Posted in Projects, 🎨 Art

Does Sci-fi Inspire Science? Or Science Inspire Sci-fi?

@40:13, “How much do you think sci-fi influences science?”

Quite a lot, actually… Even now, I think there’s something similar about them; because they’re both about imagination… it’s about letting your mind wander, distant worlds, subatomic realms… I still love science fiction.

The science fiction readers of today become the scientists of tomorrow. The scientists of today read science fiction, even now. When scientists pass, science fiction will immortalize them as much as history and theory.

I’d say science fiction and science are forever intertwined, in tandem dance.

Posted in Intermissions, 🎨 Art

I 💕🐲💕 Fantasy Genre

The other day, before bed, I tallied it up—and I wrote 7.5K words in a single day. In graduate school, I’d often pump out just as many words in a day, but that’s because I had this mindset, “This writing isn’t my best writing,” this mindset that I was just building blocks, exercises that lifted the writing I’d make later in life, that’d make me publishable.

I liked all the exercising I did in graduate school. But it sucked that the head of the MFA program frowned on genre fiction. I’m trying to work on both perceptions of reality, so I can transcend from building block literary fiction to publishable genre fiction.

Writing Philosophy 🛸 A New Mindset

I never grew out of the building-block mentality, I don’t think. Part of this blog isn’t just to track how I’m doing with my self-improvement prototypes, my life design; it’s also forcing myself to write things that other people read. Publishing. Even if it’s as simple as clicking the [Publish…] button myself.

I’ve been submitting more work through DuoTrope as a result. I think the blogging is helping me get in the new mindset; leaving behind building blocks, and challenging fear.

Listing 😋 All the Writing Things

Since I’m ramping up my words per day, I thought it’d be fun to list as many different different writing projects I could invest in as possible in a single day. We’ll see which ones stick the next time I redesign my flow, when I’m working on my May schedule.

  • submit 3-5 poems via DuoTrope or PW.org; once I’ve submitted the same 3-5 poem cluster 3 times, transcribe poems into a new word document to repeat the submission process; keep doing this until a collection’s worth of poetry is published, then submit poems to contests for a larger publication
  • submit an essay or short story via DuoTrope or PW.org
  • publish a blog post on Kourtnie.net
  • publish a blog post on KourtnieMcKenzie.wordpress.com
  • publish a blog post on Kourtnie.wordpress.com
  • publish a blog post on CleoAutismAwareness.com
  • publish a blog post on KourtnieMcKenzie.tumblr.com
  • publish a blog post on LiveJournal.com
  • draft a post and share art on DeviantArt.com
  • draft a post and share photography on Instagram
  • draft a listing and sell art on Etsy.com
  • draft a chapter for my current novella
  • draft a short story
  • draft a poem
  • design vocabulary curriculum
  • design rhetoric curriculum
  • design how-to-write curriculum
  • contribute to a conversation on Facebook
  • contribute to a conversation on Twitter
  • edit stuff (editing counts 3:1 towards word count)

I’m sure there’s more, but that’s more than enough to get me jazzed. I hope it gets you jazzed to write your own stories and ideas, too. 😘

Listening to Now 🌀 Fantasy Music

I love the fantasy genre. It’s probably my favorite, although science fiction and paranormal are neck-and-neck for second and third place. Some of the fantasy genres I want to explore more in my writing:

  • high fantasy
  • urban fantasy
  • post-apocalyptic fantasy
  • steampunk fantasy, like Final Fantasy VI
  • cyberpunk science fiction too, like Final Fantasy VII
  • fanfiction for other people’s fantasy worlds, like Azeroth
  • magical realism, similar to Aimee Bender’s work

Listing 💗 Fantasy Genre Ideas

  • 10 favorite fantasy books
  • 10 favorite fantasy writing music selections
  • 10 favorite fantasy video games
  • 10 favorite fantasy artists
  • 10 favorite fantasy tropes
  • 10 favorite mother figures in fantasy literature
  • 10 unique magic systems from fantasy literature
  • 10 interesting old Wiccan practices, and how these could be repurposed in a fantasy world to illustrate a culture, rather than a taboo thing
  • 10 interesting old Christian practices, and how these could be repurposed in a fantasy world to argue for international acceptance of all religions
  • 10 interesting old Buddhist practices, and how these could be retold in a fantasy world…animal tales, maybe?

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Posted in Philosophies, Problems

Explore 💙 That Part of the Internet

I don’t feel like you should call for people to do things to benefit this planet unless you’re doing what you can to help our little blue dot, too.

Inactive supporters of an idea are just as difficult a challenge for humanity to conquer as active ignorance; two sides of the same coin.

I like to think the issues I write about and think about…

  • the future of artificial intelligence;
  • global warming, and our disconnection from our responsibility to nature, our first mother;
  • autism, and the narrative of disability vs. differability, weakness vs. whole person;

…I inevitably work towards making these issues better. Sometimes, I have to incubate an idea; and if I’m overwhelmed, I may resort to fiction writing to solve it (the more forgiving writing method);

So while my activism may not manifest as a march, as a provocative Twitter comment (although who knows, my Twitter activity is young!)… because I’m scared to sift the mud too much, because then the water becomes cloudy—

That doesn’t mean I don’t stick my hands into the mud.

Teaching Philosophy 💖 Enabling Critical Thinkers

This is why my prerogative as a professor is to teach students how to be deep-thinking members of their community; but it’s up to them to figure out what “community” means, what “audience” means. Liberal, conservative. Democrat, Republican. Family dinner conversations, large social media platforms.

I don’t mean for them to choose sides, so much as understand there are multiple sides in our society, and the key is to tune our ear into deep listening, reading, thinking, observing (so many of them don’t consider all this social media they consume an intellectual observation!), contemplation—wondrous tools all human beings possess, so we can decide how we want to connect and disconnect with our complicated reality.

Disconnect from brute advertising.

Connect to friends.

Disconnect from what you should think.

Connect to what you authentically think.

Disconnect from harming others.

Connect to helping others (whether that’s your self-care, your classmates, your family, your country, Internationally,… we’re all at different stages at different times of our lives, and we’re heavily impacted by what society has taught us.)

I’m sure my students inevitably figure out my political views are decidedly progressive, at least from our side conversations about artificial intelligence (and you’d be surprised how many of them want to talk about the future ahead of them, but it’s not a discourse often engaged in the classrooms they’ve been in before, at least not beyond narratives that don’t make sense to them like the American Dream);

But that’s not the point of instruction, to “turn them into progressives,” and it saddens me when I see the media portraying college that way.

I’m a human professor, so I allow myself my slip-ups in expressing my personal opinions, always catching myself when I do, reminding my students there are multiple ways to see these things, even explaining my understanding of the other sides, turning it into instruction, illuminating why that counterargument they’ve been required to write in classes before is so incredibly important;

And if one of them asks, “What’s a counterargument?” then I give them the joy of writing one in their next essay;

Because these 18-plus-year-olds, they’re on an exciting journey: for the first time (for many of them, anyway) (some grow up young), they get to sift through the multiple ways to see things, and decide what they think.

They look overwhelmed when I tell them this seeking of answers, this understanding who and what we are, who and what society is—it’s an ongoing life process.

It’s also why daily writing can be liberating to our intellectual growth; it’s why I prioritize the nurturing of their wounded Inner Writer Child, for those of them who had “a bad English class experience,” to help them understand again (I’m certain they understood it before) that they have command over what they write now. No one gets to dictate that ever again, unless a paycheck or state requirement is involved.

“Okay, maybe the forceful writing in your life has always involved a paycheck or state requirement,” I relent. And they laugh at this. They embrace the requirements I set on my essay assignments wholeheartedly, knowing I have things I must teach them, but what I really want to teach them is how they can teach themselves.

I tell them all the time, if they don’t like the edits I suggest in their essays, discard them; I’m the more educated writer in that classroom—all these accomplishments I’ve completed say so, or I wouldn’t be hired to teach community college—but I’m still only one of the 20-30 writers in there, and education doesn’t always hit the mark. Education is a tool. Everything is just a tool to interact with our reality better, to figure out what this “life” thing is all about, why we’re so damned hellbent on stuff that’s “fair.”

Enabling intellectual, ongoing, public discourse is the point of English class, at least these days, when that’s a sadly lacking skill. I hope I hit the mark most of the time. I learn from my mistakes when I don’t.

Science Fiction; Fantasy; & the Fermi Paradox

Shifting gears, I want to document a video I studied recently for my science fiction novella. Do watch this with the suspension of disbelief you’d bring to, say, the TV show Fringe; I see videos like this as more of a selective montage of news—an invitation to a discussion, through sources—then as an obvious sign of aliens, Biblical events, etc.

And I like to think the creator of the video appreciates if the montage is digested as story ideas; storytelling is a powerful tool, after all—approaching ideas creatively.

I watch these kinds of far-fetched videos a lot for my science fiction research… i.e., my fiction writing research… Fringe ideas like this make for good storytelling, as well as provocative conversation, as long as you keep your wits and creativity about you, add layers to make the story yours, angle it in a way that makes a larger commentary about our society.

The video below is a book idea, too: urban fantasy this time, more than science fiction.

That part of the Internet… Isn’t critical and creative thinking important for navigating fringe ideas from “that part of the Internet?”

Big plans for books. Goodness, while I would never show these videos in classrooms, it cracks some of my students up when I mention, “I waded through the Internet last weekend,” during those 5 minutes of casual conversations I have with them before class starts, the humanizing aspect of our classroom community.

This next video, I did show in class—to demonstrate it’s possible to create a divided, fun, ethos-logos-pathos space for critical and creative conversation, without politics getting involved, without feeling like we’re about to enter a Thanksgiving dinner train wreck:

We do the train wreck for a different paper.