Reading multiple sources as regards how to write for the web — for my classes — has brought my attention to how I might better organize things on this blog. Though this has been a personal blog with ultimately autobiographical aims, and ultimately for the one person I know will read it (myself), it’s starting to grow into something more. This could warrant editing and reorganization.
The issues associated with this site are too deep, and my knowledge currently too shallow, to do a complete overhaul and revision of site purpose and goals, so I’ll be taking things a bit at a time, here.
On this page, I’m trying to divide up my posts according to the main themes (and audiences) of this blog and place links to some of the more useful and current ones (as of June 2017). My intent is to make this something more than just a tag or category repository (as WordPress already provides these tools), though just what I’m going to do with all of these postings has yet to make itself known.
Although it’s no longer a goal of mine to expose myself to the world as a coherent whole (I must have grown out of this in my 35th year), going through this blog chronologically will give a sense of my experiences at whatever point in time you dive. On this page, however, I’m trying to ease access to potentially relevant posts which get lost on an infinitely-scrolling screen.
Please be aware that this site is under renovation, possibly major renovation and growth that would be most efficiently handled under a new URL.
I also have a tendency to be wordy, which I’m trying to get a handle on: I’m dealing with tension between pressuring myself to make things long, and the fact that shorter posts are easier for readers to digest, even if more difficult to write. (I trained as a fiction writer…the length issue, thus, may be self-explanatory.)
One way I’ve learned to regulate my own psychological resilience has been to express myself creatively. In 2005 I earned a Creative Writing BA. In Spring of 2016 I earned an AA degree in (Studio) Art. This was largely to explore the possibility of writing and illustrating my own graphic novel. The switchover from Creative Writing to Art is one which I believe I’ve written about before, but I’m not certain when (and thus, where).
Beautiful, unpredictable, reliably difficult. I’ve been drawn back to this transparent to translucent medium for its immediacy, nuance, and impact. I found, recently as of this writing, that most of the work which I’ve done which I still appreciate has strong transparent watercolor elements.
Gouache is the term used specifically for opaque watercolor…which, I am not an expert on, but it seems to have entirely different working characteristics from transparent watercolor. It feels closer to working in acrylics than to working in transparent watercolor, to me (and indeed, there are hybrids such as Holbein’s Acryla Gouache).
In my Color Dynamics class, in we utilized gouache because (I am thinking) it can give pure, bright, strong, opaque, matte mixes of color. While I have experimented with gouache in areas other than color studies, I have not done so successfully.
One of the upshots to having at least a split-primary palette in gouache, though, is that it can be used in woodblock printing…
Linoleum Block Printing and Woodblock Printing
Here, I’m archiving experiments and thoughts on small linoleum block prints (also called “linocuts”). This was pressing on me much more, early in Summer 2017…then the drive trailed off, a bit. I attribute the drive to make linocuts to wanting to work in woodblock printing, but not having the tools or materials to do so.
I now have almost — if not everything — to try my hand at woodblock printing (mokuhanga), but my present experience of carving wood blocks, I would call minimal, at best. (I know enough now to know that it is not easy, and that it is different than linoleum carving, that is!)
I became exposed to this art form, largely, in the last trip I took to Hawaii. I visited the Honolulu Art Museum and viewed some of their collection of woodblock prints. In their bookstore, I found a book called Shin Hanga: The New Print Movement of Japan, (©2007), by Barry Till.
I picked this book up because — for one thing — it is gorgeous. I also hoped that studying the prints reproduced in this book would give me a better sense of design and composition. In any case…reading what there is to read in this book, spurred off my interest in shin hanga, sosaku hanga, and what seems to currently be called mokuhanga (that is, the contemporary version of Japanese woodblock printing).
I found information on how to create the latter in a book called Japanese Woodblock Print Workshop, (©2015), by April Vollmer. As deep as the book is, it feels sparing if one actually wants to make woodblock prints. I believe I have everything I would need, at this point — except, practice, skill, and the knowledge that only experience (or being taught) can give…
Suminagashi translates to “floating ink,” and is a method of Japanese paper marbling. I was introduced to this technique in Fall of 2014 and have since been drawn back to it for its simplicity and unexpected effects. I am including this category here because I have found material on suminagashi to be relatively rare online (at least in English), to the point that I find people being directed to my blog for information–!
While I never really intended to be a reference for suminagashi, I have found it relatively fulfilling. It’s incredibly difficult to control, which is a reason I have found myself cringing at witnessing Art students crumple up and throw away their prints when they don’t come out as intended. I believe the reason I was introduced to this method of paper marbling in the first place was as an exercise in letting go of control.
Because of the process’s partnering with chaos (via being subject to every movement of the underlying water), every print is unique…even those that get thrown away.
And then we move on into the, “letting go of the precious,” lesson…
Writing and Sequential Art
While I can see where my skills at writing and creative visualization may come in handy in the workforce, I was unable to see it before. While I have my own psychological entanglements to deal with before I will be able to easily handle myself in fiction, being a compulsive writer was a strong part of my young adult identity. Both the art and the writing began to develop in me early, in what seems to me (now, in my mid-thirties) as a corequisite of what developed into a mental disability.
Here, I might be able to stash seeds of future (or past) projects, or at least things to get me back into the world(s) of my current project.
These posts deal expressly with my experience of mood disorder and psychosis (the latter of which meaning, for those who don’t know, a tendency to separate from reality, not a desire to harm or kill others), and my attempts to deal with the side effects of the treatments that keep them under control.
This includes needing to get back into shape so that I don’t have to deal with constant slow weight gain because of my medications. (I suspect, but do not know, that they slow down my metabolism, at the same time as [I know] they increase hunger and delay satiety).
The major problem which I need to confront in fiction writing is having memories of being uncertain as to whether what I was writing, was real. Then I got older, and learned a lot more about how my own brain functions. Information relating to creativity and the brain should also be linked under this heading.
Gender Identity and Presentation
This section could be useful to those just figuring themselves out, who, like me, only see themselves in fragmentary form in other people. I thought that I had this figured out, then gender fluidity threw another wrench at me, and I realized that I need to do something more than I’m doing — or at least think more than I have been thinking — about my current life situation.
This ties in with mental health, as I am realistically considering working out to the extent that I appear buff and strong, with a masculine gender identity part- or full-time — in my own perception, at least. It will be more likely that I will go by the gender-neutral pronoun, “they,” than as “he,” though (I just anticipate too much push-back on the latter; especially as I don’t intend to stop wearing clothes that fit me just because other people get very wrong ideas about who I am, when I wear them).
I do feel that I am now more comfortable with uncertainty. That on its own has led me to stop clinging to potential ways to name my experience that distort it. The problem I have is when certain states move in and feel entirely certain, and I forget that they have, so far, never been stable and permanent without being intermittent…
Library and Information Science (LIS)
I’m planning to graduate with an MLIS (Master’s in Library and Information Science) in Spring 2019. “Librarian” doesn’t wholly encompass who I am, let alone my goals. But there are many ways to gain from the current training I’ve gotten myself into, and to move on to diverse situations, some of which may be better suited to me.
I’m hoping to eventually become a Web Designer or Developer, and am aiming my studies along that route. I do also have creative skills in envisioning, writing, and drawing, and a keen attention to detail; in addition to customer-service skills I thought I lacked (apparently, I was wrong); that could propel me further.
Japanese Language (nihongo) Study
This is an on-and-off thing, but I really do want to learn, at the very least, how to read and understand written Japanese, as I know it will open the thoughts of an entire culture to me, and perhaps more. If I learn the other angles, as well (listening, speaking, writing), it can’t help but make me more employable in the Pacific Rim.
If I plan to live in Hawaii, that is, getting a job there (especially one in a service sector) could hinge on having Japanese language skills. Living in Japan would also require Japanese language skills; and my interest in Japanese arts and crafts would especially benefit from being conversant and literate in the language. This is not to mention my interest in Buddhism…