THE MASTER, THE MUSE & THE POET: An Autobiography in Poetry

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It seems that young people now spend more leisure time surfing the web, text messaging, visiting Facebook than watching television. The masses have embraced digital photography, capturing an endless stream of snapshots with their smart phones or point-and-shoot digital cameras.

John Aguiar

Everyone is now a digital photographer. Digital technologies pervade the popular culture of Serendipity often creates pop culture. Fads and trends happen by accident or chance. For instance, in the late 60s and 70s, long hair was fashionable for men.

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Men and women adorn their bodies with a coloured tattoos. These trends arrived by accident, pure chance. At some point, the trends will depart, and be replaced by something new.

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Influential people, such as Michael Jackson, Steve Jobs, or Bono of U2 also create popular culture, and shape how we dress, think, and act. Any definition of popular culture most include Zeitgeist.

The spirit of a particular era will include the shared views, shared attitudes, shared feelings, shared tastes, shared morality, and shared preferences toward war and technology, political movements and religion, economic conditions and types of work, new scientific discovers, or anything that is part of society. For instance, a decade from now, people will look back and see that digital technologies, such as the iPhone, iPad, Internet, social media, were important aspects of our collective consciousness.

It will tell you what is on the minds of people. For instance, in , according to Google Zeitgeist, the iPad, Master Chef, Justin Bieber, were some of the most popular searches, and on the minds of millions of people around the world. You might then ask: Is there a spirit of hope or hopelessness, progress or regression, optimism or cynicism, alienation or inclusion?

Perspectives for Writing about Popular Culture When writing a literary journalistic essay, writers use popular culture in several ways: They use popular culture to provide context to a story. They write as subject matter experts on some feature of popular culture, or as a witnesses to some aspect of popular culture, such as film, art, photography.

Play the role of reviewer and write reviews on books, film, music, art, theatre, and more.

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Pop culture can provide context to personal narrative or literary journalism essay. Often when writers craft essays that include setting, they allude to the music, film, fashion, values, beliefs of the time period. This provides context to the story. How does a writer find out what happened twenty or thirty years ago? Writers can use a timeline, which shows the significant events, popular culture, and influential people for a particular year.

The writer, often a subject matter expert, writes a commentary or opinion on some an entertainment personality, film, music concert, event, issue. The writer might write as a witness. For instance, the writer might craft a personal narrative about a visiting to the Art Gallery, such as the Museum of Modern Art or attending the Bruce Springsteen concert, or what it feels like to cheer for a losing football team, such as the Buffalo Bills. The writer can play the role of reviewer or critic. For instance, experts in film write film reviews, ,experts in music write music reviews, experts on art write literary journalistic essays about painting, sculpture, photography.

For instance, if the writer is writing a book review, the writer must first read the book. If the writer is writing a film review, the writer must first watch the film. If the writer is writing a review on some painting or sculpture or installation or photograph, the writer must first attend the exhibition.

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Use immersion and other tools of research, facts, and fact checking to write the essay or review. Share your personal thoughts, feelings, perspectives about popular culture. Read books, magazines, articles, essays, commentary, Internet blogs to understand to the topic, issue, event, or person. If you intend to write about pop culture, you must stay informed and conduct research whenever you have a topic to write about. These are specialized publications, illustrating the best of some an art form. For instance, to read short fiction and poetry, read the journals Granta, Epiphany, Witness, Tin House.

Conducting Research A literary journalism essay is based on facts, gathered from research. Writers can use different methods of research, including: 1. Interview subject matter experts. Contact an expert and interview them. Make notes as you ask questions, or use a tape recorder.

Immerse yourself in the story. Attend a music concert, or watch the film, visit the art gallery, and then make notes. Use the library. Read relevant books, magazine articles, newspaper clippings, and take notes as you read. Use the Internet. Conduct a search of your topic using Google search, to learn what has been written on the subject and where there are books, magazines, journals, subject matter experts. Complete primary research. A primary source is a record created as part of, or during an event, crisis, or time period. For instance a letter, diary, personal journal, and government records and governmental report.

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Before writing a review, you should first experience the art form, such as viewing the painting or seeing the film. You should also have a good understanding of the genre. Love the art form or medium you are reviewing. It will be tainted. Provide them with only enough detail to convince them to read or ignore the book. Use a minimal writing style to express what you think and observe.

Tell readers whether you like it. Should the audience see the film or read the book or visit the art exhibition. There are many ways to write a book review.

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Lovers of books desire to read them. Here is one method you can use to write a book review:. Does it indicate what the book is about? Does it tell you the purpose of the book? Does the book include a glossary? Does it appear useful? Does the book include an index? Is it useful? After scanning through the book, jot down your impressions.

You should also include the name of the author and title of the book. The body of your review requires a summary and should identify some of the most important strengths and weaknesses of the book. You should conclude with a recommendation. A good book review identifies the types of readers who will enjoy reading the book, and it indicates whether the information in the book is useful to the reader.

Many good book reviews also state whether the book expands on the existing body of knowledge. Writing about popular culture requires that you determine your approach. Are you writing as a witness?

Defining History

Or do you only want to use popular culture to provide context to a personal narrative essay or literary journalistic essay? Or are you writing about popular culture as a reviewer? Follow these suggestions:. Elements of Fiction All stories unfold in a particular setting. When you narrate a true story, use a narrative arc. End of the story. Always answer the question: Who is this person? Use summary to explain and tell readers background information. As well, use personal reflection to share your impressions and emotional truth How does it feel to you?

Vivid Descriptions To reconstruct setting and events and impressions of people, use sensor details, writing descriptions of what you see, hear, smell, taste, touch.

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Revision The first draft is never your best work. Tips for Writing about Popular Culture Popular culture is never static. It is always evolving.