Sunday, September 20, 2020

Week 5 Famous Last Words... just counting the weeks

I basically finished all the Week 5 stuff this morning, so that felt good; the next couple of weeks are really busy with all the projects coming in (good busy, for sure, but still busy), so being ahead like this helps. I do classwork on the weekends, so I should be okay... but it feels good to be ahead no matter what.

And I put up the first stories for my Indian Epics Storybook; that was really fun. I included the weird legends about Vedavati, Princess Padma, and the even more weird stories about Sita being connected to Mandodari and Ravana; here's the page: Little Known Legends about Sita. And I also used this great story about Ravana falling in love with Sita's cooking! Larger view.

Then for the microfiction this week, I did a version of The Blue Jackal. I needed to find a better fake social media generator for the Tech Tip instructions, so I found Zeoob and used that to make the image for that story; I like how that generator worked. It's definitely an improvement on the (VERY) old generator that was on the page. Here's what the Zeoob editing screen looks like:

There was so much depressing stuff in the news this week that I don't even want to think about it (like Ruth Bader Ginsburg dying... I mean, it was a miracle she as able to keep going as long as she did, but still: heartbreaking). Although there was a good thing too: I got an invitation to do a course as part of the Digital Pedagogy Lab this summer, which I am very excited about. I hope they will like the proposal I submitted for a microfiction workshop. I also had a great talk with Dr. Chuck about the LMS data privacy thing we are supposed to do for Educause in October which, gulp, just a month from now. I probably need to work on that today to figure out what we'll do next, and also get #UngradingSlowChat ready for October too.

Which is why it is good to be ahead in this class. The next few weeks are going to be busy. Too busy. Let's just hope they are also not full of tragic news and contemptible politics........

For something happy to smile at: I learned about skateboarding dogs from this tweet; I couldn't find this exact same video to put at the Padlet but I found lots of other dogs on skateboards. All so adorable! Here's the one I saw at Twitter:

Week 4 Microfiction: The Blue Jackal


There was once a jackal who fell into a vat of blue indigo dye. The other animals were amazed when they saw the blue jackal!
"The gods have sent me to be your ruler," the blue jackal explained. He made the lion his prime minister, the tiger was the royal treasurer, and the elephant was his doorkeeper.
One day, though, the blue jackal heard other jackals howling in the distance. He could not resist; he began howling too.
"He's just an ordinary jackal!" shouted the other animals.
So the lion and the tiger attacked their former king and killed him.

Blue jackals still howl like jackals.

Author's Note. In a previous microfiction, I used an African American Brer Rabbit story for the 100-word version, and then a 6-word version that was like a proverb, something that alluded to the story the way "the boy who cried wolf" alludes to a famous Aesop's fable. You can see that here: The Tug of War.

I really like how that turned out, so I decided to try it with a folktale from India that is one of my favorites: the story of the blue jackal comes from the ancient Indian Panchatantra, and you can read an English version by Arthur Ryder. There are more Panchatantra stories here:

In making the six-word version, I used "jackals" in the plural so that I didn't have to waste a word on the article (the blue jackal), but then, once I put it into the plural form, I liked that because it generalized to the idea that there are all kinds of blue jackals out there, metaphorically speaking: people who pretend to be something they are not.

Fun fact: the indigo dye that turned the jackal blue gets its name from India: indigo etymology.

Image Information: Fake Twitter made with Zeoob.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Week 4 Famous Last Words: writing-as-refuge

I've finished up most of the work for Week 4, so I'm going to do that famous last words post for Week 4 today. I got both Storybooks up and running: the Ramayana one for stories beyond Valmiki, and the Anansi project for Myth-Folklore. I'm really happy about both of those and excited to have two projects like this. 

I never tried doing both classes at once before, but I am glad I am doing this. I'm focusing my reading all on the Indian Epics stuff, but it feels so GREAT to be storytelling for both classes. Like I said in the post title, writing really is a refuge for me, and when I finally got to the weekend after a really busy and stressful week last week (my dad's death certificate finally came, so now the paperwork begins in earnest...), it felt so good just to focus on reading and writing stories. Plus laundry, which I honestly find really soothing too. I like doing laundry and feeling like I get a fresh start for the week.

And next weekend will be so cool: Week 4 is when lots of people put up their project sites, so next weekend there will probably be 50 or even more new websites that go up for the class and I will get to make the slideshow with everybody's projects, etc.

I just hope that creative spirit and energy will keep me from sinking into total despair about the COVID (Trump's new advisor, Scott Atlas, terrifies me) and also about the fires out west. Someone put Bladerunner music to these drone shots of San Francisco right now, and it was mesmerizing and horrifying at the same time.

What kind of world are my grandchildren going to inherit? I'm basically a very optimistic person, but I have never felt so fearful about what is coming, and it's all our own fault, the result of selfishness and willful stupidity.

So, I need to write a lot of stories today to improve my mood. It's going to be a long week next week, esp. with going to town for a doctor appointment on Thursday. I'm honestly dreading that; at least staying home I have good distractions: trees, books, music. I'll pick out a good book to read anyway for the waiting room at the doctor. That's the only good thing about doctor's appointments, ha ha: it means I get to do some reading during the week instead of waiting for the weekend. I've been wanting to read Koral Dasgupta's new Ahalya novel... and if I have a long wait, I might be able to get through half of it or more. That will be something good at least, a message of endurance and hope from Ahalya herself!