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Archive for August 2015

I'm a Connoisseur of Dying Arts

When I was in journalism school almost ten years ago, my classmates and I were told to write on a fifth grade reading level. This is to ensure journalists don't alienate readers and as a result, turn them away from reading a piece.  I wonder what grade level j-schools are telling future journalists to write on now.

I ask this because of current trends of consuming information, mostly visual - photos and videos. I knew while going through j-school that print journalism was on the decline. My fellow classmates and I were even prepared by being taught how to write for different mediums. But I never thought it would get this bad. Limited to writing 140 characters - mostly social media updates or captions for imagery - or writing a script for 30 seconds worth of broadcast material. We've become a culture of overgrown kindergartners bored with anything more complex than our picture books.

Don't get me wrong, I see value in technology and even in these new ways of gathering information.  But I also still believe that they're a kind of appetizer, a method of peaking interest and encouraging you to look further into a subject.

I know I'm in the minority, I mean my hobbies are ballet, knitting, crocheting, sewing, reading and writing. I'm a connoisseur of dying arts. But I have believe that we haven't become so superficial we get bored with information a 10 year old should be able to grasp.

That's all; I don't have a solution. Go read a book lol

Until next time...

~ With ♥ from Halima

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Book Review: Claire of the Sea Light

For those who missed my Instagram and Facebook posts last week about Edwidge Danticat's novel, Claire of the Sea Light, for real, do yourself a favor and pick this book up. Danticat is seriously becoming one of my favorite authors based on the skill and subtlety she uses to weave a story together. Krik! Krak! is still my favorite example of this because I love short stories, but this latest read is a close second.
The story takes place in a small Haitian town, Ville Rose. And really, it's not just one story, Danticat relays the very personal, defining moments of a handful of the town's adults. They're all from different walks of life, so although the reader sees them interact with each other, it's in a very familiar way, the way many of us interact with each other - we know what happened in someone's life but we don't truly grasp their struggle. And because we don't truly understand this, sometimes we don't give a second thought to gossiping about them or pitying them or being cruel.
But the truly nonsensical part comes into play in the way we handle exposing children to "grown folks' business."  We say and do things around them while hoping they don't notice or don't understand and that they will thereby remain unaffected. In a scene from the novel, a mom appeared as a guest on the local radio show where people told their stories of how they'd been wronged. She had her 10-year-old son in the studio with her, but the shows host had given him earphones in hopes of keeping him from hearing his mother's story. When his mother had finished airing her grievance,  she removed her son's headphones and described the look on his face - a knowing look that betrayed he had heard it all.
And in my opinion, that's why the novel is named for the 7-year-old girl who's character didn't receive much more attention than any of the other characters.  She was a child, adults talked around her and with the empathetic wisdom only a child can have, she pieced everything together and became something of a keeper of all stories. But it was her story that finally drew some of the town's adults outside of themselves and allowed them to rescue a fellow neighbor drowning in sorrow. Well you know, "Children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127:3)" and all that.
Anyway, that's all I'm giving you because like most of Danticat's work, it sounds simple, but you have to read it yourself to grasp the magnificence.
Until next time...
~ With ♥ from Halima

I'm What's Happening: August 2015

So, I know I had a lot to say during my check in, but believe it or not, I have more to catch you all up on.

I finally finished the project I was working on months ago, the one whose hand sewn lining inspired me to buy my sewing machine.

Let's just say this was one of those projects where nothing went as planned. First, something happened with the shape of the bag where it came out much more elongated than it should have.     

Then, I couldn't find straight, bamboo purse handles, so I bought some bamboo cake dowels, stained them and glued them together.

Overall, the purse took way longer than expected and isn't as cute as I hoped, but it gave me some good experiences like learning how to stain wood and line a purse. I'll probably end up using it as a bag for my knitting needles.

Here's the pattern in case you want to try your hand at it.

Shifting gears, it had been way too long, but I finally got around to taking a small vacation. With July 4th making for a long weekend, I decided it'd be the perfect time to go to L.A. and visit my good friend.  It was very relaxing and I didn't do much but chill out and eat good food, but here's a video I took on top of the W Hotel in Hollywood. It's previewing pretty small, so you may have to click on the bottom right corner to make it full screen for the full effect.

And you all know I'm always trying to work on my photography skills, so I took some pretty decent pics while I was out there.  You can check them out in the photo album I made on my Facebook page. Let me know what you think.

And last but not least, on the plane to L.A. I started a new book, The Valley of Amazement. It reminds me of Memoirs of a Geisha except it's the story of a half Japanese half American courtesan (which is like a Chinese Geisha). Although some of the story is what you'd expect from a cheesy romance novel, I still love the writing style of the author, Amy Tan.  The story draws you in, so I'd definitely recommend it as a good, easy read. And as always, my all time favorite recommended books are on my recommended reading page.

Until next time...

~ With ♥ from Halima

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