This past week was Writer's week at UC Riverside. Writers of all kinds -poetry, non-fiction, fiction, essays, and others, came out to speak and share with the rest of us. Due to my busy schedule, I was not able to attend until the very last day. I'm glad I went. It wasn't about what I learned, but how I felt leaving the theater.
Sometimes when I leave workshops or events I don't remember much. Instead, a feeling is embedded within me. A surge of encouragement and inspiration to write better, study harder, laugh longer, or dream bigger. I could take notes all I want, but they'll just end up in the bottom of my bag or in the trash weeks later. The reason I go to these things is to gain something to apply to my life. They help me to stay motivated and remind me why I do what I do. For any career people think there is a secret, a shortcut, or a quick fix to get them ahead. We rely on others as a guide to our own lives, but they can't tell us how to live our lives. These professionals don't know us and everyone's path is different. It's the same with asking people for help. They will recommend the "best" plan without understanding your background. Options that work for someone else may not work for you. Person A may need to take a quarter/semester off school, or get a second job, or move to another state for better opportunities. Person B might take a gap year, delete their social media accounts, or start a new business. I take what they with a grain of salt while acknowledging what I am capable of. Don't limit your aspirations and possibilities based off another person's life. Their limit is not your limit. Their footsteps are not your footsteps.
*Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash.com
Have you ever wondered what personality type your character has? I took a personality test for two of my characters in “Our Father”. These men are brothers and have very different lifestyles. I thought it would be interesting to take the test and see how they would answer them. The link is at the end if anyone wants to try it out.
They described Nathaniel as practical and more logical than emotional. People like him have dedication in their work. They believe honesty and loyalty are most important. This sounds like Nathaniel. He’s a bit of a loner, and has a tough time trusting those around him. It also said they go the extra mile for the people they care about, even if they do not understand their feelings. They also love to acquire new skills and knowledge. The second character I did was his brother, Jason. Reading through the results, I kept saying, “This sounds just like him!”. The results were spot on. It described him as being a kind person that cares for others and their happiness. People with his personality type are sensitive, analytical, and can be social. They are very altruistic and sometimes their accomplishments go unnoticed.
Some of their traits did align with each other and I was kind of surprised. It makes sense though, they are very alike, but use those traits differently. They are both very caring of others and emotional. Nathaniel doesn’t have handle his emotions, while Jason sometimes suppresses them. This is a great tool to use if a writer wants to understand their character personally. I do wish I’d done this last year when I restarted “Our Father”. Recognizing your characters as humans and not just characters in a book makes them well-rounded. Their personalities drive the story. It is about them. Someone who suppresses their emotions is bound to explode at some point and that should show in the story. A reader can relate to them and comprehend their actions, or why they said certain things. Like I said, it's a great tool to use, even to understand yourself more.
*Photo by Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash
**Test used: https://www.16personalities.com/
This is something I wrote in high school about a piece of technology that mattered to me. I wrote about my old I-pod and what music meant to me.
My little blue I-pod has a crack on the top left corner, but it doesn’t take away the sentimental value. Music was introduced many, many years ago, and it has changed from different stages to where it is now. We interpret music in various ways, whether it’s by actual instruments or by using the sounds in your mouth. There are a lot of different genres of music such as Pop, Country, Hip-hop, Electronica, Techno, Rap, and so on. Music is a way to escape, flowing out of reality and into the notes and/or beats of a song. Technology has evolved the way we create and listen to music by making it possible to drag and drop different beats on a computer, or sharing a music video on Facebook.
Getting lost in the story the artist created with a few drum booms here or the strike of a violin is amazing. This piece of technology is something I cherish and use every day. The music inspires me when I’m out of ideas, and cheers me up when I’m down. Without this I-pod, the world would be a very silent and boring place for me. Imagine a world without music. I don’t even think that is possible. It’s everywhere, birds chirping a song high in the air, or whales belting out, deep in the waters. But I think I’m getting off topic.
Once I plug the ear phones into my ears, and the music begins, I’m transported into another world. I am now someone else, in a brand new story each time. I am the song. Experiencing music firsthand is a special thing, feeling the vibes in your body, in your soul, in your mind. It puts you in a mood that is unable to leave you days after you listen to the song. It sounds crazy, but it’s not. Ask any lover of music, they’ll tell you. Using the variety of music production programs makes it possible for you to become the artist. My I-pod is my favorite piece of technology, and it drives me to try and make a song of my own. Now you are the artist with the ability to create a story. You ca include your own adventures and hardships that you went through.
The 21st Century is ever growing in new inventions. Every year it’s a new version, and if you don’t have it, you are not “in”. What is important to me is the music. The outdated I-pod wrapped up in my pocket gives me exactly that. I’m not one to fret over materialistic things, but this has a special place in my heart. It’s not just an out dated, cracked blue I-pod; it’s a big chunk of my life.
*Photo by Sai Kiran Anagani on Unsplash
In my sociology class, we are going over classical theory and the "founders" of sociology. Each thinker has formed their definition of society, interactions, and how to study it. One person in particular is Auguste Comte who lived during the time of the French Revolution. Don't worry, this isn't a history lesson. I am going to talk about bias and conflicting beliefs between people and how they work together to shape society, not break it. In Comte's view, society was in need of order and progress. Again, he lived during the French Revolution and saw this event as chaotic without understanding the implications of the revolution. People did not protest, yell and fight, because of boredom. They wanted change. Sometimes with change comes conflict because of those differing beliefs everyone has about authority, the economy, or human rights.
Comte didn't take into account the benefit or function of other ideas and groups he saw as inferior. His narrow-minded view of a future society also did not account for conflict or the role they play in a society. He foresaw humans as living in harmony in a deterministic world where humans are rational and make the "right" decisions. He fails to realize how other beliefs function in and create society. He claimed the French revolution was chaotic, but doesn't address the reasoning. In fact, contrary to his thinking, there was order and progress within that movement.
Comte also refused to read other thinker's writings because he thought they would taint his view. It's important to stay open-minded and embrace difference of ideas. Analyzing situations from another point of view gives you insight. Fills in the gaps even. You can agree to disagree and hold on to your opinions, but don't invalidate others. Don't allow bias to cloud your judgment. Consider everyone's truths. Realize there are so many different lives that are being lived which means billions of different experiences. How can your one view of the world be the ONLY valid view? It's not possible. Embrace difference. There is nothing wrong with conflicting beliefs. It becomes an issue when people allow those beliefs to clog their ears and not hear others. It's not about getting someone on your side. It's about respecting each other's differences. That's how society works!
*1st photo by Kyle Glenn and 2nd photo by Ethan Weil on Unsplash.com
Reference: Ritzer, George, and Jeffrey Stepnisky. Classical Sociological Theory. SAGE, 2018.
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