To Be, or Not to Be: 10 Reasons Why You Should Never Be an English Major. Ever.

The year is almost at a close. My last final is tomorrow morning and I am rushing to get everything done. All this finals stress has forced me to reevaluate my decision to become an English major. In my limited experience, being an English major sucks, and writing papers for every class isn’t as fun as I might have thought. So if you’re thinking about choosing English as your college major, here are some things you may want to consider:

1) There’s no real way to study. If someone knows how to condense down three centuries worth of literature onto a 3×5 index card, please share your wealth.

2) Valuable skills, but no jobs. Not unless you want to be an English teacher or … nope. That’s it. Job fairs, help me out here.

3) You’ll never get into grad school. Have you heard of our GRE? We like forcing you to recall obscure lines from poems throughout time and be able to identify the title and poet.

4) If you aren’t familiar with Shakespeare or Greek mythology, you’re screwed. Allusions? That’s like Harry Houdini, right?

5) T.S. Eliot. Enough said.

6) You will be forever stereotyped as a really weird theater kid or a stuck-up hipster. I just like reading…

7) No one understands you. Honestly, no one understands how time-consuming English homework can be. Plus, we talk funny.

8) You get the oldest and dirtiest college building on campus. And no windows. Unless you go to a liberal arts college. Then you might get windows.

9) You don’t get nearly enough printing credits. They realize we live to write papers, right?

10) First question everyone asks after learning your major: “Oh. So are you going into teaching?” No.

But hey, there’s always this…

(Note: English is actually the coolest major you can possibly have, and you should definitely be an English major. I’m just a bitter college student at the end of a long and painful finals week. Disregard this entire post.)

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The Art of Asking: The TED Talk

(Another one? I know. My hopefully redeeming excuse is that it’s finals week. I’m swamped. I promise you this will be the last TED Talk for a while. Though these really shouldn’t be thought of as punishments, as I think they’re quite interesting!)

Musician Amanda Palmer discusses how she learned to build a community by simply asking for it. To her, connecting deeply with an audience is about developing trust and friendship. Here, she explains her reasoning behind giving her music away for free, and the secret to still making money while doing it. Again, I encourage artists to watch this talk. What’s more important to authors than connecting with their audiences? Plus, she’s married to Neil Gaiman – didn’t see that coming.

Digital Vs. Print Media: My Rejected Article

So as you guys know, I got turned down for a literary magazine internship recently. As a part of the application, I was required to write an article based on another article in some sort of writing or publishing magazine. Since it doesn’t look like it’ll be getting published, I figured it’d be a shame to waste a perfectly good opinion piece. Below is the article I wrote, exactly as I sent it to my once potential employer. What do you guys think?

As the art of reading evolves, so does a nation of readers

In a recent Publisher’s Weekly article, resident blogger Josie Leavitt laments what appears to be the loss of the traditional reader. She notes a clear and, for her, intimidating swap of the conventional paper-bound book for its more modern cousin, the e-reader. But the article leaves one wondering: is this transition such a bad one?

Because although complaints about the digital age compromising the artistic value of print books have risen since the release of the e-reader, according to a study by the National Endowment for the Arts, so have trends in reading.

Yes, despite what many die-hard book fans might argue, trends in reading have actually taken a turn for the better after decades of downward plummeting. This spike also coincidentally occurs around 2008, the same time as the release of the more popularized e-readers.

Moreover, these anti-digital complaints seem to stem from writers and readers who have developed an emotional attachment to books themselves, those who will be generally more saddened by the decrease in print books than those readers without attachment.

From a marketing standpoint, the rise of the e-reader has been the product of a miracle. If the years previous to the digital book reader had been experiencing significant decreases in readership, then the coming of new and easier technology for reading should logically be welcomed with open arms. And it has.

With ease of mobility and the thrill of “newness,” e-reading has been embraced by society as much as it has been by the business world. Users find themselves discovering a multitude of classic and contemporary literature never known to them before, a complete literary world opened before their eyes.

This new found interest in reading among the masses must force those opposed to reconsider their opinion. Though a writer might prefer their readers to enjoy the art that is their writing on the traditional page, is it not slightly more important that people are reading it at all? Consider the expansion of audience. Now, more people than ever can share in the writings of all types of authors, whether they prefer printed or digital books.

E-readers cannot be seen as the enemy of tangible books. They are simply another medium for the ideas of an artist. Even though canvas may be the medium of choice for a painter, he or she cannot deny the growing market for digital art, and neither can the writer.

Society may become accustomed to e-readers eventually, as they did for printed books, and perhaps the rise in reading may once again plummet. But the writing industry will inevitably be reborn with the invention of a new way of reading, because it is adaptable. The written word remains a valuable component of Western culture, but as cultures evolve, their art must evolve with them. Those who do not adapt will be long forgotten. I think most writers would agree that the preservation of their ideas is more important than the media on which they are expressed. Writing must evolve. Let the nation of E-Readers grow.

Blog Boost: rpdpod

In Monday’s post, I had a little bit of a rant about some people who, quite honestly, annoy me (which I feel kind of regretful about posting). So today I wanted to mention someone who doesn’t annoy me.

Some of you who have been following me long enough might recall the photograph poem I posted a while back – Paige’s Pages: A Literary Work #1. The inspiration for this poem came from a photo/painting (take a look and tell me what you think it is) that I had found while creating an assignment for one of my college courses.

I’ve also mentioned in another post of mine – What I’m Inspired By: Photography – how the art of one person can often times jumpstart the art of another. Creation is a difficult task for anyone, so why not find your inspiration in the creations of another?

Well each day when I browse my Reader, I find one, if not several, new photographs by my fellow blogger Paul Davis, or rpdpod. As one of the only photography blogs that I currently follow, rpdpod is a great source of inspiration not only for me, but for his other followers.

His mostly landscape photography demonstrates the mastery he has acquired (according to his Archives) over years of experience behind the lens. He titles the photos, but usually keeps the captions short or nonexistent, letting the art speak for itself.

He experiments with different techniques, subjects, and colors, keeping the photos refreshing to look at and admire. His blog is basically void of any personal information or context for the photography. Paul Davis is a true artist, letting his work take the spotlight.

If you haven’t seen his work before or are interested in following rpdpod, I strongly suggest you check him out. Even if you’re not an artist who needs to find that special inspiration, everyone can use something nice to look at, right? And Paul Davis delivers.

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Click the picture to check out the blog!