Sunday, March 9, 2014

Writing in the 21st Century

Writing used to be a craft for the introverted intellectuals. It was an outlet for those with brilliant ideas and terrible social skills to share with the world their thought provoking perspectives on everything from the theories of the universe to mundane observations of the everyday. Publishing houses sifted through these works to find the gems, the best of the best, and these would then be disseminated to masses that were thirsty for newness and novelty.

Thanks to the digital age, however, anyone can publish whatever his or her heart desires. Unfortunately, while everyone is now a ‘writer,’ it seems that nothing is really being said. Blogs abound with useless musings by self-proclaimed ‘creative’ individuals that are just dying to be heard— err, reblogged. And so, we inquisitive minds who yearn to feel some kind of intellectual stimulation will listen to their rambling posts, attempting to gain the wisdom they claim to be imparting. We listen to their ironic lamentations about the negative impact of technology on the creative process. We listen to their ‘reports’ and to their ‘anecdotes,’ written in all their clich├ęd glory. We listen hard and we listen well, and, at the end of it all, we feel nothing. This is an emptiness only known when one has read countless blogs and page after page of articles on Thought Catalog, hoping to be enlightened—or at least entertained—and instead is left only with the knowledge of how one man almost went on a Tinder date. This is the emptiness of the Internet age of writing.

There are of course, the occasional prized pieces, which are everything we could have hoped for in an essay we didn’t know we needed to read. They draw us in with both their flirtatious syntax and captivating subject matter. They give us hope when they use proper grammar and cite sources to back their claims. They remind us of what it feels like to be wooed by a writer; what it’s like to want to share new thoughts with friends and discuss the implications of such interesting points of view. We feel the overwhelming urge to email the author, and sometimes we get as far as composing salutations before we realize we don’t really have much to say to him or her. We just want to be friends, to absorb some of their marvelous spirit and writing abilities.

However, stumbling across such fantastic articles is often an accident, a happy coincidence that is difficult to repeat. With each random success, we are given false hope that our search methods are actually fruitful. We become conditioned by these chance occurrences to believe that our Google searches or a friend’s recommendation via Facebook can deliver us the stimulation we crave. The effect of these inconsistent rewards is the unsettling anticipation that the next click could reveal the essay that will change our lives forever, and so we continue to click in our blind search for brilliance.

The Effort Is There (Or is it?)
In these futile attempts at finding something decent to read, I have come across hundreds of disappointing articles, essays, and anecdotes. I’m assuming there must be a   Millennial Writer’s Cult to which the authors of these pieces belong (one that’s very inclusive, I’m sure), and which requires each of its members to adhere to the following rules:

On Writing:
1. Use self-deprecating humor and constantly reference your own ‘weirdness’ (but not your actual weirdness, only the stuff that could possibly be relatable, like singing in the shower).
2. Take advantage of any and all opportunities for puns, and follow such word plays with the phrase “pun not intended,” even though it most certainly was intended.
3. Never be sure of yourself. Use the phrases “I think” and “I guess” almost as frequently as the words “whatever” or “amiright?”
4. Organize your entire essay as a list. Begin the title with “25 Reasons You Should…”
5. Ignore grammar rules. If it looks correct to you, it’s good enough.
6. Always publish the first draft.

Also included with membership is a catalog of “completely original topic ideas that you will definitely contribute novel insight to.” Some of the most popular include:

1. Anything about millennials’ social and/or dating skills
2. Body image
3. Feminism in the 21st century
4. Body image and feminism in the 21st century
5. How annoying your Facebook friends are
6. How terrible your eating habits are, and how little you care
7. Why being single is THE BEST
8. Why being in a couple is THE BEST
9. Advice on how you should feel ‘in your 20’s’ (only applicable if you, as the author, are still in your 20’s)

As a ‘Writer’ Myself
I can already hear aspiring writers across the blogosphere scoffing at this piece, calling it an ironically rambling essay itself. And I am aware that to some degree, it probably is. But, by writing this piece, I am not claiming to have defeated the monster of a task that is creating good content. However, I do believe in my subject and so I feel I am writing with purpose.

For the Future
The process of spontaneously generating new material, breaking it down, and putting it in focus is the most difficult part of the writing method—and all of that usually takes place before the pen even hits the paper. Writing a piece that you’re proud of however, should take time, energy, and hard work. After all, isn’t that where the joy comes from?

I’ll conclude with this timeless piece of advice that we’ve all surely heard before:
“If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.”

This comic inspired this essay: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/making_things




Denizen



Well, here it is.

Years in the making, Denizen finally happened. We're proud to announce our first issue, "Genesis," has been uploaded and is ready for your viewing pleasure.

I probably spent more time on Denizen than any school work I've had since freshman year. Was it worth it? Yes, I'd like to think so. My GPA, however, would beg to differ.

I'm also pleased to announce I've finally fixed our website!

www.denizenmagazine.com is officially live! Holla at yo girl for figuring out CSS (kind of).

Monday, February 3, 2014

Be a Writer

“Be a writer,” they say.

As if it were that easy.

You can’t be a writer—you either are one or you aren’t. It isn’t some career decision with a cut-and-dry path to success like being a lawyer or a doctor. There’s no exam you take that officially qualifies you to have a job in the field. No fancy degrees in writing can be earned and hung on the wall as signifiers of your qualification.

“Oh, you went to Harvard? How nice for you. Now prove to me that you know anything. Do you have a blog? Well, that doesn’t make you special. Wait, don’t blog about me.”

As I’ve begun the hunt for internships, I’ve noticed that recruiters don’t really care about anything except writing samples. Now, this is unfortunate for me because I don’t really have “writing samples.” 

But I promise, editors, I’m a decent writer. Won’t you just take my well-constructed, grammatically correct plea as evidence?

“No.”

I’m beginning to think that I may have wasted my first two years in college with menial internships where I didn’t get to really explore my true passion. I regret to think that I took the easy way out. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things


Oh my goodness. Florence reincarnated as Adele Bloch Bauer of the famed Gustav Klimt portrait?!

My favorite artist, one of my favorite bands-- too good, my friends, too good.

Off to fail my final! (Art History, ironically.)

Cheers,

Sam



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Designer Logos






Artist Mike Frederiqo totally put a spin on the concept of "designer logos" and I think it's just great.

First of all, puns. (Get it, designer logos? I'm letting Anna Wintour slide in this case, because she's Anna Wintour.)

Second, I'm a huge fan of any kind of well-done satire, and applaud Mike's creative genius for maintaining the integrity of the people depicted.

In other news, Mike also has a SPONGEBOB collection, featuring our favorite porous sea-creature recreated as designers. So that happened.

Anyway, hope Wednesday is treating everyone well! I know it's doing me right! (I'm just a TAD hyper right now, does it show?)

Cheers!

Sam 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fall Textures

Fall Textures




I've been lovin' the monochromatic looks for Fall, especially a good head-to-toe black look with various textures.

As I get ready to pick out some new ASOS goodies soon, I'll be looking for deep reds, olives, grays, and, of course, blacks, in the following textures:

1. Suede: love me some good suede. Excuse me while I spend the rest of the day petting my shirt.
2. Quilting: probably my favorite of Fall's emerging texture trends. It's just subtle enough to be chic in that I-look-great-without-even-trying kind of way. (It also tends to be the cheapest of the above textures, so there's that.)
3. Sherpa: although LA doesn't really permit a whole lot of sherpa-friendly weather, it's still a closet staple for that one randomly freezing day in mid January (because there's always that one day).
4. Leather: always, year round, forever.
5. Fur: okay, mostly faux (who am I kidding, all faux) because ain't nobody got $$ for that.
6. Patent: mostly diggin' this texture for shoes, because everyone feels better with shiny, polished shoes.

Makin' my wallet do WORK this Fall.

Cheers to the extra hour of sleep I got today!

Sam


Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Halloween!


This year for Halloween I decided to dress up as an old-timey detective (think Dick Tracy). However, without a proper trench coat, magnifying glass, or any other Inspector Gadget- worthy accessories, my costume was a little less than convincing. People guessed everything from Carmen Sandiego to a member of the mafia to Rachel Zoe (any of which I'd gladly be). 

In all honesty, I just really wanted to wear the hat. 

It's such a great hat.

Cheers to November 1st!

Sam