by Christina Cullen
Last week my father asked me “What do the letters A.D. stand for?” as I racked my brain for the Latin Anno Domini and realized how little I had paid attention during my Catholic school days. He continued, “You know, when you search for something on Google, you sometimes see the letters A.D. What does that mean?”
My father recently retired from a corporate job and started his own signage business. He is a master networker and can make personal connections in minutes, but for him the online realm is a new landscape. Despite being the first in our family to own a computer, smartphone, and tablet as well as the fact that Google Adwords, the world’s first “self-service advertising program” was launched in 2000, two decades passed before he realized these two tiny black letters at the top of a Google search are the abbreviation of advertisement.
by Edward Benkin
These have indeed been trying times. A global pandemic, a heated political environment, and social unrest have led to one of the most stressful climates in decades. In addition to the physical toll from Covid, the mental health of many have been affected in a way many Americans have never experienced in their lifetimes.
The cure? Write, write write.
There has never been a better time to sit down in front of your computer (or your desk with a pen and pad of paper) and write out everything from your feelings to whatever poetry or story ideas race across your brain. People have different ways to relieve stress, and writing for fun or writing out one’s fears or anxieties may just be the cure for the emotional trauma many have been going through in recent months.
by Taylor Blum
Ever since I was a child writing “books” in my third-grade class about a superhero cat that shot lasers out of its eyes, I knew I wanted to write novels. What I also learned growing up is that I enjoy acting and the comradery that forms between yourself and other actors on stage. After finally having the opportunity to act in college, alongside earning a BA in English and creative writing, I learned how these skills go hand in hand.
The most important thing I realized from my acting experience was how much dialogue affects my writing. Dialogue has always been so important to me–I can’t read something if I find the dialogue unrealistic or stiff. Honestly, the common mistakes of stiff, expository language makes me cringe and takes me out of the story. Dialogue is also something I realized is hard for writers to master. The good news is that when it comes to plays, dialogue is arguably the most important part. By reading a play, you can see how so much can be said with so little words, and by performing in a play, you become aware of your own voice and how conversations work. We’re often told in fiction classes to pay attention to conversations and to eavesdrop on people to understand how people talk, but this isn’t always manageable, and sometimes feels a bit weird to do. But when acting, it is your sole job to interpret the dialogue, to understand how to raise the subtext out of it, and even change the overall meaning of the words through your tone. This teaches you to understand when less is more in dialogue.
by Megan Kiger
So, I’d call myself a liar.
Used-to-be outstanding liar, but maybe just above average now. My intentions are never anything more than comedic (or dramatic) relief. We all love drama, and we all lie about that too.
When I was little, I’d come up with intricate stories to cover my ass when I was in trouble or embarrassed (or just to make things interesting, you know?). I had a crush on a boy named Zach when I was ten. He had this ashy kind of blond hair and green eyes that I was obsessed with. I asked him if he wanted to swing with me at recess and he said no. He actually pretty rudely refused and laughed at me with his friends. I remember my throat swelling while I tried to keep the hysterics contained to my stomach.
by Mick Bratton
Writers have a tendency to conjure up the familiar term “writer’s block” as an excuse for not being able to produce content. The spewing of this writerly phenomenon, infamously treated as a common illness, is simply an excuse to not write at all—and it’s probably subconscious. We base our day-to-day lives around the world in which we experience life with our senses—our truths—and so it can be very believable that a blockage has been formed when there’s just a lack of motivation and inspiration. We need any liable subject to blame rather than owning up to our own actions. To blatantly dissect this disillusioned label and pluck it out of the book of excuses: writer’s block is a choice that has made its imprint on the world and has been alive and breathing for far longer than it should have.