Writer’s March, a Recap

Hello readers,

As you may remember, I had entered a challenge for the event Writer’s March (discussed in this previous post).  My challenge to myself was to write at least a page a day of personal writing every day for the entire month of March. I am here to give you a recap of my experience.

So, I may or may not have written sporadically, as I always do. At first, I tried to write my page every night before bed, but that only worked for about 10 days. Then, I started writing my page (or less, or more) in the mornings and while waiting for my tutoring students. I did not necessarily accomplish my goal, but I also wouldn’t call the challenge an unmet failure either. There wasn’t a page of personal writing every day, but some days I wrote thousands of words of personal writing, including the start of a fiction story that might become something interesting.

I did write a lot more in my journal for the month of March than I have been. Even if it was only a few sentences some days, I think it was quite productive. I did think about it practically every day, although some days I actually just forgot. Oops.

So, at the end of this month what were my creative gains?

  1. Learning more about my writing needs. I didn’t realize how that daily practice of writing non-fiction articles had really shifted my writing tone, until I started trying to write fiction again. It was a pretty startling change. I think I need to keep following other writers’ blogs, and keep challenging myself to write for myself even if I am tired.
  2. I started singing, more cell phone pictures, and oil painting again. Oddly enough, thinking of what I needed to do in terms of writing opened up a lot of other creative outlets for me. I have also been more inspired lately to dream big, and have decided to create a list of creative goals for myself to enrich my life.

    Typing for Pemberley (and many other projects)

  3. Despite the fact that I was partaking in a challenge for Writer’s March, I also seemed to keep encountering facts and information about NaNoWriMo, the writer’s month in November that challenges people to write an entire novel in a month. Information about this event kept popping up this month, in books and on the internet. I think it’s a sign I need to write a longer work soon, a thousand words (ish) a day.
  4. I have learned that I need to be more kind to my wrists, and to write with pen and paper as often as possible. I am also going to start stockpiling money for a new computer. The tiny netbook was great for riding my bike around, but it is a little cramped for being a professional writer and working on it all day, every day. Nope, pen and paper are my friend I also think more clearly when I write with pen and paper as well.

4.5. My reading increased pretty dramatically, although I keep losing my books (so not sure I can count this as a whole gain). Really, losing books is quite a nuisance, and has never happened to me as much as it has this month. I am starting Ulysses, am reading short stories from Jane Austen Made Me Do It, was almost done with the Happiness Project (before I lost it), reading another Jane Austen continuation, The God of Animals, and a few other novels currently.  (I promise to have a book review for you in the coming weeks!) I am very close to the end in a few, if only I could find them.

I highly recommend checking out the Writer’s March site for helpful writing discussion and writing tips. Even though I may not have reached my goal in the traditional way, I did it in my roundabout way, which is really generally the way I do things, and has worked for me so far. It has been rewarding. Thanks to the creators of Writer’s March for their support, and thanks to my readers as well.

Cheers,

Miss E

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Definition of Hegemony

Last Thursday I met with a brilliant new student. She is working on a paper for the novel 1984, and wanted to bounce ideas off of me. It was very fun, because she had so many wonderful ideas already. She was talking about George Orwell’s rejection of totalitarianism throughout the book, but had many questions she was just dying to explore the answers to. Unfortunately, she is only a junior in high school, and her paper is only supposed to be 3-4 pages. Working with her made me want to go back to graduate school though. It was so refreshing to have that type of conversation with someone so young, who has so many ideas and questions. She was also very excited to learn a new vocabulary word during our session- hegemony.

Photo Credit: netcharles.com (cited in the hyperlink above)

After she learned about hegemony and how she could use it while conceptualizing her paper, she smiled and said, “I like that word” before typing furiously for ten minutes on her computer. I was glad to know that learning a new word like that could help inspire her writing so much. It was a very cool moment. I know I have mentioned hegemony here before, but I am not sure it really gets used very often in regular conversations, so I have decided to define it for you as well.

Hegemony, as I understand it, means the oppression of others by a larger dominant, overarching (and widely accepted) force that creates a structure of sameness and difference. All societies have hegemony, and the tools to create what is deemed “normal” often belongs to the people/ entities in power. Hegemony can be both cultural and political, and its presence can be seen in books, movies, and society as a whole, since a small percentage of the population controls what movies are made, which books are published, and who wins elections.

One small group of people, usually the ones with the most money or political influence, can influence the way the society as a whole thinks and acts, even if they are perhaps acting against their best interests as individuals. Perhaps the easiest example of hegemony at work is in media portrayals of “average” people, ethnicities, places, politicians, love interests, gender identities, religions, music, rituals, and cultural practices.

Here is an interesting article that discusses hegemony’s role in relation to media theory which might interest you.

In our conversation, my student and I were discussing Orwell’s subversion of hegemony. Totalitarianism tries to enforce and reinforce a strict hegemonic culture from which to work from. Any variance must be destroyed so that people don’t question, don’t think, and certainly don’t make connections with each other independent of the state.

A very fun light from Spa Envy in Seattle- a group of people I have made individual connections with 🙂

In many ways, I like to consider this blog as a variance from hegemony. My interests include things that the hegemonic parts of Western culture accepts, like Jane Austen, but this blogging project also builds various connections with others based on individual interpretation and experiences. That, to me, does subvert hegemonic influence in many ways, and has been one of the primary benefits of the internet.

What do you think? If you have any more examples of hegemony in our modern times?

Happy Sunday,

Miss E

Blog Update

Hi everyone,

Miss E here.

I did not fall off the face of the planet or anything, but I have actually been on the blog every day doing background work. P.S. I finally figured out the Pinterest button! (should be to your right at the top of the page 😀 )  I have actually been on Pinterest for a long time- it has to be my favorite social media site.

Lake Washington in the Winter

I have been trying to figure out a few secrets to blogging, setting up a host, and other bloggish things that I am still mostly in the dark about. I am adding more every week, but it is slow going many days!

Even though I have not posted, I have been logging in to read your fabulous comments! Yay! Thank you 🙂 and I also had my first “Troll” experience on the blog. Someone left some pretty negative comments to other readers, and to myself, that were just not productive or appropriate, actually.

I didn’t “accept” them because they would have been a waste of space, but they were a great reminder that I need to keep doing what I’m doing, and trying to create conversation (polite conversation, not the textual equivalent of yelling).

Usually, I accept every comment and respond to as many as possible, and I actually enjoy engaging with those who agree and disagree with my viewpoints. I am not cool with people attacking my other commenters or being just plain ignorant, however. Nope, not cool with it.  Looking For Pemberley is a safe space, and none of you should feel attacked here.

How do you handle “trolls?”

I will have another post for you soon, and hope you are all having an amazing weekend.

Regards,

Miss E

 

Art of Writing

This will be a short post, but happy Saturday/ Sunday depending on your location!

I just saw this quote, and wanted to share it with you because I thought it was beautiful:

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” ― Gustave Flaubert

Do you agree with Flaubert?

This has been true in my experience. That is one of the reasons I have wanted to get back to writing for myself (see post about Writer’s March). For example, I had no idea I was so interested in gender until I had an imperative to write hundreds of pages, and the topic kept coming up as one of my main focuses.

For those of you who voted to see more movie and book reviews here, just rented quite a few literary movies from Scarecrow Video, and also that I have purchased the book, “Jane Austen Made Me Do It,” since Austenprose Blogger Laurel Ann Nattress edited it, and I keep seeing it on every Austen inspired book blog I encounter. I’ll review it here someday in the future.

I also wanted to alert you to the Looking for Pemberley Facebook page. If you “like” the page, you can get updates as to articles of interest, and I often post “writing songs of the day” there as well.

Here is a photo that makes my heart happy, and that has inspired one of my personal writing goals for the night:

That was a good day 🙂

Talk soon,
Miss E

Blue Eyed Boy

I have a happy announcement to share!

Because of the incredible amount of encouragement that Looking for Pemberley has received lately, I finally decided to take a step forward with it.

This morning, I bought the domain for this site!

Posting here and developing my writing has been a dream come true!

I have been considering it for a while, but was not sure that many people would be interested in what we talk about here, or that I would have the stamina to continue posting on a regular basis.

Honestly, this blog was kind of an experiment at first, to see if I could really do it. I’ve made it this far, but I would love to continue this journey.

Your support and feedback really have inspired me, and I feel like I’ve been inducted into a community here on WordPress.

I have enjoyed my blogging experience here, and feel that even though I do not post as frequently as I’d like, I do have something that interests me in the finished posts. Usually, I have a hard time getting to 30 site views per day.

Yesterday was pretty amazing though. I had over 200 site views (Looking for Pemberley Record)! Plus, I got over 300 more followers!

Thanks to you all!

This is how I feel right now- hyperbolic joy explosion.

I feel a renewed sense of purpose in writing, and a revitalized dedication to not only making more regular posts, but also to seeking out new and interesting contributors so that we can produce dynamic and interesting points of view.

Today I am celebrating! Probably with a bottle of one of my favorite wines, Molly Dooker’s Blue Eyed Boy.

A photo I took of this incredible wine (and also one of my favorite labels).

Happily Yours,

Miss E