Month: March 2015

NOTES [on/from/about] LIFE

NOTES [on/from/about] LIFE (2008-2009)

This post is part of a series on the various ways I've used pen and paper in my life. To learn more about it, check out the introduction, or view the "ink and paper brain" category for other posts.

Near the end of Change’s run, my girlfriend asked to read its contents.

I should have recognized that as a sign that her trust in our relationship was faltering, gently declined the request, and worked together with her to find a way to rebuild her trust. That would have been the emotionally intelligent, mature way to handle that while also maintaining my personal boundaries. But, as established before, high school me had the emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills of a misanthropic sea cucumber, so instead of doing any of that, I hemmed and hawed for weeks before finally caving and, profoundly uncomfortable, thrusting my journal at her and wincing.1Seriously—I handed it over and then sat there with my eyes closed, waiting for the bombshell to drop.

She read a little bit before she found one of my more grossly objectifying entries. It had been written at a time when we hadn’t been dating and I had a thing with someone else, so I assumed she was aghast to learn I’d been with other people. In hindsight, she was almost certainly more aghast (and rightfully so) at the sexist, objectifying way I wrote about those experiences, and the mindset it revealed. Our relationship was smoldering with the fallout for months after.

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Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Seriously—I handed it over and then sat there with my eyes closed, waiting for the bombshell to drop.
Change

Change (2006-2009)

This post is part of a series on the various ways I've used pen and paper in my life. To learn more about it, check out the introduction, or view the "ink and paper brain" category for other posts.

Oh, this journal.

Given to me as a gift by a close friend, it became Volume 2 for my reflections after I filled Exponents up, and lasted from my sophomore year of high school until a few months before high school graduation.

A Journal Named Exponents was a training ground for me. I had never kept a personal journal before, so I spent most of its pages determining what putting myself to paper looked like. At first, this meant meticulously recording the minutia of dates and hangouts–in at least two separate entries, I recorded not only what I ordered for dinner, but what all my companions did as well. By the end of Exponents and the beginning of Change, however, I’d curbed that tendency, and had a solid idea of what a personal journal was for me: a safe place where I could record my innermost thoughts without fear of judgment. As such, from cover to cover, the pages of Change carry the distilled essence of high school me.

It’s difficult to read.

Rage in the pages of Change

This is hardly the only–or most extreme–example.

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Sketchbook

Sketchbooks (2005?-present)

This post is part of a series on the various ways I've used pen and paper in my life. To learn more about it, check out the introduction, or view the "ink and paper brain" category for other posts.

At some point in my childhood—perhaps when they got tired of my closet overflowing with drawings on printer paper—my parents bought me a wire-bound sketchbook. From then until well into college, when I finally transitioned to drawing primarily digitally, the only drawings I made that weren’t in a sketchbook were my notebook-paper school doodles.

By my reckoning, I’ve filled two full-sized sketchbooks completely, and am on my third. When I first traveled to Japan in high school, I brought a half-size book and put illustrations in the first 20 or so pages; when I returned in college and realized I’d neglected to pack a sketchpad, I bought a thin Japanese notebook to tide me over.

My drawing has never been the same type of outlet to me that my writing is, but those pages still contain important parts of my self.

A Journal Named Exponents

A Journal Named Exponents (2005-2006)

This post is part of a series on the various ways I've used pen and paper in my life. To learn more about it, check out the introduction, or view the "ink and paper brain" category for other posts.

When I turned 14, my Grandma S., a loving, whip-smart woman whose career—librarian—and personal passion—writing poetry—make me strongly suspect that having an inky brain is hereditary, gave me a journal. It was wrapped in toasty brown suede enlivened by a jaunty path of rainbow stitching. A thin leather lace wrapped around an ornate silver button and tied it shut. It was the nicest journal I’d ever owned, and the moment I saw it, it became part of my self. And since, at 14, I labored under the delusion that the fastest route to humor was nonsense, I named it “A Journal Named Exponents”.

Exponents - Title - 02 - Web size

“Because it’s a cool word,” the parenthetical reads. I don’t know who I thought I was fooling.

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School Writing Notebooks

School Writing Notebooks (1999-2003)

This post is part of a series on the various ways I've used pen and paper in my life. To learn more about it, check out the introduction, or view the "ink and paper brain" category for other posts.

Before I ever considered telling a journal about my innermost thoughts and feelings, I was using composition books for a separate type of writing: fiction.

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Ink and Paper Brain - Intro

Ink and Paper Brain

This post began in ink. Lately, many of mine do. The borders of the WordPress text editor are only a pixel wide, but they’re still substantial enough to box me in, so when I feel a post coming on, I increasingly turn first to this spiral-bound notebook, “Whitman College” stamped on front in green foil, to lay it out. Ink lubricates my thoughts.

You have, I’m sure, heard me wax poetical about my love affair with pen and paper. One of my Blogathon posts last year was a love letter to letters, and before that, I penned an ode to a missing pen. My affliction has even worsened in recent months: I’m now the enthusiastic owner of three fountain pens, and I have nearly 1,000 blank pages of empty journals on reserve. I’ve even been considering memorializing this passion on my body with a tattoo, which should surprise anyone who knows me.

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It's Wednesday!

What’s Your Core Curriculum?

I like hearing from my friends and family, so for a couple weeks, I’ve been asking open questions on Facebook or Twitter each Wednesday.

This week, I thought I’d bring it to the blog instead. I expect this will be a semi-regular occurrence, but I’m not going to make any promises. Promises are scary.

Anyway! This week’s question:

If there were a course on How to Be You, what texts would go into the Core Curriculum?

Leave your answer in the comments!

 

regarding infinite loops

regarding infinite loops

regarding infinite loops, all I can say at this time is that regarding infinite loops, all I can say at this time is that regarding infinite loops, all I can say at this time is that regarding infinite loops, all I can say at this time is that 

2 Poems About Emoji

2 Poems About Emoji

For poets, the future’s a place
Where meter and rhyme are debased
Despite years of thinking
Not one has an inkling
Of how to pronounce 😄


“MAN SCARING YOUNG CHILDREN WITH BEARD”
“DEPTHS OF THE COSMOS”
“FLESH, SEARED”
“ONE EYEBALL, EXPANDING, CONTROLLING, DEMANDING”

…emoji have sure gotten weird.


Emoji in header image from Twemoji (CC BY 4.0)

Welcome to the new Brainthoughts

Welcome to the new Brainthoughts.

Unless you’re reading this in an RSS reader, you’re likely thinking that the site looks different. You are correct! Brainthoughts now has a brand new theme, a logo, and not just a favicon, but a whole suite of device-specific favicons!1Try adding a shortcut to the blog to your smartphone’s home screen, and you should see what I mean.

As I mentioned recently to Rachel, playing with my blog is my version of going out into the garage and tinkering with a car for hours on end. I’m always tweaking things to bring it more in line with my (ever-developing) sense of what I want it to be. This change, for instance, came about in part because I’d been yearning for a theme with great, eye-catching typography, clean lines, and striking imagery–something not dissimilar to Medium. The theme is Anders Norén’s Lovecraft, with some modifications of my own.

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Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Try adding a shortcut to the blog to your smartphone’s home screen, and you should see what I mean.

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