Friday, April 29, 2016

TWIC: war, Korean authors, adverbs, employment, sketching, apologizing and sarcasm

K.M. Weiland tells us that being creative is a difficult challenge and likens it to war.
Creativity Is for the Fighters
Every act of creativity is a challenge thrown out to our fellow human beings. It rocks the status quo. It doesn’t matter what is being created, the very act is a challenge to rise above mediocrity and do something.
That’s as exciting as it is frightening.
I am still learning the difference between art and craft and I feel this is a key element.  My wood carvings of animals are typically without motion; a heron standing tall with both feet down, an elephant with all four legs solidly under it and the trunk in a stereotyped U.  The cheetah I carved for my son had some motion in it, with legs outstretched in a leap.  So they could show my level of mastery of the craft, of gouging wood, but they don't have a spark, an emotion, a meaning beyond 'this is a cheetah'.  Art needs that meaning and Weiland's post reminds me of that.
Koreabridge has audio of a talk by young Korean authors. The authors are speaking Korean in the background but the translation is clear and over the top.  The authors are; Chang Kangmyoung, author of Fired (알바생 자르기); Kim Min-jung, author of The World’s Most Expensive Novel (세상에서 가장 비싼 소설); and Kim Ae-ran, author of Where Would You Like to Go? (어디로 가고 싶으신가요).
Adverbs, useful or a tool of the devil?
[Stephen] King quotes “‘Put it down!’ she shouted menacingly” as a particularly “dubious” example, asserting that it is “weaker” than the simple “she shouted”. “Shouted” does a fairly good job of expressing her method of speech delivery, as does the exclamation mark. And because you’re reading this line as part of a bigger piece, you know why she is shouting this, what she wants put down, and therefore, most likely, how she is shouting it—in other words, you have context which, King says, should make the modifier “redundant”
I'm not sure if I overuse adverbs but I definitely overuse special fonts - italics, and bold. I notice the author of this piece is using them in an paragraph devoted to reducing extraneous flourishes.

I like this discussion:
So what is a lazy adverb?
Gareth went quickly to the kitchen. 
“Quickly” is lazy because it only communicates one aspect of Gareth’s movement: speed. It doesn’t give us any hint of mood or purpose. It is important to note at this point, though, that “went” is also lazy. And this, in fact, is the heart of the problem—the poor verb choice begets the lazy adverb. Max Adams, in his Screenwriter’s Survival Guide, writes that “if you need to modify the verb…it’s because you’re using the wrong verb”. “Went” is so bland, so nondescript, that the only information it gives the reader is about motion: Gareth leaves one place and ends up in another. The adverb is then introduced to try to bring some life into the motion and spice up Gareth’s going. But—and this is essential for writers of flash fiction, where every word counts—there are now two words, and neither is doing an adequate job of telling the reader exactly what is going on with Gareth.
I am employed and am just barely old enough to feel this is the way people earn money.  A person wanting to earn money through creative means needs to look at being their own boss.  I first read this Quora post as a sign of laziness. After a moment, and after reading the response, the opposite seems true: I want to make money but I don't want to work in a job. Do I have safe alternatives?
The take home lesson is this: it's absolutely possible to have reasonable financial security without having a job. In some ways, it's hard. I don't have a regular schedule, I work at the clients' availability, "quitting time" is a foreign concept, and it's common for me to work weekends and holidays. There's no career path. No one will tell you what to do, and you need to be constantly on the lookout for new opportunities.

There are many advantages, however. There's enormous freedom in not having a boss. I don't have to worry about being exploited by a company or resent having to pick up the slack for coworkers. I can take a day off if I want to or need to, as long as I make up the work at another time. Most of all, I don't have all my eggs in one basket
I've never been interested in sketching in a museum, but it has always seemed a reasonable thing to do.  At least one museum is trying to ban it.
As an ESL teacher, one weakness I see in students learning English is their ability to write proper apologies, compliments and complaints.  One third of these issues is covered by: How to: Apologise.
These six factors -- regret, explanation, taking responsibility, repenting, offering repair and asking for forgiveness -- were strongly correlated with effective apology, but two of those factors -- taking responsibility and offering to make things better -- swamped the other four factors.
I try so hard to not be sarcastic with my students and family.  It is just so ingrained.  My friends and I at high school and university barely took a breath unless it was to display our cutting wit.  Well, we thought it was. Sci-Am shares its costs and benefits.
Communication experts and marriage counselors alike typically advise us to stay away from this particular form of expression. The reason is simple: sarcasm carries the poisonous sting of contempt, which can hurt others and harm relationships.
It is the most common form of verbal irony—that is, allowing people to say exactly what they do not mean. Often we use it to humorously convey disapproval or scorn. “Pat, don't work so hard!” a boss might say, for example, on catching his assistant surfing the Web.
Describing a study of the effects of sarcasm:
Not surprisingly, the participants exposed to sarcasm reported more interpersonal conflict than those in other groups. More interestingly, those pairs who had engaged in a sarcastic conversation fared better on the creativity tasks. This effect emerged for both the deliverer and recipient in the simulated conversation but only when the recipient had picked up on the sarcasm in the script.
Why might verbal irony enhance creativity? Sarcasm's challenge is that the message sounds serious but should not be taken literally. One way to overcome this is through tone—as when exaggerated speech indicates the facetiousness of a message. We need to think outside the box to generate and decipher ironic comments. That means sarcasm may lead to clearer, more creative thinking.

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