May 23

Macondo, Moomins, plays and zines

This post is part of EdublogsClub. This week’s prompt is books and reading.

As a teenager, I read sporadically. But when I found something that caught my imagination I became absorbed. I always tried to like cool books; the books that were all about finding yourself but funnily enough I couldn’t identify with the narrator most of the time. As a child I had a few favourite books but I won’t write about them here because I think this post could easily end up an ode to Plop the owl.

I also was going to avoid writing about graphic novels and zines, but I put Moomins and Culture Slut in anyway because I enjoy them. I managed to keep non-fiction out of here. I might write about inspirational journals at another point. But that subject often tumbles into a description of my learning journey.

This first book my adult brain loved was One Hundred Years of Solitude. Though it was a cautious love at first. I was a little bit infatuated with South America at the time and the town of Macondo seemed very vivid in my mind. It took me a few reads to understand the family tree and I still got confused, but there are small details of the story that enchanted me. One Hundred Years of Solitude was the first story I was able to make mine, in my head I imagined the serigraphs of Eyvind Earle and the scent of a showery summer evening.

I took a few quick snapshots of my Gabriel García Márquez shrine. It is more of a Macondo shrine because I loved the atmosphere in One Hundred Years of Solitude. The flowers and assorted bric-a-brac remind me of the magic and lushness of Macondo. And I’ve always had a feeling of “home” when I read Gabriel García Márquez.

source: rookiemag.com/2012/02/not-creepy-at-all/

The Moomins are latecomers to my favourites. I remember seeing them when I was a child and thinking they were fun, but when I revisited them decades later I realised there were clever storylines and an acknowledgement of darker moods. I particularly like elements of melancholy and anxiety that appear, and some occasional social commentary.

I also really love Ibsen plays. Hedda Gabler is my favourite, but I also love The Wild Duck and An Enemy of the People. I don’t want to say I relate to Hedda Gabler because I know that can sound depressing and/or morbid. But I can relate to some of the things she says and does. As someone that often feels undervalued, Hedda Gabler shines like a beacon to me. Whenever I read or watch Hedda Gabbler I feel a silent scream in my chest, which I always felt she experienced too.

You can download the ebook at Project Gutenberg and Amazon. Or just watch the movie above.

Zines were a big part of my life in my twenties. Over the past five years I have not bought as many I used to – this is mainly due to my only trying to buy things I need phases that happen yearly. I am my happiest when I’m rummaging through a box of zines. The first personal zines I remember reading were Culture Slut and Telegram, and slightly later Your Pretty Face is Going Straight to Hell. I do read a lot of political zines and pamphlets, but the personal zines are my favourites. I just remember reading personal zines and getting excited that I could make one and that people may like to read about my life! I love reading about other people.

You can view two issues of Culture Slut at the Queer Zine Archive. Here they are:

May 19

Blog prog

This post is part of EdublogsClub. This week is a catch-up week.

One of topic suggestions this week reflecting on my blogging experience so far. Normally I don’t take part in catch up weeks – I just backdate my blog posts and pretend I did them on time. But I’m finding that I want to write more (probably due to being home alone and relieving the monotony of constant job applications).

My blogging frequency and style has changed this year. I believe it is because I now have a bit of a history on here. When I started, I felt that everything I wrote needed explaining or context. I guess it’s similar to when you make friends, after a while they know your feelings and your experiences so they begin to understand why something has meaning to you without you having to go into a backstory.

I’ve started speaking to my reallife friends the way I write in my blog; longer and disjointedly ☺

I’ve found myself wanting to talk/write about subjects I’d normally avoid. I used to not like talking/writing for too long; I worried about being boring and/or difficult to understand. I still feel this way but I want to try to communicate more. And I guess I won’t get any better if I don’t give it a go.

I was concerned about whether my blog should have an ongoing theme. I felt I should write about learning or mental health, but sometimes I wanted to write about other things. I worried that too much variation would alienate some readers. Then I decided to chuck in some random giveaways, recipes, interior design inspiration, hair inspiration pictures, a bucket list, a travel bucket listtrends I like, funny videos and poetry. This made my blog interesting for me to read. And once I started enjoying reading it, I wanted to contribute to it more often.

I sometimes go a bit TMI on here. Oh well.

I like writing. And I think about it daily.

May 9

How I use social media

Most of my followers know I’m on a social media detox and have been for a month or so. Obviously, I still blog so it’s not a complete detox. I also have a LinkedIn profile which I use to see what our alumni are up to (hello!). But I left Twitter and Facebook. I still have a web presence on all University of Brighton systems (also, hello!).

Why am I not on other social media?

This is a tough question. I enjoy experimenting with new social media but there are times when I just need a break from it. Most people would take a break; stop checking their email/phone and come back to it later. I’m not the sort of person who can just let a representation of myself float around aimlessly in cyberspace – if I know about it, I am constantly checking it or deactivating it (there’s no inbetween for me).

I deactivated my Twitter in late March. It was the social media platform I used the most. I used to check my analytics weekly; I had a great reach and engagement rate. But I didn’t feeling like my interactions were meaningful. I enjoyed taking part in #museumhour weekly – I believe these Twitterchats were important for my personal and professional development as a museum volunteer. Outside of Twitterchats I often felt like I was shouting into a void when I spoke about my life, or promoting University of Brighton events/projects.

When I left Twitter, I replaced the app on my smartphone with My Fitness Pal. I lost 10lbs in that month, and ended up spending more time being crafty. I wanted to use the social media detox as a springboard into healthier habits.

What I have gained from spending less time on social media

I blog more, as you can see. Blogging is a different way to write – it’s hard to explain without experiencing it for yourself. I ponder subjects as I write, but I also struggle more with expression. I spend more time on the appearance and content of a blog.

I take a lot less photographs since I left Twitter. I might move over to Instagram (again) at some point, as I do miss taking photographs. I’ve realised in the past month that I regularly used photographs as a prompt for discussion, or as filler when I wanted to connect with people but didn’t have the words that day.

How is my new smartphone?

Now I have an android a lot more apps are available to me, so I expect that I’ll be spending more time in MOOCs. MOOCs often have forums and blogs attached to them, so I will be on social media but I will be communicating to a closed community. I’ll be updating about that throughout the summer.

What I miss about social media

I feel like my Twitter helped me connect with remote colleagues in the university and I was able to network with local people (great for my job!). I was relatively well-know in my university because of my Twitter account; colleagues and departments retweeted and mentioned me. People could see how much University of Brighton means to me. Nowadays I am applying for fulltime jobs and, I know that some employers search for applicants on social media, I wonder if my Twitter account might’ve been an asset as it shows my creativity and enthusiasm. I guess this is just a long-winded way to say that I think my Twitter account may have made me more employable.

How I used social media as a student

My department and lecturers use social media. A lot of the work we do is with community groups, and as artists. Our interactions on social media are supportive rather than theoretical, with occasional pieces of information put in.

Earlier this year we had a project at Tate Exchange where we were all encouraged to use social media. A colleague made a Storify of our activities.

Another part of the project involved using Edublogs. Nick Feather came in to talk to us about using them. It felt a bit weird being taught about something I use regularly; especially as I find blogging to be more of a practical skill so hearing about Edublogs without the experience of using them felt alien. Blogging is something I try to encourage people to use with their hands, because there is so much to talk about that I wouldn’t know where to start. In the session with Nick Feather I saw the reverse; people wanting to know more about it before trying it.

Seeing Nick Feather work was very interesting (partially because he is doing a job I’d love to do). I started to think about the ways I could encourage people to use Edublogs. I have shown colleagues how to use Edublogs in the past and they all seemed to respond better to one-to-one discussions. I know it’s stating the obvious, but I noticed how difficult it is to talk about a practical tool which you are trying to encourage someone to use for reflection and/or creative expression. When I show Edublogs to people I always tell them to log-in and do some test posts and look around the dashboard, but many seem reluctant.

There’s so much to unpack here. Is there a fear or doing something wrong? Is there a lack of confidence in taking ownership of this tool? Is it confusing? Is the fact blogging is so flexible giving people too little structure? I know it could be any number of these things and then some more. These are questions and issues that have come up in my teaching/facilitation in the past – and right now I’m understanding why I put that element of my life on a backburner. Geez, there’s too much to think about.

The future of social media

I mentioned in my blog post yesterday that we have so many different ways to communicate and, for me, that means I spread myself too thin. And I start to feel like my engagements are shallow. However, I am happy that there is so many social media platforms out there – much like offline conversation, this means people can come and go as they please, they can dip their toes or dive right in, they can be in a busy crowd or a secluded spot.

What I expect to see in the future are multiple fragmented conversations all over the place. Some will last longer than the others. Some will be a burst of noise and some will be distant whispers. I may even join in at some point.

This post is part of EdublogsClub. This week’s prompt is social media.

May 3

Sew…

The EdublogsClub prompt this week is getting creative. I’ve just returned from an emotional week with family and I’m due to write a huge blog post but I just don’t have the words right now.

I’m planning to start experimenting with fabric collages. I’ve been researching them and I’m amazed by the work contemporary embroiderers have done, and are still doing. A fabric book will be my next project!

I had some small canvases around so I thought I’d make something for this blog.

April 25

Community 21

I’m ashamed to admit I’m phoning in this week’s EdublogsClub prompt. It’s all about project based learning. I’m not confident I understand it without examples, and the few sites I’ve found with more information haven’t helped me clear up how this type of learning is structured (like, who chooses the tools?). But maybe the structure is negotiable and I just need to try it to figure it out.

I blog about Minecraft sometimes, but I thought I’d post a video this time. This is from a Community 21 project.

April 18

Red

The EdublogsClub post today is to tell a story. A couple of weeks ago I touched on my love of Red Riding Hood when I wrote about the Path. I was hoping I’d have a chance to share my favourite version of the story…

A Grandmother’s Tale read by Jarboe.

source: taleoftales.com/ThePath/gallery.html

I love the washwomen helping out at the end. I think we are used to a hero saving the day, so it’s nice to see collective action instead.