Tag Archives: digital alchemy

Shadow Girl Reflects II: Stories as Constellations

I think one of the most exciting–but terrifying–aspects of networked narratives is the inability to “pin them down.” They are constantly shifting creatures unto themselves. Stars in the night sky, telling a different tale with every step taken. From one view, this idea twinkles. But, from another, it doesn’t even register. The scope is ambiguous, subjective. Perhaps unreal. We try to make charts and maps but new information is always coming in. Things that once shined, dim. And, things that didn’t exist, do. How is anyone supposed to account for that other than to create an account of the changes?

These thoughts about how stories inhabit digital spaces and take shape followed me through my journeys this week. More, thoughts about how digital mediums can influence a story’s unfolding itself kept me company. What affordances digital platforms can provide imagination and creativity–even engage it. What is possible in a networked narrative and why are these possibilities meaningful? Like, is there a larger application?

Re-imagining & Imagined Travel

Well, this week was a trip.

First, a stroll down memory lane. Re-imagining the cover art for a book from a series I really like and appreciate. You can check out the specifics here. My dabblings with Photoshop also brought back old times–from high school, where I learned how to use the program. Not going to lie, my work reveals my rustiness. But, I found the concept surrounding the work to be an enlightening exercise in thinking about the ways images convey stories in and of themselves. How, tweaking them ever so slightly can alter perception. How images are multi-faceted–given power through our perceptions of them.

From reading Elit and make my own work of Elit last semester, I know the power of a subtly or not-so-subtly placed image in a work. In some cases, it’s an “Easter Egg”, so to speak, for those who catch it. In others, it expands or extends the level of meaningful interaction with a work. Digital storytelling, in this respect, I think returns to the days of picture-books. It returns our appreciation for them as well as reinvents it.

While working on my second exercise this week, a postcard from a magickal place, I especially felt a sense of wonderment in creating with images. Perhaps that is in part because of the magickal realm I “traveled” to–look see for yourself (maybe take your chess skills out of their cerebral storage case). But, there was this sense that I was extending myself in my work–kind of allowing my readers to literally “see” inside my head. Inside my world. How I imagine. It’s something I always try to do in my more traditional storytelling ventures–something I think all of us try to do–but short of turning our work into a picture-book (with all the childlike connotations that go along with that) it’s not the always feasible or realize-able. Words can only do so much on their own. We are each unto our own imaginations.

Overall, I found myself thinking about story construction whilst working on these projects. What elements are necessary to tell a “full” story and which ones are superfluous? How many words vs. how many images. What conditions do I want to plop readers into? What associations do I want to play with? How compelling can I make this?

I felt very imaginative and I think my work reflects that, perhaps, more than anything else. Imagination is my favourite form of magic and drawing other people into it as much as I can is my favourite spell to cast.

Fold that Story

So, impromptu trips. Let’s spend a moment on those.

For those who don’t know or didn’t/couldn’t participate, Kevin (@dogtrax) started an open, networked narrative on Twitter this week using a program called Fold that Story (?) If I’m not mistaken about that last part. Anyway, participants were all given this opportunity to write blindly, as it were. Meaning this story was written in bits and pieces, of which, participants only saw a singular piece before their own bit. So, we didn’t access to the whole history of the narrative. We got 250 characters max at a time and had to come of with 250 characters of own to keep the story going. To be honest, I’m surprised this story we created wasn’t more incoherent. Check it out.

Telephone 2.0 comes to mind–that game where you try to pass along one message from person to person without it being too warped. Except, here, it’s a community of people trying to tell a story through interacting with each other, passing the message along to create.

It was a very enchanting experience and really captured the essence of the “unexpected” that I am personally really enjoying the more and more I’m able to experience it. Both times I contributed, I felt genuine surprise. In traditional literature, with all of the plot development that goes in, genuine surprise can be hard to come by–especially for more seasoned readers, if you will. So, I appreciate the small enjoyment of surprise when I can come by it.

Creative Enterprise

In the wake of all of this story experimentation, I have decided to create a tag on my blog for bot prompts and the like–work inspired by what some consider to be random nonsense. Honestly, I love the free-associative-ness of Twitterbots. I find the creativity they provoke to be fascinating and facilitating.

I have long term work I’m cultivating inspired by this tweet. It’s about necromancy and reapers and the living dead. If that interests you and you like reading indie stories, you may enjoy this series. Part I, Part II (will update as I create)

As for the more general, stand-alone prompts. I’ve got 1 so far that I submitted for a dda this week. But, I’ve got a lot of prompts lined up that I will hopefully get to this weekend ^.^ @helterskelliter on twitter if you come across any interesting or bizarre/disturbing prompts.

In the meantime, if you want to read a short and sweet story about serial/ritual murder and implied cannibalism, this story may be for you.

Until today, I was having trouble placing this independent work in the greater scheme of my learning as it pertains to this course. But, during my first Studio Visit, something kind of clicked. So, let’s talk about that now.

Technical Difficulties Notwithstanding

(Anyone else scrolling through AO3 before this discussion or was that just me?)

So, I couldn’t figure out how to get my stupid mic to work for this Studio Visit. Which was a bummer. But, it didn’t end up taking anything away from my communication and my ability to interact with Elizabeth Minke and Flourish Klink (especially Flourish which was so cool ^.^ to like interact with a active creator in this field~~excuse the fangirling but, it’s kind of appropriate *nudge, nudge*). Anyway, one of the major things I took away from the discussion we had was this idea that writing fanfic and engaging with it can pave the way for larger accomplishments. Small acts of creativity can build upon each other or can inspire larger acts. In essence, you need these smaller acts in order for the larger ones to take shape.

In this way, my short stories are facilitators of greater creative thought. They exercise my imagination. Feed it. Nourish it. Nurture it. And, more creativity is never a bad thing when it comes to thinking about digital spaces and networked narratives.

Of course, this discussion on fanfiction and fan culture was infinitely fascinating and I still haven’t really wrapped my thoughts around all of its great points. Honestly, I don’t think I can. But, some other stand-out concepts for me were “tags” and “the illusion of representation.”

Being a fairly avid reader of fanfic, I’m pretty familiar with the functions of tags in the community. They help organize, mainly, and they help moderate–so people don’t have to read things that trigger them in some way or things that they just don’t enjoy or appreciate in a narrative. Having someone ask me in the chat about how tags censure was kind of shocking to me because of my own understandings. Tagging is voluntary–not strictly imposed. Creators, of their own volition, tag their work. And, the intent is to make the fandom space a safe environment. It is not to censure. I mean, in the fandoms I’m a part of, at least, I’ve never seen it used in a nefarious, agenda-forwarding way. Tags are a moderating force not a censuring one.

As for the illusion of representation, I definitely know it exists but, as a young white woman, I don’t think my personal context lends itself to me fully realizing how much of an issue this is. In one sense, I think that there is a lot to appreciate about the representation in fan communities. As an ace individual, I get to read stories with asexual characters I otherwise would not be able to. Mainstream media doesn’t really have a place for that or for other LGBTQA+ people (I’m aware that the respresenting ace/aro people instead of allies is a contentious issue–moving on). So, I think, in some ways, fanfic and fandom are progressive and inclusive. But, I also think they can be exclusionary in other ways, specifically when it comes to race or ethnicity. There is certainly a shortage of POC representation in these spaces. And, even going back to LGBTQA+ representation, it’s only recently that healthier depictions of same-sex couples exist. Probably because the writers using these spaces are becoming more diverse themselves.

Anyway, there is just so much to unpack from this conversation. I can’t possibly do it all in one post. In class, maybe we can get more into how fandom fosters communal creativity that can be applied to this overarching idea of the civic imagination. What is appreciated in fandom that could be more appreciated outside of it?

Last Thoughts

I don’t think I have any answers to the questions I first posed about networked narratives and their designs. As close as I can tell, digital stories are constellations–they can be pieced together from various points and these points can sometimes exist vast distances from each other. Some can be bright while others are subtle. Some may take a while to appear while others have more immediacy attached to them.

And, mapping them out is a whole other story.

****

Links

Daily Digital Alchemies

Twitter (birdie in the upper left-hand corner or in the navigation bar below, too!)

Art Update

When enameling–adding colour to a metal surface via heat–you have to protect the side you are not adding colour to with a material called scalex. It prevents the intense heat of the kiln–that is for melting the glass particles that make enamel–from discoloring or possibly burning the metal. When you take your piece out of the kiln, the scalex, which dries to a solid substance before being put in the kiln, becomes a flimsy, paper-like layer that falls right off–revealing unharmed metal beneath. These paper remnants, I think, kind of embody that idea I mentioned earlier–doing small things for a larger creative act to shine.

1500 degrees does a number

 

I just wanted to share this mini-epiphany with you all.

Catch you on the flip-side!


Tagged: digital alchemy, digital storytelling, elizabeth minke, fandom, fanfiction, flourish klink, netnarr, Networked Narratives, storytelling, studio visit, weeklies

The Dead are Not Silent

Past Andromeda, the Milky Way. One arm of a downward spiral–there. Over an asteroid belt. A disparaged planet. A sea god without a sea. Another planet kicked on its rotund keester. Two hot heads and their harems. Another asteroid belt. Then, horror. Terror. A god of war. There. Past one lone sentry. Through a corroding atmosphere to blue. To green. There.

Just past the green. Beyond uniform rows of grey, stone and marble etched in never-words –never who they were, never all they were. Never enough. A lone home, tall and still. Don’t want to disturb the neighbors. Sneak a peek through a crack in the curtains, see only dark.

Inside, mattresses are pressed to walls. Black curtains to glass–window and mirror. Smoke still stains the air from hastily snuffed candle-sticks. Day collapsed into night faster than expected. Damn day-light savings saving who exactly? 

Within a ring of salt, a bundle of blankets–quilts, actually. Hand-made. Patchwork. Rough around the edges but holding true. The lump stirs. A pale foot, toenails lacquered an icy blue, emerges out from under a raggedy edge. Silver threads like comet trails weave themselves in between toes. Tangled, the foot cannot retreat back beneath the safety of its quilted fortress.

A groan. Resigned. Defeated. It echoes as loudly as it can in a room with padded walls. Silvery-blonde hair separates itself from silvery textile. Eyes deep as the dark space between stars appear next, eyebrows above them furrowed. In frustration. But, also, the distinct slant of fear. Speckled across the rest of the face is cosmic dust, freckles that fade outward from a nose crooked slightly to the left.

With haste, a ghostly pale hands reaches for the unruly threads holding the foot hostage. Tears at empty air–another groan, sharper, wearier–before locating its target. This would be easier with a light. But the candles had to go. Light attracts them. Mosquitoes too.

Frantic fingers find frayed, ruthless wardens just when it no longer matters. Clueless moonlight filters into the otherwise darkened space through that overlooked crack in the curtains. With it, a breach in the salt circle is revealed. Obviously made by a struggling limb or two.

Blood younger, the quilted bundle may have jumped to re-seal the breach. Place every pesky grain back into place. Now, though, it knows better. Knows some boundaries, like those at the end of a beloved quilt, once breached, cannot be repaired. No matter how many stars are wished upon.

Should’ve learned to sew. Like Gram told me to. Warned me it’d come in handy.

Warned me.

Now, at the window, a hollowed eye-socket peers in. An eye like the space between stars once called the empty place home. Like these padded walls. Breeze–that should not have penetrated solid glass– ruffles the curtains. Blows them aside. The bundle shivers. Frost pricks at the corners of eyes now the darkest things in the room.

Outside, hollow gazes. They outnumber the stones. Swallow them whole.

Swallow me.

It’s an honour, I was told. Banshee wails, still faint hums, begin to rattle glass. Rattle bone. To see, is an honour. To be, what I am is a gift. From the universe.

The bundle is shed. Salt kicked aside. A candle stick rolls into shadow, disappears from existence until a dull thud bounces off eardrums.

Towards the window, wails become unified. One entity. An ever-present scream. Muted in the waking hours. Blood-curdling now. A crack spiderwebs across glass. It will shatter. Soon. If I allow it.

What I was never told, my hands find the battered window’s frame, was that there is more than one universe. A necromancer is weeping inside a universe. But, a universe also weeps inside a necromancer. Never stops. You can try to shut it out.

Or, I shove the window open so hard splinters fly in my tear-streaked face, you can let it in~

fullsizerender-1

Stars are not surrounded by darkness. They’re surrounded by emptiness.

 

 


The Dead are Not Silent

Past Andromeda, the Milky Way. One arm of a downward spiral–there. Over an asteroid belt. A disparaged planet. A sea god without a sea. Another planet kicked on its rotund keester. Two hot heads and their harems. Another asteroid belt. Then, horror. Terror. A god of war. There. Past one lone sentry. Through a corroding atmosphere to blue. To green. There.

Just past the green. Beyond uniform rows of grey, stone and marble etched in never-words –never who they were, never all they were. Never enough. A lone home, tall and still. Don’t want to disturb the neighbors. Sneak a peek through a crack in the curtains, see only dark.

Inside, mattresses are pressed to walls. Black curtains to glass–window and mirror. Smoke still stains the air from hastily snuffed candle-sticks. Day collapsed into night faster than expected. Damn day-light savings saving who exactly? 

Within a ring of salt, a bundle of blankets–quilts, actually. Hand-made. Patchwork. Rough around the edges but holding true. The lump stirs. A pale foot, toenails lacquered an icy blue, emerges out from under a raggedy edge. Silver threads like comet trails weave themselves in between toes. Tangled, the foot cannot retreat back beneath the safety of its quilted fortress.

A groan. Resigned. Defeated. It echoes as loudly as it can in a room with padded walls. Silvery-blonde hair separates itself from silvery textile. Eyes deep as the dark space between stars appear next, eyebrows above them furrowed. In frustration. But, also, the distinct slant of fear. Speckled across the rest of the face is cosmic dust, freckles that fade outward from a nose crooked slightly to the left.

With haste, a ghostly pale hands reaches for the unruly threads holding the foot hostage. Tears at empty air–another groan, sharper, wearier–before locating its target. This would be easier with a light. But the candles had to go. Light attracts them. Mosquitoes too.

Frantic fingers find frayed, ruthless wardens just when it no longer matters. Clueless moonlight filters into the otherwise darkened space through that overlooked crack in the curtains. With it, a breach in the salt circle is revealed. Obviously made by a struggling limb or two.

Blood younger, the quilted bundle may have jumped to re-seal the breach. Place every pesky grain back into place. Now, though, it knows better. Knows some boundaries, like those at the end of a beloved quilt, once breached, cannot be repaired. No matter how many stars are wished upon.

Should’ve learned to sew. Like Gram told me to. Warned me it’d come in handy.

Warned me.

Now, at the window, a hollowed eye-socket peers in. An eye like the space between stars once called the empty place home. Like these padded walls. Breeze–that should not have penetrated solid glass– ruffles the curtains. Blows them aside. The bundle shivers. Frost pricks at the corners of eyes now the darkest things in the room.

Outside, hollow gazes. They outnumber the stones. Swallow them whole.

Swallow me.

It’s an honour, I was told. Banshee wails, still faint hums, begin to rattle glass. Rattle bone. To see, is an honour. To be, what I am is a gift. From the universe.

The bundle is shed. Salt kicked aside. A candle stick rolls into shadow, disappears from existence until a dull thud bounces off eardrums.

Towards the window, wails become unified. One entity. An ever-present scream. Muted in the waking hours. Blood-curdling now. A crack spiderwebs across glass. It will shatter. Soon. If I allow it.

What I was never told, my hands find the battered window’s frame, was that there is more than one universe. A necromancer is weeping inside a universe. But, a universe also weeps inside a necromancer. Never stops. You can try to shut it out.

Or, I shove the window open so hard splinters fly in my tear-streaked face, you can let it in~

fullsizerender-1

Stars are not surrounded by darkness. They’re surrounded by emptiness.

 

 


Exploring the Elements

***Earth, Wind, Fire, & Air by the Hex Girls was playing in my head throughout working on this exercise just so you know***

Because I’ve always been an avid fan of faeries and fantasy in general, the elements and their power has also been of interest to me. In particular, fey seem to embody our ideas of natural power and magic. Also, it is interesting to think of the elements themselves as these kind of “old gods”, embodiments of the most ancient of magicks and power. At least, it’s interesting to me. I’d sooner put my money on the power of a storm or of a volcano or of a tornado than on any deity housed in some overrated book.

Anyway, let’s get to what examples of earth, fire, water, and air I was able to scrap together. I had a rougher time finding some than others.

Fire

“Some say the world will end in fire.

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favour fire…”

firefords1 firefords2

Like our good friend, Robert Frost, I, too, favour fire and had little difficulty with procuring examples of the element. For my literal example, I looked no further than the stove (don’t mind the grime 😛 I know it’s long overdue for a scrub). And, for my less literal representation, I looked to another of my art projects. Last semester, for a class, I dabbled in book art–which is, essentially, re-purposing a book as material for an art piece. For the project, I played off the title of the book, City of Fallen Angels, and made each cover into a scene–one side was a heavenly scene while the other was “hellish.” You’re looking at the hellish side here. Basically, I cut out the cover with my jeweler’s saw and then riveted a piece of copper to it. That piece of copper looks like flames because I chased a design onto the metal with a hammer and then gave the whole piece a heat patina, which gives the copper that reddish, almost burnt look. (This is the same technique I used on that wing necklace from this post.) Art is usually the first place my mind goes to when I think of the metaphorical.

Water

pisces

Pisces ~ Feb.19-Mar. 20

water4ds1 waterfords2

Not going to lie–as a Pisces myself, I thought finding examples of water would be pretty easy for me. Like, the universe would lend its hand so that I could find some really nice shots. But, uhm, that didn’t really happen. There’s a little brook, I guess, that runs through campus at Kean that came in handy though. (This is one of the cleaner sections of it….)

As for my metaphorical example, you could say the universe took pity. I truck for a local water department drove by like just when I was thinking about what I could do. Just managed to snap a pic of it so please excuse the quality–and the melting snow drops! Though, I think those are most appropriate. Honestly, all things considered, everything about this one moment did come together rather fluidly.

Air

“…a presence like a shadow on suspended dust.” ~ Red Dragon, Thomas Harris

windfords1 windfords2

I struggled with thinking of how to capture an example of air–until it hit me in the face. Literally. The wind has been killer around here lately and is a perfect example of how powerful air can be once it gets going. Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself. (Really, click that link.) Honestly, I used to live in south Florida–where hurricane season is the actual name for the summer/fall period of the year–so wind should have been something I thought of sooner.

As for my second example, again, I looked towards my art. Here, I have one of my earlier works. It’s a locket shaped like a cloud with these “windy” pieces of sheet metal riveted onto its lid. The swirls are meant to be representative of stormy winds blowing in. It’s counter intuitive that they’re made out of metal though, huh? Even so, I think their shapes and positioning capture this “light and airy” feeling.

Earth

Gaea [jee-uh]

noun

  1. ancient Greek goddess of the earth; mother of the Titans
earthfords1 earthfoeds2

I found it rather difficult to pick examples for this element. This is largely due to the fact that my idea of earth includes all the natural and the organic. So, with such a broad outlook, it becomes to difficult to makes choices. In the end, I ended up taking a pic of my own, snowy backyard. I like that I was able to include a very noticeable touch of the weather.

As for finding a more metaphorical example for earth, I feel like I had to compromise. I don’t really think I got a great example here. But, I feel like it captures the simplicity of the idea of what earth is for a lot of people–the outdoors. It’s that section in a bookstore people who frequent bookstores like myself usually skip past ^.^

Anyway, hope you enjoyed walking through these bits and pieces of my week with me. Let me know your thoughts!


Exploring the Elements

***Earth, Wind, Fire, & Air by the Hex Girls was playing in my head throughout working on this exercise just so you know***

Because I’ve always been an avid fan of faeries and fantasy in general, the elements and their power has also been of interest to me. In particular, fey seem to embody our ideas of natural power and magic. Also, it is interesting to think of the elements themselves as these kind of “old gods”, embodiments of the most ancient of magicks and power. At least, it’s interesting to me. I’d sooner put my money on the power of a storm or of a volcano or of a tornado than on any deity housed in some overrated book.

Anyway, let’s get to what examples of earth, fire, water, and air I was able to scrap together. I had a rougher time finding some than others.

Fire

“Some say the world will end in fire.

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favour fire…”

firefords1 firefords2

Like our good friend, Robert Frost, I, too, favour fire and had little difficulty with procuring examples of the element. For my literal example, I looked no further than the stove (don’t mind the grime 😛 I know it’s long overdue for a scrub). And, for my less literal representation, I looked to another of my art projects. Last semester, for a class, I dabbled in book art–which is, essentially, re-purposing a book as material for an art piece. For the project, I played off the title of the book, City of Fallen Angels, and made each cover into a scene–one side was a heavenly scene while the other was “hellish.” You’re looking at the hellish side here. Basically, I cut out the cover with my jeweler’s saw and then riveted a piece of copper to it. That piece of copper looks like flames because I chased a design onto the metal with a hammer and then gave the whole piece a heat patina, which gives the copper that reddish, almost burnt look. (This is the same technique I used on that wing necklace from this post.) Art is usually the first place my mind goes to when I think of the metaphorical.

Water

pisces

Pisces ~ Feb.19-Mar. 20

water4ds1 waterfords2

Not going to lie–as a Pisces myself, I thought finding examples of water would be pretty easy for me. Like, the universe would lend its hand so that I could find some really nice shots. But, uhm, that didn’t really happen. There’s a little brook, I guess, that runs through campus at Kean that came in handy though. (This is one of the cleaner sections of it….)

As for my metaphorical example, you could say the universe took pity. I truck for a local water department drove by like just when I was thinking about what I could do. Just managed to snap a pic of it so please excuse the quality–and the melting snow drops! Though, I think those are most appropriate. Honestly, all things considered, everything about this one moment did come together rather fluidly.

Air

“…a presence like a shadow on suspended dust.” ~ Red Dragon, Thomas Harris

windfords1 windfords2

I struggled with thinking of how to capture an example of air–until it hit me in the face. Literally. The wind has been killer around here lately and is a perfect example of how powerful air can be once it gets going. Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself. (Really, click that link.) Honestly, I used to live in south Florida–where hurricane season is the actual name for the summer/fall period of the year–so wind should have been something I thought of sooner.

As for my second example, again, I looked towards my art. Here, I have one of my earlier works. It’s a locket shaped like a cloud with these “windy” pieces of sheet metal riveted onto its lid. The swirls are meant to be representative of stormy winds blowing in. It’s counter intuitive that they’re made out of metal though, huh? Even so, I think their shapes and positioning capture this “light and airy” feeling.

Earth

Gaea [jee-uh]

noun

  1. ancient Greek goddess of the earth; mother of the Titans
earthfords1 earthfoeds2

I found it rather difficult to pick examples for this element. This is largely due to the fact that my idea of earth includes all the natural and the organic. So, with such a broad outlook, it becomes to difficult to makes choices. In the end, I ended up taking a pic of my own, snowy backyard. I like that I was able to include a very noticeable touch of the weather.

As for finding a more metaphorical example for earth, I feel like I had to compromise. I don’t really think I got a great example here. But, I feel like it captures the simplicity of the idea of what earth is for a lot of people–the outdoors. It’s that section in a bookstore people who frequent bookstores like myself usually skip past ^.^

Anyway, hope you enjoyed walking through these bits and pieces of my week with me. Let me know your thoughts!


Finding Value & Purpose

Digital Alchemy. Cool phrase but, what does it mean?

So, I’m not going to lie. The first thing that comes to mind when I think about alchemy is FMA (Fullmetal Alchemist)–Brotherhood, of course, though I don’t believe I really need to specify that. For those who may not be familiar though, FMA is essentially a manga and anime that revolves around the lives of two brothers who tried to use alchemy to bring their mother back to life–emphasis on tried. See, the art of alchemy requires an exchange–in the FMA world, the exchange must be one thing for something else of equal value. What do you suppose is of equal value to a human soul? If you answered nothing good, you were so close! Case in fact, a human soul costs nothing good an arm and a leg. See? Close.

fmasweetarmour

(Joking aside, this is a phenomenal series about so much more than what little I’ve mentioned and it is totally worth a watch if you get the chance ^.^)

Anyway, enough with the silly side of my impressions. What else comes to mind when I think of Digital Alchemy? Well, again, I get caught on that latter word. Alchemy. To me, alchemy embodies this idea of converting the mundane and worthless into something precious and valuable. More, alchemy identifies this so human desire for and belief in magic–magic that transforms the unwanted into the invaluable. Throughout history, we as humans have craved that kind of power. Revered the art of it as something magickal. Mystical. Redemptive, perhaps.

While belief and, subsequently, faith are not things I put much stock in myself, I do understand them to be themselves just as powerful, if not more so, than the objects of their attentions. So, to me, it is not just the word but the belief in alchemy and what it represents about people which most captures me. Magic–specifically as it pertains to faeries, but that’s another story–and the ideas of it have always fascinated me. There’s nothing that speaks more to who we are as humans, it seems, than our beliefs in the fantastical, the awesome, the otherworldly. We want so much more than ourselves. Want to believe in it. Want it to be real.

Some, I believe, have attributed this kind of desire to greed. Humans are greedy, always wanting more. Never satisfied. And, in some respects, I agree that humans are very greedy creatures. But, I think our beliefs in magic like alchemy also speak to something inherently different. That is, a desire to galvanize so thoroughly there is nothing but gold. We have always wanted to make the ordinary precious because otherwise, what value is there to those ordinary things? If something has no worth to it, why keep it? Alchemy was a way to instill not just worth and value but also purpose.

When it comes to thinking about alchemy and how it pertains to or can pertain to storytelling, both the digital and traditional kinds, this idea of alchemy’s ability to instill worth and purpose stands out. Writing and storytelling is a way to galvanize our own experiences and turn them into something that matters. It is a way to immortalize what has happened as well, immortality something else alchemy was concerned with. Digital alchemy, perhaps, is more concerned with the former–because the ability to engage with many digital pieces hinges upon the technology that is available and, since technology is ever-evolving right now, achieving immortality in the genre poses some issues.

But, back to digital alchemy and storytelling as a whole, I think a large component of it goes back to this core idea of wanting to transform the mundane and ordinary into something that has worth and purpose and agency. Working in an online space allows for so much transformation to occur as well as transportation–ideas and stories can travel just about anywhere anytime. And, isn’t there power in that?

Overall, I guess I see writing itself as a form of alchemy that seeks to transform not just the regular minutiae of everyday but also the unwanted parts of life and experience into something that has value and purpose and so can matter to other people. Speak to them.

Storytelling seeks to be magic, digital storytelling to be modern-day magic.

 

**Hope you enjoyed my thoughts on digital alchemy. I’m very excited to begin my apprenticeship as a digital alchemist ^.^ I had so much fun last semester delving into elit so I can only imagine that joy will grow this semester!

Sorry I left early last week, btw! It’s not ’cause of anything anyone said, I just had a train to catch! 3 actually, when all is said and done, but if I miss that first one, it throws everything else off! Hope that doesn’t become an issue this semester for anyone!

Also, this blog was the one I used for cataloging my Elit experiences from last semester. Figured I’d re-purpose it since I think my past thoughts and feelings could be insightful at some point. Feel free to check out those old posts too, if you want!!

Catch you on the flip-side!**


Finding Value & Purpose

Digital Alchemy. Cool phrase but, what does it mean?

So, I’m not going to lie. The first thing that comes to mind when I think about alchemy is FMA (Fullmetal Alchemist)–Brotherhood, of course, though I don’t believe I really need to specify that. For those who may not be familiar though, FMA is essentially a manga and anime that revolves around the lives of two brothers who tried to use alchemy to bring their mother back to life–emphasis on tried. See, the art of alchemy requires an exchange–in the FMA world, the exchange must be one thing for something else of equal value. What do you suppose is of equal value to a human soul? If you answered nothing good, you were so close! Case in fact, a human soul costs nothing good an arm and a leg. See? Close.

fmasweetarmour

(Joking aside, this is a phenomenal series about so much more than what little I’ve mentioned and it is totally worth a watch if you get the chance ^.^)

Anyway, enough with the silly side of my impressions. What else comes to mind when I think of Digital Alchemy? Well, again, I get caught on that latter word. Alchemy. To me, alchemy embodies this idea of converting the mundane and worthless into something precious and valuable. More, alchemy identifies this so human desire for and belief in magic–magic that transforms the unwanted into the invaluable. Throughout history, we as humans have craved that kind of power. Revered the art of it as something magickal. Mystical. Redemptive, perhaps.

While belief and, subsequently, faith are not things I put much stock in myself, I do understand them to be themselves just as powerful, if not more so, than the objects of their attentions. So, to me, it is not just the word but the belief in alchemy and what it represents about people which most captures me. Magic–specifically as it pertains to faeries, but that’s another story–and the ideas of it have always fascinated me. There’s nothing that speaks more to who we are as humans, it seems, than our beliefs in the fantastical, the awesome, the otherworldly. We want so much more than ourselves. Want to believe in it. Want it to be real.

Some, I believe, have attributed this kind of desire to greed. Humans are greedy, always wanting more. Never satisfied. And, in some respects, I agree that humans are very greedy creatures. But, I think our beliefs in magic like alchemy also speak to something inherently different. That is, a desire to galvanize so thoroughly there is nothing but gold. We have always wanted to make the ordinary precious because otherwise, what value is there to those ordinary things? If something has no worth to it, why keep it? Alchemy was a way to instill not just worth and value but also purpose.

When it comes to thinking about alchemy and how it pertains to or can pertain to storytelling, both the digital and traditional kinds, this idea of alchemy’s ability to instill worth and purpose stands out. Writing and storytelling is a way to galvanize our own experiences and turn them into something that matters. It is a way to immortalize what has happened as well, immortality something else alchemy was concerned with. Digital alchemy, perhaps, is more concerned with the former–because the ability to engage with many digital pieces hinges upon the technology that is available and, since technology is ever-evolving right now, achieving immortality in the genre poses some issues.

But, back to digital alchemy and storytelling as a whole, I think a large component of it goes back to this core idea of wanting to transform the mundane and ordinary into something that has worth and purpose and agency. Working in an online space allows for so much transformation to occur as well as transportation–ideas and stories can travel just about anywhere anytime. And, isn’t there power in that?

Overall, I guess I see writing itself as a form of alchemy that seeks to transform not just the regular minutiae of everyday but also the unwanted parts of life and experience into something that has value and purpose and so can matter to other people. Speak to them.

Storytelling seeks to be magic, digital storytelling to be modern-day magic.

 

**Hope you enjoyed my thoughts on digital alchemy. I’m very excited to begin my apprenticeship as a digital alchemist ^.^ I had so much fun last semester delving into elit so I can only imagine that joy will grow this semester!

Sorry I left early last week, btw! It’s not ’cause of anything anyone said, I just had a train to catch! 3 actually, when all is said and done, but if I miss that first one, it throws everything else off! Hope that doesn’t become an issue this semester for anyone!

Also, this blog was the one I used for cataloging my Elit experiences from last semester. Figured I’d re-purpose it since I think my past thoughts and feelings could be insightful at some point. Feel free to check out those old posts too, if you want!!

Catch you on the flip-side!**