I am so thrilled to be in communication with Barry Joseph of Global Kids, and to be learning more about the work that is being done with teens in Second Life. Their site, Holy Meatballs, is truly inspirational, full of texts, images and machinima that the kids have created. UNICEF’s voices of youth project featuring these kids is explained here, and is the subject of the video above. My friend and colleague Danielle Mirliss first raised my awareness of Global kids in her Slatenight article, Henry Jenkins has been to visit the kids there (with the support of the NMC), and I’ve been excitedly following along, looking forward to becoming much more involved myself. So stay tuned
I wish I could have had a wireless laptop to live blog the conference because now that its over it feels rather odd doing a retrospective post. But as promised, here goes! Oh and a disclaimer: I was soo exhausted that I didn’t make as many sessions as I listed, and also, there was an unfortunate clash or two in the program which meant that I couldn’t listen to everybody I wanted to.
So, the first session I went to at the conference was Julia and Guy’s session about blogging:
Inside Out: academic blogging and new literacies, an autoethnography
Julia Davies and Guy Merchant
This was a fun session and I looooooved the aesthetics of the presentation, with gorgeous images and fun transitions. I was also cited, which was very flattering! I liked the way they moved quickly beyond the descriptive (how come so many conference presentations focussed on the descriptive only at the expense of theorisation and analysis???) and into the analysis of posts and comments, discussing theoretical issues and critiqueing notions of “affinity spaces” and “communities of practice” as far as they relate, and don’t relate, to the blogosphere. We had many casual conversations about blogs and identity and narrative after this presentation and I’ll be blogging more about those later! Anyway this was a great session and stimulated much discussion and thinking.
Next was our session:
Out of Bounds: Some social, psychological and pedagogical implications of new literacies for young people’s learning, lifeworlds and social futures.
Angela Thomas, Kevin Leander and Michele Knobel
I have already blogged about my talk, but the slides are here if you missed it.
Kevin Leander spoke about his study of girls in a girls school that had wireless technology. Essentially he critiqued the institutional use of technology and the low expectations of teachers when the students were able to work at a very sophisticated level.
Michele Knobel spoke about memes and ‘big L’ ‘little l’ L/literacies. It was a really fun talk too, but also stimulating as she spoke about counter-meming as a social critical literacy practice - and I liked the links to the work of Adbusters.com and the strategies for counter-meming outlined at memecentral.com/antidote.htm, and allyourbrand.org/why.htm - I need to look into these more at some time!
Our discussant was Cynthia Lewis:
Cynthia made some lovely remarks and raised questions about “what counts” as literacy as far as schooling is concerned. I thought Cynthis was very insightful!
Then we had Don Leu’s Presidential address:
New Literacies, Reading Research, and the Challenges of Change: a Deictic Perspective of our Research Worlds
I found Don Leu’s talk interesting but targetted to a) an audience who needed to be convinced about new literacies; and b) the American audience. So basically he said “new literacies are here to stay and we need to attend to them” and “Americans aren’t getting into new literacies as much as they should”. I thought he was very sweet and humble in acknowledging all of his colleagues and doctoral students in influencing his understandings about new literacies.
Wednesday evening was Julia’s birthday party as I already mentioned in my very quick post, and here is the birthday girl herself, looking gorgeous and glam:
Isn’t her necklace amazing!? Here’s a close-up:
and here’s some of her DIVINE birthday dessert:
I sat between Julia and Jennifer:
and across from the very animated Guy:
Also at the table were:
and several other people whose names I have embarrassingly forgotten (profuse apologies if you are one of them)!
Are we only up to Thursday!? On Thursday Julia and I snuck out at lunch time for a little shopping expedition, which she blogged about here.
Question: what is Julia doing here???
(Click here to find out!)
I also noticed Julia taking a photo of somebody taking a photo of somebody else so I thought I should take a photo of that and continue the chain:
Oh! And we also came across a guy that wrote our names on a single grain of rice! Now I didn’t really want one but purely because I’d seen one of the characters doing it from the digital fiction called The Strand, which I blogged about recently, I thought I had to have one! I think there is something to say there about feeling some sort of identification with a narrative or fictional character that you associate with it through its artefacts, but I am not sure what yet!
One of my favourite sessions was the afternoon session that followed our shopping expedition!
Social Constructions in New Literacy Environments
Chair(s) & Discussant(s): Charles K. Kinzer, Teachers College, Columbia University
With the rise of the concept of “new literacies,” literacy is increasingly acknowledged as including participation in broadly defined communities of practice. Concurrently, literacy has become influenced by new technologies, which incorporate their own social practices. The symposium examines the social literacies surrounding one of these electronic environments: video games.
1. Digital Literacies and Massively Multiplayer Online Games
Constance A. Steinkuehler, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2. Agency and Authority: Social Practices in Interactive Storytelling
Jessica Hammer, Teachers College, Columbia University
3. Playing the Digital Divide: Video-game-related literacy practices and SES
Gillian Andrews, Teachers College, Columbia University
Constance talked about her study of World of Warcraft. I enjoyed seeing the range of literacy practices involved and I liked the analysis of gaming practices as scientific habits of mind. I hadn’t actually heard the term “persistent virtual worlds” before to describe MMORPGs either, so that was interesting.
Jessica talked about agency in role-playing games. I thought Jessica’s talk was wonderfully theorised and enjoyed being taken in a different direction as far as role-playing and narrative construction is concerned. I think she focussed more on adult role-playing and more sophisticated narrative constructions, as the stuff I am looking at is much less pre-planned, so it’s given me lots of ideas! I liked the points she made about interactivity as giving the illusion of free will. It reminded me of when I was a teacher and used to trick kids into doing what I wanted by offering them choices and making the ideal choice so attractive that they had to select it!! (Ummm… I still do that with my undergrad students, but that is another story!)
Gillian (Gus) spoke about the types of games selected by different types of readers - she made some really useful links to Gee’s work and talked about self-as-avatar, which I would have loved to hear more about! (Who made these sessions limited to 20 minutes? Never enough time to take in everything!!)
I also went to Brian Street’s session:
Literacy Across Cultural Contexts: Implications for Pedagogy and Curriculum
Brian covered a lot of ground in this session (too much to remember!) but something he spoke about that was totally new to me was lowrider art as a literacy practice. He showed how this doodle-like art by young non-English speakers was used as a communicative literacy practice, and I’d like to find out more about this.
Thursday evening I collapsed in my room with exhaustion and tried to write some discussant comments for a session I was involved with the next day. It was very unfortunate for me as I missed out on a fun evening with Julia, Guy, Michele, Sarah, Dana, Rebecca and a heap of others *sniffle*.
So Friday morning was the session by Marion Fey:
Gender Issues in Post-Typographical Texts and Talk: Past, Present and Future
Chair: Barbara Guzzetti
Discussants: Donna Alvermann, Suzanne Wade and Angela Thomas
Marion traced her extensive research into issues about gender and technology. Suzanne made some wonderful theoretical links between her work and Marions, and mentioned Susan Herring’s work. I also mentioned Susan Herring, Lois Scheidt, and colleagues in my response. I talked about: debates about language and gender, performativity of gender in online spaces and collaboration and social software.
Next was another FABULOUS session by the team from Teacher’s College:
Conceptions of Narrative in Non-Traditional Environments
New environments are redefining literacy and literacy practices. However, while non-traditional environments incorporate visual elements in traditional print materials, they still may be categorised as either narrative or expository. This symposium looks at various non-traditional environments to explore the question of narrative construction and definition.
1. Considering Narrative in New Environments
Charles K Kinzer
2. Examining Narrative as Sequential “Sense” in Comics
3. Narrative Strategies in Improvisational Storytelling
Charles Kinzer spoke about Second Life - like most of the sessions I saw, I was left wanting more and with more questions than answers.
Jonathon spoke a lot about the role of transitions or break points in the narratives of comics (great stuff!),
and Jessica spoke about issues of narration, improvisation and collaboration in role-playing in general, as well as issues of continuity, consistency and coherence in narrative in particular.
Again, this team of researchers are really doing wonderful and innovative studies - I would loooove to work with them!!!
In fact, on Saturday morning I had a lovely meeting with Charles (Chuck) Kinzer:
and we talked about the possibility of some fun projects we can collaborate on!!
There were other lunches and dinners and coffees and drinks and the “New Literacies Bash” - in fact some of the most interesting and stimulating discussions were those that took place outside of the conference! I had a lovely talk with Guy over dinner on my last evening and we wondered “Are we like our blogs?” - which led to all sorts of fascinating thoughts about literacy, identity, narrative, projection, virtuality/reality and so on!
And, on my final day I had a minor crisis which I won’t go into here but I want to say a huge THANK YOU to Katina Zammit (my fellow Australian traveller) for being such an angel and rescuing me from a difficult situation!!
So, that was my overview of NRC - an interesting conference made fabulous because of the wonderful company - especially Julia, Guy and Michele!
(Why did I put it on flickr? Because my faculty NEVER has their server accessible!!! Thank goodness for blog spaces and flickr, or I’d never have a web presence! The old version of the paper is here, but the new version will be in my forthcoming e-selves book).
So, NaNoWriMo has commenced! For anybody unfamiliar with it, here’s an excerpt from the site:
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.
Tiana and Jandalf (two of my long-term research participants) are both participating and writing new fan fiction based novels. Here’s Tiana’s description of her proposed novel:
Unlike the Nameless’s plot, this one’s a fantasy parody concerning a girl and an ocean and a bunch of elemental theory crap regarding magnets, a vampire, and elf queen, a crazy old wizard, a birthday party, and a sleeping princess. (rolls eyes) Or something like that.
I am impressed :> It’s such a novel idea (pun intended!). I also love the fact that the community are writing to raise money, and half of the proceeds will go to building children’s libraries in Laos, in association with Room to Read.
And although Tiana and Jandalf are participating “just because”, there’s also information for teachers about how to involve classes of children in the nanowrimo event.
Next year I might even participate myself!!!
Tiana’s investment into her role-playing characters constantly amazes me. Here’s the latest series of letters she wrote and a first person point of view poem. I am in the middle of trying to write up all this stuff and to be honest I am finding it rather overwhelming! Writing book chapters seems to be easy for me, but writing an entire book, even one based on my PhD has been more challenging than I expected. Not because writing is difficult, more the psychological side of how big it seems. Anyway here is Tiana’s genius yet again:
Letters from a Jedi Master
This is a few of a series of letters written by Ariane. It’s safer to just not ask. :-/ Wrote from a general perspective after Myrkr and on in the series of next few months. There’s no particular meaning to them. They’d appear all as written in Ekaeli… if you’d like to see, I’ll scribble out and scan the idea of what a letter in Ekaeli would look like just for the heck of it. I do have the script invented. Heh.
This hopefully will clear up some of the mess in ‘Satisfaction’. If not, I’ll go to further lengths on that, and hope that this at least clears up some of Ariane’s personality glitchs. Forgive any spelling errors. Ariane was too lazy today to let me spell check her work.
The last letter posted inspired yesterday’s scene, which may now have to be posted. Heh.
I’m writing to you, myself, because I can understand your motives. Unlike the others I would speak to, you’re actively in my mind, screaming at me and throwing things I know aren’t my own into my train of thoughts. I’d really appreciate it if you’d just stuff it, sometimes, and let me think.
As my mind’s already in enough chaos, I really can’t handle you throwing annoying questions at me. All right?
In all sincerity,
I know you’re dead, so you’ll never read this. It’s perhaps for the better. Yet you too become a target of my aimless letter writing, the pen that slides across the page and bringing inky trails. I do miss you, truly. You existed in my life at a time where I was satisfied. Though alienated by time and struggles from one I loved, you were there with your ego and blue hair to place a spark of general cheer in my life.
I think you would’ve liked Tiana.
I’d like to think that you would’ve lived. I’d like to think that you somehow survived the Shadow Realms and found some short girl with pointy ears who cared about the Jedi, and hid you behind her back. I’d like to think that while I was there, you were one of the faces in the street that I passed day by day, and never knew about.
I’d like to think that before you died you realized just how much I cared for you. You were a son to me, the child I never got to raise. And a friend as well, as unlikely as that seemed. From the day I originally met you, Padawan, you had this gleam to you, this expression so very like my own.
Of all the people I knew then, I believe I understood you the best.
I could talk to you, about nearly anything, you see. Sure, you didn’t understand half of my aimless speech, but you listened to me even when I wasn’t trying to teach you. And you grew up in the Force faster than I would’ve suspected. All in all, I lost my ability to teach you anything new in only a couple years. The only reason we carried on was because we both learned from the experience.
I suspect that’s why the training system works as it does. Because both the Master and the apprentice learn from the making.
Had you survived the Shadow Realms, I would’ve seen to your Knighting. You were too mature, too wise, too… able… to remain a Padawan learner any longer.
There was little more I could have taught you of the Jedi way. For it was that way upon which I fell. You’re a Jedi Knight, Xendor. More of one than I ever would’ve been.
But the Order means little to me in the face of the truth.
May Eru be with you,
((The following letter is to indicate Ariane’s mental condition at the moment. It was wrote after the scene with Elachi’s mind, though I had previously been working on what her mind looked like as it was. But I felt I needed to use a letter to discribe it in full, without graphics. It’s mainly to indicate the complete opposite nature… orderly method acting vs a tumbled creation of building blocks. This letter probably completely discribes Ariane to the fullest I can ever get, if you can read the metaphors.))
Dear darkside Ariane, whom I shall affectionately dub Caie Enaria,
You probably ask why I renamed you. It is because that side of me is not Ariane. Ariane is the self that live now, and that lived then. You are not Ariane, no matter how you try to claim it. You are just another person in my mind that’s tried to tear apart what I’ve built up over the years.
This is what my mind looks like, Caie.
First you pass the shielding, and the years of carefully worked walls to keep others out. There is a door, an oaken door, within this wall. It has a brass knob, and hardly worn down from lack of use, and the hinges and rusted nearly shut. There are a few scars on this door, but it’s been forced part of the way open. Just enough to allow a crack of light into my inner self, escaping through a pencil, an ink pen, and watercolored pages. To pass this would be a feat I don’t know if any being could manage, for the turmoil outside of it.
Past these walls is my home. There are trees there, and a small village, so much of what it once was now rubble. The ruins of time and strife have cast down nearly all of the walls, littering the rusty ground with carnage. The remaining houses within are scarred by fire and water and roaring winds. The earth itself screams for a release.
And the fire was caused from my own strikes in an attempt to rid myself of what I built up.
To take a closer look, everything seems to be built from little building blocks. Take one foundation piece away, and the entire building will collapse into the trees that have grown in around my mental village. And there’s been too many close calls. I protect what remains with a vehement passion for survival, even if it means locking my doors again. But that’s what you want. Me to be locked in here with you.
To look through the trees, there is another house. That’s your house. It’s open, ready to be unleashed, and ready to knock down the village that is Ariane. Ready to destroy the personalities and emotions that live there, and fight to let themselves show.
The village has been rebuilt several times, the scarred doors repainted and the sidewalks swept. The people there try to deny what’s happening to them, that everything there is falling apart from lack of order. Instead they deny it, making their doors shine and stand out when their foundations are falling apart. They try to show what they once were, but inside they’re crumbling from a steady attack by the inside source that is you, Caie.
I want you to leave. You’re destroying my home, my safety. But nor do I want you outside of my shields. Outside is a sea of shadows and tears, that tosses in the endless winds. Outside is a storm, and it only barely peeks into my walled off village of scorn. Outside is where my control lies, though my heart lies at the village that you batter, in keeping it looking cheerful until it finally breaks.
I want you to go away, Caie. I want you to lock yourself into your cottage in the woods and close your eyes to sleep forever.
I want to be able to think.
In all sincerity and possible insanity,
Your controller to the shadow,
You created me. I am you. But I’ve grown too much of that heart, your “village” for you to destroy.
I exist, somewhere.
But you can’t destroy me on your own.
P.S.: I get my new name perfectly well, thank you. Caie means alien in Ekaeli, and Enaria is Ariane nearly spelt backwards.
I hate to desturb you from your continual need to react through my voicebox, but it’s dreadfully annoying at times that you insist on having me stand out in the crowd. I am aware that my height makes me annoyingly unnoticable, but I believe you’ve been annoying my husband by overuse.
I’d still love to have you come around, but could you please tone it down a bit? I know you have to exist to keep the fascade of what I am within, but I’d really like it if you’d let me talk quietly on occasion.
P.S: If you could have a talk with your co-worker, Sentimental, and ask her to bother someone else for a time? Perhaps Meqime?
I’m dreadfully sorry that you were offended by my previous request through your co-author, but I don’t particularally appreciate the revenge you took. Could you please lessen your grip of my existance now that you’ve received just appologies?
Yes, dear. For that you are to me. You’ll never read this… Force, you probably can’t even read the langauge I write in. That’s possibly my intent. If no one can read this, I won’t have to regret being sentimental. I won’t have to regret scribbling down what hits my heart.
I learned to do this on Terra. To write to people with no intent of them reading it. To write out prayers, to write out what I wish. At one time I did this through painting, but at the moment., I write. I’m just a hopeless romanatic at heart, sentimental. I can’t ever understand your logic. It iludes me. I couldn’t ever try to tell that to you, of course. You wouldn’t understand. Though perhaps I miss some things.
Do you care? Do you regret falling in love with me, so many years ago now? Do you hate what you let yourself fall into?
I don’t. I don’t think you can understand my logic. I don’t really have any, honestly. I don’t try to make sense. It’s never been in my personality to try to be an understandable being anyway… I’m only Ariane. Though what Ariane is is something I have yet to learn. I don’t know what she clings to any longer, bar perhaps little fragments of her past that I can’t let go of. I would, if I could. But I can’t. In the same way that I can’t let go of my sentiments, my desires to grow, my melodrama. In the same way I couldn’t let go of love.
I did love you, back then on Myrkr. It was just burried. So far, so deep… it cuts to remember. I’ve been cut, destroyed by that. I can’t even think the way I once did.
I can’t understand you at all. I don’t know whether you love me anymore. I don’t know if you care anymore now then you did then. Perhaps I overwhelm you in the way I am, and perhaps it’s just my mind acting up again.
I fell in love once before. Nothing occured from that… we both couldn’t let anything happen. Nothing did. I had thought you were dead. Perhaps it seems like nothing, that it would’ve happened so briefly, but the person I had made myself into then was so dark that to fall into that current for even a brief time… no. It’s a scar I needed to receive, and can’t let go of anymore. I don’t know why.
It’s not that I don’t love you… I do. I don’t think you really can see this, and I’m afraid to show it. So often now I feel alienated for my emotions, my reactions. I’m afraid that if I let myself react the way I once would be, I’ll be sundered again. I need to break, and I’ve locked all those emotions into a little closet in the shell that makes up me. I don’t know what you think, what you see of me anymore. I don’t know why you even try to tolerate me.
But I do love you. You’ll never read this, unless fate decides to be cruel. But I have to put it somewhere. There never was a time that I didn’t, even if it was burried under a massive pile of metaphorical silt. It might’ve taken a river to wash it away, but it was there. Even during my darkest times within the Realms.
I just wish, somehow, I could find a way to unmask it without destroying this tenative house we’ve rebuilt. I’m fragile and I need to shatter, but will shattering break my spirit now?
I just want to cry, to scream, to weep.
I just want to put it out somewhere beyond words that I haven’t changed.
In all sincerity,
When life contains no satisfaction,
All there’s left to scream.
And then there comes a chained reaction,
And of your life a shadow theme.
You walk your mental passageways,
Empty, hollow screams of death.
And what’s left of you is all delays,
Keeping your heart from death.
Yet in this life you hardly live
When chains of darkness pin you down.
Yourself you have yet to forgive,
To pass your stoic face and lose that frown.
You can’t forgive yourself for screaming,
For locking yourself in inky black.
In this path you’re only dreaming,
That your steely mask can crack.
Still you carry on unsatisfied,
Through dark and misted traits of woe
Your acceptance of life is falsified,
If you don’t snow you’re gonna go…
You’re not satisfied with life.
Break the steel, this iron chain…
Be satisfied outside of strife.
Jandalf wrote a poem for me about her role-playing characters and identity that is absolutely stunning! I love it, especially because it relates to some of the scenes I have watched, read and written about already! I think this might go in the preface of my book because it touches on many of the arguments I am making.
When we parade in other clothes
And go about to strike a pose
In literature or interview
Or even lines of fancy prose
It makes me wonder if we see
What we were always meant to be
In all these characters accrued
And scenes of pain that set us free
But keep us trapped, though, in their way
Prisoners to things cliché
Or something of another sort
When identity skews off, astray
They all split off from who we are
And we in turn will find a scar
For when we jest or jab or sport
We are the characters we mar
And so in turn, on us it falls
And as we wander down these halls
That we have made to house them in
Their darkness comes and tugs and calls
It seeks to lure us back away
From trappings of our everyday
But what we find once we’re within
Holds reality at bay
It brings a lie, or what is true
What it brings is up to you
We decide with every line
Who may live and who is through
And so now, as some still mourn
While others wander under scorn
Some evade the dread design
And all the rest will walk forlorn
We are their owners, Fates, and lords
And so we write our own rewards
Even dreaming in our sleep
Of what such musing may afford.
We’ve found our niche and carved it deep.
What is left now, but to reap?
(Jandalf the Orange, August 2005)
How exciting! I should be finished my first draft in a few weeks time… *crosses fingers hopefully*
Tiana’s POV scene of Willow follows…
This post is just a transfer of Tiana’s recent post from my e-selves blog, a post of a yahooIM chat between Tiana and Jandalf.
Two of my research participants, Tiana and Jandalf, are spending time with each other in the same physical space. Jandalf took a 14 hour bus trip to visit Tiana and spend a week at her house. They organised a time to meet up with me and we spent almost 4 hours on and off last week role-playing together (well, they role-played while I watched and asked questions from the sidelines mainly). The final transcript of our interaction is about 33 pages long in single spacing font size 8 plaintext, so it’s too long to include here.
There are some really interesting things to note here though - first of all, I am searching for differences between this transcript (where the two girls were in the same room and could use spoken language) and the transcript from a couple of weeks ago when they were in different locations. So far there aren’t too many differences once the actual role-playing started, but in the pre-plan out stage there are a lot of references to what they are doing, where Tiana’s mom and siblings were, getting drinks and so on. I am still looking at this.
The second thing I am working on is analysing the genre of the text produced. I used our last transcript as a focus for a genre and register analysis in my systemics conference paper last week and I want to refine that and turn it into a paper. So far the schematic structure of the text looks like this:
1. Conversation prior to role-play
2. Planning of the role-play in director-type roles (the girls call them narrator roles)
3. The role-playing, complete with OOC chat and Narrator chat to keep the role-playing on course. The role-play then follows most of the usual structure of a narrative: orientation, complication, resolution. The resolution has a different quality to it though as it really just sets a re-orientation for the next episode, since it is serial in nature.
4. Denouement - I steal this from my drama days because of the obvious link between online role-playing and drama - its a way of reflecting and coming out of role by talking about the events of the role-playing. The girls do this in their narrator roles for a while and then eventually switch back to their “real” selves.
In this last role-play, both girls were role-playing two characters - one “good” role and one “evil” role each. They role-played two related scenes with a time gap in between (it was very film-like actually). In the first scene, the character called Willow, a Jedi knight who had been trained by Obi-Wan Kenobi, had been kidnapped by a Sith lord and was being tortured. In the second scene, she was murdered. By the end, both girls were physically crying, but were also joyous about the depth of the scene they had role-played. Tiana, who was playing Willow, was crying about the loss of her character as much as her identification with the pain Willow was experiencing (a double kind of pain). Jandalf wavered between being really cold and intouched about the death because it was her evil character that had killed Willow, but then when her good character rushed in to find and cradle the lifeless body of Willow, she wrote in her director / narrator role (N1):
audreidi_ytho: N1: That sort of thing just reminds me too much of when I sat by my grandma’s hospital bed while she was in a coma. I held her hand like that for hours, and it was the last time I saw her alive. That feeling’s so real to me.
and then she too started crying.
It was very emotional for me too and I wasn’t even role-playing. I was so touched at the emotional depth the girls invested into their characters, and even though I’ve written before about how they do this, I hadn’t felt the power of it all myself until being a part of the role-playing too. I think its really important to understand that insider perspective!
* Girls seem to be the majority of fan fic writers
Afermitive. All the authors on fanfic.net that I’ve become friends with (Warious, sandlover, skywalker05, Jandalf *duh*, gollumeyes *duher–she’s my RL BF*, Padmé Evenstar, so on, so forth) are female. I could name the few guys who I’ve seen on there… to heck with it, I can name ONE by memory– X-Smasher.
* in some worlds boys dominate and don’t appreciate the female fans
Again, correct. I’ve known girls who complain about the gender-spesifics of a fandom, the same girls who enjoy my site because we’re MOSTLY girls. A lot of the time, males tend to assume that we females won’t enjoy stuff like LotR, and discrimiate for it.
* Fandom offers a cultural community which provides its members with a feeling of belonging and affinity
…okay, someone translate?! Heh heh. Yeah. I think so. From what I’ve came to assume, my members seem to get that feeling from my fandom worthy site, and… well… I’m rather possesive of them, so I suppose it does create a comminuty… see Jandalf for in-depth.
* fanfiction is considered in a negative, stigmatised light by some, who feel that it is deviant, obsessive and trivial
True. Because people feel that we’re lazy, not creating our own worlds and characters (which I’ve done BOTH in fanfic). They regard us, sometimes, as bad writers because we don’t use our own canons, when, in fact, some people’s fanfics are much more enjoyable than novels. Like obona’s The Water’s Edge. Darn, that’s one good fanfic!!
* fans feel that their fan world takes them beyond the sometimes mundane real lives they lead and offers something special, exciting, and new
…heh. *looks innocent* Again, that’s true. As much as I hate to say it, the whole fandom thing was something I had to work at not replacing Christianity in my life. I did, for a good while, grow to only think fanfic and let God slip out of contact for a time. *slaps self* It’s because it takes you beyond reality that you fall into it. I’ve woven myself out of that trap, I think, but it’s still pretty hard at times.
* fandom constitutes a particular art world - where fans integrate and manipulate fan works with new forms of media
Sometimes. I haven’t seen too much fanfic based posters/music/movies, but yes, it does happen.
I know that making fan music is called “songfic” or more sopohisticated tracks are called “filking”
- but what are the terms for your movie tralier and the poster teasers Eowyn?
I don’t know! I’ve never seen anyone else do that before me in my life!!!!!! I’ll just coin myself a word… They’re now Fneaser Posters/Trailers. *snickers*
And, I know the whole “thinking” thing was directed at Jandalf, but to heck with it, I’m repling anyway!
When we go into RP mode, the better stuff happens when we don’t think, and just act on the moment. It’s actually scary to think that we aren’t really in control of ourselves. Mom took a picture of me when chatting… it was rather scary.
Because the whole “mush” think is the big conversation, I’ll just use it as an example. A day before we wrote Tiana and Jether as a pairing, we hadn’t even thought about the possibilty of them falling in love. It was Tiana/Anakin. Then, over the process of a couple days, we killed Tiana, turning her into Dia; turned Anakin Dark on Jether, nearly killing him, and had Dia come in to bring him back to consciousness. That, in turn, formed a bond between the two unconsciouly, and the next time we used them, it just clicked without any thought, really. “Hey, these two could fall in love! Scary plot bunny! Let’s use it…”
Most of our worst plots happened without thinking. When I’m in character, my only thoughts are as Tiana, rather than me. Like the way LotG began– with Shadow and Maul. I just suddenly made an OOC comment: “She looks rather like Tiana, just older and darker”… and… CLICK. It happened.
So we’ve never really thought while writing it. It’s afterwards, when I’m off of the high, that I think. I think Tiana and Jeth was a great idea, but… WHY DOES EVERYONE IN REALITY HAVE TO BUG ME ABOUT MY E-BOYFRIEND?!?!?!?!?!?! Heh.
Along the idea of scary ideas, MASTER, do you feel like killing Audreidi still…?
(I’ve been transferring over data from e-selves so that I can keep track of it and sort it better. Here’s something recent)
Tiana’s in-character role-playing poetry/scene and thoughts:
Heh. *shrugs* Inspiration struck. I couldn’t actually get it all into words, though… the scene was just… too… yeah. One of those moments of boredum when I was in character, so… yeah.
An in character poem that I’ve been trying to write for a while as a scene. Master, the character “she” should be easy for you to figure out. Should. I sort of borrowed one of your character’s metaphorical ideas.
A streak of purple ‘cross a page,
Watercolor stains to cover her rage.
A brush comes down and covers in green,
The dying trees no longer seen.
And the tear that trickles down her face,
Blends in the painting without a trace.
Her eyes as narrowed as the brush,
Fingers moving with no great rush.
Cover the page in painted stains,
In that escape she breaks her chains.
Her single longing within that image,
A world she painted to escape her bondage.
A flash of rage within her eyes,
She covers her face and then she cries.
To cry, to weep, perchance to dream,
And stare at a cold become routine.
Tears for green to spring from snow,
And let the season change from woe.
She hurls the paint brush at the wall,
Then watches as down clean stains do fall.
She grabs a cloth and wipes it away,
Watercolor marks don’t have to stay.
Her heart would leave the stains to dry,
But the longing’s hid, instead she’ll sigh.
Regathering the paints and colors fair,
She’ll ‘gain revert to a lifeless stare.
Perhaps one day the wall will burn,
Will winter end and spring return?
A picture perfect world again reborn,
And of its loss no more she’ll mourn.
Shorter than I would’ve liked, but… oh well.
Well, I really don’t want to take the time to actually explain the poem I wrote without having any background… so I just scribbled out a rough draft for an character-view point that’ll relatively explain the poem, at least, to you, Anya. Hopefully. Heh.
I admit it, Ariane’s certainly changed a lot since I originally discribed her to you. I actually like her now…
A viewpoint to hopefully explain my poem. I think Jandalf’s would have to be explained by several scenes, though, if my guess is correct that she was IC as Jether when writing that… heh. Because there’s several lines that rather tie in to what we’ve done in co… nevertheless, I’ll still enjoy seeing a full explanation on that. Snrk. *grins* ANYWAY.
The paints were an escape, a way out of the Forceless planet, the damnable existence that the planet of Myrkr created for a Jedi. Jedi? To pick up that brush and fill a glass with water and mildlessly make streaks of light and darkness across a thick page of watercolor paper allowed her to drift away from the pain.
She had bought the set last time she had been off planet. Ariane hated the cities on Myrkr, hated the eyes that followed her wherever she went. She wasn’t a smuggler. She wasn’t one of them. She was…
That was it. She just was. Was a statue, was emotionless, was the girl sitting in the corner of the room with eyes aflame, just watching. Always watching. I was born to Watch.
And, again, she was alone. Again silence filled the fair-sized house with the music of nothingness. Twisted wraiths of wind and shadows twirled around her body. Stray beams of light flew overhead and landed to cover the floors in a patchwork lattice of contrast. Outside, beyond her vision, and outside of her senses were creatures, predators, animals that went on in their circle of existance– outside the Force.
And if the Force is life, then this planet is dead.
Dead. Dead dead dead dead dead…
And again she picked up the half used set of paints, the five or so brushes she favored, and set them to a page. They were her escape, the key to the outer world, the way to unlock the hidden worlds within that she had taken herself from. The way to write the world the way she wished it could be– no, just to paint the pain away and let life take its course once more. That would suffice.
To take your daughter into your arms once more, and hold her. To actually have a life. To actually live. For this winter to end, and spring’s gentle sunrise to melt the icy heart of one you had once loved…
A purple streak down the papers edges, then she set the brush aside, scribbling a landscape with a lighter graphite pen. It allowed trees to trickle along the line of a mountain, allowed a sun to rise. Spring. Always spring. Alwaysalwaysalways just always paint spring. Paint the end of the snow, of the ice, of the cold bitter chill that bites into your very soul and eats away your fingers. Never fall. You knew it too well. You fought, you hid, you screamed. Then the season changed. Then it was winter, pain. Cold, bitter, freezing rain that splattered on your face and hid your tears within cold pain.
He said it was over, the season was done. But how can winter last so long? From summer to autumn to winter to spring once again, you can’t change that circle. Am I on Hoth? Is this planet eternally cold, everlastingly bitter? But you knew the spring, the summer once before..
You knew winter too.
But not anymore. Now it’s only cold, only pain, only…
Her hand slipped, shaking just slightly, and her mountains strayed into a straggly distant horizon. Ariane sighed, and took up the paint brush once again
Only landscapes, only spring, only only only only IF only… make it right somewhere…
Trees grew up to hide the mistake in the mountains, though the faint pencil markings could still be seen underneath the transparent layer of color.
Always winter now… why can’t you paint that cold chill that encircles you all the time now? Why can’t you paint the dead of the Force, why can’t you run away…
Why am I stuck like this?! Endless, endless, drowned in sorrows, drowning in the want to see an end to winter, even if only to see my death…
It would be easier to have him kill me and flat out betray a trust already shattered years ago then to suffer this slow and steady decay.
She stared down at the purple and green horizon on her paper, a silent tear escaping to splatter on the page. Ariane wouldn’t let herself cry. Not now. It was a weakness, and she couldn’t afford to be weak. She couldn’t afford the pain anymore. Only nothing. Only a shell will remain…
It spread through the still wet paint, and blended into the navy reflected water, only the memory of the moment’s loss of control remaining. She took her brush to the location, and with a couple swift strokes the marred place was completely covered, never to be told that a salty tear lay under that mark.
And for a while Ariane merely painted. Merely the world that existed in her mind was there. Only the brush and her slender fingers sweeping quick lines across an endless horizon where everything was picture perfect, and the house wasn’t messy, and there wasn’t dust under her bed, and her diary’s pages weren’t wrought with stains where weakness had overcome. Where she could think of a house as a home rather than a location, where her children were hers, rather than two Jedi across the galaxy who hated her if they knew she lived. Where she could trust her husband. Where the fence didn’t need to be painted and the leaves didn’t need to be raked, and… and…
And where I could trust the Force again. And where I could close my eyes and not worry that Elachi would stab me in the back, though figuratively.
She closed her eyes anyway, and wept for a moment, wept for her children. Hers. Possesive.
For a world where I didn’t have to enter the Temple as a stranger and pass Tiana to more strangers to be raised as a stranger to me. For a world where Jethine didn’t have to be taken in by Danian and far away from me…
To be or not to be, that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outragous fortune or to take arms against an endless sea of troubles, and by apposing, end them. To die, to sleep, perchance to dream…
A Terran book, a Terran play. Hamlet. She had read it when recovering from giving birth to Tiana.
White serves as a beginning, he sneered. A white page can be overwritten, white cloth can be dyed, white light can be broken…
In which case it is no longer white, said I.
Another Terran book. Where did I read it? When? Why?
Tolkien. I read it when I was staying with Lara’li. Lara’li hates me. But she let me read her books…
Ariane stared at her painting for a long while, the colors blurring in her mind’s eye, the images joining to form one mass of color, shadows, light, and warring contrast that wanted to be the same and yet all different at the same times. She grabbed her brush and hurled it at the wall, a sudden cry of rage sweeping through her voice.
She stared at the purple mark it left on the wall as the brush trailed down in what seemed slow motion, finally hitting the ground.
And Ariane didn’t want to move. She finally did, setting her other brushes into water, and letting the paint cloud out to mist the clear liquid with a shadow. Finally she grabbed a cloth and stood up to clean the purple stain from the white walls. He’ll kill me if I leave it. It ruins the perfection of what he created. The color, the stains…
He wouldn’t notice.
Not until he did, and then he’d stare at me with that emotionless stare…
I’d clean the paint off then. Would it be worth it?
She rubbed a damp rag over the spot and it came off without any trouble. Watercolors. Water removed them without any harm, leaving nothing but a memory of the moment of color, of brilliance on a plain white plan. Overwrite it. Change it. Destroy its perfection…
For a moment, it had been, and Ariane took a bit of pleasure in knowing that even if she had to undo it, she was able to tear down what Elachi had created. But the paint wasn’t what mattered. No matter how she longed for the color, the viberance to be somewhere besides the room she called her own, she couldn’t leave it. She wanted to, but yet didn’t want to…
Just wanted to escape for another moment.
Ariane tossed the rag into a basket for laundry, regathered the paints and shoved them into her desk. Then sat down to stare at the plain white walls, emotion so buried it no longer showed in her eyes, and listened to the clock’s ticking go by. Again.
Tick… tick… it’ll never… end… tick… tick… freeze… you too… tick tick… just… give in… tick… tock… this… is… the… end…
Ariane closed her eyes. “Just sleep,” she whispered to herself. “A chance to dream…”
I presume you’ll need a full scale explanation as to the background to this scene too, Anya? Snrk… dear Ariane and Elachi are COMPLEX characters. I love’m both, strangely. At least, the lightsiders. Even them as dreadfully annoying 20-some-year-olds who hate each other… heh. *falls asleep on keyboard*