Why I Blog

Why I Blog

Why do you blog? Does it really matter to you who reads your blog? Inspired by something I read through 20sb.net – Why You Should Blog, Even if No One is Reading – I wanted to share with you all why I blog, and why it’s important to me.

I have written since I was a young teenager, but I have blogged since high school. I wrote in journals, notebooks, printer paper – anything I could get my hands on. Hell, I still to this day prefer to write with a pen in my hand. Anyway, we got the internet when I was in 8th grade, in 1997-98 (yeah, I lived in a reaaaaaally small town, we were a little behind…). When I was a freshman or sophomore, I started using one of those LiveJournal blogs – that was the first platform I ever used to tell the world what I was thinking. I have since gone and deleted all of my old blogs to start fresh with this website. When I went back to read the blogs I had posted, I realized I was such a whiner. I mean, really. I was one of those brooding lovesick teenagers who whined about the boy who didn’t want me or who broke my heart. First, I’m so glad I got out of that stage sooner than later. Second, I can’t believe I posted that kind of crap for everyone to read! But see, here’s the thing… at that time, it wasn’t crap. It was how I felt. I was candid. I didn’t think before pressing “publish.” I let everything out without thinking twice. Sometimes, I wish I could do that again and not worry about the consequences.

Being trained as a professional writer, I find it hard to just write and not edit myself, and not think things through twice once I’ve reread my work. It is so difficult for me to just let go and hit publish on a new post. I write it out, and I read it a few times. I edit it a few times. I sometimes will go through and just completely trash it after I’ve spent a few hours writing (what I end up calling) crap. I am learning to not write for my readers (if there are any, that is), but rather write for myself. I’m trying to go back to the days where I would write candidly and just press publish. I would be lying if I said I didn’t care who reads my blog – I really do. I want people to enjoy what I write, and keep coming back to read more. As a writer who wants to become a published author, I strive to have many read my work. Of course I do – I want you all to buy my first, second, and even third book (if I get that far…)!

So, now that you know a little more about that… why do I blog?

I blog for therapy. I blog to organize my thoughts. Even though I constantly feel the urge to edit, I blog to break that habit. I have posted more than ever for a few reasons. I am becoming more comfortable with posting my candid thoughts. I’m starting to not worry so much about my (sometimes quite conservative) family reading  my (sometimes) controversial thoughts. I blog to become more comfortable with myself and my writing style. To me, this is the first of many steps to getting a book started and published. It has become more important to me to develop content and post my thoughts/feelings/desires/opinions here. This is my blog. Not yours, not your mother’s. Not your sister’s, brother’s, cousin’s, boyfriend/girlfriend’s… but mine. I can post whatever the hell I want… because it’s mine. You may not always agree with what you read, but if you can value that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, we’ll get along just fine. That’s what I enjoy about reading other blogs out there – everyone thinks and writes a little differently than the next person. That’s what makes this whole process so beautiful.

My website has become the home for my writing. Like every good home, there is love, and I love my writing. I love to share my writing with my readers, even if it’s one person, a hundred, or shit, thousands (that would be awesome!). I yearn to nurture and mold my craft to become something great, to get a sense of accomplishment. I already feel accomplished not just for having one published poem, but being able to have an outlet to share my thoughts, feelings, goals, and life you. Again, this is my therapy. As I work to become more relaxed with sharing my writing, I hope you will continue to join me. Thanks for coming along on my journey.

Peace! <3

 

(Photo Credit: http://mbatemple.com/169/mba-essay-writing-tips-2)

“Better Days”

“Better Days”

I have become obsessed with the song “Better Days” by Eddie Vedder lately. The lyrics really spark something inside of me – makes me want to further explore my beliefs. I have been struggling with trying to figure out what I believe in (religion-wise), because I’m realizing my views are changing drastically. As I grow older and wiser, I’m beginning to branch away from the religious views that I was indoctrinated with as a child. Although I’m not too sure about what I really believe in anymore – if anything – I’m starting to question and explore other ideals and beliefs. I was born and raised Catholic, but now I would say I’m more Agnostic and questioning. I am not sure I’m ready to open that can of worms at this time, but stay tuned – that’s sure to come soon.

This song may not have much to do about the above paragraph, but when I listen to it, I feel that I am right to question my previous beliefs. I feel there is something else out there that is a better fit for me, and the universe will help me find it if I just open my mind… I’m ready to explore and open up. I’m ready to “greet myself, read myself.” I love my life and am very happy with the way things are going, and I know they will only get better. I will find my answers eventually. My future is definitely paved with better days.

I wanted to share these lyrics with you. I also included a video (from the movie Eat, Pray, Love). Enjoy!

Better Days, Eddie Vedder

I feel part of the universe open up to meet me
My emotion so submerged, broken down to kneel in
Once listening, the voices they came
Had to somehow greet myself, read myself
Heard vibrations within my cells, in my cells
Singing, “Ah-la-ah-ah, ah-la-ah-ah”

My love is safe for the universe
See me now, I’m bursting
On one planet, so many turns
Different worlds
Singing, “Ah-la-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah-ah, ah”

Fill my heart with discipline
Put there for the teaching
In my head see clouds of stairs
Help me as I’m reaching
The future’s paved with better days

Not running from something
I’m running towards the day
Wide awake

A whisper once quiet
Now rising to a scream
Right in me

I’m falling, free falling
Words calling me
Up off my knees

I’m soaring and, darling,
You’ll be the one that I can need
Still be free

Our future’s paved with better days

Writing… for me.

Writing… for me.

Taking classes this semester while working full-time is killing my writing schedule. I’m anxious for May to get here so I no longer have to worry about writing papers for class, but rather write journal entries, poetry, flash fiction, and blogs! This semester has been filled with research papers and answering specific questions, leaving my creativity on the back burner for another time. In one of the recent papers I had to develop, I was able to show my opinion rather than keep it straight forward and display only the facts surrounding the subject. I enjoy writing what I know, especially when I feel strongly about the subject at hand.

I seem to never have time to sit down and write for myself and personal pleasure. I have been making my way through a couple of the writing books I began reading at the beginning of the semester, and I’m looking forward to finishing those and apply the principles to my own writing. I’m working on my writing schedule, and jotting down my ideas that could one day turn into a novel. That’s one of my problems – I have so many ideas that could turn into something huge. I have to remember to write them down immediately. I carry 3 notebooks with me at all times, keeping them easily accessible. I like having my pick of which one to write in. My fave? Moleskine, by far.

Anyway. I have a journal by my bed, and I keep staring at it before I lie down. I need to just suck it up and start writing something – anything – every night before bed. I also think writing first thing in the morning would help jump start my creativity, because I find myself waking up thinking about the crazy dreams I’ve had. My dreams are so vivid that they sometimes stick with me for weeks. The ones I want to write about seem to slip away within a few hours of being awake. This is why I must make time for writing in the morning, I think. Here’s to hoping I can stick to it!

When do you write for pleasure? Do you have a schedule, and if so, what time works best for your personal creativity? Do share, I’m curious!

“The Burning Desire to Write”

“The Burning Desire to Write”

Writing has been a part of my life since I was very young. I can remember when I would seclude myself in my bedroom as a kid, lock the door, and sit at my desk to write for hours. I would write what I called “songs” (now I look back and realize they were actually poems, with repeating verses), short stories, and letters to friends that lived on the other side of town.

I have always loved having a pen in my hand – I still feel the same way. I catch a lot of grief about wanting to write things down in a notebook versus putting them on my laptop, but some people don’t understand how therapeutic it is for me to physically write my thoughts down.

I have recently picked up a couple of books (recommended to me by my lovely fellow writing friend, Tyne) to help give me the tools I need to get back into writing for myself – Time to Write, Thinking Write, and Living Write – by Kelly L. Stone. First – she is fantastic. She has a master’s degree in counseling, and has been a freelancing novelist and writer, and combines the world of psychology with the world of writing. Second – her books are an inspiration. After picking up Time to Write, I have discovered I truly do have “the burning desire to write.”

I am trying to make time to write more every single day, even if it is for only 15 minutes at a time. Having the burning desire to write will give me the push I need to become a successful writer, and will motivate me to spend time each morning, afternoon, or evening penning my thoughts down. I have a desire to write more fiction, so each day I’m working on a fiction piece, as well as poetry. I do find it difficult to clear time every single day to get my ideas on paper, but if I make the effort, I know it will be very rewarding.

Challenge: 30 Days of DMB

Challenge: 30 Days of DMB

In case you haven’t been able to figure it out yet, I’m kind of obsessed with DMB. I came across this challenge via @JTR89’s twitter page, who originally found it on danayylovedmb‘s Tumblr. I am going to have to take part in this challenge! To save my dear readers time and trouble of looking through multiple posts, I will update the challenge list here. Peace, love, & DMB forever. :)

Day 1: August 6, 2010 – A Picture of the Whole Band

I love this band. The only way this picture could be more beautiful is if LeRoi were still with us. We will never forget the impact he made on this band and the fans. Rest Peacefully, Roi. <3

Day 2: August 7, 2010 – The Day I Discovered Dave

While I don’t remember the exact day I discovered this amazing band, I do recall that I was in high school when I started listening to them. My cousin was a huge fan, and he got me hooked. I started learning the songs, reading about the band, but I had not seen them live. The moment I saw a show, it was over. My like turned into love, which turned into obsessed… and here we are, 14 shows later.

Day 3: August 8, 2010 – My Favorite DMB Song and Why

This is a tough one, but I can honestly tell you I’ve always been able to say that Dancing Nancies is my fave DMB jam. The lyrics, the music… album or live, it doesn’t matter what version. I am partial to Warehouse following (live versions), but I’m happy when I hear this song no matter what. It always helps me remember that no matter what is going on, I can get through it and find a brighter day. This song helps me remember that I could have really been anything, but what I am is who I was meant to be. <3
A close second would have to be a tie between Bartender, Don’t Drink the Water, and #41. It’s so hard to choose, so that’s why I have a top 10-20. ;)

Day 4: August 9, 2010 – My Favorite DMB Album & Favorite Song From That Album

My favorite album has to be Before These Crowded Streets. When I first listened to this album straight through, I was blown away. It was darker than the albums before, and was wonderfully produced. It doesn’t get better than BTCS. My favorite track on this album is hard to choose. I think it’s a tie between Don’t Drink the Water and Pig, although I am partial to The Stone and The Last Stop as well. Quit making me choose! ;)

Day 5: August 10, 2010 – Favorite Live Trax Album

That’s easy… Live Trax 15, Alpine Valley. This is the release that made me fall in love with Louisiana Bayou. Not to mention the Too Much-Fake>Halloween, Water into Wine TWICE, and that epic Two Step closer. *drools*

Day 6: August 11, 2010 – Favorite Picture of Dave Matthews

Can you tell I was excited? <3

Day 7: August 12, 2010 – The First Song I Heard

I honestly don’t remember! I know I heard songs from Crash on the radio when I was in high school… but the first song I really remember hearing – actually hearing – was #41. I fell in love immediately. :)

Day 8: August 13, 2010 – The First Time I Saw the Band Live (and my experience)

For this one, you’ll have to stay tuned for the Panda Adventures. ;)

Day 9: August 14, 2010 – A Song That Reminds Me of a Certain Event, Moment, Memory, &/or Person

That’s a tough one to narrow down! There are many songs that remind me of many things, so that might take more time than I have right now to think about! How about a couple – Grey Street makes me think of my first show. Crush, Rapunzel and You & Me makes me think of my sweetheart.

Day 10: August 15, 2010 – A Song I Know All the Words To

…How about songs I don’t know the words to? That would be the new stuff, like Black Jack, Break for It, etc. :)

Day 11: August 16, 2010 – Favorite Music Video

My fave music video would have to be Crush or Don’t Drink the Water. I also really like Dreamgirl, because every member of the band has some kind of cameo.

Day 12: August 17, 2010 – Your Least Favorite Song

My least favorite song? Wow… I guess I will have to go with You Might Die Trying. It’s not bad and I don’t hate it by any means, but it is what we (my DMB Twitter family) like to call a “pee break” song. LOL

Day 13: August 18, 2010 – Reasons Why You Love Them

Their talent is exceptional. The lyrics and music, and how it all rolls together blows my mind. Dave sings my life, and the boys play it. Every single live show is different. I have met incredible people because of our love for this band. They are inspiring. I can relate to what Dave writes and sings. They are all such great guys – family men who have morals and values. They are also all nice to talk to, and are willing to take photos and sign autographs with smiles on their faces. They love their fans as much as we love them. This list could go on and on…

Day 14: August 19, 2010 – Favorite Quote(s)

“Could I have been anyone other than me?” “I will go in this way and I will find my own way out.” “Lean upon me, I’ll lean up on you, We’ll be ok.” “I was just wondering if you’d come along, hold up my head when it won’t hold on…” “Naked you will see that we are all the same.” “Forever dancing with the GrooGrux King…”

Day 15: August 20, 2010 – Number of Shows I’ve Been To

Total: 14. Blossom ’06, Deer Creek ’07, IU (D&T) ’08, Deer Creek ’08, Vanderbilt ’09, Riverbend ’09, Blossom ’09, Deer Creek ’09, Deer Creek ’10, PNC ’10.

Day 16: August 21, 2010 – Favorite Concert/Tour

The best set I have ever seen has to be N2 at Deer Creek 2010. I was blown away. Close behind are Vanderbilt ’09, D&T @ IU, and PNC 2010.

Day 17: August 22, 2010 – Random DMB Picture

Day 18: August 23, 2010 – If I Could Spend an Entire Day With the Band, What Would I Do?

Oh man… the possibilities are endless. Let’s start with a bike ride  and end with a relaxing dinner, complete with lots of wine. Whatever happens in between happens. I’m not that picky, just wanna hang with them. :) That would be ideal.

Day 19: August 24, 2010 – Ways the Band Has Changed My Life

This band has changed my life in so many ways… the way I think about things mainly. I listen to their lyrics and music and use them in my life for day to day activities. It’s something I have found I relate to more than any church, any religion, or anyone. It’s like he really does sing my life… and knowing there are so many others out there that feel the same way I do is amazing. I have met many awesome people because of this band. <3

Day 20: August 25, 2010 – Favorite Album Art

Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King, by far. Dave’s own work, the references made in the cover art… it’s beautiful and personal.

Day 21: August 26, 2010 – How Long You’ve Been a Fan

I’ve been a fan since high school, but I really got into their music when I began college. In the last 4 years, I’ve become obsessed, especially after my first live show.

Day 22: August 27, 2010 – Favorite Band Member and Why

Fave band member?! Are you kidding? DAVE. <3 Sexy, sweaty, scruffy Dave!

Day 23: August 28, 2010 – How I Describe the Band When Someone is Listening for the First Time

I’m completely random. I talk too much, trying to point out the key factors of a song… It’s ridiculous. It’s like… “OMG, listen right….here! Did you hear that? Ahhhhhh!”

Day 24: August 29, 2010: Favorite Lyrics

Pretty sure I answered this… Yes, see Favorite Quote(s). :)

Day 25: August 30, 2010: How Do You Feel About the Death of Leroi Moore

This is a loaded question. When I heard he passed away, it devastated me. The day he died was also the anniversary of my oldest brother’s passing. When the boys decided to play their show as scheduled, it made my heart heavy. They just lost someone so close to them, and went on with the show – because Roi would have wanted that. Every time I hear “Why I Am,” I cry. I can’t help it. His talent was astonishing; his skills so refined. He is sorely missed.

Day 26: August 31, 2010 –  If I Had the Chance to Write a Song With the Band, What Would It Be and What Would I Call It?

I don’t even know where to begin with this one. I would be honored to write a song with them… but I have no idea what direction it would take! We’ll see… :)

Day 27: September 1, 2010 – What Song I Would Perform With the Band

I would have to say Spoon. I think I could definitely pull off Alanis’ part. :)

Day 28: September 2, 2010 –  How Do You Feel About the Break In 2011

I’m devastated! I’m going to have to find something else to do next summer. Boooo… but on the plus side, I do have plenty of time to save up for Gorge 2012 and a few more shows now… :)

Day 29: September 3, 2010 – Another Picture of the Band

Day 30: September 4, 2010 –  Write a Letter to the Band

Dear Dave – Will you please be scruffy at all the shows? And come hang out with the DMB Twitterfam when you’re done with your break. Love, Me.
Dear Fonz – Could you please do the All Along the Watchtower intro like this summer, where you crouch down on the stage and play? That was awesome. Love, Me.
Dear Boyd – Keep tearing up that violin. <3 Love, Me.
Dear Carter – I love your smile. Love, Me.
Dear Jeff & Rashawn – The element you bring to the band is breathtaking. Thanks for everything. Love, Me.
Dear Tim Reynolds – you are a badass. That is all. Love, Me.

Dear Roi – WE MISS YOU AND ALWAYS WILL. <3

To see the entire list for the 30 day challenge, please visit danayylovedmb.tumblr.com.

 

Technology and Literacy

Technology and Literacy

Technology is changing literacy. It is progressing, giving virtually anyone with access the tools they need to expand their own personal literacy. In our day and age, there are many opportunities to become more literate, and all the while advance with technology. How exactly is technology influencing change upon the face of literacy? The constantly changing nature of technology and the way it intertwines with the evolution of literacy is fascinating. From learning ways to communicate, read, and write, to staying up to date with the latest advances in technology by way of computers and the internet, we as humans have always strived to get to the next step. Starting with one of the more obviously evolved technologies, computers have changed many aspects of literacy.

Not too many years ago, when someone needed to do research, they spent most of their time in libraries, archives, and interviewing people face to face or over the telephone for information. Now, most information is made readily available by the click of a button. Online databases harbor many scholarly articles and journals for researchers to utilize, making their process much simpler and less time consuming. As of late, a newer way of researching has hit the internet, called hypertext. This new form has helped researchers look for the most relevant information for their topics, and be able to save time by not searching word-by-word through a document. Hypertext also gives the reader the opportunity to make decisions on which parts of information will be most helpful when writing a research-driven document.

Hypertext has the ability to change how we will write, read, teach, and how we consider written works. Nancy Patterson, the author of “Hypertext and the Changing Roles of Readers” reports that “hypertext users…can challenge text immediately, or as immediately as the reader can write a response and link that response to the author’s text.” (Patterson 76). Technology has helped in such a way that if someone does not agree with some research they found and have evidence to back it up, they can contact the author of the hypertext article with their findings. Also, it is beneficial in many ways (writers of computer manuals especially) and promises to be a technology advancement in academics – mainly scholarly journals, where students can easily maneuver between citations in a work to an author’s previous publications.

Searching hypertext documents makes research easy for readers to gather and organize information. Readers are relying on the writers to separate their topics to be “reader friendly” and hypertext really gives the reader all the control versus the writer being in control of what the reader chooses to take in. The reader can choose what links to follow, therefore choosing what they read instead of ‘wasting time’ on content that might not be relevant to their topic. Davida Charney, a professor of rhetoric and composition, also wrote how hypertext may be changing reading in her article The “Effect of Hypertext Through the Processes of Reading and Writing” that “readers traditionally rely on the writer to select topics, determine their sequence, and signal relations between them by employing conventional discourse cues” (Charney 94).  By relying on the writer to have well organized information makes the research process much simpler for readers to gather and organize their information according to relevance. It makes the process much easier to endure, but yet provides all the information in the most recent form.

There is a good and bad side to hypertext researching. Even though it is up to date and is a simpler way to conduct research, the fact that there can be issues of credibility with some documents is something one must consider. Internet websites like Wikipedia. Users from all over the world are invited to add their own edits to entries on the online encyclopedia. The idea behind this is to have a knowledge bank that has so much information for all to enjoy. This gives users the chance to edit sources they view on the website. Everyone can be a reader and a writer at the same time. With this comes the issue of fraudulent information and author credibility. Dennis Baron, a professor of English and Linguistics at the University of Illinois, writes “as more and more people turn to the World Wide Web for information, and as students begin relying on it for their research papers, verifying the reliability and authenticity of that information becomes increasingly important, as does revisiting it later to check quotations or gather more information” (Baron 82). I believe this concern for fraud meshes with academic documentation styles in quite a few ways, the highest concerns being how does one know what style is being cited correctly online? There are many citation machines available online for students and researchers to use, but how do we know if these are credible? People are safer using published books on documentation, and reputable sources online to ensure credibility of their documentation.

Baron also reviews various ways of deception and fraud that can be committed in the computer age, such as altering graphics and text available online. Other things that are computer related are currency fraud, where some will counterfeit money using a computer and high tech printer to reproduce money. Computers have brought so many changes to our society, and Baron also states that computers “offer new opportunities for producing and manipulating text…they also present new opportunities for fraud.” (71) Baron says that the computer is just the “latest step in a long line of writing technologies” (72) and that some of the biggest problems lie within authentication.

 

Despite the bad news of fraud floating around on the World Wide Web, the internet is a place where many people have found their writer within, and use the internet to become self published. Blogging and social networking websites are allowing people to write more than ever. Take for instance the free publishing tools WordPress and Blogger offer online. Publishing basics made easy through these free sites. Then here comes the bigger question: who has the time to blog? As of last year (2008), there were about 133 million blogs worldwide. Granted, some of these blogs are now idle and not updated, but nevertheless are still out in cyberspace for all to read. People worldwide are finding the internet to be a wonderful outlet to post their ideas, thoughts, rants, raves, and who-knows-what-else-comes-to-mind. Scott Rosenberg, the author of “Say Everything,” actually discusses many genres of blogging, including life blogging, in a live webcast from the Diane Rehm show (based out of Washington state). This term relates to those who blog strictly about their lives and what they are up to on a daily basis, and even including videos of their daily adventures. Sometimes it is easier for someone to talk to a camera than it is to sit down and write, and with the internet the way it is today, it makes it easy for everyone to blog. Talking about this subject with a colleague in the writing center, we both came to the conclusion that people are writing more than ever. Often, bloggers use social networking and social media sites to make connections with other writers. These sites are becoming more and more popular, giving users the freedom to publish whatever they choose to write.

 

Social networking has becoming one of the biggest fads to have hit the internet. Whether it is posting a “status update” on Facebook, publishing an entry on a personal blog, or a “tweet” through Twitter, people really are reading and writing more than ever. It seems the world is centered on this fascinating way of communicating – and why not? Educating people on the new forms of literacy is imperative to move forward in today’s world. It is all around us, Elizabeth Thoman and Tessa Jolls talk about how our culture is constantly being reshaped by the ever-changing forms of literacy. “From the clock radio that wakes up…until we fall asleep watching the late night talk show, we are exposed to hundreds – even thousands – of images and ideas from not only television but also websites, movies, talk radio, magazine covers, e-mail, video games, music…media no longer just shape our culture – they are our culture” (Thoman, Jolls 18).

 

We are constantly surrounded by things that have to do with literacy, and some do not realize that even watching television and playing video games can help people expand their own personal literacy. Video games are now being considered aids in literacy. Thoman and Jolls also discuss how video games “are actually quite intricate learning experiences that have a great deal to teach us about how learning and literacy are changing in the modern world” (Thoman, Jolls 21). I can agree with this fully – new games such as “Brain Age” and various other ‘pop-cap’ games focus on hand-eye coordination and reading directions to get you through to the next level. If people do not have basic literacy skills and wish to advance while playing their video games, it will seem impossible. With television, there are many shows on that are educational – even entire networks like the Discovery channel focus on educational programming. Nowadays, being literate doesn’t mean simply being able to read. It means to understand new mediums of technology; books, movies, television, billboard advertising, and the list could go on for days.

 

The internet provides the most up to date everything – research, news, blogs, ‘updates,’ weather, and even various modern tools for education. The internet and technology associated with computers is changing the way the world works, without a doubt. Keeping people in the know for changes in technology will only help our society advance. It is undeniable that literacy has been and will continue to be a changing force in our lives, especially when thinking about it from a technological perspective.


(photo credit: Rosenblum TV.com)

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