Author Archives: eabates

Right Away, Write Away

I’ve created a prezi called Right Away, Write Away  that describes what writing has come to and where it may go in the future. I have put this presentation together with knowledge gained through class and videos and article seen outside of class. I start by describing what it is to write and to be a writer, continuing through a few minutes of showing what it is like being a writer (both the ups and the downs). At the end of my presentation, I describe how Apple’s Siri may be the next step in electronic writing in terms of vocal chronicling.

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Good Ol’ Paper

Writing with paper is inviting for many, if not all, writers. Even with the age of technology, most avid writers still bring a pen and small notebook around with them to jot down ideas for a piece. This feeling of using a physical utensil to write is often very attractive to writers, myself included, because it is something learned from an early age and often helps ideas flow better. With that said, paper can take up space that a writer may not have at any given time and pens and pencils can run out of ink or break. This can discourage some writers from using this form because of the redundant buying of new supplies.

Paper is historically the most familiar writing space. In all corners of the world paper is used to relay messages and meaning. Many people first learn to read and write with paper and continue to do so even with the new spaces at their disposal and while it is nice to receive an e-mail from a friend on your birthday, a handwritten letter from grandmother cannot be beat.

Paper as a writing space can give the writer as sense of tactile existence. Showing that whatever a person has written is more than merely a megabyte of data but is a physical concept that can be touched, smelled, seen, and maybe even sometimes heard (also tasted, but that’s not recommended).

Writing on paper has a few main constraints that make it a sometimes obsolete form. One way it may restrict a writer is its singularity. For example, if one would like to write on paper about how their day was, the only ones who would see this would be anyone close enough to see that single page. Another problem is that it is a slow process to spread the material that has been produced. A hand written letter will take time to reach its recipient and a novel will take a much longer time to be sent to individual book stores.

When writing on paper, it is almost always key to be at a standstill. Writing on a bus, while walking, or any movement at all can sometimes cause a writer to mess up or ruin a piece of writing. Hand writing is often not a good space to write in for a person who is on the move, at least not when composing something that needs to be presentable. For things like journalist notes, quick letters, or things of that sort, paper can be easy to jot down on in a hurry.

Many things can happen to paper after a writer has finished their work. It is often a permanent feeling space due to its tactility but can be very easily lost (in the mail, in between other papers, accidentally thrown away). Even with that in mind, the permanence of ink is something forever prominent in the mind of a writer, causing careful and slow handwriting. Planning and drafts are a helpful tool done on other paper before a final draft of something is composed.

Writing on paper is a very old and sometimes secrete art. Until very recently, it was the primary source or writing and is still a very primary source of reading. Writing on paper is something that I believe will not be going away any time soon, not in my lifetime at least.


Filter Me Out (hyperlinks out of order)

Internet filtering, I am afraid to say, can without a person even noticing. In Eli Pariser’s TED Talk speech (1), he goes over how websites are now filtering out things that they think you do not want to see. On Google, it will give you results that is more your taste, on Facebook it will only bring up friends in your news feed that you often click on, and even Yahoo filters the news you see by what it thinks you will be more interested in. This scary new technology is a potential blinder to people across the world.

Instead of giving people views that conflict with theirs and that could possibly make them question what they think is true, websites are now giving people a false sense of being correct. No matter how many times you tell someone that everything they find on the internet is not true, more often than not a person got a large amount of there knowledge from Google. I do it, you do it, we all do it; but now more than ever the internet is not always going to have the answers. Yes, the internet is an amazing source of information if a person looks in the right places, but people are lazy and Google is easy.

So remember, next time your trolling the search links of Google for something simple like whether the Holocaust actually happened or not (2), remember that these search engines may not be as reliable as you were hoping.

1- http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles.html

2- http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/wasthere.htm


My Right Eye (work in progress)

As a writer, I often find myself writing stories about my own life. Especially about events that have changed me in big ways. The only problem with that is, it’s hard for me to know what to change and what to leave in. This is a story I’ve rewritten many times and am just recently rewriting for my Creative Writing course. I am just now realizing that i have a huge group of writers that I can utilize to help my writing get better. So if anyone is interested, I’d like some input and editing tips.

My Right Eye

Covering my right eye, most of my room is invisible to me. I’ve done this before, and I’ll do it many more times in the future. It’s not the same eye Billy can’t use, but it is my dominant one which is the feature I prefer to mimic. Simply looking at the ceiling, all I can see is the blue wall next to me, leading into darkness in my single-eyed periphery. Everything else is hidden, were my right eye should be. Like I do most nights I simply lay, half covered in my blanket, remembering. This time is different though. I don’t just remember the day it happened, I recall every day it effected afterwards. Which it turns out, is every single one.

*“I don’t want to keep doing this. I can’t keep doing this.” Again, you’re leaving. Leaving her because she doesn’t make me happy. “It’s not you, really, it’s me.” Cliché. And not just any cliché, the mother of them all. You can do better than that. “I just don’t know how to be happy. There’s something inside of me.” That’s it. Lie to her; tell her why it’s not her fault. Then again, why doesn’t she make you happy?

She loves you, treats you right, she’s smart, so what is it? What are you so afraid of? She’s not going to hurt you.

“I promise if you let me try, I can make you happy.” She’s desperate; it hurts to hear her like this. But can she? Can anyone really? Maybe it really is you, letting your life tick away second by second every day. Subconscious maybe? What’s wrong up in that brain of ours? Are you afraid of her not making you happy, or are you just afraid you’ll end up hurting her?

*Oh god. What’s wrong in here? Everything feels so fuzzy and confusing. What happened? There was the football practice, alright, but that couldn’t be what’s wrong. The ringing in your ears blocks out the question on this woman’s lips. But aren’t they a strange pair of lips? So big for such a small girl. And she’s only just a girl isn’t she? They make her look like a fish that was drawn by a toddler, gasping for oxygen under all that water.

“The first president?” huh. You know this. Let’s think. Man, there sure are a lot of people her. When did that happen? And why are we on the game field? It is day time so we’re definitely practicing, but we only practice here the day before games. How weird is this?

“December fifteenth.” Finally. I knew we’d get that one. What’s she looking at me like that for?

“Come with me. We’re going to have to call your parents.”

Ahhh. It feels good to be home, but why does Dad keep asking so many questions?

“I guess a lot it all foggy, but I remember a lot of stuff. One thing I’m happy not to remember is the accident. I can’t remember it at all.”

That look on his face, it looks like hurt, but the way he’s talking is angry. “Don’t lie about things like that Eric, it’s just a fucking concussion.” And there he goes. I wonder what you said to upset him so bad. He looked pretty hurt. Better be careful the next time you talk to him.

*Back and forth. Back and forth. You’re like a pendulum aren’t you. But it is nice. Not thinking, not caring, just riding this small piece of wood with wheels across your driveway. Oh no, here comes your cousin.

“What’sup bud?” Oh god, not now. I don’t need a pity party right now.

“Nothing. I was about to go down to the skate park.” Good hint. Hopefully he’ll take it and go back inside.

“Well… that’s cool. You know, everyone’s inside if you want to come in. we’re probably going to do dinner.”

“Alright, I’ll be home later.” Clean get away. You’re not dealing with family right now. You just want to be alone with your thoughts. The breeze kisses your skin as you ride, leaving a chill that runs deeper and deeper the further you go, until it’s no longer the breeze that cools you, it’s your own frigid skin.

*The driveway feels even longer as you hear the playful screams of your brother and his friends. You’re never one to miss out on some fun, hurry up and find out what’s going on. Coming around the long bend, chaos is the first thing you face. Screaming eighth graders firing on two high school seniors with a wide range of bee-bee guns. Is that a sniper rifle one kid has? This is insanity!

The two high schoolers (one being your older brother) go into the house as protection. What side should you choose? Well, you have always loved an underdog story. But to find a gun, you’ll need to use some guile.

“Billy I’m on your team, gimme a gun!” Yes, fool your little brother into believing you’re with them. His friends come closer and you see some wear goggles, or masks, or nothing covering their face at all. A sniper rifle? Not bad at all. “I’m gonna go in and act like I’m with them, then I’ll unlock the door.” Running up, you scream for Nick to let you in. as he opens the door, you turn and fire on Billy’s team, effectively scattering them. Taking the opportunity, you lead Nick and his friend up into the attic of the garage.

Things move quickly as you begin firing blindly down at the kids beneath you. Billy, your baby brother, runs forward to hit the gun with a bat and just as he is going to swing, you pull the trigger.

The scream is something you’ve never heard before. And at first, you’re mad. Of course Billy had to be the little baby to ruin our time. Of course he had to wait until you shot him to over react.

“It’s in his eye! It’s in his eye!” What? No. No way. You see Nick jump down from the attic, completely disregarding the ladder and run for Billy. You do the same and fall when you hit the ground. Lifting your head from the garage floor, something strange is there in front of you. Crimson droplets leading away towards the door to the house. Full speed, shoving everyone from your way, you find Nick asking Billy to open his eye so he can see. But he can’t. It’s already begun to swell as you walk over and grab his face.

“Billy I’ve sorry. I’m so sorry.” The sound of Nick calling 911 and begging for an ambulance is all you can hear besides your own crying as you cradle his head and hope to god you didn’t ruin Billy’s life. It’s all your fault.

*I lay, covering my eye in my college dorm. Thinking about this thing, this blindness that would have crushed me, I start to think of how it didn’t crush Billy. He’s so strong; it actually made him more personable. More resilient. He can handle anything now. And I would have given up.

And I always thought of how I needed to protect him after that, to keep him looking up. But maybe I’m not the one that kept him looking up.

*The musical is only one act, but Billy and his friend wrote and acted in it. As the last song plays, “Don’t Stop Believing” and he’s center stage, you cry. And you have never been more proud in your entire life.


Twitter vs. Facebook:

As an avid Facebooker, it feels almost unfair to put these two social media sites next to each other; you may have heard me say only a few weeks ago. Now that I also use Twitter regularly, I now see the pros and cons for both sites.

With Facebook, I’m heard by an audience I chose, people I (mostly) know and who have agreed with me that we would both like to hear what each other have to say. If it is someone I feel is more important than the others, I can flag them as such and will be notified if anything at all happens with their page (Mike just changed his background from white to off-white!). While this is fun and helpful for keeping in contact with relatives, especially due to the private messaging feature, it can also be a hassle dealing with all the different things you’re required to update (Do I want to change to the new timeline? Huh. I wonder what that- WHAT HAPPENED TO MY FACEBOOK?). If I want to speak to the audience I choose than I’ll definitely go with Facebook.

On the other hand, Twitter is me speaking to the audience that chooses me. Yes, it is often common courtesy to follow those who follow you, but if you really don’t feel like it it’s not a social law. These people who follow me follow my words for my words, not who I am. Because if you get tired of the whining of someone’s posting (oh-em-gee I cannot believe this girl is wearing this #omgicantbelievethisgirliswearingthis), it’s as simple as a click and you don’t have to deal with them anymore. Sometimes it’s hard to get your word out with Twitter because of how many people are doing it, but that just means you have to tweet more and make them count. Twitter followers will only follow you until they are tired of you, so keeping them entertained will keep your followers up.

Although I personally think both of these sites are a complete waste of time, I still sit (with both of them open in separate tabs) waiting for my next Facebook notification or the next idea for a clever Tweet.


Eric Bates- Response to Bolter

Bolter Response

Although writing as an idea has been around since cavemen wrote on walls, this form of expression has evolved at an increasing pace since it was first formed. As technology has become more and more developed new ways of recording thought have been found with these developments. Some of these technologies had nothing to do with expressive writing (like the internet) and have become a primary source of finding, reading, and writing anything from letters to a friend to online journals for scholarly research. Many people only one hundred years ago were illiterate, while almost anyone can now go into a library and use public computers to update their Facebook or Twitter.

As Bolter states in his piece, a newer form of technology may replace an older one as the primary means of writing that does not mean that the other form will cease to exist (Bolter 2). With that said, “writing” is being redefined all the time with new ways of expressing ideas through text that were previously thought impossible. Twitter, for example, would have been considered useless in expressing complex ideas only a few years ago due to its one hundred forty words limit, but is not used by scholars and non-scholars alike for a large range of uses (Johnson 1). Every space of writing has its limits and humans seem determine to find and break those limits. If you have something to say that is to long for twitter, you can write a blog and link it on your twitter page.

Writing now occupies a space that has no physical presence; the internet. This gives way to an almost unlimited number of ways to get personal writing out there. While only twenty years ago a person may have had trouble getting a person across the world to read their research paper, now it only takes the click of a mouse to access these types of things. And as the articles and journals and books build up online, new tools are built to find and read them. Human innovation is creating new ways of writing and reading every day, and it can only be guessed at what will be the next major step that will redefine the way we write.

In the past, writing spaces have taken baby step towards new and more accessible ways of jotting down ideas but in recent years, technological advances are at a full sprint (with a new iPhone coming out every week). With that said, it can be stated that one form of expression does not necessarily mean the end of another. With the invention of print, hand writing was out dated and often less visually pleasing Bolter 2), but to this day writing is taught long before typing in school. Although it is difficult to say exactly what will be the next space with which writers use to inform their audience (Telepathic communication perhaps?), it is obvious that there will continue to be newer and easier ways of inputting, updating, and communicating information.