Quick Hit: Meet Me at the Race Riot Videocast

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In case you couldn't make it to the Meet Me at the Race Riot zine event, here is a complete videocast of it for your enjoyment:

And if you're in a video-watching mood, make sure to also check out my tutorial on how to make a micro-mini zine.

Inspiration from Octavia Butler

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"Prodigy is, at its essence, adaptability and persistent, positive obsession. Without persistence, what remains is an enthusiasm of the moment. Without adaptability, what remains may be channeled into destructive fanatacism. Without positive obsession, there is nothing at all." 
- Lauren Oya Olamina in Earthseed: The Books of the Living (read as an epigraph to Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower)

On Gratitude: 4 Ways to Bring it Into Everyday Life

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Now that you've getting a hefty dose of tryptophan and starches in your diet (and more than a small serving of my counternarrative argument from yesterday's post), I want to introduce some levity into the idea of Thanksgiving.

I think it's a great holiday because it highlights - however strangely - the need for community and the need for gratitude in the American way of life. Gratitude and being thankful can often be overlooked or overshadowed as we go about wielding our extreme individualism and slaying the demon of time management. In our culture, gratitude often only makes a holiday appearance, but today I want to tell you how you can carry it into the rest of your year. Here are some ideas:

Counternarrative: Thanksgiving Edition

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving is a day to eat. Thanksgiving is a day to spend time with family and friends - and to eat. To overeat, even. To express the bounty of our labor in as grandiose a way as possible.

No matter how many times we are told that Thanksgiving has a different and deeper meaning, these are the images we return to in our advertising of Thanksgiving and its aftermath, Black Friday. There is - as with all US holidays - an inherent layer of consumerism that pervades all the nice feelings that we might think about the holiday itself. There is also a glossing over of the people who are less privileged on Thanksgiving and the Native Americans who were actively displaced historically, though they are linked to this holiday.

Today I want to draw attention to these points. Before we make merry, we have to think critically about the choices we make in regards to our cultural celebrations. We are making active choices to participate in the culture, whether it seems like it or not, and that has to be explored. Thus, I am proud to introduce the first edition of Counternarrative: Thanksgiving.

*By the way, I am not a Thanksgiving hater, no matter how this post may make it seem. I just want to provide some context and thoughts on the ideas that are implicit in our participation in the holiday. As you were.

On Location: Meet Me at the Race Riot, Sexhibition, & OWS

Monday, November 21, 2011

You know when you're on hyperdrive and you just can't slow down even for a second? For me, that feeling pervaded the tail-end of this last week. This semester, I often feel more real working and attending these events than I do in the classroom. Now that's not to say that I'm going to gallavant off and never finish my degree, but sometimes the activist and creative work that I do really does satisfy me in a way that writing academic papers can never touch. Who says you can't take a break from it once in a while? Here are the highlights.

CED: Sweaters to Wear and Zines to Read

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I haven't been creative every day for a while (although, yesterday's zine-making video clearly kicked me into high gear), but I have been thinking about it just as much. So, it was time to put my money where my mouth is and start creating again! Here are my three newest projects:

I started this sweater back in the summertime, but shelved it due to increased working hours and lowered sleep levels. I am proud to say that it came out wonderfully - it is the first sweater that I've made that actually fits me, and that is something that deserves a round of applause.

Yesterday, I read at a zine event called Meet Me at the Race Riot, which kickstarted me into making an entirely new zine. I've had this impetus for a while now, but the deadline really pushed me from the brink of "I'll get around to it" into the ravine of "I need to get this done now." Here is the lovely result! You can get it in print or in a PDF if you email me - I have elected not to put up this edition electronically just yet.

And the final image is one of my on-the-job projects: I help put together this board for the Meet Me at the Race Riot event - it's got a vector image of myself holding a sign and a bunch of amazing zinesters' works put up there - my job is the coolest!

Check out some past Creative Every Day postings, some of my other knitting adventures, or perhaps some more of my zines and paper art.

How to Make a Micro-Mini Zine

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm going to be doing a zine reading tonight at an event called Meet Me at the Race Riot: Women of Color in Zines from 1990 to Today (which, if you're in the NYC area, you should come to - check out the Facebook event for more information).

As I was folding my zines for the event, I got extremely excited! So excited, in fact, that I thought I'd make a video in celebration - so for all you folding wizards/witches out there, here is my tutorial on how to make a micro-mini zine (a 16-page mini-booklet made out of just 1 sheet of 8.5x11):

You can access the micro-mini zine layout on my Archive.org page. And check out some of my zines, including The Bearniverse, there too!

Change and the Destination

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In light of the changes I've made to my physical appearance lately, I've been thinking a lot about change and destination mentality.

For those who don't often ponder social constructions in their spare time, destination mentality is a state of mind that tells us that we should always be working towards an eventual end, such as coming to the final destination at the end of a long journey or finishing a project or goal. It's a helpful tool when you are working on something that has a definite end, but it gets hairy when we start thinking about emotions and mindsets as our end goals. What does it mean, for instance to have "reached" success? To have "found" happiness? To have "become" good enough?

We expect - especially as Americans - that at some point our work will be finished and we'll have entered into these feelings and forever there we shall remain. We forget that constancy doesn't exist. The only constant in this life is change.


Monday, November 14, 2011

This weekend, I decided to make a drastic change...

...or two.

I have been wanting to donate my long hair and get a nose piercing for a while, but I had not had the gumption to do it. I still don't know what gave me the impetus to do it, but Saturday just felt right.

Now, before you ask, here are the answers to the two most common questions I have gotten these past few days:

1. Did the nose piercing hurt? -- Yes, but much less than my earrings. And I was lying down for it so it was a different experience, more like yoga meditation than extreme anxiety.

2. How did you feel about getting your hair cut? -- Lightheaded. In both senses of the word. I got really nervous when the hair first was being snipped off (my hands were really clenched together then!), and afterward my head just moved so easily on my neck that I felt like it was 20 pounds lighter.

I have really enjoyed this experience and feel very different, but very excited about the changes. It was, I believe, just the right time.

If you're interested, you should read my personal hair-story from two years ago.

DC in Photographs

Friday, November 11, 2011

Armed with a cell phone camera and my wits about me this weekend, here are some of the sights I took in whilst making my way through DC. The President (this time of the United States) makes a guest appearance in these shots - though I do wish I had a better zoom on my camera to see him closer!

Tar sands protest when I first came into town.

Beautiful Malcolm X Park.

Statue of Jeanne d'Arc, in the correct French!

Ben's Chili Bowl, an awesome panda, and my friend Catskill.

The Supreme Court.

Washington's place in the WWII memorial.



The President boarding Marine 1 - he looks tiny, but mighty!
After our White House tour.

Miniature Bus reunion with Leah! 

Clear Intentions: My Trip to the National Zoo

Thursday, November 10, 2011

While in DC, I went to the zoo. For an entire afternoon, I was wandering the grounds of the National Zoo, spending some quality time in the small mammal house, hanging out as a party of one. You might be asking: why did you spend an entire day at the zoo? Aren't there all these other fascinating/DC-specific things you could have done? And you would be right - there are many museums, cemeteries, monuments, and other places of interest in the DC area that I could have gone to.

But I chose to go to the zoo.

It is the trap of most tourists to feel like they need to experience everything a place has to offer in order to feel "satisfied" with their visit. Vacations turn into these long sprawls of scheduled time where people are more or less running from place to place, feeling just as harried as when they are in their regular workday (if not more!). On this vacation, I wanted to break with the idea that every one of our actions has to be productive or profitable.

The zoo allowed me to connect with my intention: to relax.

Sweet Home DC

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

For the fall break, I went to Washington DC to visit the president... of our high school ASB, my good friend Stephen. It was an intense and restful period of time that I hope to write more about, so expect some life lessons from our nation's capitol and several thousand photographs.

Special thanks to Leah for her sarcastic wit at the White House and putting me on the bus back home, Kathryn for showing me the majesty of the monuments at night, and of course Stephen himself for hosting me in his dorm room at AU. Miss you all already!

Inspiration from Dear Sugar

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"The particularity of our problems can only be made bearable though the recognition of our universal humanity. We suffer uniquely, but we survive the same way. Not one of us made it without someone offering a firm grip." - Dear Sugar, "#84: The Distance of the Leap"

Take a moment to recognize those around you, to appreciate them for their humanity and their strength.

Always Learning: A Round-up of Life Lessons

Friday, November 4, 2011

This week, I looked back through the archives of life lessons that I've put up over the last few months and picked out some of my favorites. I've been learning so much from just thinking about how to teach others the methods that have worked well for me, that it's nice to revisit some of my past ideas. Here's a brief retrospective:

What Blogging Has Taught Me

Let me know what your favorite life lessons have been, from this blog and otherwise, in the comments!

8 Tips for When Your Writing Seems Unoriginal

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In the interest of distracting my inner editor this National Novel Writing Month, here are some tips on what to do when your writing seems unoriginal:

1. Play a creativity game with yourself. Perhaps these or the ones on this site.

2. Lock away your inner editor (possibly physically) by envisioning them as a real person/animal/thing and putting them in a dark quiet box.

3. Grab another medium of expression and put all the "unoriginal" thoughts into a visual, musical, or physical form. I would love to see an interpretive dance come out of this project.

4. Write long brilliant lists and entitle them all "Swirling Thoughts." As you know already, lists are my life.

5. Write it out, write it again, write all your ideas out in some form until the words melt into single letters that don't look like they should fit together. Also known as free-writing.

6. Seek out advice for writers, including this quote from Ira Glass. And this list. And perhaps this video, although it's not related to writing per se.

7. Listen to top 40 songs and imagine them as poems. Bleh!

8. Remember that you are forever learning how to write.

Bonus: Check out some more lessons and advice on creative ventures.

Write or Die: NaNoWriMo 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I haven't been very creative as of late.

My blog has shriveled to a post a week, I have not committed myself to daily creative time, and my energy has been slowly flagging as the temperatures dip lower and lower here in NYC.

So you may be wondering how I will possibly write 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) this year. And to that I say: you and I both! But I think that giving myself a good kick in the pants because of a formal event might be a good start to getting back towards normalcy. If there was ever a jumpstart to writing, NaNo would be that spark. And so, today, off I go into the vast wilderness that is novel-writing. Ideas after the jump!