by Mark Krupinski
“Anything and everything can be art!” is, I feel, a deceptively sinister phrase. You could substitute the rather generic “art” in this situation with your medium of choice, be it poetry, film, literature, or what have you, and the situation remains unchanged. It seems innocuous at first, even encouraging. Anything can be art; no matter how lost you may feel, no matter what vision you lack, your expression has merit. You exist and you are valid. As someone who has spent more time than perhaps he’d like to admit pacing fretfully to and fro, hyperventilating into a McDonald’s bag because the words don’t sound the way they’re supposed to, I understand. Writing is a painful, clumsy, often fruitless task, so positive affirmation is as valuable as it is rare. But there’s a danger in creating that sense of comfort, tossing standards by the wayside in favor of blind positivity and confidence. The idea that everything, every single careless, thoughtless, witless, messy, wishy-washy, meandering, pointless thing is art gives me pause.
by Dylann Cohn-Emery
A teenager walked up and down the aisles of Barnes and Noble, searching for the perfect book. In her mind that meant something weighty, something she would have to put time into to finish.
“Short books just turn me off,” she told her friend.
It is understandable that readers might want the challenge of reading a lengthy book, something they know will take weeks, if not months. Perhaps they think the subplots and extra detail might make the book better, and that short books can’t have a full, satisfying story. I used to maintain this mindset; I was this girl, who thought that reading bigger books made me smarter and more interesting. I thought they were better because they had more to say.
by Leo Kirschner
There is no such thing as originality! Don’t believe me? Go visit your local cineplex. 2018 brought us A Star Is Born, the fifth - yes fifth! - film adaption of the tragic love story between a celebrity in decline and his younger female protege. Want more proof? Robin Thicke’s hit 2013 “Blurred Lines” sounded very much like Marvin Gaye’s 1977 single “Got To Give It Up.” The courts thought so, too. Even in literature, Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight begat E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey. British folklore, mythology, even The Lord of the Rings found themselves interwoven in JK Rowling’s epic Harry Potter-verse.
We are living in a culture where ideas are recycled and creativity is not highly regarded. I’m not the only one who believes this is true. In Mark Twain's Own Autobiography: The Chapters from the North American Review, the famed writer offered up a similar viewpoint: “There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope... We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”
By Juliana Crescenzo
I was lying in bed, my covers clung to my body; I was their prisoner. Three hours had passed since my alarm clock went off and I still wasn’t able to will my body to get up and be productive. My list of things to do became longer every day and I was stressed out beyond belief, but I could not move from that bed.
As a society, we tend to sweep mental health under the rug because it’s easier than talking about about it. When we give names to our monsters—Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Eating Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder—they become real and alive, and are no longer just the Albatrosses we’ve been secretly struggling to carry in our minds. When it comes to mental health, either you are recovering, you are relapsing, or you are dying.
by Rebecca Rodriguez
In high school, we are given our first copy of Diana Hacker’s Rules for Writers, which we are commanded to worship. It’s not a bad book, by any means, and (if read for anything other than MLA citation instructions) specific information on sentence structure can be found within it. In fact, there is an entire section dedicated to taking wordy sentences and tightening them. ←Example→ There is a section on tightening wordy sentences.
Although fair warning is given that short sentences aren’t always concise, wordiness is considered ultimately taboo. Not only does it focus on eliminating redundancies, but it encourages us, the writers, to cut inflated phrases (e.g. change “At the present time…” into “Now...” or “Currently...”). We also must take every opportunity to reduce a clause into a phrases, or a phrase into a single word. Though we try not to worry about these rules outside of our research papers, it’s too late. Today’s generation of writers have already been brainwashed.
by Joe Magaletta
There’s a story that makes me uncomfortable. A black man has been accused of raping a white woman. We follow the story of an attorney who goes out of his way to try and prove that the woman is making a false allegation, doubting the victim in this situation. It’s an exploration of bias, the justice system, racial inequality, and compassion. These are all ideas that are worth exploring… But now I’m uncomfortable. Therefore, To Kill a Mockingbird shouldn’t be taught in schools.
This is a growing trend: the fear of being offended, of confronting triggers, of having to question ideas and explore points of view that don’t exactly mesh with our own. The political climate is as heated as ever, and the desire to hear the opposition has died down in favor of preaching to the choir.
by John Gross
Throughout time technology has changed how the writer crafts his novel. From pen and paper, to typewriters, to word processing—the tools of the trade are constantly evolving. In today’s world, the writer can craft a sentence and move it around to different places, supplementing paragraphs where he sees fit. This can be a powerful tool, that makes the revision process more fluid and dynamic. An author can be less committed to putting something on a page, where it can be easily reshaped, moved, and removed. While this technology has fundamentally changed how the novelist crafts his work, it hasn’t really changed how the reader consumes it. Sure, we are in a period of time that is showing the rise of e-readers and digital print, but ultimately the novel is being experienced in the same traditional way.
by Rachel Saltzman
It begins in middle school; writing skills are in a crucial stage of development, and so teachers are more focused on systematic writing such as essays, grammatical structures, and proper spelling. At this age, kids are taught what effective, tasteful writing incorporates, and which elementary techniques can be rushed to the curb for good. This is when ‘it’s raining cats and dogs,’ and other cute phrases that are found in children’s books, are banished from any and all forms of writing.
We all know (supposedly) what a cliché is, what it looks and sounds like. But why are clichés considered bad for writing? The common argument is that clichés and common tropes are overused, to the point where most casual readers cringe at the sight of one. If the goal of any writer is to craft a story, essay, or narrative using a unique and well-developed voice, then of course clichés can only impede the process. If these banal phrases, expressions, and ideas have long been exhausted, then where and when were they first used?
by Myriah Stubee
Annotating, marking up, commenting, writing in the margins...whatever you call it, marginalia has been around for as long as there has been writing. Students don't often like it, professors don't often give them a choice, and many avid readers don't even think about it anymore. Whatever your opinion about writing in your books, there is no doubt that it adds layer and nuance to the reading experience.
by Amanda Rennie
The world is dark, dismal, messy; there is a teenager who is, believably, old enough, clever enough, mature enough, independent enough to make life-altering decisions. 16 or 17 is a good age because then they can rebel against adults, not go to school, and have an intense and passionate relationship. This teenager isn't like all the other teenagers. This teenager can make a difference.
Yawn. It started with the vampire craze, but the publishers of young adult fiction have fully submersed themselves in Dystopia: everywhere and everything is terrible, and only one young person has the ability to change it and make the world a better place. Young adult authors, lots of them, have been churning out trilogies (ALWAYS trilogies) with the same stock characters and fabled ending for years now. And guess what? It's only becoming more generic.
thoughts on writing, art, & new media by glassworks editorial staFF