Mythology with Erin

Adventures in storytelling

Tag: Week 8

Famous Last Words: Bye, Bye, Bye

I’m sorry most of the titles for these posts have to do with the football schedule, but when you’re in Pride, that’s essentially what your life revolves around! This weekend was our bye week, which means it was my last free weekend until after West Virginia. I’m not upset about that, though, I love football games. This weekend has been kind of boring because all three of my roommates are in Pride, and bye-week means visiting home. Unfortunately, I live too far away to justify a weekend trip, so I’ve been home alone since Friday afternoon. The silence has been driving me crazy! 

I’ve officially finished all of my midterms, and I escaped unscathed. My biggest midterm was Tuesday night, and I was genuinely nervous for it. It was for Media Writing & Storytelling, which is a weed-out course, and I was afraid the midterm would be long and difficult. However, my studies prepared me well for it, and I got 100%! The only major work I have to do this coming week is writing a five page paper on Beowulf. I should probably get started on that.

I enjoyed having a review week in this class because it meant I had more time to devote to studying for my midterms. I also liked looking back on all of the things I’ve done this semester. Wow! I wonder how many words I’ve written total for this class because it’s probably an exorbitant amount. 

I’m so happy that fall has arrived! It’s chilly outside, which is my favorite weather because I love wearing pants, hoodies, boots, and coats. Finally, I can order hot coffee at Starbucks without seeming crazy. 

This week I played drumset for two OU volleyball games, which was new for me. I love playing drumset, and I’ve always loved the pep bands at basketball games, so when a couple spots opened up in the volleyball band, I took them. I had several friends in high school who played volleyball, but I was never able to go to a game due to scheduling conflicts. It was nice to finally attend a game and to learn the rules. It’s actually a very neat sport! I like the nested scoring, where best 3 of 5 sets wins, but each set is to 25 points. I didn’t really like playing drumset for the games, though, because we only played during timeouts and set breaks, and it’s lonely to be the only drummer at a gig. I didn’t have anyone to talk to or watch the game with; I just sat in the corner at my set. 

I’m ready for the TCU game this coming Saturday! The entire band is going, but it sucks that kickoff is at 11:00 (AGAIN). We’re driving down that morning, which means we have to leave at 5:00 a.m. I don’t know why we can’t just have later kickoff times.

Overall, I’ve enjoyed the restful bye-week, but I’m ready to see OU football win some games!

Image 1: Orchard in fall. Source – Flickr.

Image 2: Nature trail in fall. Source – Pixabay.

Learning Challenge: Reading Out Loud

Yesterday, I did my reading notes, and to shake things up, I read the stories out loud. I wanted to see how reading out loud was different from reading silently and if it could help me absorb the stories in a new way.

Reading out loud was different because it forced me to slow down while I read. Occasionally, I would get reading too fast and I would realize I wasn’t paying attention to the story, or I would be out of breath and stumbling over words. When I slowed down and read the story like a storyteller would, with voice inflections and natural pauses, I found that I was more engrossed in the story than if I were just skimming it silently.

I think reading out loud is a very valuable exercise, especially when proofreading your own work. It’s also helpful when you’re feeling distracted or tired and reading silently requires too much focus. By reading out loud, you can slow down and pay attention more easily.

Because I was reading out loud, I also found that I was able to appreciate the tone of the stories more. I noticed strategic uses of pacing, like short sentences for excitement or comedy and long sentences for tension.

It was hard reading out loud because my mouth got dry and I was out of breath, but I think I’d like to keep reading out loud occasionally so I can practice controlling my breathing. I’ve always been envious of people who can read a book to children in an engrossing way, and I’d like to practice my own storytelling skills, especially if I might be doing book tours and readings (hopefully).

Image: Storyteller at the Bank of England Museum. Source – Flickr.

Wikipedia Trails: Ouroboros to Saint Catherine

Several times this past year, in things I’ve read or watched, I’ve noticed a strange symbol of a snake eating its tail. Sometimes it’s depicted as two snakes, one dark and one light, and sometimes it looks like a knot, but it’s been popping up often. I mean, check out The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell. It’s a wildly popular young adult novel, and its sequel released this week. The snake symbol is featured on the covers of both books.

I really wanted to find out more about this symbol, so I dove into Wikipedia and followed the trail!

Ouroboros

The snake symbol is an ouroboros, and it’s a common image that comes from Ancient Egypt. It’s been connected to alchemy, Gnosticism, Norse mythology, dualism and other ancient religions/cults. The ouroboros is a symbol packed with many different meanings and variations, but the general idea is this: the snake eating its own tail symbolizes the infinite unity of the universe. The snake destroys itself, but it also gives birth to itself, an idea which has connected it to the Tao concept of yin and yang. When the snake is presented as half-dark, half-light, or as two snakes of different colors, the ouroboros represents dualities like life and death, birth and destruction.

Jormungandr

Jormungandr is a representation of the ouroboros in Norse mythology. He is the World Serpent, the offspring of Loki and Angrboda. He’s so big that he can circle the entire world and grasp his tail in his mouth, and he lives at the bottom of the ocean. The mythology says that come the apocalypse, Ragnarok, he will let go of his tail and surface to poison the sea and sky of Earth. He’ll battle with Thor, and Thor will kill him, but Thor will only be able to walk nine steps before he dies of Jormungandr’s venom.

Kenning

A kenning is a literary device that is usually two descriptive words hyphenated together to stand for a normal word. They’re used very often in Old English and Norse poetry, but we still use them today for effect or idiom. An example of a kenning from Beowulf is “whale-road” which just means the sea. A common way of describing a dragon is “fire-serpent.” A modern kenning that we use without thinking is bookworm.

Catherine of Alexandria

Catherine is a Christian saint who is said to have been martyred at the hand of Roman emperor Maxentius, who persecuted Christians. She debated with the emperor’s best scholars and converted them to Christianity, so Maxentius had her tortured and imprisoned. Angels treated her wounds and she emerged from the dungeons more beautiful than ever. Many people visited her, and they were all converted to Christianity. Maxentius tried to have her executed on the breaking wheel, but when Catherine touched the wheel, it shattered. Eventually Maxentius had Catherine beheaded.

Image 1: Thor battling the Midgard Serpent by Emil Doepler. Source – Wikipedia.

Image 2: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell. Source – Simon & Schuster

Image 3: The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell. Source – Simon & Schuster

Image 4: St. Catherine of Alexandria by Artemisia Gentileschi. Source – Wikipedia.

Week 8 Progress

After looking back at all of my weekly posts through the semester, I’m very proud of the amount of work I’ve done and progress I’ve made. I’ve done a great job of keeping up with assignments, though I would like to get back on my planned schedule for this class. I hope to get that reset done this week.

I’m happy with my progress in the class so far. In fact, I’m sad because I’m so far ahead, which means I’ll finish this class early! I don’t want it to be over! 

I like how I did a lot of extra credit in the first couple of weeks, so I feel comfortable doing less of it when I’m busy. I try to always do a Tech Tip because I find them fun and educational. I also have enjoyed writing a Famous Last Words post to review every week. Most of mine focus a lot on our football games, and I’m excited to be able to look over the season once it’s over. I want to get back into doing extra reading every week because I enjoy watching the Crash Course videos for that assignment.

I feel a lot more confident in building blogs and websites because of this class. I’m even developing a little bit of comfort around HTML and other computer-y things. I’m glad I challenged myself by using a WordPress blog and a Wix website because it has forced me to figure some things out on my own. 

For the second half of the semester, I would like to get onto my planned schedule of doing the readings on Fridays and the assignments during the week. This would make life a lot less stressful and would mean I don’t have to do enormous amounts of work on Sundays after football games. I want to continue trying new things with my blogs and websites, and choosing creative ways to tell stories. This class is really helping me with my creativity and writing, and I truly love it.

Image 1: Panorama of Glacier National Park. Source – Max Pixel.

Image 2: Hiker on top of Sepulcher Mountain. Source – Flickr.

Tech Tip: Embedding Twine

Here is my very first Twine game! Enjoy, and stay tuned for a full Twine story soon!

Image: Backlit keyboard. Source – Pixabay.

Week 8 Comments and Feedback

We’re only eight weeks into the semester, and I’ve already given and been given so much feedback on writing! It’s certainly making me more comfortable with giving and receiving critique, and I’m actually excited when I get comment notifications instead of fearful.

Feedback In:

I’m getting pretty good feedback from the other students in the class. Overall, most of their comments are positive, which I like to hear because it lets me know the things I do well. If I had to give feedback on their feedback, though, I say that I’m ready for them to step it up a notch and to not pull any punches. I love hearing what I did well, but I also like hearing what didn’t work out! I love getting questions in my feedback, even if they’re questions that I choose not to answer in the text. It still let’s me see what people are interested in knowing. I also like comments that point out plot holes. Sometimes I feel like the queen of plot holes, which is one reason why I enjoy revising so much, so when someone is brave enough to point one out and say “That doesn’t make any sense,” I always appreciate it.

Feedback Out:

I’m also enjoying giving feedback because many of the stories are so good! In other classes where we’ve done peer review, so many peoples’ work was incoherent due to poor writing and other major problems, but everyone in this class writes really well! I often have to think very deeply about what I want to suggest for them. I think my feedback is of very high quality because I try to provide suggestions that would really help elevate the writing. My favorite feedback strategy to give is also my favorite to receive: asking questions. Asking questions in most of my comments was something I challenged myself to do in my feedback posts at the beginning of the semester, and I think I’ve been doing a good job of that.

Blog Comments:

I love getting to know others by reading their introductions! Everyone is so interesting! I want to keep adding some more little things to my introduction so people will think I’m interesting, too, haha. It’s been strange because as the semester continues, I’m realizing that I’ve met some of my classmates in person before or that we’re connected in other ways. It’s very impressive how this online class can still feel very connected!

Looking Forward:

For the rest of the semester, I would like to continue giving quality feedback every week by asking questions. I’d also like to focus some on giving website layout feedback because that’s something that I’ve grown to understand more in these past few weeks. I’m really enjoying reading everyone’s projects, so I want to continue keeping up with those as we continue through the semester. I’m going to add some more to my Introduction very soon. I think my Comment Wall is fine, and I love collecting more comments on it every day! They’re so uplifting and helpful!

I chose this Feedback Cat because I think questions are the best kind of feedback. They are a great starting point to dig deeper into the story!

I also have to say this picture reminded me of a picture I took at the OU-Texas game. This is Gage, and a butterfly landed on his back and stayed there for a good two minutes.

Image 1: Feedback Scrabble tiles by Nick Youngson. Source – The Blue Diamond Gallery

Image 2: To learn, start by asking a question. Source – Growth Mindset & Feedback Cats.

Image 3: Gage Cornell, an OUDL quad player, and his butterfly friend. Source – My personal photos.

Week 8 Reading and Writing

Looking back on the first seven weeks of the semester, I’m astounded at how much work I’ve done. There are dozens of blog posts on this website, and all of them represent a lot of effort and thought. 

Blog/Website Review:

I haven’t changed my blog a whole lot since the beginning of the semester, but I did a lot of work at that front end getting it how I want. I love my theme because it’s clean and user-friendly, and I’ve already put a bunch of fun stuff on my sidebar because I figured out how to do that last semester with my other blog. I especially like the tag cloud on the sidebar that makes it super easy to navigate around the site.

I also love my project website. I’m incredibly impressed with the amount of features you get with a free Wix website, and it looks great! Everyone has been very impressed with the animated homepage, and I love it, too. I’ve also gotten a lot of positive feedback about my interactive images. I still want to add music links on every page, and I’m working on finding relevant tracks. I’m not entirely happy with how the text of my introduction/stories looks on the page. I think it’s hard to read. I’m going to try messing with that   by increasing the font size, changing the line spacing, adding space before/after paragraphs, and adjusting color. Right now I think it’s hard on the eyes.

Reading Review:

I enjoy doing reading for this class because I can choose what I want to do from many options. My favorite reading so far has been the first week, when I read The Illiad. I’m always inspired by epics, and I love classical culture, so I enjoyed working with the story. It has been cool to read stories from the Middle East and Asia, too, because I don’t know a lot about those mythologies or cultures.

Sometimes it’s hard to do the reading notes posts because I just want to read straight through the texts, but I like the challenge of reading like a writer. I try to add new strategies every week, and one of my favorites is looking up unknown things on Wikipedia. It really helps with the cultures that I’m less familiar with! I’ve discovered from taking these notes that I naturally like focusing on character in my stories, so in the next few weeks I’d like to challenge myself to practice other things like plot and setting.

A note-taking strategy that I particularly enjoy using that I’ve developed myself is the idea of “If I were…” Making this statement, and finishing it, allows me to get ideas for my own story adaptations while critiquing the reading. Sometimes it’s “If I were this character, I would have done this instead” and other times it’s “If I were writing this, I would have focused more on this part than that one.” I really like approaching my notes from this point of view.

Writing Review:

I like the amount of writing we do in this class because it forces me to be productive. I usually don’t write much “for fun” during the semester because of my other classwork, but this class allows me to be creative and practice my craft consistently. It’s also incredibly open ended, which I love. I hate writing under parameters.

I’m satisfied with the quality of most of my stories so far. Sometimes I’m very rushed in writing them, but I think I still execute well. I think I’ve done a good job of trying different kinds of storytelling. I’ve done a gender-flip, an epic poem/ballad, a katabasis (love that word), first person point-of-view, a frame-tale, and a major setting change. I’m looking forward to trying more new things! 

I’ve been really enjoying crafting my project. The assignments tend to sneak up on me and I’m left scrambling on Sunday to write an installment. However, I always end up enjoying it. It’s hard to get started. Sometimes I have to mentally grab myself by the lapels and shake myself, shouting “You like writing!” Once I get typing, I fall into a rhythm and have a great time crafting. I love my story topic, and I’m excited to write the rest of the story! 

Hands-down, my favorite part of the Storybook project is the built-in revision process. I’m not a fan of drafting, but I love revising and rewriting. Having the ability to do that makes me less stressed about grinding out a first draft and makes me feel better about the final product.

Image:

I chose to use this image in my Illiad reading notes. It’s a fresco depicting Achilles after he defeats Hector. Even though I’m totally #TeamHector, I like the image of Achilles holding Hector’s helmet aloft. The painting also shows the desecration of Hector’s body. It really captured the tragedy and drama of the epic for me and helped inspire me to write my ballad. 

Looking Forward:

During the rest of the semester, I would like to continue trying new note-taking strategies to make the exercise more fun and useful. I’d also like to keep trying new storytelling styles every week. I definitely want to do a Twine story, and I’d like to try a science-fiction genre story, too. I’m excited for the rest of my Storybook project, too!

Image 1: Rewind knob. Source – Flickr.

Image 2: Triumph of Achilles from the Achilleion in Corfu, Greece. By Franz Matsch. Source – Wikipedia

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