Reading Moby Dick (Again)

Here are the 10 Reasons I need to re-read Moby Dick:

  1. One should probably do this at least once every three years, just as a general practice.
  2. I love this novel so much I painted a mural on my door, as discussed in this previous post.
  3. My tattoo of the future (I’ve been wafting on this for years) is inspired by Moby Dick, and I need some ideas for completing the design. I know that I am not the only one to want a Moby Dick tattoo- I have found a lot of them, some of which are on my Pinterest.

    Western Washington coast- drifted log on the beach. I live by an ocean now- that also probably means I should read Moby Dick again, right?

  4. I would like to revamp an old paper I wrote about the novel and send it off to a scholarly journal.
  5. I miss it.
  6. I want to paint another mural.
  7. I want to read it again after having a Masters and see how that changes my reading.
  8. It can be reviewed, lovingly, on the blog in one or multiple posts, thus contributing to the book reviews requested in one of my previous polls.
  9. I will probably be using it for tutoring soon- one of my students has shown an interest in reading it, which of course makes me very happy.
  10. There is really not a good reason I can come up with not to re-read it 🙂

I also found this really interesting blog of an artist who seems also very obsessed with Moby Dick, and makes artwork based on every page of the novel.

What do you think of Moby Dick? How many times have you read it, if any? If you have not read it, why not?

Happy Friday,

Miss E

Working in Seattle

Hello everyone! Hope your Tuesday/Wednesday is going well.

Lately I have been reading blogs that have “Wordless Wednesdays.” Have you ever heard of that? It’s when blogs have a series of pictures, or one picture instead of a prose post.

I do not think I’ll start doing Wordless Wednesdays, but I did want to share some fun pics I took of writing in Seattle yesterday with you. Nothing serious today- just fun Seattle sunshine and latte art from a place you should definitely check out- Zoka coffee shop.

The Space Needle with sun in Seattle

Love it when the sun comes out in Seattle!

With the flash!

Different angle- no flash.

Love the new pattern.

about 1/2 the way through

Ah, I love my coffee while writing. It makes me more productive, although I usually don’t order lattes. Just regular black coffee. I am also very glad to have finally found a few places that serve delicious lattes (although coffee is everywhere here, truly great coffee shops are bizarrely difficult to find in Seattle, which shocks me). Zoka definitely makes one of the best lattes I’ve ever had in my lifetime.

In other good news, these pictures were all taken with my cell phone camera, as are many of the ones I post here. If you have a larger screen, you might be grossed out by the poor image quality/ pixels. However, my wonderful friend gave me an old Nikon digital camera yesterday. As you might have guessed, I will use it to take pictures, and will then post those (way better than cell phone quality) pictures to the blog! I’m very excited about it, and hope that it will make your reading experience better.

Do you drink coffee while writing?  Something else? Nothing at all?

Let me know if you have any suggestions!

Cheers,

Miss E

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

Creative Chaos Blogging Award

I was nominated for my first blogging award! I always see these awards around, and have always been curious about them, so I am very glad I get to partake! Thanks to Laurissa at Lest Twenty Two for nominating me. Go check out her comics- they are very entertaining!

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Here is the list of rules, from her site:

1. You must tell 3 completely weird things about your habits. If you claim to have no weird habits, you’re lying and we’ll have to send an investigative team for further analysis.

2. You must tell why you look at the “glass half full” scenario and ask “what? No coffee?”

3. Complete any one of the following essay questions:

A. You find yourself in a desolate place when your car breaks down. You have no cell phone service, no stores, and only a candy bar for food. It is 150 miles to the closest town. What color are your pants and why?

B. You find yourself having to ride an elevator quite frequently. How do you pass the time to show off your creativity?

4. Then you are to nominate 5 random people and let them know.

5. Make sure to show proper gratitude to the person who nominated you whether that is to shower them with gifts, prizes, and cash or to see that they are put into a clown costume and photographed for internet mocking.

6. Make sure to post the award somewhere other than the underside of the toilet seat.

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Here goes nothing, except my attempt to answer them to the best of my abilities.

Weird Habits. This one was pretty hard for me, because I have a lot of odd idiosyncrasies about myself, but I also because I don’t really have a routine (I even took a facebook poll for this!):

  1. I tell stories about people from my life, using their full names. My current friends tease me about this, because they are like, “we don’t know this person- why are you telling us about them and using their full name!?” However, I do it because I truly feel like someday my friends from various parts of the world will know each other, and it has even happened quite a few times so far- a lot of my friends from New Mexico have met my Seattle friends, and a lot of my friends from South Dakota have met my other Washington friends. Someone from Austria has met a London friend, etc.
  2. I sometimes cover cans of food with saran wrap, instead of putting them in a Tupperware. Not only is that weird, but my roommate recently told me it may give me some sort of disease, which would be dreadful.
  3. I pull on my earrings when I get nervous.

2. I don’t know if I fully understand the question for this one, but here’s my answer anyway: I look at the glass half full because when I say, “what, where is the coffee?” I end up having too much caffeine and getting the jitters.

B. I’d make up songs about the predicament and sing them to myself, and dance around the elevator.

4.  Who to nominate? Do you guys know how many blogs I visit every day? Literally hundreds, on a slow day. There really isn’t criteria, but I will chose 5 of the text or art-based blogs I read the most, whose blogs are king of my “feel good” sites, and who post more than once a month.

  1. My first nomination goes to Little Wolf, an illustrator in Portland who portrays every day Portland characters in fun and quirky drawings.
  2. The second goes to one that really cracks me up, Kate, Cracking Up. She’s funny!
  3. I always read Hour of Gold as well, for her personal and entertaining recitations, stories of vegetarian adventures, and some doses of sarcasm.  I appreciate her conversational style.
  4. The blog Mile High Healthy gives me a daily dose of inspiration for healthy living and has a lot of tasty salad recipes. I love salads, and have a not so secret love of both the Colorado Rockies and food blogs, so this one kind of combines a bunch of my favorites.
  5. I am constantly surprised that the blogger of The Last Classic is young (17ish). She is very eloquent, and the style of her site is really fun. I always enjoy her posts, especially about reading and authors.

Other recommendations, and close contenders who deserve some link love: The humor blog Cereal with a Fork is definitely a go-to for me on writing days. One of my favorites is the 3/28 post. I love the blog Diatribes and Ovations, and it was one of the first sites I followed here on WordPress. The site Masculinity U is also very good for masculinity studies and gender topics, although I am not sure who would answer these questions since they have multiple authors. And, last but not least, the young blogger over at Operation Equality is very impassioned and it is fun to watch her learn about and take action for social justice issues.

What is this, you ask? A creative fountain of chaos, of course.

Thanks again Laurissa for the nomination!

Cheers,

Miss E

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

Fun Center in my Mind: Best Songs for Getting in the “Write” Mood

What music is the best for productive writing? Well, it depends on what you are looking for that day. Some people can write with the same type of music on in the background every day, and some prefer to have no music at all.

I am unfortunately always most productive when I am surrounded by silence, like a vacuum- sealed library study room, but I love music, and try to incorporate it into my day whenever possible.

I usually listen to music when I write for at least half the day, and if I am in a loud coffee shop, I find headphone music incredibly useful for drowning out distracting conversations of patrons around me. As you may know by now, I do a “writing song of the day” on the Looking for Pemberley Facebook page. These songs often range from slow and gentle folk or blues, to fast-paced and energetic Cumbia music. Since I am looking for music that puts me in a certain mindset, I usually pay more attention to rhythm and tone than I do to the lyrics when choosing these songs every day.

Music can open up the "Fun Center" in my brain, provoke thought, and put me in the mood to write.

I have pretty eclectic music tastes, and like almost all types of music (with the exception of some scream0 and country music). Syncopated and complex beats are really interesting for me, since I was a percussionist back in the day. However, they are often very distracting for me and require my full attention, so I don’t like to listen to them when I am writing, even though I love them.

If it is raining outside, I will either try to pick a song that reflects the somber mood of the weather, or something more energetic to lighten my own mood and make writing easier.

Usually, I will listen to my Pandora stations or use another online streaming platform, and the song that first grabs me and gets me in the writing groove will be the one I share with you. Some days, I post the writing song of the day later in the day, because it takes that long for me to hear a song that puts me in the “write” state of mind.

I often listen to other music when driving (in the days when I had a car), cooking, or dancing than I do when I am writing. Writing music for me is also very different than editing music. In fact, when I am editing, I prefer complete stillness around me or music without lyrics. Although I can write faster without music, I enjoy adding it to the mix and seeing how it affects the finished product.

There are two ways that I combine music and writing.

  1. Listening to Music while I write or type. When I am listening to music, I am interacting with it, even when I write. Songs with a steady beat but kind of subtle lyrics really help me too. I can type to the beat of a song, or listen to music while I am writing that has presents the tone as the one I am trying to convey: energetic, melodramatic, alternative, edgy, angry, macabre, joyful, exploratory, etc. in very complex ways. Music is the best way to get me feeling a specific way. A great example of this is the song: 
  2. Reacting to a song after the fact is the other most frequent way I use music for my writing. Some songs do really have amazing lyrics, or fascinating tones (especially in classical music) that can conjure up dramatic stories in my head. When I was in middle school, a friend and I used to make up sagas and adventures that would be set to the songs we were playing, and it kind of became a habit. One example of this is the song: 

If there are lyrics, I think about what type of people or places they are referencing and it can spark a million subsequent thoughts. This is one of the reasons that sometimes I just can’t listen to songs with words or catchy refrains when I am writing- I end up Google searching lyrics and trying to learn them for my next Karaoke adventure.

Good writing songs, for me, need to fulfill one of these two roles- as mood/energy music, or as story inspiration in a way I can write and interact with, either during or before the writing process.

What makes a good writing song, in your opinion?

Cheers,

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