Hello, Sorry, and Come On Over!

Hello, my dear old friends!

Please accept my sincerest apologies if you received notification that I published several new articles today. I logged in for nostalgia’s sake and received notification that I had published 116 new articles. (Please tell me you didn’t receive 100 separate emails!) Oops! So embarrassing. I still have no idea what I did.

I came here to apologize…profusely.

But, since the reason I was putzing around in the first place was for a smile and some inspiration, I’m going to use this as an opportunity to instead say, “Thank you.”

Thank you for your friendship, support, advice, and encouragement over my time here. Thank you for opening your minds and sharing your thoughts. It’s truly one of the highlights of my life.

I abandoned the blog because I felt like I was acting too much like an angsty, heart-on-their-sleeve teenager who couldn’t keep her feelings in check. I felt like I was unraveling, all while inviting the possibility of criticism. In short, I got lost in my head and was then too stubborn to admit it.

In the time since, I’ve been exceptionally well–delving deeper into, and expanding upon the interests of my younger self. As much as I have missed blogging publicly, the return to the old pen and notebook was just what I needed.

Anyways, while I’m here, I’ll share what I’m working on now, for anyone interested. I’ve been transitioning away from social media for five years, but want to recreate the connection with clutter.

Here’s my new blog. I haven’t told anyone about it yet. I don’t exactly know the shape of it yet. I would venture to say it’s still the same me, though slightly wiser and more grounded. It’s quite simple, but it’s my new home and you’re welcome to stop by any time.

Again, sorry for any unsolicited emails. I know it’s been awhile. Hopefully the invitation to come follow the next stage of my blogging life will make up for any inconvenience.

Big hugs from across the inter-webs

-e

 

 

 

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Analyfe Has Moved!

I have officially moved this blog to analyfe.com and will no longer be updating the blog here. All previously published posts can now be found on the new site.

Please update your bookmarks accordingly and consider subscribing to the new site–instructions here.

As always, I can still be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you so much for following and I hope to see you soon!

Want to Stay Subscribed to Analyfe? Please Read!

If you see this page, you’re in the right place!

Just under two years ago, I decided it might be fun to try blogging. Try…

It turns out, I actually enjoy writing and connecting with people. It amazes me how a simple idea and a few baby steps beyond the boundaries of my comfort zone propelled me into an entirely different world. A world built on the exploration of ideas, brilliant sparks of inspiration, aimless wanderings, overwhelming excitement, and that impossibly complex task of figuring this life out. When I stand back to consider the ground tread between Point A and Point B, I have to admit: I’m impressed.

I began blogging as a personal challenge, something to push me and amuse me. After several months I began gaining readership–and not not just followers, but incredible people and thought-provoking discussions. Am I providing something worthwhile here? I’m not sure, but perhaps my sincere attempts are shining through.

I feel as if I’m at a cusp–standing in the middle a tightrope, where moving forward and turning around are equally terrifying. I’ve spent the past few months pacing back and forth between self-hosting this blog and walking away from it. After sorting out the technical back-end, I finally have my self-hosted blog up and, as far as I can tell, functional. Hooray!

If I had to consolidate my blog into a single statement, I would say:

My life is a blank canvas. I see ideas and people and nature and am in awe of the beauty and the potential; through my peripheral, I can see how these different colors could fit into my unique picture. But everything is so amazing that I can’t seem to commit to anything.

That’s a difficult place to be caught, and it’s even more difficult to openly share that experience. However, with wavering uncertainty comes endless possibilities. As much as I feel inclined to cower away or just do something easy–to do what everyone else is doing–I don’t think I can. The next step in my “Just Do Something” plan was to bite the bullet and set up self-hosting, so here I am.

Starting November 1, I’ll be exclusively posting at my very own blog, Analyfe.com (Until then, I will continue to post only here, so people don’t get double notifications.) There’s a link on the new blog’s sidebar where the old subscription link used to be; if you’d like to stay subscribed–and I truly hope that you do want to stay subscribed–please head over and subscribe to analyfe emails or update your rss feed to http://analyfe.com/feed. As always, I can also be found on Twitter and on Facebook.

If you’d like to continue receiving posts from the new analyfe in your WordPress news feed, here’s what to do:

Hover over that “W” in the top left corner, scroll down to “Reader” and click.

Within your “Reader,” click on “Edit List”

Beneath Edit Following, type http://analyfe.com, click “Follow”

You have successfully subscribed to analyfe.com!

 Head over to http://www.analyfe.com/ and let me know what you think and what I could do to improve the site!

I hope to see you soon!

-Erin

When the Movie is Better Than the Book

It doesn’t happen often, but now and then a movie is released with the side-note: based on the acclaimed novel. That’s generally not a good thing. However, there are exceptions. The films Fight Club, Atonement, The Lovely Bones, and possibly the Harry Potter series live up to their paperback predecessors, in my humble opinion. As of Friday, The Perks of Being a Wallflower was added to that list.

I first read the book in 1999 when it was first released, and reread it again last year. Though many of the topics went over my head as a kid, I really connected with the story–that feeling of never fitting in, and then finding a group of people with whom you can be yourself, and those experiences in which you feel infinite and alive.

The film version of the story features Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller. Now, thirteen years after publication of the book, its author, Stephen Chbosky, has helped his vision come full circle. Chbosky took the liberty of writing the screenplay, choosing the cast, and directing the movie himself. Since he had full control, Chbosky was able to create a mirror image, moving picture of his novel. The scenes, details, and emotions were all spot on, which made the story even more powerful.

I’ll eagerly read a book if the movie has a stellar plot, but I have hard time seeing movies based on books. I loved The Hunger Games series, and though my sister owns the movie, I haven’t watched it, as I’m worried the movie will ruin the story. Just seeing the trailer triggered thoughts like, “That is not at all how I envisioned it…”

Though I was wary of the movie featuring such well-known actors, at a local book signing Chbosky made an interesting point. Logan Lerman and Emma Watson were both child actor–their lives have been filled with the same socially awkward, don’t quite fit in sentiments as the characters in the book. Thus, it was easy for them to take on the roles of those teenage misfits. For nearly two hours, I forgot that they were famous. They were just Charlie, Sam, and Patrick.

If you happened to have read and enjoyed the book, I would highly recommend the movie. If not, perhaps check out the plot and reviews and then pick up the book in honor of National Banned Books Week or check out the movie some evening when indecision and boredom kick in.

What is your opinion of movies based on books? Do any stand out in your mind as prime examples of either engenderment or butchering of the story?

Andrew Belle and The Milk Carton Kids

One of my favorite bands, The Decemberists, is in town tonight. However, I couldn’t justify the cost of ticket. And, unfortunately, the band is taking a three year hiatus after this tour to work on other projects, so they won’t be back anytime soon. I’m slightly disappointed about that, but I suppose that’s why bands release their music. If you’re not familiar with the Decemberists, they’re worth checking out.

Coincidently, another favorite artist was in town last night. Although I would have loved to see both shows, Andrew Belle was the perfect consolation prize.The Chicago-based singer-songwriter has been a favorite for quite some time, so I was excited to learn he would be coming to the valley.

The concert was held at the Rhythm Room, an intimate venue in Phoenix with a fun atmospere. Andrew Belle was alone on stage with his guitar and put on an amazing show. He was followed by The Milk Carton Kids, an impressive duo with whom I was previously unfamiliar.

Reinventing Charity: The Story of charity: water

In many third world countries, the women and children spend several hours each day trekking  from their isolated villages to the nearest water source, often several miles away. They collect the bacteria-infested water from swampy, stagnant ponds, and then lug home 40-pound jugs. When they arrive back in their village, they will filter the filthy water through a piece of fabric to remove larger bit of debris. Then comes the decision of how to use the water – drinking, cooking, bathing, or cleaning?

The consequences of distant and dirty water are expansive – heath, education, families, and businesses suffer. The consequences of the water crisis are also preventable.

When Scott Harrison first visited Libera in 2004 as a volunteer photo-journalist, he saw countless individuals who had been mutilated by disease and disabled by their harsh living conditions. After several years of living the high life and partying for a living, the reality shock brought the grown man to tears. After one year abroad, Scott vowed to give up all of his vices and his old style of living. He swore that, despite his debt, he would start a charity to help the people he’d met in West Africa.

Though he explored many options, water seemed the obvious choice. Everyone should have easy access to easy water, and there’s already a solution; it’s simply a matter of funding. Scott did his research and quickly realized that the other water charities were making little headway. Many people don’t trust charities because they can’t see where their money is going, and they may not understand exactly what the charity is working towards.

Photo by Armosa Studios

In 2006, Scott Harrison founded charity: water. In doing so, he not only started a charity; he reinvented charity.

  • charity: water follows the 100% model. Every cent donated goes towards projects that provide clean water and the organization has full transparency. All overhead costs are covered by private donors.
  • charity: water provide proof that your contribution has funded a completed project. Within about 18 months of your donation, of any denomination, you’ll receive a notification containing a picture of the well or filtration project, as well as the GPS coordinates.
  • charity: water has developed itself as a brand. The organization is about aspiration and problem solving, not just fundraising. They rely heavily on social media (Facebook and Twitter), word-of-mouth, relevant and emotionally affective advertising, and fundraising events.

The smallest investment can have a monumental impact:

  • Every $1 invested in the water project leads to $12 profit for the village receiving access to clean water.
  • $20 provides one person with clean water for 20 years.
  • $5,000 will build a well and sustain a village indefinitely.

I’ve been aware of charity: water for about three years now and have donated a few times, but building that personal connection with the founder, understanding the ins and outs of the cause, and then learning about the recipients of the water really bolstered my support. These aren’t foreign sub-humans; these are real people just like you and I, with families, dreams, and amazingly, hope .

In a few short months, I’ll be pledging my 24th birthday to charity: water. Rather than asking for money, books, or a night out with friends, I’ll be requesting that my friends and family help me raise $5,000 to build a well and water a village, and truly enhance the lives of others in need. I can only imagine the immense satisfaction that will bring me, those who give, and those who receive. For once in my life, I’m actually kind of looking forward to my birthday. (Click here to learn about giving up your next birthday to bring clean water to people in need.)

charity: water is an incredible organization with an enthralling back-story and brilliant, ever-evolving plan of action. Scott Harrison’s goal is for everyone on Earth to have access to clean water. I believe that’s entirely possible. Water changes everything. We all have the power to make a different, and in this case, to actually see the impact.

How to Write: Fictional Dialogue

Since completing NaNoWriMo, I’ve been receiving periodic emails from the local meeting group. One such email invited me to attend a Toil and Trouble: Dialogue Workshop led by Tom Leveen, a local author of young adult fiction with 22 years of live theater experience. Beyond his experience in the fields of writing and acting, Tom truly believes in helping other achieve their dreams and live up to their potential – a great quality considering his books are aimed at teenagers.

Many writers find dialogue to be the most difficult aspect or storytelling, so this was a fun and unique class aimed at improving dialogue and polishing fictional writing technique. On top of that, it was absolutely free. I’m still on the fence about editing and revising my NaNoWriMo novel, but in the case I do, this information will be highly beneficial.

So what did I learn? Here are some key points:

  • The root of dialogue means “two logics,” so dialogue should involve a conflict that actively moves the story towards a resolution.
  • If your character wants a glass of water on page one, we will read 1,000 pages to find out if he gets it. A character’s wants much be tangible and actionable.
  • Every time there is an entrance/exit, relationships change. For example, if two teenager girls are gossiping about someone, the topic and tone will shift when that other person walks by. Also take into consideration where the character is coming from and their subsequent attitude.
  • Every line of dialogue is a win or loss, and each indicates conflict (which is the heart of the plot). When editing a manuscript, it’s helpful to mark “wins” and “losses” to ensure that there is a healthy balance.
  • Along with words, people also communicate through blocking, which is motivated by emotional responses. Actions can signify one’s agenda or motive just as well as words.
  • Double- and triple-check for internal logic in dialogue tags. For example, you can’t hiss “go away!” but you could bark “no!”
  • Don’t typecast characters; choose a reaction opposite from what’s expected from time to time; have the character do something “out of character.”
  • Placing the same line of dialogue into a new setting can change the tone and meaning entirely, creating something entirely new.
  • Your protagonist can guide you, but don’t let them take the reins.
  • In freighting situations, there’s no time to think of eloquent wording. Yelling “run!” is more realistic than shouting “there’s a massive dog racing towards you and it might be a good idea to run away.”
  • The sole purpose of punctuation is to indicate the length and type of a pause to the reader.
  • Ticks, cadences, and accents are risky to do right, can be offensive, and are often difficult. If necessary, they should be used in moderation.
  • Catchphrases are good when used sparingly because they serve as a distinction, something that makes a character unique.
  • A character’s upbringing, location, and emotional state will influence their dialogue.
  • If you can’t write a compelling story, nothing else matters. First worry about the story, then go fix everything else once you’ve finished your first draft.
  • When it comes to publishing, be more conservative and know the rules when starting out. If you want to take risks, wait until you’ve made a name for yourself.
  • Clarity is GOD.
  • Use dialogue to help reader relate the characters.
  • Give characters a unique voice through their vocabulary. Does the character use four letter words or are they a walking dictionary?
  • Improve your dialogue by listening in on others’ dialogue.
  • Incorporate “fabulous realities” into your story – those things you see and hear in everyday situations that stick out and that you’d love to write down and save for a future story.
  • Accuracy and research are important to a story. If you know nothing, start with children’s books and build up from a basic understanding. Write about what you know. Don’t be a slave to research because, ultimately, the story is what really matters.
  • Combine original ideas with inspiration from others’ literature, as well as other mediums.
  • When writing from the perspective of the opposite gender, women traditionally ask questions, whereas men make more statements. Don’t fall into too many stereotypes and clichés, but they are a good start.
  • Sharing your work with a few other people is a good way to gauge how realistic your dialogue is.
  • If you haven’t been in the same situation as your character, rely on emotional memory and think of similar memories you’ve had that trigger the same emotions.
  • When it comes to revision, begin with broad strokes, then move on to internal logic and the smaller details. You should be able to summarize your  plot into one sentence.
  • Keep your readers interested by writing your book, committing to your idea, and being honest with your readers. However, when you pitch your book, appeal to what the publisher wants.
  • Editors and agents are rooting for writers because they want up to write the best book and they want to represent us. They’re simply looking for a good story, so write them a good story.

The story should end on a different plane that it begins; it should progress and develop

Recommended Books and resources:

Thanks to Tom Leveen for the wonderful workshop! Be sure to check out his young adult novel, Party, and soon-to-be-released novel, Zero .