Shadow Girl Reflects IV: Immersed in the Chaos

When it comes to chaos and order, I find it fascinating how often ideas of each can be swapped to mean the reverse. For example, some people, like Howard Rheingold, dislike order because it places you in a routine, tells you where to sit and when to stand. It makes decisions for you.

But, there are many people out there, like one person in the studio visit with Howard Rheingold this past week, who see structuring forces as necessary–especially in formative years–and ultimately beneficial. They prefer having parameters. Makes them comfortable, not stifled.

And, when it comes to chaos, there are more divergent feelings towards similar concepts. Some see non-organization and a lack of structure and oversight as inherently incapable of producing anything meaningful or worth nurturing. More, they see it as scary or, as Howard said, risky. Chaos is uncontrollable, unmanageable and so cannot be allowed free rein.

Others, of course, find freedom in the chaos. Find space to explore something deeper and decidedly more ineffable when unfettered by the tenets of order. To them, non-organization is not scary. It is thrilling–exhilarating because there are no rules. You cannot be wrong in chaos. You just be.

Isn’t it fascinating? How easily what you take pride in, what fills you with fear can be quite the opposite to someone else? Kind of makes you wonder if there is any meaning at all here in order and chaos–if their meanings can vary so drastically. How can any sense be made–even if that sense is nonsense? Don’t know? Me either.

Sense or nonsense, let’s see what we can find.

Network Effect

It’s more than a little mind-boggling just how much content is out there on the internet. Perhaps even more mind-boggling is just how little we absorb from all of wanderings on the web. There are so many voices and stories out there and yet, how many do appreciate? How many do you?

Not nearly enough.

I believe the reason why my online experience and yours probably is shallow is because, despite how much connection the internet seemingly fosters, we are all disconnected in our own little niches. Far removed from reality because we don’t perceive the internet as being as real. There’s a disconnect between me and you, online, in large part because of our ideas of what the internet is–commonly, an escape, a dream space, a confessional that ceases to exist when the screen goes dark.

Though, I do think those ideas are changing these days. Still, you have the chaos/order problem–different perceptions towards the same phenomena. It not only disconnects/ distances us from each other by convincing us we’ll never understand each other, it discourages us from even trying.

But, is there anything being done about this?

Yes. Network Effect is a project meant to help others understand the underlying humanity of us all in the internet age. The simulation is meant to imitate the flux and overwhelming-ness that is the online space but in such a way that you realize how similar we all are in our complexities. How human we all are behind those dark screens. The internet is infinite but so are we.

2017-02-28.png

What struck me most was how the greatest times for posting about grief on Twitter were 7am & 7pm

Through incorporating outlets like news headlines and Twitter mentions, I think this project was able to inject that personal element online spaces seem to lack in their vastness. I loved the Twitter commentary and then the collections of words most commonly associated with the verbs you could explore the site through. I found that an interesting way to order the chaos–through us, usually such tiny blips.

I don’t recall feeling frustrated by the time-limit imposed upon my exploration of the site. Many things in my own life right now are running on schedules I only have minimal control over. So, I’m unfortunately used to it.

Not to sound too sentimental, but I think the time limit made me treasure what I discovered more. Like, I appreciated what I was able to get out of the experience–that greater sense of personal connectedness because there was only so much time to explore and so much content to sift through.

Definitely recommend checking out.

Studio Visit

Honestly, I don’t even know what to say about last week’s studio visit. Howard and Mamie were just full of so much insight that provided such a wealth of rich, meaningful discussion.

Particularly, I guess, I enjoyed what Howard had to say about the public sphere–how it can affect public policy and create change because it is the voice of the people. That story he told about the woman who didn’t give up on searching the polling booth’s codes until she cracked it and then how it spread online was just amazing. To me, it was such a great example of the potential the public sphere has now that it can operate in an online space.

Check it out! (I will get to Vialogues hopefully soon. It was Shadow Girl’s birthday weekend this past one. I was a little busy. Sorry)

Alchememetrix

(Really, when will Death come??)

Speaking of the public sphere, working with gifs and memes this week helped me come to this realization that memes and gifs are expressions of this/our public voice. Referring especially to the more well-known ones, they have this ability to say something we can immediately understand and connect with. Like it or not, there are lots of gifs and memes out there that are meaningful to the public audience.

We relate to them! They make us laugh! Provide an outlet to express frustrations or to reveal absurdity. (Read more about that here.)

Honestly, there is a kind of reveling in the chaos that memes and gifs engage in. But, also, a kind of ordering of it–putting it into a context with certain connotations. At least, I felt like that was the case while I was creating my memes and gifs this week.

Creative Enterprise

This week, the third installment in my Living Dead Girl series–inspired by this tweet— went up. It’s about Necromancers, Reapers, and death 🙂 Ghosts and mythos and magic abound. So, totally feel free to check it out and let me know how you’re feeling it.

Part I, Part II

My other stories so far include:

Bone Girl

Bone Girl .V

Wasteland Girl (Check the comments section, too, on this one)

Hopefully one more by tonight….~~~

(All can be found under the Killing It tag–and you can find a list of frequently used tags in the navigation bar at the bottom of this page. Just click the little “Up” arrow in the right-hand corner.)

All loosely networked narratives, I know, but lots of fun I think 🙂

Final Thoughts

This week, I think I received some valuable insight on how to navigate online spaces more meaningfully. To navigate the chaos. To see chaos as something that can be cherished instead of spurned. Hopefully, I can keep that in mind when I go wandering on the web. The internet could definitely use more acceptance. More appreciative practice all around. The public sphere certainly needs a constant influx of new voices in order to remain healthy and effectively functional.

As for sense vs. nonsense, does it matter? Think the answer to that question says more about you and your context than it does about either of those notions.

Links

Daily Digital Alchemies

Video I find compelling when it comes to thinking about truth, the public sphere, and online spaces

Catch you on the flip side!

 

 


Tagged: digital storytelling, gifs, howard rheingold, Mamie rheingold, netnarr, network effect, Networked Narratives, personal, studio visit, thinking out loud, weeklies

Shadow Girl Reflects IV: Immersed in the Chaos

When it comes to chaos and order, I find it fascinating how often ideas of each can be swapped to mean the reverse. For example, some people, like Howard Rheingold, dislike order because it places you in a routine, tells you where to sit and when to stand. It makes decisions for you.

But, there are many people out there, like one person in the studio visit with Howard Rheingold this past week, who see structuring forces as necessary–especially in formative years–and ultimately beneficial. They prefer having parameters. Makes them comfortable, not stifled.

And, when it comes to chaos, there are more divergent feelings towards similar concepts. Some see non-organization and a lack of structure and oversight as inherently incapable of producing anything meaningful or worth nurturing. More, they see it as scary or, as Howard said, risky. Chaos is uncontrollable, unmanageable and so cannot be allowed free rein.

Others, of course, find freedom in the chaos. Find space to explore something deeper and decidedly more ineffable when unfettered by the tenets of order. To them, non-organization is not scary. It is thrilling–exhilarating because there are no rules. You cannot be wrong in chaos. You just be.

Isn’t it fascinating? How easily what you take pride in, what fills you with fear can be quite the opposite to someone else? Kind of makes you wonder if there is any meaning at all here in order and chaos–if their meanings can vary so drastically. How can any sense be made–even if that sense is nonsense? Don’t know? Me either.

Sense or nonsense, let’s see what we can find.

Network Effect

It’s more than a little mind-boggling just how much content is out there on the internet. Perhaps even more mind-boggling is just how little we absorb from all of wanderings on the web. There are so many voices and stories out there and yet, how many do appreciate? How many do you?

Not nearly enough.

I believe the reason why my online experience and yours probably is shallow is because, despite how much connection the internet seemingly fosters, we are all disconnected in our own little niches. Far removed from reality because we don’t perceive the internet as being as real. There’s a disconnect between me and you, online, in large part because of our ideas of what the internet is–commonly, an escape, a dream space, a confessional that ceases to exist when the screen goes dark.

Though, I do think those ideas are changing these days. Still, you have the chaos/order problem–different perceptions towards the same phenomena. It not only disconnects/ distances us from each other by convincing us we’ll never understand each other, it discourages us from even trying.

But, is there anything being done about this?

Yes. Network Effect is a project meant to help others understand the underlying humanity of us all in the internet age. The simulation is meant to imitate the flux and overwhelming-ness that is the online space but in such a way that you realize how similar we all are in our complexities. How human we all are behind those dark screens. The internet is infinite but so are we.

2017-02-28.png

What struck me most was how the greatest times for posting about grief on Twitter were 7am & 7pm

Through incorporating outlets like news headlines and Twitter mentions, I think this project was able to inject that personal element online spaces seem to lack in their vastness. I loved the Twitter commentary and then the collections of words most commonly associated with the verbs you could explore the site through. I found that an interesting way to order the chaos–through us, usually such tiny blips.

I don’t recall feeling frustrated by the time-limit imposed upon my exploration of the site. Many things in my own life right now are running on schedules I only have minimal control over. So, I’m unfortunately used to it.

Not to sound too sentimental, but I think the time limit made me treasure what I discovered more. Like, I appreciated what I was able to get out of the experience–that greater sense of personal connectedness because there was only so much time to explore and so much content to sift through.

Definitely recommend checking out.

Studio Visit

Honestly, I don’t even know what to say about last week’s studio visit. Howard and Mamie were just full of so much insight that provided such a wealth of rich, meaningful discussion.

Particularly, I guess, I enjoyed what Howard had to say about the public sphere–how it can affect public policy and create change because it is the voice of the people. That story he told about the woman who didn’t give up on searching the polling booth’s codes until she cracked it and then how it spread online was just amazing. To me, it was such a great example of the potential the public sphere has now that it can operate in an online space.

Check it out! (I will get to Vialogues hopefully soon. It was Shadow Girl’s birthday weekend this past one. I was a little busy. Sorry)

Alchememetrix

(Really, when will Death come??)

Speaking of the public sphere, working with gifs and memes this week helped me come to this realization that memes and gifs are expressions of this/our public voice. Referring especially to the more well-known ones, they have this ability to say something we can immediately understand and connect with. Like it or not, there are lots of gifs and memes out there that are meaningful to the public audience.

We relate to them! They make us laugh! Provide an outlet to express frustrations or to reveal absurdity. (Read more about that here.)

Honestly, there is a kind of reveling in the chaos that memes and gifs engage in. But, also, a kind of ordering of it–putting it into a context with certain connotations. At least, I felt like that was the case while I was creating my memes and gifs this week.

Creative Enterprise

This week, the third installment in my Living Dead Girl series–inspired by this tweet— went up. It’s about Necromancers, Reapers, and death 🙂 Ghosts and mythos and magic abound. So, totally feel free to check it out and let me know how you’re feeling it.

Part I, Part II

My other stories so far include:

Bone Girl

Bone Girl .V

Wasteland Girl (Check the comments section, too, on this one)

Hopefully one more by tonight….~~~

(All can be found under the Killing It tag–and you can find a list of frequently used tags in the navigation bar at the bottom of this page. Just click the little “Up” arrow in the right-hand corner.)

All loosely networked narratives, I know, but lots of fun I think 🙂

Final Thoughts

This week, I think I received some valuable insight on how to navigate online spaces more meaningfully. To navigate the chaos. To see chaos as something that can be cherished instead of spurned. Hopefully, I can keep that in mind when I go wandering on the web. The internet could definitely use more acceptance. More appreciative practice all around. The public sphere certainly needs a constant influx of new voices in order to remain healthy and effectively functional.

As for sense vs. nonsense, does it matter? Think the answer to that question says more about you and your context than it does about either of those notions.

Links

Daily Digital Alchemies

Video I find compelling when it comes to thinking about truth, the public sphere, and online spaces

Catch you on the flip side!

 

 


Tagged: digital storytelling, gifs, howard rheingold, Mamie rheingold, netnarr, network effect, Networked Narratives, personal, studio visit, thinking out loud, weeklies

Dream Girl

“Let’s go to our happy place.” Mommy would say when Daddy’s voice began to hit a certain octave–somewhere between a beastly bellow and a rumbling growl. It bounced off bone. Broke bone–when a slur accompanied it. Sometimes when it didn’t.

Mommy told the nurses I was clumsy–a topsy, turvy tot falling head over teapot. Lost in my own little dream land. The nurses never looked as convinced as Mommy did.

Hospitals were frequent but transient haunts, us hollow-eyed phantasms in advance mourning for the identities we’d hastily shed once clear of the emergency room’s sliding glass–don’t catch your doppelgänger’s eyes–doors. Make-believe Mommy and dream-clumsy daughter, a match made to burn.

Mommy ignited first. Led by example.
Shot herself up with liquid fire then drew my bath like a matchstick drawn across its box. Asked me to jump into the flames. Pretend I was a molten mermaid. Hold my breath till it was true. I’ll help you, my dreamy girl. Help you dream.

I don’t recall who helped me out of the tub. Breathed for my little lungs until they realized they were not gills and magma burned going down. Woke me. Some neighbor, maybe.

Not Daddy.

No, he was out cold in his la-z-boy parked in front of the TV set, lost to whatever place existed behind his icy blues. Dream land or darkness. Happy places aren’t given, dreamy girl. They’re created.

“Whaddya wan’?” Daddy grunted when an ee-em-tee in midnight-blue finally nudged the bulky shoulder he was using as a drool rag. Then, when he was informed told Mommy injected enough heroin into her veins to burst into flames went sleepy-bye like she wanted and asked if he knew about her prescriptions–for dis-ah-sea-ation?–in the medicine cabinet why, he muttered, “Crazy bitch” and rolled over.

I was taken away for a while.

Poked and prodded at hospitals. Questioned in white-on-white offices by white-on-white docs. Tossed like a hot-potato from one home to the next till finally returning to Daddy.

“Ya look like yer ol’ lady.” He says when we see each other again. Takes a swig from the bottle in his hand. “Crazy as her too, I hear. Freakin’ out the fosters at e’ery turn.” Another swig. A head shake. “Ya go goddamn gaga in that bathroom like her and you’re gone, capiche?” I nod when it’s clear he’s waiting for it. “Good. Just had it remodeled.”

Only the tub was replaced, I discover.

Swapped for one with less dingy porcelain. Less attempted-murder-successful suicide.

It’s a blank slate. A white page reflected in the mirror above the sink. Don’t stare at your doppelgänger. It’s what got me booted from the last foster home.

(There’s only you, the docs said.

Mommy never liked docs. Dreamless, unhappy types, she said.)

Once Daddy leaves for his nightly bar crawl, my evenings are spent lying in the tub, legs stretched till toes find the lip of the drain, arms crossed over my chest as if I were in a casket instead. Sometimes, I add water–up to my neck how Mommy preferred.

Usually not.

Just me and my dreams–Mommy brushing my hair back, her fingers twitching in staccato against my scalp…. Daddy dragging me by the hair, throwing me into the tub and locking the door…. Slurred shouts and muffled screams…. Me staring at my reflection, a captive companion…. Mommy lowering me into the water that last time, Let’s go to our happy place….

It’s all fragments. Phantasmagoria. Lucid dreaming.

I will doze, though. Fully. Especially when there’s water. Warm and inviting, it lulls me. Sounds safe and familiar, its lapping at my skin whispered secrets. Nonsense babble reminiscent of Mommy’s bath-side chatter.

Tonight, I wade into an accidental slumber.

The tub was empty when I got in. Now, as I am jolted awake, water is chin-high and beginning to overflow, trickle down porcelain to uneven tile in trails that slowly creep towards the doorway Daddy looms in.

A door screeching on its hinges, slamming to a halt against drywall. That’s what woke me. Not dreamed screams.

Daddy stumbles forward, his steadying hand thrusting the door backwards again. Bang. The weight of the water soaking my clothes, my skin, finally hits. No going goddamned gaga in the bathroom.

A stream licks the toe of Daddy’s boot, darkening the leather. I shiver. The water is cold.

This is gaga.

“Whad di’ I tell ya, girl?” Daddy slurs, drifting closer. Bracing himself with his other hand on the edge of the sink. “Whad I goddamn warn ya?”

Daddy,” I scramble to my feet, fighting drag, knees knocking each other. So cold. “A pipe must’ve burst–”

“Not in ma new goddamn bath!” Daddy pounds his fist down on the sink, its echoing thud consuming this tiny space. “You’re as crazy as her!”

“No, Daddy!” One leg makes it out of the tub. A bare foot finds tile. So, so cold. “I was jus-t-t-t…” My teeth chatter. I’m too, too cold to think of a good excuse. “lying down. Like I said, a pipe has to have burs-t-t-t-”

Crazy!” Daddy careens towards me. A fist finds purchase in my hair–tugs. Hard.

 Out of the tub, I’m lifted the rest of the way then thrown. My hip clips the sink, my head, the mirrored glass above. Something cracks. Belatedly, I wonder what ever happened to the medicine cabinet? Then, the pain catches up to me and I can’t think of anything but.

It’s more of a burning, scalding sensation that begins at the crown of my head and works its way down, my face–the left side–my neck, my shoulder, hip–goddamn–all the way to my toes. Did I say I was a little chilly earlier? What I meant was so numb, so wholly freezing that I feel like I’m on fire. Roasting alive. Magma in my veins.

Let’s go, dreamy girl.

Something warm and thicker than water trickles into my eye–the left one, gazing dead into my double’s eyes. They’re red and slashed across the middle. Crazy. They look crazy. Below, a grin is also slashed.

To our happy place.

My double lifts a shaky hand. Traces a crack with its trembling finger as if searching for an opening. Success!–I guess. Her smile sharpens, shattering what glass remains with its pointiness. With her fist.

There’s only you.

There is. Only me. I push myself off the sink, ignore the sting in doing so. The crack and pop. Only my happy place. The one Daddy’s perched on the edge of, leaning temptingly over, trying to plug a dam that can’t be fixed. Not now.

Water sheets across tile, pooling in dips and missing spots. Icy hot. I barely feel it. The step or two I take toward Daddy. Hardly registers. I feel nothing.

She drowned, you know. A nurse said to an ordely when they thought they were out of white-on-white earshot. The girl’s mother. Enough dope in her system to kill her but that’s not what did. Woman drowned. And, the girl… she was found in a bathtub. Unconscious but unharmed. Some water in her too but other than that…. Suspicious, ain’t it?

No.

Mommy wanted to go to a happy place so she did. Needed a little help getting there, maybe, but it’s what she wanted. What she deserved. Rest, finally.

Another step. I feel nothing but awake.

Mommy wanted to sleep. To dream. I never did. There were only nightmares when I shut my eyes. Screams devoured by slurred shouts, breaking sounds till silence. Peaceful pain but pain nonetheless. Searing, red-hot pain.

There were no dreams. None. No happy places–till I made one.

Last step.

I close the distance between where I stand and where Daddy leans. He’s got one meaty hand jiggling the tub’s faucet back and forth, the other reaching down for the drain, water up to his shoulder.

“One thing, goddamn it.” He grumbles. “Asked ya not to do one goddamn thing. An’, how difficul’ was it?” A hard yank of the faucet’s knob. A slurred curse. “Back to the fosters’ with ya! Hell, the crazy house!” He shakes his head. “Whad di’ I e’er do to deserve this….?”

I widen my stance, place a steady foot on either side of Daddy’s bent legs. Flex my fists. Brush glass shards off the one.

Another none-too-gentle yank rips the shiny knob off its shinier faucet head. It hits porcelain with a sharp, poignant clank. Daddy begins to turn my way.

“Hope you’re happy–” I will be.

The rest of Daddy’s speech becomes garbled, half-sputtering half-ineffable disbelief. He’s not used to receiving this kind of help. Giving it but not getting it. But, I want to do for him like Mommy tried to do for me. Like I did for her. Daddy’s given so much, he deserves this.

A shiver runs down my spine. Blood scorches beneath my simmering skin.

Thrashing is easily calmed with a few swift meetings of bone and porcelain. There goes the finish. Nothing was ever said ’bout anyone else going gaga in the tub.

Mommy didn’t struggle. Breathed like she was a molten mermaid herself.

“Don’t ya want to be happy, Daddy?” I push down until porcelain keeps me from going further. Thrashing lulls into twitching. “Don’t ya think ya deserve to be?”

Slowly, twitching ceases, fades into stillness entirely. My hold doesn’t loosen till the bubbles stop rising, though. Guess he did think so. Or, he stopped fighting it.

I rise and back away from Daddy. When my hip finds the pointy edge of the sink again, I realize how sore I am and, also, that the water has stopped. There’s only painful silence. Reddened eyes glance at Daddy in his/my happy place. Peaceful pain.

My blood cools.

I face what’s left of the mirror and stare at my reflection. For the first time, I see what Daddy saw–Mommy.

“Happy?” I ask.

She nods, flashing me a smile I gladly return.

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Hope you enjoyed~

***You can find more of my delightfully disturbing stories under the Killing It tag ^.^***

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Tagged: abuse, abuse mention, digital storytelling, disturbing, don't like don't read, Killing It, netnarr, Networked Narratives, personal, story, storytelling, suicide mention, twitterbots