I can say with almost full certainty that if you are a creative person, you have dealt with fear, imposter syndrome, failure, and self doubt. I’ve experienced all of these in the last few years. Fear, failure, and the fear of failure have held me back and kept me from creating. At the recommendation of a YouTuber I like, I picked up the book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert in hopes of squishing that fear and simply allowing myself to make things. I couldn’t recommend this book highly enough, whether you consider yourself creative or not. Gilbert’s definition of “big magic” and “creativity” go far beyond art, extending into personal expression, freedom, inspiration, and curiosity. The book was split into a few different sections, and while I’ve combined some, here are my top takeaways.
Courage & Enchantment
Part of inspiration and creativity is courage. It can be scary to try new things and push your limits, but you have to be brave enough to do it and know both the world and your capabilities. Fear is just a reflex, and while it serves a purpose, there’s no room for it in creativity because it keeps you from exploring and trying new things. There can also be fears of peaking, of never reaching fame or notoriety, of not being able to continue success after hitting it once. But that’s not the goal of creating, is it? Gilbert mentions that creation is its own goal. Make and share things you love, regardless of the outcome. If it’s something you genuinely enjoy, there doesn’t have to be pressure to succeed.
There’s also an element of enchantment. You can enjoy your work, you can look forward to it. You don’t have to live as a ‘tortured artist’ to create things. You can support other people, you can give into inspiration and curiosity and see where it takes you. There doesn’t have to be some heavily structured routine you follow. Take risks, make changes, embrace failures, and experience unique things, or as Gilbert puts it, “live a vivid life.” Find joy and magic in the process of creativity!
One of the things I needed to hear most was that I don’t need permission to live a creative life. You don’t need to label yourself as an artistic genius or a musical prodigy to be able to make art. The earliest human art is dated at 40,000 years old— do you think they had to ask for permission? Of course not! They wanted to make something beautiful and imaginative, so they did. Creativity is an entirely personal expression, on your own terms, and the only person who needs to give you clearance is yourself. And no, you don’t need permission from other people or their labels. Their reactions to your creativity don’t belong to you. If someone ignores, misinterprets, or hates your art, they can make their own art. You can keep making yours.
Persistence & Trust
By far, these were the most real, raw, down-to-earth sections of the book. My favorite section of these chapters is entitled “In Praise of Crooked Houses” - in other words, learning to love and praise and accept projects that aren’t perfect. What matters is that it’s done, you accomplished something you wanted to do, and you can move onto the next project. Gilbert describes this concept of “stubborn gladness” - creating won’t always be easy, but you have to be thankful for it and happy with where you are currently. Be open to new ideas and pursuits, and work through the periods where inspiration runs dry. She also advises to find something that you love enough to where it makes up for the bad parts. Even if you do face rejection, failure, or a dry spell, you love what you’re doing enough to keep going. It’s important, too, that you trust in both the process and yourself. Remember that despite the outcome, you are worthy of being here and creating things. You have the capability to create wonderful things, and the world needs to see them, too.
by Allison Killinger
The answer is probably not.
The reason I say this first is because adaptations of books, movies especially, usually end up as a blazing pile of trash. Although usually the people who hate on the movie are ones who were fans of the book.
I will preface this set of blog posts by saying that this is my opinion, and you should enjoy whatever series, movie, TV show, or other media you want. These are just a few examples of book to movie/other media that maybe didn’t turn out well quality-wise or in comparison to the books. I have three examples of series that I am well acquainted with, that started out as books.
The first one, some of you might have seen this coming, is the movie Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. The original series was written by Rick Riordan, and the movies were screen written by Marc Guggenheim, a man who I am convinced had never actually read the book.
This might be a controversy that many of you had heard of, and those of you who had seen the movies only might be thinking “what’s the big deal, the movies were great! My friends and I enjoyed them.” That might be true. Even I thought that, if the movies weren’t supposed to be based on an actual book series, it would have been okay. The problem was that they forgot to say “loosely based on the books”. The movie took the names of the characters and the book, vague facts about them, very few of the events from the first book, and threw away the rest.
The arguably most important fact that they threw away, is that the main character, Percy Jackson, and one of the companions are supposed to be twelve years old in the first book. You read me right, twelve. It’s not like movies didn’t use young actors before, in fact the director of the first movie, Chris Columbus, was well known for working with actors who were mostly younger.
I’m not going to talk about every fact or detail the movies messed up, and there are many (although one of the things they messed up is the hair color of one of the main characters which would have been such an easy fix), and Marc Guggenheim doesn’t seem to have said anything about why he made so many changes, but we do know that Rick Riordan ripped the producers a new one, not just because the script deviated from the book, but because, “this script doesn’t work as a story in its own right.”
So if you want to know if the adaption of a book/series to another form of media will be good, check to see who is writing the script for it. If it’s the original author, you’re probably good. If it isn’t the author, then check to see how involved the author is going to be. If they aren’t, maybe lower your expectations on similarity between.
Finished with the movies, there are two other forms of media for Percy Jackson that I want to talk about. The first, is a musical.
That’s right. Someone wrote a musical about this book. And I saw it.
And it was actually pretty good. I do have to concede that they were in a similar time crunch as the movie, and therefore skipped a few events, but they didn’t lose touch with the book. The scenes they couldn’t put on stage, they managed to get almost all of them in one of the songs or lines. Most importantly, to me anyway, is that it was fun. I enjoyed being there a heck of a lot more than I did when I saw the movie for sure.
The other piece of media is a TV show. Which we can only hope will be better than the movies.
That’s all I can say about this series. If you have any questions, please comment below!
Next part… we tackle the Mortal Instruments series.
by Elizabeth Marvin
"I have been in love with my 35mm film camera since I took a photography course in high school. I spent my 2019 summer in my hometown Canton China. Over the two and a half months, I have taken over 20+ rolls of film, mostly black and white film. I have developed most of them in the photography studio on campus. But, this submission is digitally scanned and exported for digital publishing.
"The Invisible" series captured lower class or homeless people on the street. Over the past decade, China has developed very rapidly. The cities are growing, and people are living in a better life. However, the number of low-class population has also increased. Those low-class workers are always getting ignored by society. They are around to build the cities better, cleaning up the trash, or rebuilt the road. They helped to make our community better. So I took images of different faces and different professions that hang out around one of the most popular streets in Canton, The Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street.
This image (the one that was selected for spring) is the main cover image I chose for the "Invisible" series. The elder man is sitting by a pillar outside of a milk tea store. He is wearing dirty clothing, messy hair, and a pair of very old shoes. When a young couple toss an empty bottle and missed the trash can near him, he stood up slowly and helped to collect it. He is probably collecting them to sell to recycling place to make some money. From his eyes, I see disappointment and hopelessness. But he is still out there making a living own his own, using his hand instead of begging food from people.
I believe this is an successful journalistic image. I have took many different staged photo, but this composition is not planned but intentional. The pillar, the trash can and the resturant sign they are all parallel to each other. The texture of the trash bag and the texture of the wall also adds an interesting elements to the image. This series are particular hard for me to finish, because capturing people that are around us living in a different "life styles" makes me emotional. But most of them are happy, such as this worker here. Life is hard, but we all find happiness differently. “
In the TV genre of “super serious dad and his child in some sort of fantasy setting”, a few shows come to mind, but the ones I want to talk about today are The Mandalorian and The Witcher. While The Mandalorian is currently a better example of this type of genre, based on The Witcher’s last episode in season one, we can expect to see the dad/adopted kid relationship very soon. I want to talk about each of them and give you my honest opinions.
I will preface this by saying that I did watch both of these series in true binge fashion, and I did enjoy both of them. Because this is meant to be a general overview, there shouldn’t be any important spoilers. Be cautious, though. This is also just my opinion, and I do like one better than the other. Now, let’s begin.
First, there is The Madalorian, which is Disney’s latest attempt at making a TV show based on the Star Wars series. It takes place about 5 years after Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. For some of us, that means absolutely nothing, so it’s set 25 years before The Force Awakens. It can be viewed on Disney Plus (yours or anyone else's).
The Mandalorian has a clear timeline and simple-to-understand plot points. You can mostly tell who are the bad guys and the good guys. Also, there is baby Yoda, and if that can’t convince you, then maybe this just isn’t meant for you. And bbYoda is there for more than its cute factor; it opens up new lore for even those who have seen all the Star Wars movies.
Mando (the main character) has an interesting backstory (yes, even among intergalactic mercenaries), and the other characters are similarly interesting: a mechanic who can rewire droids and take care of a baby with unknown origins; a bounty-hunter droid; and a veteran from the rebel side of the past war. These characters come together all for the protection of the cutest strange space baby on this side of the galaxy.
Currently, it has 8.8 on IMDB and 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. I am also giving it a rating of 10/10 baby Yodas, but I believe you should always watch a show before trusting the ratings.
After all, different people like different things.
And there is The Witcher, a show based on both a book series written by Andrzej Sapkowski and a video game series by the same name developed by CD Projekt Red.
The Netflix series follows three different characters on their adventures, but the problem is that not all of these stories are travelling at the same time. So, if you haven’t read the books or played the games, you may not realize that Ciri’s story at the beginning of the series is about 20ish years after where the other stories begin. And it isn’t something that is very recognizable until the third episode at the least. That doesn’t make it a bad show, but it can be difficult or frustrating at times. I do think that if you watched Game of Thrones and enjoyed it, then you may like The Witcher.
Despite the 8.4 on IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes does not care for it, giving only a 66%. I will also give the show 7/10 Dandelions. Like I said before, though, do your own research.
Honestly, the biggest deciding factor for me is the sexual content. Geralt (one of the main characters in The Witcher) sleeps with at least two people in the first season, and there is general nudity in large quantities. The Mandalorian contains no nudity, unless you count Mando’s face.
If there is a show or particular episode of a show, you want me to give my honest opinion on, then comment on this post.
Thanks for listening to my not-a-TED Talk. I will leave you with two last things.
I haven’t watched Star Wars in approximately forever, and Geralt is the biggest Himbo I have ever had the honor of meeting.
Anonymuz is an underground Florida rapper. I think he is currently criminally underrated, so I’m going to tell you about him and try to get you to listen to him.
I recently discovered Anonymuz when I saw him featured in a video called “Pokemon Cypher 2019” on YouTube. He had a very distinct style and sound that distinguished him from the nearly 20 other rappers featured, so I decided to check out his other stuff. Since then, I’ve been listening to his music almost nonstop, and I’m still yet to hear a bad song from him. Over the course of a couple months, he has already become one of my top 5 favorite rappers of all time.
There are many things that I like about Anonymuz. Firstly, he’s a very technically skilled rapper. He spits a variety of intricate flows, switching between different ones effortlessly, and he perfectly compliments any beat he’s on. Secondly, he has a lot to say beyond the typical hip-hop tropes. You’ll never catch Anon flaunting about how much richer he is than you (although, that might just be because he’s broke lul). That being said, he still knows how to wind down and just have fun on a track. Thirdly, he’s unabashedly passionate. He raps often about how much hip-hop means to him and the power that he believes music has to impact the world. He wants to be a positive force in the world that inspires people to do great things, and I respect that.
Another thing I like about Anon’s music is that hooks, as well as refrain in general, are greatly de-emphasized. More often than not, he forgoes having a chorus at all. He instead breaks up his songs in other ways, such as switching the beat, switching his flow, or inserting an audio sample that reflects the song’s theme. Even when he does include a chorus, it’s not the focus. I’ve only come across one notable exception: his song “Fake Shit”, which has a smooth R&B vibe that Anonymuz surprisingly pulls off quite well. If you like songs that are all about the bars, then Anon is a good match for you.
For those who would like to give Anonymuz a look, I have a few song suggestions to get you started:
1. “Cowboy Bebop”, from Vice City (2016)
This is the lead single from Vice City wherein Anon gives a grim, visceral depiction of gang mentality. It’s an absolute banger with the kind of thunderous bass and cutthroat delivery that makes you want to punch a hole in the wall.
2. “Yoko Kurama”, from Urameshi (2017)
This is one of his catchier songs. The hook is nice, but it’s nothing fancy, and it feels like an extension of the verses rather than a departure from them. This sums up pretty well the types of hooks you’ll hear from him. This song also exemplifies Anon’s appreciation for anime. It’s named after a main character from Yu Yu Hakasho (same as the album), and it starts with an excerpt from the classic anime “Cowboy Bebop”.
3. “25 to Life feat. Sylvan Lacue”, from There Is No Threat (2019)
This song shows Anonymuz’s thoughtful, introspective side. In his first verse, he raps about how much hip-hop means to him and what he wants his music to do for his fans. In his second verse, he reflects on the state of his life, acknowledging that he is yet to see the success he’s sought after and that he’s often felt pressured to give up, but ultimately reassuring himself that he will push through adversity and achieve his dreams. This is all complemented perfectly by a subdued, spacey beat that makes you want to sit back and think about life.
Bonus Track: POISON KLAN by PlayThatBoiZay feat. Denzel Curry & Anonymuz
Anonymuz teams up with fellow Florida rappers Denzel Curry and PlayThatBoiZay on this track. The beat is unapologetically grimy and dark, making this is a good representative of the grimier side of Anonymuz’s music (especially since he’s the one who produced it). Also, notice how even in a short 16-bar verse, he switched up flows three times. Absolute legend.
You can find Anonymuz on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Soundcloud and YouTube.
At times poets will find themselves intrigued by a certain topic that can be expanded upon in more than one poem. This leads to a poetry series with poems that are all loosely related, but they oftentimes can still be understood separately. The topic surrounding a series could be a progression of events. It could be a person in the poet’s life that they have watched grow up. The series, in this case, could be a poem about the birth of a person, that person coming into themselves as a child, a teenager, or later on in life. It could be a series about a particular place and the different experiences had there. Basically, the series could be about anything that speaks to the poet. In my opinion, poetry series can be really interesting to follow as each poem is able to stand on its own, but can tell a story when read together.
Recently I have become infatuated with the auras of people around me. The energies that people have, to me, may look like a certain place or thing, or maybe even a season. I have recently taken time to observe my friends and write about how their personality looks in a more physical form and then break that down into how that person is represented by their particular symbol I have chosen. While one friend may be a bike ride in Paris during autumn, another may be the sand of the beaches in the spring, or a snapdragon in the beginning months of summer. When writing these I had to figure out whether or not their energy was chaotic, stoic, gentle or abrasive. Their energies could quite possibly be a mixture of multiple opposing things depending on time and place. I tried to do each person’s aura justice in who they are and how they make me feel. Below is an example of a poem I wrote within this series.
He’s an orb of water
suspended in refracted
an image of likeness
like his eyes,
like his ever changing shape,
like the depths he withholds
and reveals upon his own command.
like his smile,
like the rhythm of his swagger,
like his laugh
that rests upon the transformed aura within a room.
To warm or burn,
to cleanse or drown,
the illustration of multifaceted chambers
that rise out of need not vanity,
the essence of baptism all the same.
His life in dedication to both
waves and flames,
forming in the shape of
that settle comfortably
upon his crown with pride--
the white noises of our mindless humanity.
You ran before the storm to join me
Threw your arms open, slammed your eyes shut
Inky hair blown back in the gale
Purple heat lit the horizon and illuminated our pining faces
Two beautiful fools dancing in the warm rain
Trembling at the taste of the terrifying truth.
In our modern world, it feels like every other day is a holiday; this past weekend had National Sons Day, National Beer Drinking Day, as well as the National Bunny Day. But in the midst of this uptick in holidays, we shouldn’t forget about some older but just as important traditions. One such tradition is Banned Book Week.
The last week of September has been Banned Book Week since 1982. While books aren’t officially banned in the US (they can always be purchased privately), they are still frequently challenged and removed from school libraries across the country. In remembrance of this important week which celebrates the freedom to read, here are five of my personal favorite previously challenged books:
The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999)
Reasons for Challenge: Description of masturbation, sex, drugs, and profanity
First challenged in 2002, Perks of Being A Wallflower is a modern coming-of-age story which follows Charlie as he navigates his freshman year of high school. While the novel tackles a wide variety of difficult subjects, this is precisely what makes it so endearing and touching. It is when we are presented with new situations and new perspectives that we are truly able to grow.
Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey (1997)
Reasons for Challenge: Offensive language, violence
A real modern day classic, Captain Underpants has often topped lists of frequently challenged books in the US. It follows the adventures of George and Harold, as well as the titular superhero Captain Underpants, as they battle a revolving cast of villains such as Doctor Diaper, Turbo Toilet 2000, and Wedgie Woman. Although the book certainly offers examples of misbehaving kids (as well as hilarious pranks), this series is an overall harmless yet exciting series for young kids. The biggest danger has to be the flip-o-rama as the high level action can sometimes be too much for the pages.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1937)
Reasons for Challenge: Language, blasphemy, violence
A short but incredibly impactful novella, there is a good chance that Of Mice and Men was taught at your high school despite it being listed as one of the most challenged books of the 21st century. It follows two friends, George and Lennie, as they move from place to place during the Great Depression. This book is as endearing as it is heartbreaking, and while there is some strong language at times, this is no excuse to try to censor such a powerful story.
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (1971)
Reasons for Challenge: Environmentalist Message
I think it is safe to say we are all at least slightly familiar with the works of Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel), from Green Eggs and Ham to The Cat in the Hat. However, The Lorax is a bit unlike the rest as, while still having the wonderful illustrations that are the trademarks of all of Seuss’s books, it also has a much more compelling message to take care of the Earth. Like the Lorax famously says, he “speaks for the trees.” This message did not go over well in California amidst the foresting industry in 1989 and was promptly challenged by members of the community. There will always be an argument about what ideas young kids are exposed to, but The Lorax is still a fantastic book which will hopefully remain on the shelves of libraries across the US.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
Reasons for Challenge: Language and Sexual References
An amazing novel that follows Nick Carraway as he unravels the story of Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. A true classic, the novel has been challenged for many of the same reasons as the other books on this list: language and sexual references. While it is true that this novel, just like the other books in this list, has items that can be questioned, going so far as to keep it away from libraries seems like a step too far. Children will always encounter challenging ideas, but the immediate response to things that challenge us should not be to ban them.
CLASSIC HORROR: FRIDAY THE 13TH
Only a year away from its 40th anniversary, the Friday the 13th franchise stands alongside other film series like Halloween, Evil Dead, and Child’s Play as a classic, acquiring unwatchable sequels, a considerable cult following, a surefire reboot and a killer whose powers are irritatingly vague. But what is it about this hockey mask-wearing, machete-wielding star that sets him apart from the roster of synonymous slashers that almost seem to be the same character?
If there’s one thing to be said about the Friday the 13th franchise, it’s that its main character never stays the same. While contributing to the plot’s convolution over the course of the series, Jason’s changes are partially responsible for what helps shape his overall character. He goes from a muddy lake-child in the series kickoff to a space villain in Jason X over the course of nearly forty years. This is partially due to the constantly shifting property and studio rights, writing, and direction changes and the need for something new to invigorate the next chapter.
His changes in wardrobe are almost constant; he goes from his first actual appearance in Part II, wearing a feed-bag mask, to the classic hockey look and ultimately turning to a metallic, space-age fit that looks like it belongs to a different series entirely. Things across the series change up a bit beyond outfits, though. There are almost no constant characters outside of the killer (who even changes up from time to time) constantly leading the audience to a misunderstanding of what’s happening. The only thing that’s constantly original is the violence, which never seems to disappoint in any of the movies.
The problem with a constantly evolving character is the set around him trying to evolve at the same rate. The concept of a summer-camp slasher doesn’t exactly carry well over the decades, but sequels still need to be made. The first bit of convolution comes at the end of the first movie with one of the greatest plot twists of the 1980s with the death of Jason’s mother and Jason’s first appearance as a child out of the lake. He then goes on in the sequel as a fully-grown man--taking place mere months after the first film--killing the happy camp counselors of Crystal Lake once again. It becomes even harder to understand as the series carries on after Jason is miraculously resurrected from multiple deaths and even changes personalities (i.e. Roy Burns, who pretended to be Jason in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning). Things like this ultimately kill the character and make the plot-lines even laughable for the following audiences.
While plot and story-development may not be the franchise’s strong suit, creative brutality is what seems to be constantly bringing people back. From people being stabbed through beds to being staked to doors to being thrown down flights of stairs in a wheelchair, the series never fails to deliver in violence. The writers and set designers continually find new ways to kill teenagers in the franchise, even going so far as to making Jason X (a space adventure that’s arguably the worst film in the franchise) a copy of the Ridley Scott classic, Alien. Comical, but creative.
. . .
Overall, the Friday-franchise is a campy, facetious series of films that draws in the viewer through nostalgia, mainstream pop-culture, and the classic cheesiness of the 80s that made it as unwatchably watchable as it is. If you’re a viewer looking for serious scares and unsettlement, look elsewhere; Friday the 13th is a classic revisited for the laughs and a silly 80s funk that never fails to deliver in an age that’s so stuck to billion-dollar budgets and special effects so real, you can’t separate them from reality. It’s nice to know that these films are still around to keep us grounded in a world where horror has become too real and too watered down.
Consider the following:
Is this "art"? The general consensus for this question isn't clear.
Everybody loves memes. However, they're not always given the honor of being considered art. For some, that distinction is reserved for more traditional forms of creative expression such as painting, sculpting, literature, cinema and the like. On the other hand, some are open to recognizing more contemporary art forms like video games. It's entirely subjective.
I asked our staff to weigh in on the discussion. Here's what they had to say:
Should memes be considered art? Why or why not?
"Memes should be considered art because they convey meaning through the use of visual stimuli and they normally contain things that are universally relatable and human. Some art conveys sadness, some frustration, and some exists for the sake of existing, and I can find a meme to represent each of these concepts." – Katherine Kaczmarski
"Yes. Memes are a creative outlet for whoever makes them. Whilst they aren’t traditional in a modern art sense, they still follow the theme of art." – Hannah Skinner
"This is simple, art imitates life. Therefore, when we see memes that highlight humanity and therefore imitates life, it is 100% art. This can also be turned around in saying that memes are also life." – Madison Wakefield
"Memes should definitely be considered art. They're made to invoke emotion, which is pretty much the sole purpose of art." – Davis White
"Memes should be considered art! This topic has been on the art world radar and is discussed quite frequently. I believe that we are entering a new age of Dadaism/Surrealism through these memes." – Hannah Rivers
As you can see, the consensus among our staff is pretty clear: memes are absolutely art. And now that we've settled that, feel free to submit your best (original) memes to The Chronicle for a chance to be featured in our next magazine! I happily await them.
XAVIER CHARLOT- BLOG EDITOR