Mariel Tishma

Mariel Tishma

Mariel Tishma is an honors student at Columbia College Chicago studying creative writing and a minor in biology (not three red squirrels in human clothes).

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics

    4

    Music Curation as Narrative Writing

    Films and TV shows have soundtracks. Authors often write to specific songs or associate music with their works. The "writing playlist" is sought after by many fans, and famixes (playlists often created for public listening attempting to capture the mood or heart of a character or story) in and of themselves are becoming a new genre of playlist. Some songs even today tell stories, and may rise out of the tradition of epic poetry. To what degree can music tell a story on its own? How often does the line intersect? Should it? Is some form of narrative inherent in any medium using words? And how does this relate to scores or instrumental themes?

    • Fantasia? – Tigey 5 months ago
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    • This is a bit of a broad topic with many topics within it. It would be better to focus on an aspect of this (i.e. fanmixes, writing playlists, songs as epic poems). There has been an academic debate going on for a long time regarding whether wordless music means something. There are countless musicological articles about a piece of music and its possible meanings, particular within its historical context (I would recommend reading some Susan McClary), which I think makes it quite clear that all music has meaning. In short, that aspect of the topic strikes me as far too broad; it would be better to focus in on the meaning of a particular piece if you go that route, in my opinion (I'm actually writing an article right now that does that!), or else find a way to narrow down that aspect of the topic in a different way. – Laura Jones 5 months ago
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    Santa Claus as a Chaotic Figure

    St. Nick/Santa Claus is often presented as a jolly, warm, and overall positive spirit of the holiday season. However, a closer look at other culture’s "St. Nick" figures (creepier ones like Krampus) and the like could present a darker side. Aside from that, the article would also discuss or look at the deeper motivations behind the St. Nick figure. Why make toys? Why distribute them? What is his motivation? In some ways Santa can be considered "chaotic good"–a figure operating generally for good under their own moral structure. No one has told St. Nick to do these things, he does so of his own volition and for his own reasons. Whose system of morals does the Santa judge children by? What would happen if children were judged on a different system of morals–perhaps "good" children were no longer the traditional moral good, but rather the most ambitious or the most cunning children? Additionally, the santa *punishes* bad children. This goes against the traditional "reform" system where those who are bad are brought gently to good. Krampus type figures even bodily kidnap or harm children to punish them. (A fun and possibly seasonal article.)

    • Interesting topic! I like it. But it might help to ground it in some specific movie versions of Santa. Maybe even including the Grinch Who Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss? – Ben Hufbauer 6 months ago
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    • Great topic; there are many, many Santas you could explore. The Santa from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer would be one of my favorites for this topic because he is so respected, but spends much of the film acting like a jerk toward Rudolph, the elves, etc. Tim Allen's version is another great one because at first he doesn't even want to *be* Santa. (Actually, that opens up a whole new batch of topics like, what does being Santa mean? Who is considered worthy to take the role? What are Santa stories trying to communicate to real people about this figure, and is he *just* for children in the modern world? Anyway, my two cents. – Stephanie M. 5 months ago
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    Do Settings in Movies Still Matter?

    It seems that in most popular movies the set or the setting isn’t considered as complexly as the setting of say, a stage play or novel, would be. The article would seek to understand the purpose behind settings in modern films, and if they are (or ever were) an extension of the message the film was trying to get across. Consider the following: Does it really matter that the fight took place in a warehouse instead of an alley? Are there cases where the setting is still heavily influenced by symbolism and imagery? Is it all about the mood or is there something deeper?

    • Not many people notice or would write about something like this, so as far as originality goes, this is a good topic. I feel as though it does matter on the type of movie. Good horror movies need a proper setting, as well as action movies. With dramas and comedies, not as much. The more visually-based the story is, the more important that the setting fits the story. A good love story or comedy can be told from almost any setting and work, but an action/horror movie with a bad setting basically makes no sense. So I believe it does matter whether the fight is in a warehouse or alley, but it doesn't matter as much whether the star-struck lovers are in medieval England or post Civil war America. – MikeySheff 7 months ago
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    • I would think that settings would still matter anywhere, because there's all kinds of reasons why someone would want to stage a fight in a warehouse or an alley. It can range from being believable to matching the kind of tone that the movie is going for. So I think any one who would start thinking about this topic will start thinking about not only in-universe, but production-wise as well. – DanielMichael 7 months ago
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    Merits of writing longhand versus typing

    Many of the old "classic" writers chose to write all their work by hand first and then type, if typing was available at all. Has the use of the computer and typing improved writers ability to perform their craft? Do writers today who choose to write long hand have an advantage?

    • Typing definitely reduces the amount of time spent for writing. However, some writers who choose to write longhand do so because it's their work habit. I think writing longhand helps them spot errors more because looking at a screen might be more difficult for some writers. – seouljustice 8 months ago
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    • The act of writing with an instrument in hand infuses one's heart and soul into the work. It is like a tear sliding down the cheek: you feel it. Typing is more like work - just getting it on the page. Forming letters, words, and phrases in ink from a perfectly proportioned pen with the color that fits the mood allows the writer to bleed out on the page. No keyboard can replicate the bond that ink from the hand creates. – ajforrester75 8 months ago
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    • The writer might also look into the way the brain works when handwriting versus typing. Handwriting is more engaging than typing. You can cross out words and write small notes to yourself as you go along. There are ways to do that in a word document; however, it really isn't the same. – krae29 8 months ago
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    • It may be individual. For example, when I write with a pen, it makes me feel kind of secure. Not just because, unlike with computers, I’m sure my writing will not be accidentally erased or deleted but also because it gives this unexplainable feeling of close friendship with pen & paper) It’s the kind of feeling you have if you prefer printed books over e-books. It also makes my piece feel more real, for some reason. Writing longhand is time-consuming, it’s true. But for someone like me, it reduces anxiety, which is more important to me (if only I don’t feel the deadline’s breath against my back – then the anxiety is inevitable, anyway :)). So, I usually write my stuff down and then put my headphones on with some Aretha playing and start typing it on my computer almost automatically – weirdly enough, I enjoy typing as a separate activity which I cannot properly combine with the writing process that requires concentration deeper than one I have when just typing comments or messages. Plus, papers with handwriting gain even sentimental value through the years. I suppose, I’m a bit old-fashioned and embarrassingly not ‘technology-fluent’ as for a millennial (first time calling myself this way)). I guess, the perfect option for me would be a typing machine – a vague compromise between velocity and cosiness. Unfortunately, I would still have to either type it once more on my computer or use some damn good scanner and a bunch of software tools to convert images into text so I could put my work on the net and have it mobile. So, objectively, it’s most beneficial to do it all A to Z on the computer, but, from an individual point of view, writing with one’s hand has some personal advantages. The evolution of technology has played a crucial role here, but the evolution of people in the context of their readiness or refusal to accept those changes is what really should be examined. – funkyfay 7 months ago
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    Latest Comments

    Mariel Tishma

    That is a very good point. Maybe that’s why textspeak has grown to include variations in punctuation and emojis together to better convey emotion!

    As for your comment about e-mail,I would agree, in most cases. But that is because, an e-mail is not the usual expected place for textspeak, unless of course I were e-mailing someone who would expect it from me. Using it in an e-mail to a co-worker would be unexpected and therefore less acceptable. E-mailing a friend partner in the middle of the day would be a more suitable place for it.

    Creative Texting: Writing and Textspeak
    Mariel Tishma

    Perhaps if they were texting you they might change their legibility, but does it really matter if they were texting someone who might understand them? “Standard legibility” is always changing, even in formal writing. John Humphrys (who despises texting) mentions in his piece that he’s had to adapt to changing rules involving hyphenated words. Would you feel so strongly if someone were not following those new hyphen related, and other rules?

    I do agree, though, that if one were a creative writer trying to incorporate textspeak into a piece to be read by a large audience they would certainly have to contend with the familiarity of their audience with the textspeak they were trying to use. Thank you for reminding us, as writers, to always keep our audience and readers in mind.

    Creative Texting: Writing and Textspeak
    Mariel Tishma

    That’s exactly my feeling! Although most texts are free from the character limit, people still tend to limit their word usage or change their form of expression to convey their feelings, similar to haiku. Thanks for bringing this up!

    Creative Texting: Writing and Textspeak
    Mariel Tishma

    In my research and personal experience abbreviations have actually taken on a new form to convey voice and emotion! Predictive text and the like has changed their usage from saving time to being a deliberate choice. When answering a text from my friend who’s just told me a new song from an artist we both like has come out I might answer “omg!” or something similar to help my friend see, and “hear” my reaction and excitment. If the same friend were telling me about a particularly irritating person in their class I might respond with the full written “oh my god” to convey my mutual annoyance. For more information I would check out the links embedded in the article going out to the articles “How to say “Yes” without saying “Yes” and “What’s the Difference Between ‘you’ and ‘u'” for some more reading if you’re still curious. Sali Tagliamonte also has a good study of this kind of thing called “Linguistic Ruin? LOL!”

    Creative Texting: Writing and Textspeak
    Mariel Tishma

    Most linguists seem to agree that the use of textspeak and diverse language actually demonstrates a complex understanding of language. Young people have to have “developed powers of higher verbal expression” in order to properly use textspeak. As I quoted in this article, David Crystal (a linguist) states that in order to use textspeak one must know how far they can break the language down and still be understood. You can’t know what “tht” means unless you can fill in the missing vowels, and know that a recipient will “hear” the missing letter because of how we read and speak consonant sounds. You can’t use abbreviations like “omg” unless you can fill in the missing words, and understand the tone conveyed as well. This is echoed by John McWhorter, Derek Dennis, and Sali A. Tagliamonte (all linguists) among many others.

    I agree that perhaps the text message or other textspeak forms isn’t the best way to convey one’s most complex ideas, but it isn’t the cheap, simplified mode of communication some may see it as. It is just another, newer form that should be taken for what it is, without initial judgment.

    Creative Texting: Writing and Textspeak
    Mariel Tishma

    Thank you for reading, and trying, at least to understand. That is much appreciated. I understand where emoji and the like can become unifying or sanitizing. However, from a writing perspective, understanding the character and understanding how people tend to communicate, can limit that kind of “crying emoji only” response. Textspeak is more than emojis and shortening words. It’s also about knowing how to convey your tone. Thinking about my own textspeak conversations, people switch easily between formal tone and informal. Comforting someone isn’t usually the time to use the informal. I do agree though, the works we have now using textspeak and emoji are not using it the most masterful effect, and are relying a lot on the “crying emoji=sad” equation without much consideration for how people truly communicate. Thanks again for your thoughts!

    Creative Texting: Writing and Textspeak
    Mariel Tishma

    Exactly how I feel about the thing! It’s all a matter of considering audience or recipient.

    Creative Texting: Writing and Textspeak
    Mariel Tishma

    This is a very good point! I hadn’t thought of this in these terms, but as I said, I doubt adaptations written in textspeak will ever be heralded as good. I try and think of it in terms of “experiments” (which didn’t work well in this case). Works like Emoji Dick, and perhaps even OMG Shakespeare, were done because it was possible. But due to the limitations of emoji it didn’t really work. Perhaps this is a sign that original works incorporating textspeak should be the new direction for using textspeak in publishing.

    Creative Texting: Writing and Textspeak