Murdock’s Five Frame Story

As mentioned in an earlier post, my dog Murdock had been diagnosed with cancer. Well, this past Tuesday, he unfortunately passed away. I am absolutely heart broken. Won’t be the same without him.

For this visual assignment, I’ll be telling a five frame story for Murdock, my very good, very sweet boy.

So my five frame story tells the life of Murdock. He was an active dog from the beginning, always tiring out his big brother. Tiring out me too, never wanting to end his walks or the hikes, never wanting to get out of the water. Mojo was the only dog he ever played with and he went into a depression after he passed away. Despite that, he always wanted to cheer me up as I took Mojo’s death pretty hard. Liked to hold hands and cuddle, wagging his tail to let me know he was okay.

He was such a good boy.

Daily Create: A Thank You Letter

Dear Princess Diana,

While I was not born during your prime, I remember seeing you and what you did and finding it all so inspiring. Coined “the People’s Princess,” you set out to bring kindness and care back into the world. You were in a position of power where it was seen as taboo to speak out about issues such as HIV and AIDS, and yet you didn’t care. You wanted to bring awareness. You made personal visits to schools, homeless shelters, and were a fierce advocate for the arts. You used your platform to encourage others to give to charitable causes. You changed the face of the British Monarch.

I remember watching interviews of yours and feeling a sense of relief. I had never seen someone on TV (not in the 80s, but still) that had so much sincerity and genuine care for people. You made a difference in the world and I thank you for that.



Weekly Summary

I’ve found that this class allows a lot of room for creative and I’m very happy about that. Daily creates are always my favorite, but this week’s were a bit funnier and sillier than last week’s. In fact, most of my weekly assignments had a different vibe than before too. My weekly assignments were a bit more heartfelt and emotional to the point that I felt really overwhelmed writing them. Not in a bad way, generally good emotions.

Overall, I’d say I had a good week when it came to the assignments. Even though I had trouble with the story analysis, I did enjoy reading the articles, and watching the videos, just had to really think to put it all together.The thing I enjoyed most is the interacting with all the other students. I liked looking at their blogs, seeing what they had to say about mine, and discussing the little details of our lives mentioned in the blogs. Here are the links to all my assignments:

Writing Assignment 1, Writing Assignment 2, Writing Assignment 3, Writing Assignment 4.

Daily Create 1, Daily Create 2, Daily Create 3

Story Analysis

Story Analysis

So this assignment was a bit more challenging than our usual Daily Creates and Weekly Assignments. It required a lot more thought, understanding, and effort. While I did manage to complete all the readings and videos, I had trouble understanding it all.

So, here’s my thoughts on it all and how I brought it all together.

Let’s start simple. I read “I Link, Therefore I am,” and the message I got from it was that while hypertext, interactive stories have made waves in terms of innovation in the storytelling world, but it hasn’t made a big enough wave to make a huge change in how we tell stories. There have been tons of examples of interactive stories throughout time (Telltale Games, Gone Home, Life is Strange etc.), but they’ve all been considered false starts. Why is this?

Well, Netflix’s, Bandersnatch, was a super successful start, but I’m not sure if all that came before are actually “false starts.” Like said in the article, innovation can’t happen overnight. A new medium of story telling will gradually happen. What came before Bandersnatch were stories discovering the in’s and out’s of interactive stories, eventually paving way for the next big thing. Let’s be honest though, I’ve played a lot of interactive games, and they all seem relatively successful. Maybe not in terms of globally, but Telltale Games, Life is Strange, and Gone Home, all have a huge following.

But let’s move on to the next bit. Shape of Stories told use about the basic structures of stories that seem to receive the most praise. The first is where the character starts off average, nothing right or wrong happening. Life seemingly gets better even. Then, a problem arises that causes tension, stress, etc. From there, we get a resolution to the issue. Simple enough. The next structure is relatively similar. A character starts of a bit above average, life is going well for them, but then an issue is brought up that causes a downfall, which will be resolved as usual. The last story structure is different, but seems to be the most popular. It’s a Rags-to-Riches, classic Cinderella story. The central character starts off really down in the dumps, for lack of a better term, but slowly progresses and grows from there. Like always, a problem arises and their situation returns to far below average, but like always returns to infinite happiness.

I finally reached the last video, The Machine is Us/ing Us, where they talked about how digital storytelling changed the game for how we, well, tell stories. It allows for more creativity, more freedom, and less restriction. When writing a paper book, you are limited to the paper it’s on. However, digitally, you can format the layout any way you want, link within your story, link to other stories and so on. The possibilities seem almost endless. But what does this all mean?

To really pull this all together, I re-watched one of my favorite movies, Footloose. I started thinking about what makes a good story and why interactive stories aren’t doing as well as hoped and, for me, having so many choices is overwhelming sometimes. Watching Footloose and thinking about some of the issues that were dealt with, they were all ones with difficult choices. I already have to make enough choices in my everyday life, I don’t want to do that in my time for fun. It may be different if the story isn’t one that is close to your everyday life.

The structure of Footloose is kind of like the Rags-to-Riches storyline that Vonnegut suggested was the most successful. Which makes sense. Our country is obsessed with that kind of story. Andrew Carnegie was the earliest, most classic example of that. Mark Zuckerburg is another, more modern example of this. The idea that anyone could amount to greatness. Footloose achieved this storyline. The story has a depressing beginning. Ren’s mother had just passed and that’s why he’s moving in with his aunt and uncle. Ariel’s brother had just died from a car accident and as a result dancing is outlawed. Things get mildly better slowly, but then fall way back down, before the final “hoorah,” moment happens.

What makes a good story is making it relatable. Not the situations necessarily (dragons, wizarding school, or outerspace all seem so fun). but the idea of an everyday person could rise up out of bad situations. Whether that be an orphaned boy, a woman who just lost her brother, or someone who just hasn’t had the best of luck. We like stories that help us imagine a better, more fascinating life. It tells us that the times we lived in, has always viewed itself as an underdog and that underdog deserves to rise to the occasion.

That’s what I got out of all this, and let me tell ya, I’m beat. This was took a lot of thought. We all deserve a really good puppy photo this time around.

A very large human, with my very large dog (Max).

10 Seconds of Thanks

The goal of this post is for me to be able to come back and look at what I’m thankful for. To have a visible reminder of the good in my life, rather than just trying to come up with it on the spot. So, without further ado, let’s begin!

  1. I’m thankful for my supportive parents and my caring siblings. I feel lucky to say I have a good relationship with them all.
  2. I’m thankful for the lifelong friends I’ve made along the way.
  3. For my dogs and cat, obviously. They provide me comfort in the simplest ways.
  4. I’m thankful for the random strangers that smile at me when I make eye contact. It really brightens up a gloomy day.
  5. For all the opportunities I’ve been presented with and the people who’ve pushed me in the right direction.
  6. I’m thankful I’ve made as much growth as I’ve had. Teen Maddie wouldn’t even recognize adult Maddie.
  7. Finally, I’m thankful for the people who do good just because. Strangers that help with flat tires, friends that provide support, siblings that will keep secrets, etc.

That was a bit longer than 10 seconds, but I was on a roll and there is no such thing as being too thankful.

Let’s move on to what was supposed to be the 10 second drawing, but really ending up being around 2 minutes.

It’s sideways, but you get the idea.

Needless to say, my high school art teacher would be proud. It looks just like me.

Famous Last Words

It’s kind of hard to think about what my last words would be. There are so many situations that could influence my last words. Do I know I’m dying? Because if not, the words may not be so wise. Probably something along the lines of “you wanna fight,” because I, a small human, jokingly say that all the time.

I’m going to assume I do know I’m dying or I’m about to do something that shouldn’t, but could result in death in this scenario. My last words would probably be “there are worse things than death,” which seems brave and wise, but it’s really not.

Over the course of my life, I’ve realized that people will avoid doing things out of fear. People don’t get on roller coasters because they fear dying. People don’t go bungee jumping or sky diving because they fear death. I’m not saying I don’t, but I started doing this thing where if I’m nervous about doing something, I say this and just do it. Because yes, death is scary and no one should die young, but am I really willing to miss out on something adventurous and fun just because I’m fearful? Am I going to avoid things that could make me a better, more experienced person just because of my fear?

The answer I’ve come to is no. I’m not going to let fear rule my life. Life is too short to miss out on such great opportunities.

To end this post, I leave you pictures of my good boy, Johnny. Enjoy.

A Letter to my Younger Self

Dear Maddie,

Life will seem difficult. You will want to give up, cry, scream, and yell more than you can imagine. That’s okay. Allow yourself to feel those emotions. Bottling them up will do no good. Because life is difficult. It always will be. You just have to learn to always be ready and willing to pick yourself back up, to keep going.

You will go through things that you think no one else is going through, that everyone else has it so easy. You are simply wrong. People, like you did, will try to make it seem like they are handling what life throws at them so easily, but everyone struggles. Everyone needs a little push now and then.

Life is so much easier when you have love in your heart and kindness in your mind. Do your best to spread love and kindness. Life is hard, but it can be so freeing and beautiful.

Murdock getting a nap in before spreading some happiness.

Who Inspires Me?

There are many people who inspire me, from people I know directly and people I don’t. My parents inspire me everyday. My siblings shock me everyday with how much they inspire me. My friends, which I haven’t seen in awhile, inspire me. Ruth Bader Ginsburg inspires me (she’s badass), Lizzo inspires me, Lupita Nyong’o inspires me.

Quite a few people make me want to do better and be better everyday, so I’m going to take this in a little different direction.

I inspire me. I’ve done a lot of growing over the past several years. I’ve gone through depression, done some grieving, dealt with medical complications, but I’m still here. I’ve changed for the better and I have these people to thank.

Having people who inspire you is a fantastic thing. If it’s not your friends or family, then make it someone who’s made a difference in this world. These people will help you become the person you want to be. There’s no shame in growing and inspiring yourself.

Maybe even write it out too! That’s why I’m doing this. When I have a hard day, or week, or even month, where it seems impossible to see my accomplishments and progress, I have something to look at and remind me.

As always, I will end this with a picture of my dogs. Maybe they’ll inspire you.

Mojo taking in all the love.

Daily Create: 80s Nerds

I once read an article, that I wish I could find, that explained that the rise of nerd culture in the 80s caused a sense of superiority in a once marginalized group of teenagers. A group that was once bullied, finally had a sense of purpose. The article went into how these 80s nerds transformed into people that thought they were entitled to things just because they were smart and nice.

Now I’m not sure how accurate it that is, I can see that being the case sometimes, but not all. However, I think that’s why I’ve always liked Brian from Breakfast Club. He obviously had his own trauma, but he did his best to resolve conflict between the others, he was silly in his own way, and he just wanted everyone to be happy and feel accepted. He has his flaws, but he never gave the impression of thinking he was better than anyone else. He seemed to have learned from the others. He started to rebel more and take a stand for himself, he learned to let loose a little and realized there was more to life than good grades and making other people happy.

Brian “the brain” Johnson

Weekly Summary

This week was a lot less stressful than the previous. While I’m still learning and getting the hang of things, it was a lot less about setting up and more about actually writing blogs, participating, and doing some fun work.

Part of the fun work is the daily creates. I actually really enjoy doing these. Of the ones from this week, my favorite one was the Obscure but Good Songs. I love 80s music. I bonded with my dad as a child with the music he grew up with and I feel it’s allowed me to see what he might’ve been like at my age.

For Colloquialism, I liked sharing a part of Pittsburgh with everyone. I think it’s also a word a lot of people might not have heard of and I always like learning about anything linguistics. For example, did you know that because of modern day national broadcasting, accents specific to certain areas are becoming less common? The more you know!

For the last Daily Create, I wrote about one of the actors from my favorite 80s movies. Not only is Ed Lauter underrated, but so is the first movie I’ve ever seen him in. Highly recommend for all those who love classic 80s movies.

The Assignment Banks I chose were the Creepy Anime Eye and Another Day and I enjoyed both quite a bit. Creepy Anime Eye was less creepy and more silly and fun. It was really hard for me to get stressed about my photo shop skills when I had bug eyed Madonna and Elton John looking at me. Another Day was a bit difficult to write about, but I thought it was more eye opening and kind of felt nice to write out how I’ve been feeling. It was freeing.

As much fun as I’ve had, the best part of this week was customizing my blog. I really like how my page has turned out, and while I’m not done, I’m pretty content with it for knowing so little about designing a blog. It’s weird, but I’m proud of myself and how it looks! I think now that I’ve gotten the hang of it, responding to others might be more fun this week. I’ve noticed other people customizing theirs and I’m excited to see what everyone’s done with it.

I think that pretty much covers this week, so I’ll end this blog with a photo of some of my cute pups!

Murdock and Max enjoying a hike.