education

Stephen King’s On Writing, and How I Got to Read It.

Posted on Updated on

stephen-king-on-writingA couple of years ago I took a course that required me to try my hand at writing small texts on different themes. It was fun and made me realize how much I enjoyed writing, how good I thought I was, and how horrible I really was… .This was a course that simply asked me to write small texts, not literary masterpieces, but I always felt that if I am to show someone a text I produced it has to be good. I didn’t want to “just pass” a course, I wanted to be the best, I wanted to catch the attention of the teacher, I wanted to be THAT student that tries extra much. Basically, I wanted to know that I did everything that I could do before I submitted that assignment. The problem was, I never felt like I did everything I could for my prose; I always had the sensation that I could have done more, like I was missing a piece of the puzzle. It was a dilemma, since the course itself didn’t offer any support on writing technique and I felt like I was lost at sea and my boat was leaking as hell. And so I thought that maybe I should just buy a book on writing. Upon googling around this subject, I concluded that there are two major groups: people who think that writing is just something you have or you don’t, a gift that can’t be learned; and people who think a textbook is vital to get you started, giving the young writer a solid base to build upon. I personally believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle (doesn’t it always?) I think a textbook can improve your writing a lot, giving you ideas and hints on how to find your inspiration, or answer some questions you might have regarding the craft itself.

It so happens that whenever I really like an author’s style I tend to google him/her and see if I can find an interview where they talk about their writing. This, combined with my before-mentioned dilemma, helped me find a great book- On Writing by Stephen King. Yes, I came to find the book because I am a great fan of King, but this has really nothing to do with him or his books (in essence). The book contains some really good advices for beginner writers like me. Since I finished reading this book, I got my hands on other creative writing books and I took a real course on it (I am actually doing the second part now), but every now and then I come back to this one for reference. There are small things that stayed with me, like his thought on the overuse of adverbs: “The road to hell is paved with adverbs”. I never really understood what he meant until I saw it in my own prose. And when I stopped doing that mistake, my peer reviewers appreciated it, the text flowed better, and my paragraphs stopped sounding like something out of a novel with a couple making out on the cover (yeah, you know which ones, you are as guilty as I am). Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

My future plans regarding blogging.

Posted on

abroad
The optimist-looking figure in the imagine does not reflect my feelings on the matter.

 

In the last few months Bold Italic became my home. I don’t literally live in it, but if that would be an option I would strongly take it into consideration and spend my days surrounded by pixels. For a long time I was looking for what I really liked doing, what I really liked studying, what I was really passionate about. I now know I always had this. Literature was always a constant in my life, if not the only one. Once I figured this out, the next step was finding people to share my thoughts and ideas with. It’s hard to find the right folk who would listen to your rants and weird opinions. To blog about this has turned out to be one of my best ideas. I’m grateful that people I don’t know are interested in reading my stuff, and it gives me the confidence I need to click the “publish” button for yet another post. I love this blog as it is my treasured, contained space where I can be myself and write what I want. Nobody dictates what I write about, there are no deadlines, and I love the community.  As it turns out, I really like blogging!

Seeing as I am so happy to type away my literary thoughts, it’s only natural to want to blog about the next big thing in my life: a semester abroad in UK.

This September I will go to Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, where I will spend four months doing great things for my future: studying, making friends, building memories, and possibly getting drunk. I’m not sure about the getting drunk though. We’ll see.

I realize this is going to be really great for me and really boring for many (I mean really…who cares). Therefore, I decided not to blog about it on BoldItalic, and instead make another blog dedicated to this. I’m mainly targeting an audience of students or future students, especially those that are planning to make that big step and apply for a semester abroad, but everyone who is interested in reading this kind of stuff is welcomed. My home university is being awesome as usual and will share my blog on their Facebook, as well as let me post on their own blog.

BoldItalic is still my main blog, and I will probably have common posts on both blogs if they are about literature. In any case, there is always a link to my study abroad blog up there in the menu bar.

At this point there is nothing left to say other than I’m equally terrified and delighted at the experience that will follow.  I lied wrote a post on the new blog about how brave and courageous I am, but I guess I didn’t fool anyone and everyone knows what I really want to do is get in my bed under my blanket and never go out again. But plane ticket is booked, I have a course selection, my student grant is on its way and so am I on 17th September (to Newcastle).

Wish me luck! I will surely need it. Especially on the drinking and having fun part.

 

P.S: next post is going to be a book review. Pinky swear and all that.

 

 

 

Difficult Exams are like Skydiving Without a Parachute: You Might Just Make It.

Posted on Updated on

schwa
If you don’t get this joke there is still hope for you. For the rest (like me) there is only therapy.

You have good exams and you have bad exams. I don’t mean life exams or any other deep stuff like that; I mean sit-ins, pen and paper exams, the ones you need to study for or stay home. In my student life I had mostly good exams. Not that I’m bragging or anything, but I get pretty good grades. Ok I’m bragging, so what? Most of my exams ended with well-earned good results for which I studied hard. Except THAT ONE. The exam that was left in history as the horrible, despicable, Phonetics exam!

Lecture after lecture I was left with a sound and reassuring impression I understood the stuff. It made sense. It was oh-so-logic. In retrospect I think this might have been because it was taught by a teacher who I previously had for other courses, and from whom I knew I understood very well. He is a good teacher, knows how to explain, and it is only because of him I managed to pass the god damn thing anyway. He would make funny association as “ the Hugh Grant sound”, the “ cat A” and other weird stuff that made us laugh and therefore remember them.

So together with this awesome feeling that I knew everything I started doing my revision and started to practice phonetic transcription. And lo and behold: I knew nothing. Every time I transcribed a word and then checked in the dictionary something equally strange and different was staring back. Late nights would find me surrounded by loads of paper, empty coffee mugs, and a ton and a half of frustration. In the end I had to give up and tell myself I won’t show up for the exam and just go through the whole thing for the re-examination. I had never failed an exam before. Son of a… Read the rest of this entry »

The Book is Dead. Long Live the E-Book.

Posted on Updated on

Sony PRS-T2
© Per Palmkvist Knudsen (Own Work)

Except the book is not dead yet. As a matter of fact, far from it. The electronic vs. paper books seems to be a popular debate for today’s avid readers. Should we get our intake of literature from ink or pixels? Well… why choose just one option when you can have both? This is not going to be about the ongoing discussion where “the real book feels better in my hands and I like the smell of paper”, although I wholeheartedly agree. This is about what goes beyond personal preference and the olfactory sense. Read the rest of this entry »

The Art Courses and The University Budget Cuts Walk Into a Bar.

Posted on Updated on

orkanen_en
Malmö University (MAH)

…and the bartender says ´´Hey! I know where this is going!´´. And so do I. As a matter of fact, if you are studying Arts you probably do too. I was naively living in a world where the Art Department was the bread and butter of the society, the soul of the University, the heart of the Academia. Well it isn’t.  Not in the eyes of the Government people who, when it comes to saving money and cutting costs, are pointing fingers at the education budget. I am an English student who at the end of next year will have a bachelor of Arts with a major in English Studies. My teachers are wonderful people, always trying to do the best for us, teaching engaging courses, encouraging us to be creative. But there is only so much that they can do.

This semester I have been engaged (and still am) in a great course called Creative Writing. It is a distance course at Malmö University,Sweden, based on developing our skills as writers through workshops, reading, as well as giving and receiving feedback. Great stuff, you might say. Well that’s not what the University thought when it came to cutting costs. What is happening is that the Government decided the universities need to cut their budget, and  as usual the art courses went down first. SO we nagged and nagged and in the end decided to…well…do something. And we did what we do best. We wrote. Between our workshops and deadlines we wrote some mails to the Vice Chancellor. We told him how this course is unique in Scandinavia. We told him how important our English speaking community in Southern Sweden is. We told him former students are being published all over the place resulting in an income. We told him how every semester there are so many students who just can’t get a spot in the course because there is no more room. We told him how our department is cut from Literature courses all the freaking time, and how this is just another low blow. Mainly we told him how much we love our course. I don’t know how many e mails he received but at the end many asked him about this issue on his blog, as well as making Facebook pages where we discussed why the course should not be discontinued. And it worked. I honestly didn’t thought it would, but it did and boy did I let out a wild loud cheer when I heard the good news. We get to keep the course. It will not be discontinued. Yay for us. Power to the people, right? Read the rest of this entry »