Thursday, September 30, 2010

Design Writing Criticism: Why I Write

Wednesday was my first day of class for a Masters in Design Writing Criticism. Although it was a long first day, I think I was mostly tired afterwards due to the excitement of beginning this next adventure. Finally!

For the first day, Teal Triggs (the course director), asked us to write no more than 250 words on "Why I Write." It was an assignment I'd had before, actually. But I've always found that my reasons for writing are in constant flux. The more I do it, the more articulate I am about why I do it. Two years before, I wrote an essay called "Why I Write," and in retrospect, the piece needed a lot more work. It was, however, an ideal kernel to have in my memory over the next couple of years.

I've taken so many notes for this assignment. Scattered through random TextEdit files and notebooks, many are simple phrases: I write because speaking makes me blush; I write because it's necessary; I write because it's better therapy than buying clothes or exercise. About a week into the assignment, I wasn't getting much farther than writerly one-liners. So I forced myself to start thinking anecdotally. "Forget about the word limit," I thought. "You'll work it out later." And that's when I realized how to talk about why I write.

This time last year, I was in the wild throes of applying for a humongous scholarship to pay for all of my post grad education. I worked on the application constantly. It was an exhausting process, and anyone who knew I was applying also knew that I cried every day. Every. Single. Day. It's the kind of scholarship that even the people who get it joke about — The scholarship that no one gets. The scholarship that everyone should have because everyone who applies is the most incredible, qualified person. Everyone deserves it. No one deserves it. Well, whether or not I deserved it, I didn't get it. Still, after sending in my application, I wrote a letter to myself and reminded myself why I devoted so much time and energy to an uncertain. I knew then that no matter what happened, I had no regrets. I still wanted to punch the decision committee in the collective face when I learned I was not a recipient; but I would do it all over again, knowing what I know now.

So, a year later, this essay on "Why I Write" is somewhat of a reflection on those several months of my life. It also serves as a wallet-sized reminder of why I am here, in London, as a Masters student. I'm keeping it close because this year is going to be hard. And sometimes, in really tough situations, the most comforting words are your own.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Music ! Strange Teen Heart !

In the furious midst of packing for London, I have been writing and singing music with Saharan Gazelle Boy for the past month. This, of course, has led to a furious procrastination in the packing for London, as we are now rehearsing for a show on Saturday, which coincides with the release of our EP, Strange Teen Heart.

Here's an excerpt from the Record Machine:

Strange Teen Heart is the second Record Machine release for Saharan Gazelle Boy, a collaboration between Capybara's Darin Seal and Sea Change (aka Sarah Handelman). The EP is a super-quad of songs that conjure the love, loneliness and naiveté of teendom while continuing to develop the sleepy, bedroom pop of Saharan's Airplane's Can't.

The melodramatic, synth-pop is the soundtrack for the shy, 1980s, pretty-but-doesn't-know-it high school girl in all of us.

The EP is a co-release between KC-based Record Machine and SF-based Paper Brigade. You can stream/buy the EP (FOR 2 DOLLARS!!!) at the Record Machine or Paper Brigade, stream it on Facebook, and later this month you can buy it through iTunes. Also, if you're in the KC area, come to the show at the Beaumont Club on Saturday!

12:25 p.m.

Last night I tried to watch the Rachel Zoe Project, twice. I only saw the last ten minutes of the episode...twice.

But! this more than makes up for it — a lovely piece on the inimitable Benjamin Liu by the inimitable Molly Young.

Thursday, September 9, 2010



It's official. The visa (finally) arrived, and my one-way ticket is booked.

MA Design Writing Criticism at the London College of Communication / Ex-Pat Adventuring can commence.

I think all of this wonderful news calls for a Pimm's Cup!

Artist Profile: Ashley Lande

I profiled Ashley Lande, a Kansas City-based artist and illustrator, for Review Magazine. Her group show opens tomorrow, so check it out if you can!