A while ago I realized, you can, and should, do things to make yourself happy. There are no guarantees; there are many, many things that you simply cannot control. But it is your responsibility to put in effort. So, I tried. I began to wear nice and elegant outfits to rather dull places, like school or on a walk around the neighborhood, to make it feel like I was doing something nice and elegant. I would take photos of the most boring objects and places, using lighting and angles to manipulate them into something as beautiful as I envisioned in my head. I looked in the mirror, and instead of picking at the flaws that screamed at me, I would search for the things that made me happy about who I was. It was occasionally like searching for a four leaf clover, but working for it was what helped. No, it didn’t always work. Yet the fact that I was trying made me feel as if when I was angry, or sad, or overwhelmed, it was okay because I knew I was capable of happiness, and I was working to be happy. You cannot go through life saying your situation is void of silver linings, not if you refuse to look for them.
maybe i’ll write a book with this in it someday, CI carolineingle
Initially, she’d forgotten all about the night before. The first thing she noticed was the strange buzzing sound of the thermostat in the corner, which was obviously not working at all because the room was freezing. The chilly air nipped at her cheeks, and she snuggled further into the mattress as she tucked her head into the comforter with a soft whimper, trying to ignore the buzzing in her head.
Her eyes were still stinging from her tears the night before mixed with the lack of sleep. She’d managed to finally drift off at around four in the morning, but she couldn’t tell by the window whether it was eight in the morning or two in the afternoon.
Their screams from the night before still echoed in the walls.
She slid the covers off of her head and opened her eyes slowly, staring at the pale yellow motel ceiling. It was the color of Easter yellow, she’d decided, and it reminded her of chocolate and gardens and everything happy. It reminded her of some distant life where she probably would have done something to be proud of.
The ache in her chest resonated throughout her entire body, and her head was pounding to the rhythm of her heart—it was the only way she could be sure it was still beating.
She felt like someone had torn it out of her chest.
She turned onto her side and looked at the space in the bed beside her, clutching onto the soft material of the comforter until her knuckles turned white. Waking up on her own wasn’t new to her—she’d done it time and time again in the past two years, so much that she’d become numb to the loneliness that came with it. But this time was different…
This time, she knew he wasn’t coming back.
She suddenly felt a tear roll down her face, and just like that, she couldn’t get him out of her head.
The series of photos exhibits Basquiat photographed by then-girlfriend Alexis Adler. The photos were taken during their time living together in a sixth-floor walk-up in the East Village of Manhattan. Now an embryologist in a fertility lab,
Alder was “a Barnard biology grad with a strong hippie streak”, when she met 19-year-old Basquiat in 1979. He was four years her junior, and she and her friends in the club scene had been admiring his street graffiti and SAMO tag all over downtown. During the months they lived together, while Adler worked in a lab at Rockefeller University, he transformed the floors, walls, doors and furniture into his canvas. She saved more than 100 photos, art objects and ephemera from their apartment.
Adler spoke with The New York Times about their time together:
“Our apartment overflowed with art and love… We were punk pioneers homesteading in this ever-evolving remnant of the neighborhood. Art blossomed by feeding off the lawless decay.”
Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, offers the unique sight of a complete Mercury spacecraft. Many of these spacecraft are available for viewing all over the United States, but this one is special because it did not fly.
During the course of a Mercury flight, several parts of the spacecraft are jettisoned and not recovered, including the retro package. This piece of equipment is visible here in my photos as the striped metal object strapped to the bottom of the heat shield. This small cluster of solid rocket motors was responsible for the safe return of the astronaut from space, making just enough thrust to change the shape of the orbit so that it would meet the atmosphere and use aerobraking for a ballistic reentry.
If this package had not fired properly, the astronaut would be faced with the dire situation of being stuck in orbit. Fortunately, this never happened in real life, but it was captured in the fanciful novel “Marooned” by Martin Cardin, in which a NASA astronaut was stranded on orbit after his retro rockets failed. When the book was released in 1964, it was so influential that it actually changed procedures for Mercury’s follow on program Project Gemini, adding more redundancy to the spacecraft’s reentry flight profile.
Alan Shepard, the first American in space and later Apollo 14 moonwalker, didn’t fail to notice that there was a leftover spacecraft at the end of the Mercury program. He lobbied for a second Mercury flight in this ship, speaking personally to both NASA Administrator James Webb and President John Kennedy about this flight. He told them his idea of an “open ended” mission in which they would keep him in orbit indefinitely until there was a malfunction or consumables began to run out. Webb stated (and Kennedy agreed) that it was more important to shelve the Mercury spacecraft in order to jump start the more capable Gemini Program. Thus, we now have this whole Mercury on display for future generations to appreciate.
After spending copious time typing your manuscript. Let it rest aside for weeks, months, three months, to even a year. Writing a novel is like watching a movie for the first time. When we watch the film the second time, third time, and fourth, we’re able to pick up meanings, symbols, and details we missed on our initial viewing. Giving writing the same treatment will help you improve on adding detail where needed and removing branches of sections that are bland and empty fillers.
2. Bookmark Words in the Book You’re Reading
Reading any novel from your favorite author is the giant cheat sheet of writing your book. Not in the sense of plagiarism but moreover understanding the author’s writing template and how they transition dialogue and scenes. Notice the active voice of the protagonist and eliminate words such as “Says” or “Looked.” Your favorite novel will prove of great help in this aspect.
3. Strive for Suspense and Action
Start things off with a bang. Not entirely loud and explosive, but give readers an instant window. Entice their senses. “When I first died, I had breakfast next to my dead body.” Admit it, reading that makes you wish you know where this story is heading.
4. Spend Time Exploring Your Emotions
Discover things that break you, scare you, and put you on the edge of your comfort. Inspiration comes from the least of familiar places and usually start with you doing something you never did before. The effects of this method are more significant than trying to imagine the event manually.
5. Sticky Notes (Colorful Ones)
The beauty of colorful sticky notes is it can be a great legend for your novel writing. Use the color index to note dialogue emotion, season, or chronology. After you have a note on it, put them on your bedroom wall and take them off when you’ve fulfilled its part in your book.
6. Lucid Dreaming
Lucid dreaming is a tricky method of writing, but a fun one to try nonetheless. In some rare incidences practicing lucid dreaming can give you a realistic feel to your book. Place yourself in actual mental stimulation by practicing selective and lucid dreaming. There are a lot of websites that explain how you can dream of whatever you wish within one month. It’s all harmless and quite fun.
7. Communication Workshops
Colleges and Universities around the world offer some variance of communication workshops to improve public speaking. Although public speaking notes a job you are looking to pursue, the socializing and verbal practice encourages you to write more like you talk and help develop a style that sets you apart from other written work.
8. Read Music Lyrics
Music lyrics provoke mental images not from the song itself but your own experience. Music lyrics also heavily rely on threading and stitching verses, lines, and courses together to make it sound like a perfect mix. Consider this method of writing an upcoming chapter.
9. Photo Diary
Find a picture, take a picture, relevant or irrelevant to your writing and make a list of things in the photo. Chose your top ten objects and found alternate ways to write them or describing them. Bare tree branches pressed against the overcast sky can look like the veins of tired eyes. Swaying trees can look like people swaying to a slow song at a concert. The list can go on, and on.
10. Trust Your Gut
If it sounds weird to say, it most likely is funny. If you’re trying too hard to speak your words via the protagonist, he or she will suffer the wrath of quirky, bland, and out of pitch dialogue. Unless it is the character’s personality, forcing a conversation is noticeable. Instead, practice your discussion in reality. Does it raise question marks or do you get a response? Strive for an answer.
I’m going to teach you how to make this, which is a slightly altered version of a panel from my most recent graphic:
So I started making these graphics a while ago, and although a few people have asked me how I make them, I’ve only ever given really simple instructions so this is going to be a more detailed walk-through on how I make these graphics. Basically, I’m obsessed with them, I’ve made several variations (x, x, x, x) so there isn’t just one way or a correct way to make them.