Thoughts on Podcasting [VEDA #1]

Context: I got to write and host on a class podcast titled The Web We Weave in an episode centering around Tony Zhou’s Every Frame a Painting. This is a reflection on what I learned from this experience.

Preparing for this podcast was definitely one of the more nerve-wracking parts of my life. I felt as if I needed to prove to myself that I was capable of being in charge of such an episode, of being able to take the stage with my voice after hiding behind the written word for so long.

Photo credit to: https://singingmachine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/stage-fright.jpg

When looking for material to address Every Frame a Painting, I went through first some of the series entries before poking around Vimeo to find every episode of the series uploaded there, before turning to Tony Zhou’s Patreon for EFAP, which offers alternate versions of the episodes for educational use (at a price), and then to Twitter and Reddit, both forums that I used quite often. Showing these different resources to my partner, we both made our own observations. As I watched Zhou interact with his followers and advise them on how to critique the works that had impacted them, I saw how viewer-audience participation worked its way into Zhou’s new media and how it allowed him to continue participating himself despite how long it had been since the series had updated.

I was not initially exceedingly familiar with Every Frame a Painting, nor was my partner Kevin. However, I was familiar with the YouTube scene and personalities like the Nerdwriter, so when we sat down to plan out the episode, we each brought our own impressions on the series and our own contexts (Kevin had previous experience with the Soul Pancake episode of The Web We Weave). Kevin pitched questions to me while I did my best to answer them, and I would then in turn bring up different topics of conversation (such as the Reddit AMA mentioned in the episode and the idea of Tony Zhou perpetuating the participatory culture with his work). Collaboration was more than integral in making this episode what it was. It was also more than reassuring to have someone who was so confident on board and had faith in my work. We worked on applying Every Frame a Painting to the terminology we had covered in class and we put it all into one Google Doc entry.

The document was interesting because it was far more fragmentary and incomplete- when writing for another mode, because it relied much more on my voice and the natural chemistry I had with the co-producer, I found that it was both challenging to not fall back and write out whole monologues or answers to questions without stifling the conversation, and recording became difficult because I found myself worrying that my co-host would feel cramped or cut off. It was difficult to not be overwhelmingly self-aware of everything. This did help my rhetorical composition in the end and I think it’s made me more adaptable than I was before.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/24/Rubber_bands.jpg
Flexible like a rubber band!

The process also felt much faster and immediate than writing, say, this reflection or another blog post or article, which takes me a lot more time. It also felt natural to go faster than with my previous work. While structuring the argument and conversation was both very much the same, it also felt different because I had someone else to bounce off and interact with. In a way, it was like having another person alternating the argument paragraphs- similar arguments that still differed in subtle ways.

I’ve learned that I need to work on my timing- we went over by a lot and editing involved cutting out a lot of material and it was a struggle to finish the episode in time while balancing other obligations. I need to work on my self-confidence as I was exceedingly nervous during the episode, and I think that it is evident that while I eased up as time went along, I still have a long way to go.

But given the chance to work on a similar project? I’d jump at the opportunity.

Honest Poem – Retrospect

You remember a time
when the second hands moved too slowly
There was a time
when the bell could not have rung any later
And you loved the time
where you could run in the green grass
with a smile in your wind-tossed hair
and a song stuck on repeat.

She remembers a time
when she saw the most beautiful births
There was a time
when she saw your face dawn as the circuit clicked
And she loved the time
with the boat surfing the waves of your imagination
on the open sea, entirely free.

I remember the time
when this was all still real.
There was a time
when there were twenty different open doors
And I long for the time
when we could all choose one to walk through
Together.

A Pre-Midnight Update

Work on the paper continues apace. I’m officially at the halfway point of the paper (2 and a 1/2 pages out of 5).

Yes, I know, I’m a tortoise.

The few things that spur me forward are the plans I have for creative projects that I’m going to work on in the future. Not all of them will be shown to the public…

but goddamn, they’ll all be easier than this paper. 

As for specific blog updates- I might see if I can’t get an Honest Poem up tomorrow? If I can’t, I’ll probably talk about something that’s been on my mind recently that I’ve just been inwardly debating.

I really want to get a Flash Fiction written, but honestly, that’s going to have to wait until I’ve crashed after I finish this paper because cranking this out has been exhausting.

Have a lovely night, ladies and gents.

-D

Outlining vs. Going Unplanned (A Superhero Story)

The deadline for my second story is coming up and I haven’t written a lick of it yet. I’ve written plenty of ideas and basic premises and even character plans and world building….

And yet, I don’t know if I’m going to stick to any of it. I might just grab a vague notion of a protagonist and dive wildly off script.

It’s entirely unprecedented, as all of the fiction I’ve written since I restarted trying to master this genre has all been carefully planned out and everything has taken shape in my head. But not this time- this time I’ll be making it up as I go, jiving to the character’s beat, you know?

I know that recent, earlier attempts to write in this way have crashed and burned, but I think I have a voice to channel into a story, so we’ll see how well it goes.

The voice is also telling me something that I’m not sure is such a good idea.

This story? It’s going to be a superhero story.

Oh, joy. Personally, I think the entire genre’s getting a little tired but you know what? I’ll work with it. See if I can’t get anything fresh out of it- although I’m pretty sure the entire animals has been hollowed out and stuffed with a printer that makes money.

There are so many ways this could go wrong as all hell… but eh, what’s a life without a little bit of a risk.

I’m running late on a couple of things, so I’m afraid no flash fiction or honest poetry today unless inspiration strikes. Sorry about that!

(However, you can expect another post later today.)

Until then, folks!

-D

Why I Don’t Write Editorials Anymore

To be clear, things haven’t changed. After all this time, I’m still a very opinionated individual.

It’s true, I don’t write that many editorials anymore- some of the more political “Dear Kath” letters were the closest things to op-ed articles that I’ve written for awhile. But it’s not because I don’t hold opinions on current events (or just in general) anymore.

It’s also not because I’m tired of writing editorials- although admittedly, I’ve grown wary of the single-minded focus with which I immersed myself in opinion articles for several years.

The main reason that I don’t write editorials nowadays is because of the general atmosphere and environment I currently live in. We live in an over-saturation of opinions and misinformation. Everyone talks over one another and drowns each other out. Note too, that this is a world of acidic (and at times toxic) negativity. I feel like that in such an environment, my acerbic, cutting analyses do not serve to be an entirely positive influence. I like to think I’m fighting a good fight and trying to be a voice of reason. However, I think the impact of editorials are still limited.

I look at the streamers and YouTubers- the new media stars and I admire how they help people with their content- by making them laugh and making them feel less alone in the world. Sure, some will say that their content is disposable and silly, but it doesn’t change the impact that they’ve made on thousands or millions of people. And it’s so fucking beautiful.

That is my greatest wish- more than anything else- to bring joy with all my work, no matter what form it may take.

-D

(P.S.- I had to write this editorial though. It was a response to another article that desperately needed to be rebuked. I might write a supplement on this next.)

 

Spring Afresh

Things feel a lot vaguer than they did last October.

See, last October, I bought a shiny new notebook to record my schedules, my ideas and some journal entries. And the priorities there were so clear (I was primarily focused on launching a new blog called “The Citizen’s Compendium”, which would host a series of essays and editorials concerning issues and grievances under the Trump administration.)

The ideas and plans I’m trying to follow now were only vague notions, just as the ideas that I have are now. They’re vague ideas blurred like my eyesight if I’m not wearing glasses or contacts. Slowly, some voice, some words will come forward and speak. Things will slowly become sharper and sharper or just slowly float away.

Hopefully, these plans will sharpen and solidify a bit.

At any rate, the true game plan.

I’m going to be focusing on schoolwork for the most part today, getting things done and trying to work ahead. Some of that involves working on coding for the website, and afterwards, I’ll be watching Photoshop tutorials. Some of that involves writing. Tomorrow, I think I’ll be practicing what I learned.

One last thing I’ll be doing tonight! I’ll be writing one page of fiction every night before I fall asleep. Doesn’t matter how bad it is, but I just want to start on this story idea and build on it, because I feel like although things are unclear right now, they’re not gonna get any clearer unless I start.

I’ve got a lot of other things on my mind, but I think that’s for something slightly better than a progress report.

Until next time!

-D

What’s Happening Tomorrow?

I’ve spent the whole day working on internship applications!

Yahoo! I’ve been productive for once in my life~

No, but hello everyone! I’m just giving you all a casual Site News post- sorry to give you two in a row, I promise it won’t happen again.

But here’s a general game plan for anyone who’s interested:

You’ll be getting a silly little flash fiction tomorrow at noon! There was a thought that occurred to me, and it created a quick dialogue between two characters that I had to get down. That’s a habit that I’m going to try- inhabiting different characters rather than using my own voice. It should definitely be interesting!

I’ll be doing some coding practice for my New Media class tomorrow, as well as finally, finally starting Photoshop tutorials. And oh, Christ, I have to get around to sending emails eventually.

READING! That’s one thing I feel really guilty about not keeping up with recently. I’ll probably switch between “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the different classic poets from my classes. I might end up live-tweeting that for anyone who’s interested…

I’ve also got some thoughts that’ll end up getting posted tomorrow- lemme know what you all think, I’d appreciate your input.

And with that, I think I’m off to bed. G’night, everyone!

-D

Welcome Back.

Ladies and gentlemen, my dear readers of The Oddity Writer,

I’m back.

Did you miss me?

With the ending of “Dear Kath”, I thought I’d make an update post and address you all about my game plan going forward. This is not all going to kick off at once, and it’ll probably go off in stages as I commit to more and as I feel ready and as I feel I have more time to grow.

The WordPress blog is going to continue to update daily. It’ll be a lot of rough drafts and raw material and ideas, and much more like a diary or journal. None of what I publish here will be specifically for this site, except for maybe progress reports.

OddityWriter.com is going to become a portfolio site and a hub. It currently only hosts my portfolio of works for other sites, but the ultimate goal is to change that, give it more uses than that as I expand on some projects and skills I want to develop.

I’ve decided to run two Tumblr blogs, one specifically for my writing and one for my own personal enjoyment where I reblog things that I think are important or funny. These two blogs differ from the first two sites in that Tumblr will probably be more for fun and shits and giggles. I’ll be cutting loose and experimenting here.

Twitter will be just personal thoughts and one-liners throughout the day if I’m doing anything interesting or if I have something quick to say.

(I’ve also got Instagram! But I have no idea/game plan for that sooo to be announced, I suppose.)

Across the course of 2016, I was far too complacent, and I didn’t write and post enough. That was the first thing I wanted to work on changing. If this post has been published, it means I’ve got a decent idea of (and maybe hopefully settled into) the routine that I want to have.

I’m hoping I can keep up posting at noon- we’ll see if that keeps up or if I’ll need to switch to a later time.

Ready? Here we go.

Clinging to the Past

Entry #13 – March 7, 2017

Dear Kath,

As evidenced by the fact that I started writing to you again with this series of thoughts, you’ve been on my mind a lot recently. When I was tasked with writing my first major short story for a creative writing class, my thoughts turned to recent reflections on my past and to my last four years in high school. Considering the viewpoints I held then and those I hold now, I wrote a heavily fictionalized and dramatized account of one memory of mine from those last four years.

You naturally played a role in that story. Of course you did, you were my best friend in the past four years. Thinking a lot about my actions then gave me insights into how badly I had messed up and a lot about how I’d become so misguided in the past two or three years. Insights and revelations turned into a fresh new regret and a terrible nostalgia. And thinking turned into journaling where I addressed you. Later, as I began having assorted thoughts, different arguments and such that I would normally have sent to you all those years ago, the idea for this series of reflections was born.

I hope it’s accomplished its goal – to amuse and intellectually engage you with several different arguments, to show you where I am now mentally if you ever wondered what became of me (I don’t ever expect you to), and to show you that I’m still not great or fantastic, but that I’m always going to try to improve myself. I’m going to be better. I swear.

This, in case you haven’t realized by now, is where I bring this little series to a close. This is me moving forward, owning my fault and my blame and letting go. I’m sorry about everything, and I’m sorry for being selfish and narcissistic in writing this as a catharsis and using my memory of you to reflect on myself. I’m not even sure if this series or my actions even impacts you, but if it ever does, you have my apologies.

When I embarked upon these essays, a friend of mine asked me if I wouldn’t be better off and if it wouldn’t be healthier to talk to a real person about my internal debates and about my personal opinions and just talking about all the different pieces of my life. And they are right, of course. I’ll be working on communicating better in the future.

Thirteen seems like a solid number to leave off, doesn’t it? I like it. It’s a good number.

A proper goodbye is in order then. Because in these twelve letters, I never said thank you. I said thank you a lot when I was sickeningly saccharine but really. Thank you. You were a true friend during a time where I felt truly, absolutely alone and frustrated and I will never, ever forget how lucky I was to have that.

In retrospect, many of my past friendships were toxic and discouraging. I hope that, in turn, I will not forget neither this one nor any of the other people who were truly positive influences on my life.

I still feel very, very lost and unsure of myself, but I feel like I’m closer to gaining some footing and sense than I have been in a long, long time.

So thank you.

I hope that if these ever reach you, or if you ever happen to read them by chance, that they find you well, happy and healthy.

And I hope that to this day, you remain true to who you are.

Goodbye, old friend. Take care of yourself.

-D

A “B” is not a bad grade.

Entry #12 – March 5, 2017

Dear Kath,

 

I wrote a letter to my sister today. She’s been struggling with writing so every now and again, my parents call me in to intervene, read things over, give her revisions and tips on her essays like a good Korean brother would do (What’s that supposed to mean, you would ask, and I would respond with some vague hint about how my mother told me about how all the other Asian kids with older siblings tend to mysteriously perform better and get higher scores). And my revisions can get extensive- or very time consuming when I try not to be extensive and I scale back or overlook casual mistakes.

But I digress. The letter. The letter goes into detail about the many trends I’ve noticed in the writing- the long and rambling sentences (huh that sounds like me), the repetitive nature of the different argument paragraphs (huh that sounds like this series), and the generally unconvincing/unoriginal/done-before-and-come-back-for-tea arguments of the essays (oh my God I’ve been a terrible writer this whole time send help pls).

Putting aside all that, I tried to encourage her. To tell her that everyone starts off bad at something, and it is only through learning and growth that they do better. As much as our parents strove for perfection, it’s not something that can be attained immediately, it involves practice and effort. I said that she shouldn’t be ashamed of a B – that a B is not a failing grade.

It’s a solid start. Now keep pushing.”

I sounded like you for a little bit there. Mind you, you were a bit more flamboyant (I think that’s the word) about it, telling me that “For this reason, I demand your self-confidence be as high as that of the male-attracting sluts at your school, the jocks, the academics, and the richest of them in your class.”

I just wonder if you realize how hard your demand was/is to fulfill- especially since there’s plenty of self-loathing wallowing in me, alongside the arrogance and the narcissism in a potion of hormones and stupidity.

…I could go into more detail about this, but maybe that’s for another time.

The point stands- and it’s something I pass onto you, the readers. You don’t have to be perfect all the time. When you have an aspiration, you’re probably not going to start out being fantastic at it. Do not let that discourage you.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Cheers, and thanks for listening.

-D