…oh right, happy new year!

Do I make this a mad dash to try and fit in everything that has happened and which I have realized, in the last three days?  (As an adult, I’ve never been a person for birthdays or holidays, much…)

Well, for one thing, I have started working on a webcomic script.  It’s not much, but it is pointing out things that I need to know to proceed further.

Everything I’ve read, in regard to comics, at least, says that script format doesn’t matter, as long as I know what’s going on:  especially as the script is not meant to be interpreted by someone else.  I did try and take a scriptwriting class some time ago, if you remember (click my “scriptwriting” tag to see more — not the one populated by the Reader), but dropped it because it was implicitly for filmmaking.  And, because my teacher was biased in a way which conflicted with (okay, was offensive to) me.

I have (very) little interest in filmmaking, at the moment; so while last night I did remember to note to myself to look at some scriptwriting books today at work, this morning I realized that I would run across exactly the same problem with the majority of those books.

Really, I think that if I were trying to get back into writing a script for a webcomic, books on writing stories in general (maybe short stories, in particular) would probably be more helpful than books on writing screenplays.  Books have narratives; screenplays can totally lack this dimension (and in the class I dropped, did totally lack this dimension).

As regards University:  I need to get on working through some things as regards researching future career paths.  This is one thing to do when I don’t know what to do.  (Reading, is another.)

I should not assume that Cataloging is going to work out as well for me as I think it is going to work out; I need to be doing some self-assessments, and probably doing some work prior to (and in addition to) going back to my Vocational program.  This means doing some work over the holiday as regards career path and class options.

In particular, I’m going to at least want to work out a potential class pathway and see if I will need to fill in some gaps as regards the specific Competencies we are supposed to cover through our courses — in addition to my Foundation courses.

I also need to be looking at what job positions I can move into which will help advance my career as a future Information professional.  Right now I am most interested in Academic or Special Libraries — Knowledge Management sounds fun — though narrowing down a search to a new immediate job which will be fulfilling (or, at least, a good experience) should be easier after doing more homework.

There are some optional readings I didn’t do while classes were in, which may be good to follow up on, now.  And I should get back to my co-worker about talking to a Cataloger for an informational interview.

There are two more classes that I can see myself taking out of the Library Science part of the program:  Collection Development, and Reference Interviews.  (The other night, I read through most of the offerings of my school which looked applicable to me…but was on my lightweight computer, so didn’t do as much work as I could have at my main terminal.)  These two classes will very much impact me if I do decide to move on within the Library sphere, regardless of whether those libraries happen to be Public, Academic, or Special.

I also need to pick up a book that I’ve been thinking on, for a while.

Aside from this, I have done some work with watercolors and brushes…but this thing has enough metadata attached to it, as it is.  I’ll post about that, next.

…oh right, happy new year!

So I guess I write character-driven narratives.

I was doing a little bit of research on plot-driven versus character-driven writing last night.  Today as I surfed back through my entries, I found a post on the screenwriting class which mentioned some material about how I approach my writing.  In specific, most of the conflicts which drive my my writings are internal.

From what I’ve read, it appears that my approach is clearly character-driven (the central thread is the internal state[s] of the character[s]) and that the screenwriting class was clearly plot-driven (the central thread is an overarching “adventure”; character is defined by the necessities of plot).  This in part determines why that class and I didn’t agree.  (It also contextualizes my method-acting attempts [I know nothing of method acting as it is done in reality, but] — I’d take on the mindset of one of my characters for a time…)

And, well, today…I got my hands on a couple of books about careers in the field of art.  Apparently, the comics market was saturated at the time one of these books was written (2006), though I find it more likely that what was happening at that time was an influx of manga from Japan causing something of a scattering effect in the U.S. comic industry.  This could well have triggered a boom in interest in younger artists around creating graphic novels (because of the new possibilities demonstrated with the medium, which were evident in manga), along with pushing American comics out to the economic periphery.

It may well be that this isn’t quite what happened, but from my perspective as someone who was interested in the storytelling and art present in manga (and not so much in American comics), I’d certainly suspect this as a possible explanation.

Anyhow — I have yet to determine whether I’ll decide to make my living (or part of it) via art or writing.  I’m hoping that after this next semester is done, I’ll have a better sense of where I want to be.  If I avoid taking Modern Art History in Fall, I can use some of the money I’m earning towards (finally) getting a Driver’s License, and I should have enough time to research both art and writing careers — if I can stay focused on it.

And I’ve got to say that I am kind of intrigued by the possibility of writing nonfiction books, which is apparently a more stable market than fiction.  I have a few possible slots I could fit into, but I will save my proposal brainstorming for myself, and get to bed right now.

So I guess I write character-driven narratives.

Scriptwriting is probably not my thing.

I began this scriptwriting class for a number of reasons.

Tomorrow after class, I’ll head over to Counseling and see if letting this go will affect my financial aid at all.  I don’t think it will — at least, it probably won’t unless I get a C average in two out of three classes in Fall (not going to happen — at least not so unless I neglect to turn something in, in both of my classes) or I withdraw from 2 out of 3 classes in Fall (also probably not going to happen).

At this point, I haven’t done my homework for tomorrow.  One of the reasons I tried taking this class was to see if I really wanted to write scripts for graphic novels.  This class doesn’t focus on graphic novels, but on film and animation, where narration is entirely absent.  This is a problem for me because of my writing and thinking style — most of my dilemmas are internal, not external.  It’s a bit of a stretch to try and illustrate internal dilemmas through action.

So, this is not the right class to learn how to write graphic novel scripts, unless one wants to write action-based graphic novels.

Another reason I took this class is that I wanted to see if I could write stories in a way that was healthy for me, and this is definitely not healthy.  I’m dark and irritable and angry right now, and I get even more resistant when I try to focus on my homework.

Last week, every day I came home from class, I would go right back to sleep, then stay up and do my homework until around midnight, then get up around 7 AM to get to class on time.  This is a recipe for depression, when even a healthy adult needs 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  As I said before, I realized that I was using caffeine to stay up so that I could write; when what I needed to be doing was decreasing the medication I’m on which is a sedative and risk having a depressive episode.  As things are going now, I may have pushed myself into a mild depression because of the sleep disarrangement and unpleasant mental focus, which means that I can’t drop down on that medication right now unless I want things to get a lot worse, very quickly.

As for homework content, I find myself zooming in on high school traumas and idiocies which I don’t want to relive (and writing about them causes me to relive them), but which are the strongest stories in my mind.  I’m told (by family who can see that I’m visibly upset) to make something up instead of going by the book and doing something autobiographical like I was assigned.  It’s tempting, but what I really want to do is fantasy (a freedom that exists in fiction, graphic novels, and animation, but not so much in film), and that’s going to be obviously not autobiographical.

The other reason I thought this would be a good class to take is that I was considering going down the Animation and/or Video tracks at my college; however, I’m pretty sure now that this is not what I want to do.  At least, it’s not what I want to do if I’m going to be a writer.

So there are two good things that have arisen out of this:

  1. I know now that I don’t want to work in animation or film as a writer.
  2. I know now that writing screenplays can trigger whatever it was in reality, which stopped me from writing fiction this last time.

Of course, though, there is also the fact that the subject matter of this writing centered around sexual harassment, homophobia, transphobia, rejection, and sexuality as a youth.  One version included an instance of sexual assault.  Probably all of those are really strong things to be writing about, and I was dealing with all of them at once during the time of this screenplay, in addition to racism and sexism.  Life was pretty hard for me to tolerate, then.  It actually took me about a decade to be able to get out of what I’d been dealing with through all of my teen years, and so obviously I don’t want to rehash it again.

But I couldn’t think of anything more significant to write about.  If I ask myself where the main story of my life is, it begins there.

The fact right now is, though, that I’m not doing a good job of managing my mental health while pushing myself to write about this.  Granted that if I was writing what I actually wanted to be writing, or if I didn’t have a traumatic and troubled past that filled up most of my “autobiography” (which is what we have to draw from for this assignment), maybe things would be different.  And maybe if I wasn’t shouted down for saying that white heterosexual experience is not universal, on top of all this, I might feel better about it.  But that’s not what happened, and that’s not what’s happening.

I feel the need to begin scheduling these posts to go out during the daytime.  🙂  But I’m kind of sick in the head, so I’ll post now.  😉

Scriptwriting is probably not my thing.

[Rant] Irritation at academia. Don’t mind me.

It’s taken me a long time to decide whether to log my thoughts on the screenwriting class.  Since yesterday (after seeing my teacher’s social awareness fail), I’ve lost a lot of faith in the teacher and motivation to do the homework.  Today was the third day in a row of coming home and going to sleep.

Ordinarily, having some sort of set structure assists me in being productive.  Today, though, after having sat through another three hour lecture, I’m trying to avoid my consideration of not going back.  The only thing to keep me in is the fact that my financial aid paid for this class, and I don’t want to stop getting financial aid because of multiple Withdraw statuses.

My life on non-work days is strongly circling around this class — mornings, in class; afternoons, asleep; evenings, homework.  If I had any interest in film or animation I think it would be different, but I’m coming to see that I don’t — which is part of the reason I took this class.  I needed to see if I actually did want to be telling stories.

I write prose, fine.  But I don’t like to write stories as much as I used to.  And what I do want to do — which I don’t actually know if I’ll enjoy at this point, but it’s a possible goal, at least (writing and producing a graphic novel) — is less stringent than this.  It might give me a leg up to submit a graphic novel script in standard screenplay format, but I really think that most of what we’re being taught are formalities (e.g. use Courier in 12-point font), and not how to write a compelling, non-formulaic story.

In short, I think I’m liking my art more than I’m liking the process of writing.  It could just be because I’m not doing the art.  Or because I’m stuck with this kind of…intellectual exercise of trying to figure out what scenes and actions to show, and my art is much more exploratory and intuitive.  I suppose that my writing style is also very internal, because my stories are internal.  I’m just not that interested in laying out autobiographical works…

All that to say that my writing style is not well-suited to film.

One of the benefits to scriptwriting is that internal states are implied by action and not set in stone the way they can be, in prose.  This allows a state of openness toward differing interpretations which may not be allowable in highly specific fiction or prose format.  This means that I, as a writer, am not locked into one reality and one set future, as I’m writing.  However…problems arise in representation.

I found this early on in manga and anime, but it applies to other formats as well — the tendency of life to reproduce art, when art (or, rather, mass media) is using established social conventions in order to convey as specific a meaning as it can.  This means that it’s using known conventions, and known conventions have the problem of being grounded in the social hegemonies — or unquestioned societal systems of understanding which define “right” and “wrong” — which undergird and reinforce the power structures of the world we live in.  Thus when life imitates art, if art is reinforcing the present power structure, life comes to reinforce the present power structure.

In this way, certain things like body image come into play, as each body is encoded with specific meaning which may have little to nothing to do with the person who lives within that body.  Or, at least, when one meets another in the real world and comes to associate the other’s body type with the meanings one has gleaned (often unknowingly and unconsciously) from media which has used established social conventions in its encoding, then we have a problem.

We end up with a really big problem when we’re talking about mass media and people doing this en masse.  This reinforces racism, sexism, the idea that heterosexuality is to be celebrated and everything else is deviant; the idea that for one’s personality to differ from the image that is associated with one’s body is dangerous (particularly where this comes to transgender subjectivities); etc.  This has been getting better recently, at least in the LGBT realm, but racism and sexism are still rampant, as can be observed from the disproportionate targeting and incarceration — or straight-out killing — of non-white males in the U.S.  This is not to mention the high rates at which feminine-appearing people are targeted for sexually-themed violence.

I see this lack of criticality, and it makes me not want to engage in learning the system.  On the other hand, I only have 12 more class sessions left, and I can deal with a C.  Whether I’ll be able to restrain my own derision is something else (I find it likely that I know more about these issues than the instructor, having spent the better part of my life in the educational system, regardless of the fact that I only have a BA).  What I’m finding out is that covert racism in the faculty is really very present in all of the college systems in which I’ve participated.  And this is sad — especially considering where most of these schools are located, and who makes up the student body.

I learned to expect it at the University I first attended, because they had very little meeting of the minds with ethnic minorities.  Those who were on the faculty there…well, I remember one professor whose words were that of a conservative, racist white man, even though his skin was dark.  Of course, though, his own philosophy excused his behavior as “bigoted” at most; he could never be “racist” because “racism” was a term which depended upon structural inequality.  To him, because of his racial background, he could never be racist, even though if a white man said the same thing…well, I guess you still couldn’t fire him (tenure).  I (rather foolishly) thought I could confide in him.  I was wrong.

Moving on to other colleges and Universities, I’ve found that often those who were employed as faculty, if of a nonwhite race, were often assimilated and complacent with the systems they found themselves within — at least within the English department, which was so oppressive that the term “festering” comes to mind.  (One of my professors said that I couldn’t call any author “racist” if they lived before the term “racism” was coined.  Seriously?!  So all those slave owners and traders weren’t racist, I guess.)  Some of them (like the one who called me “Godless”) were more overtly oppressive than the white faculty members I studied under, though the really progressive faculty, at both of my Universities, were within the Ethnic Studies and Human Sexuality departments.

One of the things I was taught in the Creative Writing department, by someone on loan from Stanford, was not to make anything “different” in one’s story which the story wasn’t about.  I’m encountering this again in my Screenwriting class.  I don’t know then what the standard reference is — white, heterosexual, middle-class?  What do we avoid “differing from” unless relevant to the story?  I’m not here to write a story about Everyman, because Everyman stories tend to be ethnocentric and sexist.  But what then do I do, write stories about people who are of my race and ethnicity?  How is that less ethnocentric?  In more formal language, how do we avoid ethnocentricity when composing our stories?

I don’t think anyone teaches that, probably because people have tried before and failed obviously and miserably.  The best we seem to be able to do is hire writers who can be ethnocentric in a way we haven’t seen yet.

I think the problem arises with the model we’re being taught here.  It would be somewhat more refreshing if this were a three-semester series and we addressed these issues.  But, no.  This is a six-week class at a public community college.  What can I expect?

[Rant] Irritation at academia. Don’t mind me.

Classes! Earrings! Body Image! Tea! OMG tea.

CLASSES!

Week 1 of Scriptwriting/Storyboarding is…almost over?!  Well, I finished typing up some version of a three-page screenplay, today.  I should go back over it again, but…I have kind of felt a need for a break from looking at it.  I got to that point where everything turned into a blur because I’d been looking at it too much.

Also, I didn’t mark what time I began, or ended; I just know that for my own process’s sake, I had to step away from the computer and write it out longhand before trying to put it into standard script format.

I should probably get back to it and mark my departures from the model and the locations of the main events.  The script is due in the morning, and it’s late enough, now.

At least I already took my shower.

EARRINGS!

And oh, man.  I was able to put in my surgical steel 16g earrings today!  It’s been four weeks since I put the 18g rings in at the beginning of Finals.  One is supposed to wait a month between gauging up one’s piercings in order to allow the tissue to recover from the trauma and avoid tears.  The 16-gauge rings slipped right in, though, even before my shower!  Maybe this sounds gross to people with conventional piercings — but since I’ve realized that I can make my own custom large-gauge earwires and still wear cute earrings (I make most of the jewelry I love, and can customize that which I buy which doesn’t work), I’m much more amenable to wearing heavier wires and rings.  It would just help to have a mini drill press, yeah?

If I get there, in the future…

The heaviest earrings I have right now are 14g, which is rather thick wire.  But they’re very durable, and — they were my first earrings ever, the same ones I got pierced with.  Very easy care, very smooth, a little heavy, slightly smaller in diameter than the ones I’m wearing, now.  Preferable to not wearing anything.

I think the largest I’d ever really go is 10g, and that’s just because once the piercings are stretched out, they may not necessarily shrink back down again.  Or, they may shrink down but then relax into slits when stretched with heavier jewelry (which I’m thinking, over time with thin wire, might cause the piercing to migrate), which was beginning to happen to me over the last two cycles of switching between jewelry subcultures.  (I used hand-fabricated sterling cones in one of my earring sets, which were pretty heavy…they were sold by the troy ounce, after all…)

I take it as a sign that my piercings are maturing.  Even when I have accidentally irritated or hurt them, they’ve recovered with minimal care!  I’m not sure if it’s because the piercings were done well in the first place (I was pierced at 14g with sharp needles and mirror-finish surgical steel rings, which probably led to easier healing), or if I’ve just been lucky.  Could be both…or maybe my immune system is just healthy.  I did jab and poke myself on the right side regularly with most of my earwires, when I was new to conventional earrings and couldn’t find the way through my earlobe.

I wonder how long I’ve had these piercings?  I’d have to look it up.

The thing I wish to avoid is getting very large piercings and then not being able to wear jewelry in them because of having a conservative job.  I work with someone who used to wear large-diameter plugs in their youth but either can’t or won’t wear them to work, so this person has Buddha-ears.  😉  (This is better?)  I definitely don’t want to go that big.

10g wire, in a small to mid-sized ring, to me, is really an optimal balance of thickness and diameter.  It’s big enough to start wearing sculptural pieces, but seems small enough to avoid the need for plugs or tunnels, as versus rings or barbells.  Larger than 10g, and it looks like we start to get into territory where we don’t have much option but to wear openly alternative jewelry.

The problem comes when it’s not a lifestyle thing anymore to keep the rings in — which I’ve been through about 3-4 times, before realizing that I can smith these things and don’t have to wear standard-gauge earwires (which are generally between 20-22g; the smaller the wire, the higher the number of the gauge).

However — anodized titanium and niobium, and gold-fill…in addition to surgical steel, can be really beautiful, especially between 14g and 10g.  What I’ve wanted to do is get some gold-fill rings — the kind that open and close with pliers — and put them in and forget about them, just wash them in the shower and not worry, otherwise.  But I should probably try gold-fill Captive Ball Rings first, and see if I’m sensitive to anything that might be under the gold — not least, because I’m still wary of little gaps where bacteria can set up homes, and I know CBRs are extremely easy to keep clean and dry.

I’ve not really ever had a bad allergic reaction to an earring, but I don’t think I’ve ever let myself wear any base metal in my piercings other than pure copper before, either.  I’ve been really careful about that.

BODY IMAGE!

Heh — I was just looking around on Google, trying to find CBR images that avoided people’s netherparts, and found some really nice images, including a model whom it would be nice to look like.  🙂  Except that I’m not going to shave all over.  🙂  I look ugly when I shave.  Not even kidding.

Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to lose a little weight, yeah?  If I cut out the sugared beverages, I know I can drop weight, quickly and easily.  It’s just such a pain to do, though…especially given that I was having blood sugar crashes (dizziness, problems thinking, poor stress tolerance) from not eating enough sugar, last time I tried this, and then I started yo-yoing…

…I should talk to my doctor about that.  She was the one who told me to cut out juice and soda, once I started gaining weight from metabolic changes from a newish medication.  I hardly ever drink soda; juices and milk and sweetened tea are something else.  (I even stocked up on some nice teas in anticipation of stopping — four boxes’ worth.)  I never had this problem before.

But yeah, the belly poking out after I eat is kind of not right, and I feel more stable now even with the BS at my job because of the third medication.  (Hahahaha.  Seed for a story.)  If I want to stay on this med, I will probably want to start exercising and limit the liquid sugar…even when it seems things are going well.  I think I’m just going to have to give myself permission to eat solid sugar, though…oddly enough, it seems a Snickers bar has less sugar than an average soda, IIRC, and a less harmful version of sugar than high-fructose corn syrup…wait, unless they put HFCS in Snickers…

TEA!

I didn’t tell you I found a new bubble tea place!  OMG.  Sweetened Jasmine Green Milk Tea with Boba.  OMG.  I freakin’ love Jasmine tea, even though I wasn’t expecting the milk in this one.  “Large” is too large, especially for someone like me with lactose intolerance!  Maybe I can reserve sweet tea like this as a treat…I’ve been having issues with caffeine addiction.  No withdrawal headaches yet, just a “like” for matcha frozen treats, Jasmine green tea, Thai iced tea, and chocolate.  I can even fool myself with decaf tea — I love that, too, it’s just that the last, I always drink at least a little sweet.  Maybe I should try that, replacing green and oolong and Thai tea with non-caff (like mint, and ginger), and gradually weaning myself off the sugar…I know I did get a Jasmine Tulsi tea which is caffeine-free but feels like it has some other stimulant in it…but GODS.  JASMINE!

Or, I could try and take tea to work…my supervisor at my second job site does this, now that I think about it.  I could take in a teapot, let it steep while I’m working, and then drink the tea on my break or lunch…reason I’ve avoided it is really the withdrawal symptoms.  Well, and I have to trust people not to tamper with my teapot or drink my tea…but hey, there’s a coffeemaker in there, right?  And it’s used almost every day, right?  And I am going to be working there more, right?  And there’s a dishrack, right?

Or, hey!  I just realized that I can take a Thermos of tea in there with me!  That means that I can steep it in the morning (or the night before) and let it cool, so I have iced tea.

YESSS.

Classes! Earrings! Body Image! Tea! OMG tea.

Two things:

One:  I just came off of watching the third episode of a mini-series called “Superheroes:  A Never-Ending Battle” which I took note of precisely because of my last entry — my mind was still oriented in the direction of comics/graphic novels, and this fit right in.  Spirits tellin’ me somethin’, eh?

Two:  If I use more than 15 tags+categories, it’s probable that my posts won’t show up on the Reader, and both are used in the Reader’s algorithms.  Just learned that today.  I was wondering what was going on…

As regards the first, it looks like comics will be moving in the digital direction in the future.  This is good to know, because it means that if I do want to do comics illustration, I will need to have the digital background, going forward.  This also means that it is entirely reasonable not to go for a Studio Art MFA and instead go for Digital Media certification at my present school.  I would likely be using an IPad or tablet computer, but that seems to be where things are going now, as well.

And now I wonder about the Animation track?

In any case, Drawing and Painting will be useful, especially Figure Drawing and Portraiture, both of which I’ve avoided because of the difficulty level, and the fact that I can get stuck in a rut of character drawings.  (And I’m not kidding when I say I can get stuck in a rut — it’s a reason I took Intermediate Drawing this last semester.  TOO MUCH ANIME.)  But hey, I’m really only three courses into the Art Certificate, and I don’t have to stay there.  But I want to learn to paint and draw for real, anyway, in addition to on computer.  I just don’t want to be like one of my friends who can draw on computer, but as most things go, not by hand.

Also, if I’m going in this direction — I’m going to want to start to write and block out and manage scripts…not the easiest thing.  If I’d done Screenwriting, it would have been easier, but that wasn’t a specialty offered at my University.  There is a Scriptwriting class offered at my current school, though — even though it’s more geared toward Digital Video Production.  I’ll have to check that out.

After the big switch over to Windows 8 at the beginning of next year, I do want to try some of the newer graphics programs…I just have entirely no idea as to whether my tablet (no LCD screen) will work with any of it, or if I’ll have to get a tablet computer.

As regards the second thing I mentioned above:  sorry for the misplaced posts — I am just still learning how to use WordPress.  I did end up “Following” myself just so that I can make sure things are actually working!  *sighs*

Two things: