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Annoyed by bad structure.

13 Oct

By Darryl Ayo

Provocative headline, first paragraph supports headline’s claim, detail paragraphs seem to subvert those claims subtly, halfway through: the finer details of the author’s True Intent are revealed, finally, author doesn’t seem quite so extreme after all.

STOP. WRITING. THIS. ESSAY.

Say what you mean upfront. Use detail paragraphs to flesh out your intentions. Your conclusion is the same as your introduction, plus the knowledge that the reader understands the reasons for your assertion.

That’s how it’s done.

A lot of modern journalists, bloggers, essayists, writers are so fixated on this fallacy that they must provoke their readers and delay their essays’ thesis that they only succeed in provoking outrage.

One cannot insist “read the whole essay” when the writer is too coy or too dishonest to communicate to the reader in good faith without relying on incoherent provocations, misdirections and strawman arguments designed only to trick the reader or anger the reader (at which point, the “clever” writer unveils the truth of their intentions).

It is manipulative and it adds to an already-untenable culture of hyperbole, contrarianism, deceit and misinformation.

Always remember the adages about first impressions.

The first impression of your essay must be the truth of your convictions. Even using your cleverest rhetorical reversals, readers’ lingering impressions will be your initial statement of your essay.

Maybe because most writers are figuring it out as they write. First draft, stream of consciousness, no real editing. It’s one thing to struggle to a conclusion but it’s quite another to ask your unfortunate readers to struggle with you as you make up your mind about what you believe.

Tighten up, writer.

@darrylayo

Bright and early in the morning…

8 Oct

By Ayo

A friend whose name is redacted sent me a snide message on Facebook:

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To keep my wheels turning, I ask the good citizens of tumblr to use the “ask box” feature to give me questions. These questions are generally fantastic.

Please feel free to ask me questions any time: http://darrylayo.tumblr.com/ask

For reference, I live and work in New York City. I do most of my writing on my smartphone. That’s the life that I lead. I write lots of the material for Comix Cube and for my tumblr blog while riding the train or while walking down the street. I have excellent peripheral vision.

So now that I’ve cleared that up, on with the show. The following quote is a question (or an “ask”) that an anonymous tumblr user sent to me. After the quote is my response. For reference, my train to work actually got stalled so I had a lot more time than usual to write. Here we go:

“Where do you think the line of not working hard enough exists for an artist? Going to college, having a job, and various social obligations really takes up my time and energy so when the end of the day comes along I just sleep or draw weak-looking sketches. Then I remember other artists make sure to finish a picture a week along with studies everyday and I feel lazy in comparison.”

If I can convince artists of nothing else, I hope to show people: draw in the morning. You will fail at night. You will not succeed at making things in the night. Here’s why.

When you wake up in the morning after an appropriate amount of sleep, your body is refreshed, recharged, renewed. Your ideas are fresher, your troubles are calmed, you are simply healthier in body and mind.

But that’s not the main advantage!

During the course of a day, any given day, your life’s activities and pressures and stressors will gather and accumulate. When you go to work or go to class or go to meet your friends or just sit in your room, things happen which add to your responsibilities, obligations and stresses.

Example: you want to draw at night. You go to class at school and have a difficult time with a quiz. You know you’ve bombed it and you just feel down all day.

Example: you want to draw at night. You get a text message from your significant other that says “We Need To Talk.”

Example: you want to draw at night. But it’s game night and you want to hang out with your friends! And you should.

Example: you want to draw at night. Before you can get settled in, your manager calls in a panic because the closing shift person quit unexpectedly.

Example: you want to draw at night. Nothing bad has happened to you all day but you are just exhausted! You have school and/or a job and/or friends and/or that news report has absorbed your attention and/or your significant other <3 and/or you've been on your feet all day and/or you're Just Tired and/or you need to buy groceries and/or it's your turn to make dinner and/or your out-of-touch friend called you out of the blue and you're reminiscing and/or You Just Don't Want To!

Give up on the night. You know what I'm doing tonight? Probably not drawing! I think I'll have dinner with a friend or go on a coffee date or try to catch up on television or read one of the graphic novels on my stack of books or read one of the prose books that I've been avoiding. I don't feel any urgency to draw tonight.

I did my day's drawing before 8:05am. I'm off-duty.

"I'm not a morning person!"

So what? Make yourself into a morning person. Retrain your mind. Retrain your body. You're a human being, you're adaptable. Set your alarm earlier and go to bed at a reasonable hour. Leave the night life to the people who don't have stuff to do.

Now, then:

You want to draw a picture per week? It ain't a prob at all, my friend! Here's your schedule. Change the details based on what your details are. I work a 9-to-5 job. Forty hours per week, Monday through Friday.

Monday morning: sketch. Doodle. Just scribble in your sketchbook or copy pictures from magazines.

Tuesday morning: looking over your sketches from Monday, you have some ideas forming. Do some thumbnail layouts and practice the picture composition.

Wednesday morning: by now you are selecting your final composition and perhaps doing a basic sketch on the final paper or canvas or computer document (don't forget to save)

Thursday morning: pick up where you left off and keep drawing your final document.

Friday morning: you're almost there!

Saturday (whatever is closest to a day off for you) : FINISH IT!!!!

Sunday (assuming that you have two consecutive days off or with a lighter workload) : lay loose. Chill out and go hang out with your friends. Teach yourself to dance or go on a bike ride. Gather your strength to resume the cycle…

Monday morning: et cetera…

Get it? Got it? Good!!

@darrylayo

Let’s celebrate African stories but only if those Africans conform to our specific checklist of requirements.

1 Oct

20121001-085527.jpg

A review of a review.

This is Ayo talking about Aya. I know it’s confusing.

Caitlin Hu wrote a review of the first Aya graphic novel:

http://bitchmagazine.org/post/required-reading-aya-de-yopougon-feminist-book-review

(avoid the comments as there are major spoilers for the Aya extended series)

This is a pretty terrible way to read books. Aya’s author, Marguerite Abouet wrote this series of books based on her life and observations in Ivory Coast. Caitlin Hu diminishes Abouet’s story by referring to it as “heterosex” and “problematic” with only a vague sense of justification based on a notion that Aya isn’t Hu’s ideal of a central character and that Aya’s friends are okay but tragically heterosexual. The passive-aggressive manner in which Hu attacks “Aya,” by lightly complimenting elements of the book and then taking those compliments back seem to underline the reviewer’s discomfort with stories which aren’t directly about the Caitlin Hu Experience. Hu is condescending and imperialist. She reviews Aya as though she were a better authority on how three girls lives in Ivory Coast ought to be written than the woman who lived that life.

What part of the game is that?

-Ayo2012xoxo.

My Ninety Percent.

8 Jun

By Darryl Ayo

You realize that you hate Supergirl fans because they campaign against the existence of Power Girl. Never content to simply not read the comic that you like, those people write letters to the editor asking to end the comic and erase the character.

Despite two critically-lauded runs, Supergirl fans get their way and you grit your teeth, rage boiling behind your eyes, more angry with yourself for caring about a goddamned superhero than you are with the people who wished her away.

+++++++
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What is a “good comic book?”

7 Jun

By Ayo

Somewhere, a dude walked past FURY: My War Gone By #3 and bought a copy of “Before Watchmen” #1. Damn, that’s a sucka.

There is nothing that I can tell you about this comic. If you believe, you’ve already read it. If you don’t believe, you just won’t. It’s not even “too bad.” You’re just *different* from people like me. Have fun with your life, buddy.

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All access backstage pass, straight to the dressing room.

7 Jun

By Ayo

Bloggers, what up? Critics, what up? I’ve heard about companies retaliating against critics by shutting off access to things like press releases and previews. Listen closely to me:

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At least it’s an ethos.

1 Jun

By Ayo

Low style is better than no style. Serviceable but rote cultural products are less interesting to me than inspired, idiosyncratic failures. M. Night Shyamalan is more interesting for the very personal way in which he destroys the motion picture medium than inoffensive workmen like Gary Ross.
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