buffalo wings as humanly possible. After the investigations and two buffalo wing meals, the crew went on a bar crawl across the city. I’m not much of a drinker, but I went anyway because I wanted to see New York night life. It ended at a gay bar with loud, pumping music, fog machines and a very large man on the back patio reading tarot with a vulnerable lisp.

He wasn’t bad.

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Why Destiny Sucks (and What Could Have Been Done to Counteract It)

www.bungie.net

http://www.bungie.net (Taken from Forbes online, who subsequently took it from someone else who took it from Bungie.net.)

I’ve been studying. I’ve spent a lot of time, in every medium I can observe, looking into how a good writer (such as myself) could improve the thing. Lately I’ve been studying games. Xbox, PC games. Gaming is no different than a billboard, a tattoo, a movie, a book, or a diner menu.

I’ll be talking about the newest release by Bungie, Destiny. The reason I’m talking about it is I’ve had the good fortune to play it, with my brother (who also studies video games. And philosophy. And engineering), and over the course of a few hours managed to come up with some talking points. First, the thesis.

Destiny sucks. It sucks for myriad reasons. And a lot of games fall into the same pitfalls this one does, in some capacity. Hey, Kids! Here’s why! Continue reading