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Digital Presence – How much of myself do I share?

A person’s digital presence tends to be as varied as people are themselves. Some people only use pseudonyms and don’t share anything about their lives, whereas others give their full names, ages, locations, and photographs. Some tweet about every little thing in their day to day lives, and others would never imagine doing so. I like to think I lie somewhere in the middle, though I know I’m definitely closer to over-sharing than being private.

I really started thinking about this the other day when I did a photoshoot with my photographer friend for her portfolio and website. Some of the photos are a little risque, and my mother was shocked that I was willing to let them be posted on the internet. I’m not nude in any of them, nor do I feel as if I am represented negatively in any way. My mother was still insistent that I “might regret it someday.” 

Would I regret my sharing of myself online? I mulled it over and decided that no, I wouldn’t. I have been involved in forum discussions that were incredibly personal during times in my life when I had no one to go to, I have an artist profile on deviantart.com, a twitter, a facebook page, a linkedin… I feel as if my internet presence is almost as big as my real life one! Photos that show a little bit of leg are not going to change the way I feel about myself in real life or in the digital world.

The only thing to really remember is that anything posted online becomes permanent. Even if you go back and delete your post/images/etc, they have been cached and others have possibly already copied and saved them. Once something is online, it’s online forever. 

Group Activities

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The Goose Story is really interesting, because I have a hard time with group work. I tend to be extremely independent and always want to be the “lead goose” if I am in a group work situation. Working as the Graphic Designer for my teams this semester is teaching me to let others handle their share of the work and do my own to help the team as a whole. This is new and different for me, and I am learning a great deal about the meaning of teamwork. I’ve learned that you can’t be in charge all the time, and that everyone needs to share the workload in a way that is conducive for everyone involved.

Work does generally get done more quickly and in a better fashion when done by a group, as individuals are able to help one another and also provide input where needed.

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If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.

Stephen King

Finding My Voice

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I have never had a particularly difficult time finding my voice as a writer. When I write fiction I tend to be almost schizophrenic, as I have many voices! My personal writing, however, has it’s own flair as well. Nonetheless, it was interesting to read the articles on finding my writing voice. I decided to answer some of the questions from Menwithpens.com to really explore my literary voice and see where I stand.

If your writing style was a drink, what kind of drink would it be? A casual beer? A pina colada? A glass of whisky? What about food? Would your writing be a Tuscan salad or a roast chicken dinner? Sounds a little crazy, but when you know your perfect writing voice is smooth like cognac or bright like strawberries, it opens up a whole new world of style

I think my writing style would probably be like a glass of orange juice. Colorful, sweet, just a little bit tart. As far as food goes, I’m sticking with the orange theme. My writing might be a little difficult to get into, but once you’re there you’re rewarded with sweetness and unique textures. (And sometimes things can be a little messy.)

Write like you talk. In fact, read your work aloud and see if that’s actually how you’d speak to someone sitting right there in front of you. Think of it like you’re having a conversation between you and just one other person (which eventually becomes the person sitting on the other side of your screen).

Sooo I’m supposed to write like I talk? Then I guess I’d write like this. This is kind of a difficult exercise, because it’s hard to think about how to speak while you write. Then again, I speak a lot like I write, though I tend to use smaller words when I speak than when I write. Call it laziness.

Place yourself in an environment. Imagine you’re writing somehwere else. Sitting in the woods near a waterfall. Or at a hoppin’ burger joint. Or in a legal boardroom. You might find that various environments bring different writing voices to your work, and you’ll find one most comfortable for you.

The room is so quiet that I’m acutely aware of my own breathing. The white-washed walls are pristine, just like the metal tables and the rows of stainless steel doors. The whole place smells sterile, antiseptic, like I’m being drowned in bleach. There’s another scent too, lingering beneath all of that clean. A little sweet, a little sour, it infects my nostrils and makes me feel queasy. They told me that it would take getting used to, the smell, but I don’t know if I ever will.

I managed to get used to the sights of this place. A person can only see so many dead bodies before they become fairly numb to it. The way skin turns sallow and sort of blue doesn’t affect me anymore – the dead have become nothing more than objects to me. I wonder if that makes me cold or it means I can finally do this job the way I’m supposed to…

(Yes I know this is a weird environment but it’s the night before Halloween and I was talking about my grandpa’s funeral home just recently…)

Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra

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September 15th was an amazing, inspirational night for me. I got to see one of my favorite musicians, Amanda Palmer, in concert at the Variety Playhouse. Like David Mack (see previous blog post), Amanda uses more than just lyrics to tell her story. She has concerts like no others I have ever seen – involving the audience in ways that effect each and every attendee. 

Before the show, ticket-buyers were sent an email asking them for images. I sent in pictures of myself, of something I wanted to brag about, of my bedroom, my street. During the concert, these images (along with the images from the other audience members who participated) played on a screen behind the band. It was amazing to see myself on that screen, set to lyrics that explained what was going on. (For example, the Bedroom Song was played while everyone saw pictures of their rooms.) 

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The most heart-wrenching and moving part of the concert was the “In my Room” box. Before the show, a box was placed out front with paper and the note “Write down the saddest thing that happened in your room.” I wrote down my saddest thing, which happened to be a secret. My mother wrote hers as well. Between songs, Amanda read the stories from the box. When she read mine, my mother looked at me and knew it was mine. She hugged me and I hugged her, and it was a moment I will always cherish. I felt close to everyone in that audience that night. Amanda united us.

After the show, the band did autographs. I purchased the vinyl of their new album and got a big hug (and kiss on the cheek) from Amanda herself. She was warm and sweet – open-minded and open-hearted. 

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Amanda Palmer and her band, The Grand Theft Orchestra, managed to make their concert more than just entertainment. They touched the audience, made them feel. People laughed, sang along with their favorite songs, and cried. 

 

For more information on Amanda Palmer, visit her website. She has several of her albums available for (FREE!) download.

David Mack: Writing with More than Words

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My favorite comic book is David Mack’s Kabuki. It is a slightly futuristic tale of a fallen government agent and her escape from a mental institution where they try to “reprogram” her. Instead of using traditional means to tell his story, Mack has created his world with paint and paper, with words typed out and with various mixed media. He glues things to the page, from butterfly wings to pieces of wood. Words are not contained only in the standard comic book format boxes but are hidden beneath the paint, hand-written and adding to the story without being necessary to read.

Kabuki

By using the visual to tell his story along with words, Mack has created a rich, fantastic world. The art is beautiful, the language is beautiful, and instead of simple comic book tales he manages to create a graphic novel with soul

Kabuki

I try to incorporate this sort of visual magic into my own writing whenever I can. I love to draw and one day hope to create a work of art that combines literature with art in such a beautiful and meaningful way. In my own writing I always think of the visual, and in my graphic design I always think about the words that will be associated with it. 

Albuquerque and All kinds of Sick!

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So I started this week with a trip to the emergency care center Sunday morning, as I couldn’t breathe. I was on a respirator for 20 minutes, had an EKG run, and after some tests was informed that I had bronchitis, an acute upper respiratory infection, and a sinus infection. Lots and lots of prescriptions later, I was sent home.

I spent Monday and Tuesday in bed, and all day yesterday on an airplane to come to New Mexico! My mom and I have had this trip planned since the Spring so I wasn’t missing it, bronchitis or no. I’m feeling mostly better but I’m still pretty weak and the meds are definitely wreaking havoc on my stomach. I hope to be better enough to go hiking in the mountains on Saturday – we’re going to go see the Native American ruins!

My camera broke on the plane (boo) but I’m borrowing my uncle’s, so I should have some photo posts up later.

Work with my groups seems to be going well for my class and I just sort of hope to get right back into the swing of things when I get back.