Saturday, February 2, 2013

My AltSummit business card doesn't have glitter--here's why

Before I went to AltSummit, I knew about the business cards.

There are roundups of business cards, a Kirtsy-curated slideshow of beautiful letterpress designs, even a class on the AltSummit Channel about them.

There was an underlying message that upon arrival, trading business cards was going to be some sort of blood sport, akin to sticker swapping or pog trades. Your business card is supposed to be unique, memorable, and coveted.

I was a bit nervous--I thought about what I should do, how I should tweak my business card in order to keep up with everyone else, but ultimately, I decided that simpler was better for me.

As soon as I got to Alt, the business card trade was on. I quickly tossed the cool vintage-French poster-inspired business card case I use in my professional life in favor of ziploc bags, one for yours, one for mine.

I got some fabulous cards--so many I am still sifting through them all. There were beautiful letterpress designs, colorful Moo cards, complicated packets of pom-poms and glitter, even a card with a slide attached to it. All fantastically creative, and I'm sure, strong aesthetic reflections of the blogs these cards represent.

At first, I was slightly embarrassed as I handed my card over, self-conscious at how distinctly uncreative they seemed. In phase two, I tried to explain why my card folds, as if the added design would contribute blogger credibility. ("I'm known for giving people all sorts of resources--like books to read or blogs to check out, Now I can write it down for you on my card on the blank spot on the top.")

During the last day of the conference, after listening to multiple panels espousing the value of authenticity, I decided to own my folded-so-I-can-write-notes-inside cards. They are exactly the cards that reflect me perfectly.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Science, technology, and the internet, oh my!

One of my favorite things about the internet is the limitless possibility for really interesting creative projects--particularly those that riff on characters people already know and love. Twitter, for example, is so cool for this--I love the accounts written from the perspective of various characters adapted for Twitter. @SesameStreet is a great example of this (remember when Cookie Monster referenced Carly Rae Jepsen and asked for cookies? Or for that matter, when Sesame Street Workshop did a music video to "You have cookie, share it maybe?") So clever. So creative. Modern Seinfeld is another great example.

It is a testament to the mass appeal of the original characters and their story that these sorts of mashups between character and technology (and often commentary on a current event) that these tweets (and videos and photos) just blow up in popularity.

I am a fan of cleverness in all its forms. Even if you aren't particularly interested in the original character, you can generally appreciate the art of the mashup. Take two examples that I came across this weekend. The first was what happens when an astronaut (Chris Hadfield) responds to a tweet from William Shatner. The entire Star Trek crew gets involved.  I love this. I especially love the fact that so many characters joined the conversation. To top it off, Buzz Aldrin--Buzz Aldrin!--chimed in. Brilliant. Clever. Wholesome, creative, and fun.

Coincidentally, the other amusing mashup of the playful and the serious I saw this weekend was also science related. The official White House response to this petition to secure funding to build a death star has been making its way around the internets. I just love how creative and humorous this is, while also accurately capturing the White House policy line. Why write something boring when you can at least be entertaining as you explain why constructing a death star isn't in the cards for our jobs and science policy future?

What clever, creative things have caught your attention recently?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

My first tutorial

Tomorrow I have my first tutorial for the Certificate in Creative Writing program at the Graham School. I’m looking forward to it, but I’m also a bit nervous. This is my seventh quarter of the writing program, but previously, the classes have all been small group workshops. I am at the end of the program, trying to turn my 118-page jumble of words into a full-fledged manuscript. The due date is April 22, 2013. By then I’m supposed to have at least 75 (coherent) pages, which will then be reviewed by my tutor and another reader, who will decide together whether it’s worthy of the certificate, and then I will march in graduation in June.
Frankly, it’s about time. I have been working on this thing since November 2009, when I did NaNoWriMo and wrote the first 50,000 words. Since then, I’ve been adding and rewriting sections, and I have almost 150,000 words on this topic. Since starting the certificate program, I have been trying to rewrite sections of the book, but I haven’t made progress in adding much in the way of new material. The 118 pages I sent to my tutor last week represent the most coherent version of what I’ve been working on. I took the sections I have workshopped and pasted them in the right places, together with the most developed sections I have written but not workshopped. Then I have one-paragraph summaries of the other chapters (similar to those in the Sex Lives of Cannibals).

Hopefully I can use this tutorial section to really plow ahead with the project, adding in the sections that I know are missing, cutting out the redundancies, and getting the book finished. Then it’s on for the next phase—finding an agent and eventually a publisher and getting my work out there. Wish me luck!