All posts filed under: Essays

The Shrug

It happens more often than not that I lose my voice as a writer. And not only that, I lose everything. I feel absurd and out of place, like a character in a novel that has fallen off the page. Sometimes I struggle against this feeling, looking for inspiration anywhere I can find it. That means I revisit old work. I read my favorite authors or watch certain films that remind me of another time in my life, maybe a moment where I was more productive than I am now. Otherwise, I just let myself go and see where this empty feeling takes me. It could be somewhere awful, but usually it’s a sudden, unexpected moment of beauty that brings me back to myself. Then I forget about the entire process until the next time. This may sound familiar or it may not, but this is how I work as both a writer and a person. It’s very Sisyphusian, no? Anyway, one of the more difficult aspects of this experience is the feeling of being …

Notes on Developing as an Artist

This essay is meant as a personal history of my own aesthetic narrative, as I would imagine it to be for artists in general. In essence, I will be attempting to explain my experience of developing a creative process through the larger context of what it means to be an artist. In this way, I can analyze my progress and lay the groundwork for others to potentially examine their own personal narratives in relation to mine. The first stage, which I will call the Nascent stage, is the very beginning of the creative process, sort of like an aesthetic mirror stage for the artist to recognize his or her own creative potential. It’s interesting that I would have the opportunity to begin this essay one week removed from my interview with Argentinean indie musician Juana Molina. She had mentioned that she no longer actively sought creative influences; instead relying on some of her earliest influences as a child to inform her creative impulses. These influences were often inherited directly from her parents’ decision to expose …

Notes on Walking Out of Inherent Vice

I couldn’t sit through more than an hour of Inherent Vice. I’ve never read a Thomas Pynchon novel either, but hearing some of the narration, I would assume his narratives to suffer the same form of dry monotony. Who knows? It might just be remorse for not having read the book beforehand. Anyway, I decided that this experience, at more than two and a half hours and on a work night, wasn’t for me. That’s not to say it wasn’t difficult for me to leave the theater, but I’m trying to be less stubborn when it comes to forcing an experience onto myself. It really felt like you needed the book as a point of reference to understand the film. There were a couple of guys sitting a few rows ahead of me. I’m going to assume they were  either Pynchon bros, Paul Thomas Anderson bros, or perhaps some combination of both. Anyway, they were visibly excited for the film to start. So I kept an eye on them and noticed how much more they …

Notes on Dr. King’s Legacy in “Selma”

I’m still in awe at how much attention the portrayal of President Lyndon Johnson in the film Selma has received in the last few days. Some have even gone as far saying that what happened in Selma was actually his idea (we shouldn’t take these criticisms seriously to say the least). To be honest, I didn’t think the film really made much of his legacy besides appealing to his vanity. Remember when he plagiarizes Dr. King when confronting Governor George Wallace about the repercussions of suppressing the movement? That’s about it. Maybe a few details have been rearranged or some have differing opinions on his role in the matter, but are we really having a discussion on the lesser of two historical figures presented in this film? I say lesser to emphasize that this is a black narrative. If anything, Dr. King gets a worse rap than the President. His legacy, which is often oversimplified for the sake of understanding, is  much more vulnerable to revision. In this case, it’s a good thing. Revealing, but …

Notes on Dress Normal: The GAP and the Normcore Movement

Dress Normal: The GAP and the Normcore Movement Only recently has the GAP realized that it has been unintentionally perpetuating the Normcore movement for the past forty-six years. Or maybe they’ve known the entire time. With Oxford button downs, plaid shirts, and chino pants, the GAP has been a hallmark of the unisex wardrobe–offering traditionally fashionable clothing at reasonable prices for the sector of the population that doesn’t know what they want, but prefers not to shop at Walmart or some other discount retail chain. *Full disclaimer: I shop at the GAP. But not for those reasons per se. Let’s just say I have a very mild fashion sense living on a modest budget. The kind of person that doesn’t have the patience or the desire to put together matching outfits for every occasion, but still wants to look presentable (whatever that means). I guess you can add sociopath to the list of potential clientele. Yet that’s also why the GAP’s new advertising campaign to “Dress Normal” is so problematic–not that I’ve heard any particular …