My Personal Website

Hey guys,

I have made a personal website, separate from A Pensive Writer, but also on WordPress. It’s my more techy geeky side of me, as a place where I talk programming and game development, as well as give game reviews.

I’d love it if you checked it out and give it a follow! Weir Gaming

~Thanks much fellow nerds (literary and all).

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Light, like life, is a funny thing

I finally hung the metal Doctor Strange art I got from Wizard-Con in NOLA in January. But now that it’s on the wall, it’s not reflecting light the same way it did before.

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I wrote a short story recently around the theme of light, and I hope to finish it tonight, though I don’t know where I’m going to take it.

Sometimes my writing is like that. Sometimes it has a route it must follow, and sometimes it follows the route it makes.

DEEP. I know.

This story is following the route it’s making, as is this blog post. I seriously have no idea where it’s going. But this is more like stream of consciousness than letting a story unfold.

UNLESS life is the story. BAM. DEEP.

Sometimes life has light.

Sometimes life lacks light.

Sometimes writing has form.

Sometime it lacks form.

When life has light, it is worth living, and when it doesn’t, it may feel like it’s not worth living, but the darkness shapes your shadow–the impact you have upon the world.

Maybe the same thing happens with writing.

A Change of Heart

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I’ve had a change of heart. Surprise, I know, it’s not like the title or picture would have given it away. (I was also never a HUGE Yu-Gi-Oh fan, but I watched a bit of it back in the day. Now Pokemon though….)

Anyway, my last blog post was about how (specifically in that instance, science fiction and fantasy in the realm of) popular fiction essentially is not always literature.

I take that back.

See, I think I took that viewpoint for one main reason: scifi/fantasy often doesn’t feel the same as what we consider “literature.” We think of literature as an old wise saying almost, whereas popular fiction is like that kid who would never take off his spiderman costume. We give the former much credit, and the latter, not as much.

But I’ve been thinking about it a lot, because I enjoy reading popular fiction and “literature,” but there’s this stigma that exists around popular fiction to some, well, frankly pretentious “literature” scholars, or even to some laymen.

If you are one of those people, let me dispel your belief, and maybe even bring you to the dark side (we have cookies, so you should probably come anyway).

“Literature” seeks to teach a lesson. To have a moral. Now, this isn’t how one should start writing a book, but it is the end product.

“Literature” usually seeks to do so within our same realm. Earth, usually present time at the time it is written; essentially, in a world we know and love (or hate). BUT scifi/fantasy in pop fiction takes us out of our own world. While the story in that world probably can’t take place here on Earth, the characters undergo the same emotional journeys that we can undergo. I don’t know that I’ve read a book that isn’t either about people or personified animals or objects or what-not. So they’re all about people. Okay, that’s settled. Essentially the differentiation between the two then relies upon whether or not they use magic or the beach as a setting–some may use both. You may be starting to see that this is quite the gray area, and that there can be no distinct line drawn between the two “genres.”

In fact, I would argue that books set in other realms and geared toward the public can actually be more effective than “literature” (and yes I’m going to keep using the air quotes).

Take Harry Potter for instance. This article by Scientific American shows just the effect the series has: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-everyone-should-read-harry-potter/ A.k.a., if one reads Harry Potter, one becomes a better human (can you tell I strongly support reading Harry Potter?). An excerpt from the article:

…fantasy may be especially effective in assuaging negative attitudes because the genre typically doesn’t feature actual populations and thus avoids potential defensiveness and sensitivities around political correctness.

I 100% agree with this, Scientific American. It is an incredibly effective writing tool to put someone in a different realm away from what are attached to and about which they already have preconceived notions.

I will take a step back now though and address the realm of popular fiction as a whole. Another part of the aforementioned article does the same, and uses this text (http://science.sciencemag.org/content/342/6156/377) from Science, to address the subject.

While I do not have access to the full paper, I would say that while I don’t disagree with them, I don’t agree, either. I would not be a scientist if I didn’t examine all the possibilities, after all.

My argument for scifi/fantasy in popular fiction, I think holds true for all of popular fiction. Popular and “literary” fiction are about people. I just think that some areas are more effective than others (scifi/fantasy), and that if one has not let go of their inner child, they should be able to reap all the benefits from each genre.

If I had to rank levels of effectiveness, I would do it like this:

  1. Popular Fiction
    1. General Fiction
    2. Scifi/Fantasy
  2. Classics
    1. General Fiction
    2. Scifi/Fantasy

So while Science is not wrong in the science of it, it’s their terminology with which I have problem. They essentially denote classics as “literary” fiction. But it’s all literature. Some are just more effectively written than others and target different audiences. Plus, one should keep in mind that what is effective for one person may not be for another. It’s all about perspective, people.

Okay, that’s it. Feel free to comment. I’d love to hear your opinions and start a conversation about it, because I feel like while to some this isn’t a big deal, to others it’s quite controversial.

 

 

 

Photo credit: Demurge at http://demurge.deviantart.com/art/change-of-heart-131409682

Plot Heavy Writing

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The first book that I wrote is, yes, plot heavy, and I struggle with the fact that it is just that; I prefer writing when I know I’m giving the vibe literature gives in its use of extended metaphor that’s so subtle it’s changing you without knowing it by using such thought out examples of show, don’t tell. Plot heavy books can totally do that, but when I’m saying plot heavy, I probably mean plot focused.

My writing in this book isn’t like my writing when I write “literature,” she says all snobby-like. While there is an extended metaphor, and even more than one, and I show don’t tell sometimes, it’s not in the same way. I’m not even sure if I can describe the way. I think few can, which is why it’s so hard to learn: it’s so hard to teach; best learned through trial and error.

I understand how to correctly do it, so when I’m not doing it because I’m editing the first book I ever wrote that has a totally different vibe, it’s very very very–monumentally difficult to be okay with that. But it’s even more difficult to morph it into that which I know and love the most: literature. And in case you can’t tell, I also love complex grammar, and bending the rules because if you don’t where’s the fun?

Point being, editing my first book has been a constant inner struggle. I like and enjoy the vibe it sends, for in many ways it reads like you would talk, and there’s a relatability to that, an ease to that. But on the other hand, I know that the most effective writing would be the more “literary” form that at 7:30 in the morning I’m not doing the best job of describing.

 

 

Photo credit: “Inner Struggle” by Pillow-chan on Deviant Art: http://pillow-chan.deviantart.com/art/Inner-Struggle-124421370

A Front Seat

I’m convinced that everybody is a scientist whether they know it or not. We have a front seat at creation, and it is all we can do to figure it out, whatever it may be.154062807_science-communication_-istockphoto_thinkstock
It is a privilege from God, this front seat. Make what you can of it.

Photo credit: http://blogs.nature.com/naturejobs/2013/01/28/getting-an-internship-in-science-journalism/

Word to Word

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Free write word prompt: Moon

Here goes:

The Sun rose. It always did that, rise. It’s a tale as old as time. Wait, am I writing this or is this someone else? I feel like that line was stolen. Well, it’s perfect nonetheless.

Do I have to write every word that comes to my head?

Does the moon rise?

Am I going to be one of those writers who poses questions and makes you thinks deeply but never really gets anywhere with it? Apparently I am today.

But is getting anywhere the point? What is the point of a story? Did one of the greatest books ever, The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway actually get anywhere?

(read to find out)

I write, the words get put down on page, the rain continues to fall outside under a dreary sky that I love so much, and I continue to put down words, you read them, wherever you are, and the Moon continues to orbit the earth. Are we surprised by any of this?

Should we be?

As with being a writer, I think it’s becoming increasingly evident through this post that I am also a scientist, but as I’ve stated before, they are somewhat one in the same. The same curiosity and drive that pushes me towards science, also pushes me towards writing. And there is a goal with each of these. A goal with science, with writing, with the falling of the rain, with the rising of the moon. With life. There is a goal. That goal varies from person to person and from leaf to leaf and from drop to drop and from word to word.

Word to word. What is the purpose of these words?

If I’ve puzzled you I’m glad, for these words, though not originally intended to do so, were meant for you to think.

Photo credit: http://critical-thinkers.com/

I Told You

Time for another free write. This time, the word prompt is complicated.

Here goes.

“Honey, you know I love you. You know I do. But why on Earth did you have to order the IKEA bookshelf?”

I watched my husband turn over the box and look at the picture of the shelf, admiring his decision despite my reprimand. “Honey,” I said again.

“I mean, Betty, just look at the thing.”

“Yes, I see it,” I said, patting him on the back. “It’s a design marvel. So long as you don’t mind putting it together, it’s fine by me. I have paid my time with the IKEA purgatory.”

“Well, you did put off renovating the house forever. Seems to me forever demands more purgatory than you’ve served.” He said it–lighthearted words, a joke, really. But those words had a tone that meant he wasn’t going to do it. He just didn’t want to say it outright. “I have to go to work, sweetie,” he said, like I don’t have to too.

“The car is mine today,” I said.

The tension builds like a bridge about to collapse.

“Call the neighbors,” I said. “They might let you take their car.” They owe us after us letting them keep their food in our fridge for a freaking month while they ordered a new fridge.

 

“It’s never going to get built,” I said to my coworker, Jane. “And does he think that thing is staying in our house building up dust for ages while he waits for me to build it? Yeah, yeah he does. And he’s never been more wrong.”

“I don’t mean to seem unsupportive here,” Jane said, pouring her coffee, “but it is just a bookshelf.”

“No, no, no. It’s more than that. He thinks he’s the breadwinner. And pay attention to my wording there. The breadwinner. Well, I have news for him. I work just as much as he does.”

“So why doesn’t he acknowledge that?”

“Thinks his work is better.”

“Ah.”

“Yeah.”

I sniffed her coffee. “I’m trying to break myself of the habit,” I said.

“Probably best, but then again, if I really thought so, I wouldn’t be drinking it myself.”

“And who’s to say coffee is a bad addiction?”

“Exactly,” she said, throwing her head back and laughing as we part ways around the cubicle and head to our desks.

 

I stared at the box drinking my cup of coffee. The door opened. “I thought you were trying to quit?”

“That obviously didn’t last long, did it?”

“Hm.”

He threw the mail on the counter, started filing through it. “Here’s one of yours.”

“Who’s it from?”

“Your Aunt Maranda.”

“Oh gosh. What’s she on about this time?”

“Want me to open it?” He said, holding it up.

“No. It’s my mail.”

“Alright,” he said, tossing it my way.

It hit me and I fumbled to catch it, spilling my coffee. “Dang it.”

“Here’s a rag,” he said, throwing the dish towel at me. I spilled more coffee.

“Thanks,” I said through gritted teeth.

Then he walked by me and sat on the couch and turned on his video game without a word. Played some multiplayer shooting game with guys from his work for the rest of the night. I vacated to my room. I read, for what else could I do? Talk to him, I supposed.

 

“I’m bout to leave a note that says if it’s not done by the end of the week, I’m going to burn it, and gosh darn it I mean it too. I am tired of it taking up room in the hallway. Call me stubborn, but it’s his fault.”

“It is a bit hardheaded of you.”

“Jane, do you support me or not?”

“Your coffee addiction or your stance on the shelf?”

I peered at her. “It’s become harder and harder to like him, you know. I love him, I always have, but he’s changed.”

“Men are simple beasts,” she said.

“That’s rather unlike you.”

“Why do you say so?”

“You’re usually fairer than that.”

“Maybe my life has been more complicated than you know, Betty.”

We sat in silence for a while and finished our sandwiches. We walked back to the office, her letting me have my silence and me letting her have hers. Still. Silence. We got on the elevator.

I couldn’t help but thinking. In that silence. Silence was made for thinking after all. All that thinking left me wondering. “And you think I should just build the bookshelf?”

“I do. I really do,” she said, smiling.

We parted ways at around the cubicles. Sat down to work. Clicked away at the computers. “I think I will do that, Jane.”

“Let me know if you need any help. Those IKEA bookshelves can be insanely Complicated.”

“Hm. Can’t they.” I said it, went back to work, went back to clicking.

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Photo Cred: http://designtaxi.com/news/384296/Cute-Illustrations-Show-How-Complicated-Love-Is-Made-Simpler-With-IKEA-Products/

Maybe the Earth is Round

I don’t normally do prompts, but I like how open and yet directional this one is. So here goes.

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“Maybe the world is round,” said a certain Pythagoras, who wandered around his office one day, playing with his beard and questioning everything everyone knew, as was his forte. “Stop questioning me!” They’d yell at him in the streets when he replied to their theories or more accurately assumptions with a simple “Maybe,” and a pondering, searching look in his eyes, as if the sky could give him all the answers.

If the earth was flat, what happens to all the water? Does it go into the Sun? He thought. He supposed that could be what kept it from killing us all, burning us up as it swept us up into its golden flames.

That’s a rather nasty view of the Sun, he thought, but Pythagoras thought about such things often, so it wasn’t the first time he was surprised by his own violent nature. “For it is in all men,” he had once proclaimed to a council of mathematicians, some of whom scowled but some of whom nodded.

“If only they would listen to me now. When I question the basis of everything.”

For the water from the Earth cannot simply be that which quenches the Sun, Pythagoras thought. He had no real proof, but did anyone ever have foolproof, well, proof, for anything?

It simply made no sense for the Earth to be flat. Does everyone else just think we’re on this sheet of dirt that flops around the universe? “I mean seriously picture it hanging off the laundry outside the king’s palace. That’s rather meta though, I suppose, isn’t it?”

There came a knock on the door. Pythagoras looked at the sun dais. “Is it that time of day already?” He asked himself as he opened the door to let Akakios inside.

The boy was gleaming. “What have you discovered today, my boy?” For it was his task to discover something everyday.

“I have discovered nothing.”

Pythagoras’s eye’s were shrouded, his brows furrowed. “Then why are you so happy?”

“Well I have learned something that I think you might even be surprised at.”

“You have learned? But doesn’t learning imply discovery?”

“Therein lies the achievement. I have discovered in my failure to discover.”

Pythagoras stroked his beard. “Expound upon that.”

“Well,” Akakios said, pacing. “I couldn’t discover anything because I kept doubting myself, or doubting what I searched for, really. Then I realized that’s exactly what you do. I discovered that everything is a maybe.”

“No, my boy. I am a mathematician, and what you have just said is blasphemy to my kind.” As Pythagoras said this, Akakios’s head hung in shame, and realizing he made a grave error, he started for the door.

“I’ll be off, then.”

“Why?”

“Because I have failed you. I am no longer worthy to be your pupil. I have-I have missed the point of everything.”

“Balderdash.You just probably have no past lives is all. You’re knowledge base is starting from ground zero. However, mine have taught me that two things are infallible: mathematics and religion. Certain things are not maybes, despite what the village rumors say about me. You will come to learn this in time.”

Akakios looked like he was about to cry, like he’s been saved from death, not just disownment. “What would you like of me now?”

“To go. We are done for the day,” said Pythagoras. Akakios was shocked, his face frozen in wonder. “What? Today’s lesson is over. Trust me, that is enough for you to learn in a lifetime, nonetheless a day.”

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None of this was edited, so I hope it was legible. Also, apparently my version of Pythagoras was British.

Maybe