I’m graduating on Saturday. In an effort to combat the debilitating fear and impending doom, I’m trying to take comfort in the fact that I’ve somehow managed to incorporate a few of my favorite things into my academic career. I’ve managed not only to bookend my college experience with my favorite book, Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, but I’ve also snuck in my favorite television show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer**.
My first encounter with Kavalier & Clay was in my senior AP English class. Our final assignment (outside of the year-long “Senior Project” which also incorporated Buffy- what? I’m nothing if not a dedicated fan!) was a simple book report. The catch was that the list included works like Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Isabel Allende’s The House of Spirits, and among them was Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize winner. It was the last book I read as a senior in High School, and by a stroke of luck, it was also the last one I read and wrote on when I transferred from one college to where I am now; finally, it’s become a part of my undergraduate thesis.
As trite as the symmetry is, I’m a little weepy. Of course, using it in my thesis was deliberate, but it was an easy choice given that this beautiful book is a goddamn tome; rich, elaborate, poignant, and inspiring. Naturally, it’s a story about heroism, but it’s also about identity and human connections. Through my third revisit, I still find myself getting emotional, if not more so, given that I’m already aware of how it all unravels.
Obviously, each time I’ve written on Kavalier & Clay has been on a different theme, and this time it’s used in conjunction with the idea of metamorphosis and psychological dissonance. Because, why shouldn’t I make the last major work a giant piece of actual self-help? Right?!
The inclusion of Buffy follows along the same points of choice, but considering that that her character is an inversion of some many traditional tropes, she’s a fascinating character to explore.
*Yes, this is the title of The Smashing Pumpkin’s song from the Batman & Robin Soundtrack (one of the best OSTs, don’t deny it!), and it’s also fitting because I’m including Batgirl into my thesis. Be jealous.
**Today is the tenth anniversary of the series finale! :’) *sniff*
This past month has mainly been flooded with scrambling to get things done for school, interspersed with a lot of game playing, especially the new Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite. Whoops. However, given that the reboot of Tomb Raider is set on the island of Yamatai (thanks Square-Enix!), and that the emphasis of my major is in Japanese Cultural Studies, I’ve been rationalizing the use of my free time.
Also, having since completed the game, that feeling of accomplishment has definitely gone a long way and into the territory of feeling productive and efficient. Yes, more rationalizing.
Now, this last week was spring break, and I’ve been able to add some “variety” to my activities. If my time could even be considered active, that is. While I’m only partially embarrassed to admit that I didn’t go anywhere, I’m not really complaining as I’ve taken marathon television watching, easy reading, lots of knitting, and copious game playing. What can I say? I’m an introvert. With those last two, I’ve also basically primed myself for early carpal tunnel syndrome. However, working through the first two seasons of Nikita; a re-watch of the first season of the new Doctor Who; reading Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone for the Vaginal Fantasy book club; finishing one panel on my Brooklyn Tweed Stranger Cardigan; completing Tomb Raider; getting into the Thieves Guild in Skyrim and acquiring the Nightingale Armor; and experiencing the world of Bioshock Infinite‘s Columbia totally seems worth the minor pain.
Yeah, I hear Ron Weasley saying “she has got to sort out her priorities” as well. Forgive the irony.
To say that this semester has been kicking my ass would be an understatement. Despite this lull in blog activity, exciting plans and collaborations have been brewing “behind the scenes”, so once finals are over, late December and January will reveal some lovely new projects.
In the meantime, I’ve taken to using instagram to document my life. More or less:
I can’t believe it’s already going to be December!
I have a penchant for procrastination. Although I finished this before the end of June, I didn’t block it until the second week of July and only photographed it on the 31st. Yes, that’s quite a bit of time in between. While the project deserves a comprehensive post of its own, I want to take a moment to discuss productivity.
I’m learning that I work best in obsessively focused, isolated periods of time. While I do have different projects all going at the same time, I can’t work on one for an allotted amount of time and then move on to the next, repeating day after day until completion. I need to work until I feel like I’ve reached a significant milestone before I can put it down and sometimes one project takes all my attention away from another.
It’s a process that can be as ineffective as it sounds. The key is in specificity; if I don’t detail the steps, I keep going until I can’t anymore– which is usually due to frustration or fatigue. Liberal list-making, here I come!
I’m always fascinated by the creative processes of others; how do you work best?
Short and sweet list of some of the sublime.
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
A pinch of this and that.
I hope all of my festive fellow Americans had a fun and safe fourth of July!
Well, as you can tell from the title, it’s Glass Lens, Gold Key‘s first birthday! I cannot believe that it’s been a year since I started this. For all intents and purposes, I really did make this on a whim; it was barely two months from the time I decided to return to writing on a non-community blog (in May) to when I got the first post up. There were many muddled and anxious thoughts before, after, and during that time; while there was much excitement, there was also a lot of doubt.
There was a specific way that I wanted to proceed, a way that required a bit of money and a hell of a lot of time. Because this wasn’t my first time blogging– I used to code layouts in notepad using copious amounts (okay, maybe “unnecessary” is a better term?) of tables and/or frames, and type posts up and upload via FTP before there was an easy-to-use CMS– I knew what I wanted and was impatient to go slowly. But I was wary of my own intentions and determination. I didn’t want it to waste away, as my site had before, and I was also worried that I simply didn’t have anything interesting to write about. However, the latter is only true if one isn’t honest or enthusiastic, and I knew that I absolutely missed creating, designing, and sharing my own perspective. So nostalgia won out, but not without genuine excitement, and I went about it the way I had before.
I’m so thankful that I did. I feel better having written, designed, and created something that I can share with others.
In the past year of working on Glass Lens, Gold Key I’ve learned quite a bit; on both technical and personal terms.
In terms of design, I’ve still got a lot to learn, as well as re-learn. I’m currently using a heavily modified version of a theme, but the CSS isn’t as daunting as it was before. In the past year, I’ve cycled through the following layouts:
As I mentioned earlier, I basically began when the thought hit me and thus spent no time considering the layout, or photographing the material that I wanted to represent the ethos of this blog. What’s funny about this is that it was completely antithetical to my previous method of making a layout first and getting to really flesh out the content later (although seeing the mockup of a “finished product” does help!). There’s so much more that I want to do, but building it up gradually doesn’t bother as much as it used to (of course, this is only the case for my work; if it were for someone else, it wouldn’t be as piecemeal).
I’ve also become a better writer, in the sense that I’ve become more comfortable with “publishing” it– allowing others to read my words. Or rather, I suppose I should say that I’m getting better with writing; I’m slowly getting through the self-deprecation that comes from apprehension. I’m an anxious person so my head goes a mile a minute down worrysome paths and perfectionist doubts, but, like the many maxims on regret have urged, it’s been better to do something as best I can rather than allowing an idea to dissipate before I think it’s “ready” or not.
It’s about improving. Growing. Evolving.
Here are some of my favorite posts of the past year: Read more…
A few favorites from the past week!
Admired, Inspired is a roundup of a bunch of my favorite links. Enjoy!
The fundamental shift in principals and morality is about who gets to control and exploit the work of an artist. The accepted norm for hudreds of years of western civilization is the artist exclusively has the right to exploit and control his/her work for a period of time… By allowing the artist to treat his/her work as actual property, the artist can decide how to monetize his or her work. This system has worked very well for fans and artists. Now we are being asked to undo this not because we think this is a bad or unfair way to compensate artists but simply because it is technologically possible for corporations or individuals to exploit artists work without their permission on a massive scale and globally. We are being asked to continue to let these companies violate the law without being punished or prosecuted. We are being asked to change our morality and principals to match what I think are immoral and unethical business models.
Our writing gets richer. As our writers come into a more mature age, they’re exploring deeper themes, because that’s what happens to us when we get old. When we started, all our writers were in their 30s. Now, they’re in their late 40s. Some of them are in their early 50s. This show was a little more joke-driven, gag-driven. Now, we’re exploring things like father-son relationships, what it means to love, what is God. You know, comedy.
As you can glean from the URL, this blog is part of something I’ve established as Often Lions. Almost a year of having claimed the domain, I’ve finally filled the space with some substance, primarily visual.
So what is it, or more appropriately, what will it be, exactly? Well, it’s a surprise. Mostly for you and even somewhat for me; if there’s one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that the most important thing is just to start. Every step counts, every step moves you forward. Stagnation kills creativity.
While its form may appear amorphous right now, the heart of Often Lions is laid bare. Its mission statement/ethos/philosophy or what-have-you is as follows:
For those of us who lie awake at night dreaming of fantastical places and the royals and the rogues. Hostile seas and cunning thieves. Bards who sing the sighs of the bright-eyed. Leather and lace, yet binary ways. Time traveling and the unraveling towards the truth.
Love & laugh– that’s the only catch.
As for the dialogue from Romeo & Juliet on the front page, as the first post?
Dreamers often lie… while they do dream things true.
Getting excited, lots of work ahead. Miles to go.
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