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About this blog

Hello! 

This blog is for general random musings, related and unrelated to fic :) The title comes from the W.B. Yeats poem that also inspired my username, "Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven."

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forever_dreaming

Hello :) 

I’ve been researching machine creativity and I ran into a few interesting articles that I wanted to share with everyone! If you don’t know, machine creativity is exactly what it sounds like it is: teaching computers how to create art in any form. It’s a very complicated field, because if you think about it, all computers are are mega-powerful calculators with lots of memory. How in the world could they write stories and poems and draw pictures? 

The answer is through math! 

I know that that may seem a little counterintuitive because math is literally one of the most concrete things out there and I think everyone would agree that art is the exact opposite. But there’s always an underlying logic behind all the art that we create; though our brains work in mysterious ways, every facet of a story/artwork we created is always the result of a decision tree—whether subconsciously or consciously, we always intend to make the decisions that we do when creating art. Decision trees are really good for computers—computers love decision trees since they’re essentially just big conditionals, and conditionals are only true/false, and that’s binary, so that makes computers very very happy :D 

Anyway, I was researching some of the things that computers have created, and found about something called NaNoGenMo (National Novel Generating Month), which is like NaNoWriMo, but instead of you writing the novel, you write code to generate a novel. I think it’s a really cool idea and there were some very amusing examples in this Medium post. My favorite was “Twide and Twejudice”, which is Pride and Prejudice but with Tweets as the dialogue xD 

But let’s be real, those novels really aren’t that comprehensible. I did a little more digging around and found something even cooler, a web app called word.camera, which takes in a picture and then outputs a poem based on what’s happening in the picture. (Just so you know, this is definitely not an easy thing to teach a computer to do!). 

Machine creativity isn’t limited only to the written word, though; as I said before, machines have been to taught how to create all sorts of art. The coolest, in my opinion, is the visual art. For instance, Google DeepDream is a research project by Google which looks at any arbitrary image you give it and finds other images inside it. Here’s an example:8B82CAC4-7B0E-4724-8C0B-A044FE8D8182.jpeg.8f97fe63c102de7a3b1fc652508efa1c.jpeg

It’s kinda beautiful, right? And definitely a little surrealistic. Essentially, DeepDream reverses the process of recognizing objects in order to create objects that aren’t there. 

Even cooler, Sony CSL is leading a project to develop AI that can create music—they’ve already generated a song called “Daddy’s Car”, which is...a little odd, but that’s understandable, considering it’s coming from a computer haha! 

Anyway, this was very random, but something that I thought would be interesting to share :) In particular, this was interesting for me because I’m always trying to reconcile the two sides of my creativity, the science side and the writing side. I guess, in the end, the two sides aren’t all that different! In the end, whether I’m writing a fic or writing code, I am just stringing words together to create some sort of meaning. 

forever_dreaming

This is a phrase that one of the English teachers at my school uses often, and I think it's such a profound phrase. What's my mythology? What are the stories that make up me--the stories that make up my dreams, my fears, my hopes? What are the stories that capture my humanness? 

Whenever I sit down to write anything, I always try to consider this question. What are my characters' mythologies? How can I write them? Mythologies are not just "headcanons" I have about these characters; they're questions about the characters that have been spun into stories, they're the characters' fears and dreams embodied. They're the characters' imaginations. Isn't that crazy, that a story can capture a character's imagination? 

I shuffle through the hundreds of stories in their mythology, the stories that speak their dreams and imaginations, looking for one that I can tell. 

Sometimes, there's one that sticks out easily. 

That was the case for "keyframe". I sorted through all of the stories in Regulus's mythology, stories that focus around his heroism and bravery, his sadness... and this story, about Pandora, immediately shined. My goal with this story was to showcase his fear, his dreams--to describe a singular moment that captured all the conflicting forces that guided him for his whole life: the forces of obligation, family, fear, hope, and love. The first two are negative forces but the last two are positive forces--so what remained, after the opposing forces canceled out, was his fear, and this was the guiding principle in that story: fear of death, of ashaming his family, of the punishment for rebelling, and of the regret that would haunt him if he didn't rebel. 

Other times, I see three or four stories. 

This was the case for "courage". Neville's mythology is filled with love, with innocence, with courage, with hope, and with tragedy. But the three stories I saw spoke about his shame and fear, the antonym to his courage--and I was fascinated. I knew I had to share this, this human side of the hero. (That phrase, "human side of the hero", is essentially one of the themes of the collection "War Stories" as a whole). One story spoke about his shame about being inadequate, about not living up to the legacy his parents left him. Another story spoke about his inability to share what he felt with his children--this one makes my heart hurt. The final story spoke about the intense fear he felt during his last year at Hogwarts. I spun the stories together, taking threads from each story, and the result was "courage"--a testament to the courage it takes to even admit fear and mistakes, and a different perspective on Neville's heroism. 

And sometimes, I don't see whole stories, but fragments of stories. 

This was the case for "china doll." Cho's mythology is sort of in pieces for me; I see moments for her where she is victorious and strong and moments where she's weak and broken--I wanted to capture all of that in one story. And I wanted to introduce parts of her mythology that are often forgotten: her heritage, her parents. I threaded out one story from her mythology which was a Chinese legend she had heard; this was my attempt to capture her dreams. Then I collected some fragments of other stories in her mythology: trauma after the war, pain after Cedric, the feeling of flying, and, her mother, the force that tried to keep her together. These were her fears, her dreams, her emotions. 

I hope to continue sorting through these characters' mythologies, finding stories that convey their soul, or if there isn't one already existing, creating stories that can do that.

I wanted to share this because it's a different perspective that's allowed me to get closer to my characters; now, by diving deep into their emotions and histories and dreams and fears and their souls as a whole, I can find a story about them that really speaks their soul. 

forever_dreaming

The title is a reference to Avatar: The Last Airbender :D 

One of the things and astonished seven-year-old me the most when I moved to Massachusetts to California was the fact that Massachusetts actually has four seasons. In California, it's more like you've got 2 seasons: one incredibly hot, wildfire-igniting, bone-melting summer, and the rest of the year being a little wetter and little less hot. Oh, and if you live in San Francisco, there's always fog, so you might not even notice the difference in the seasons haha. 

Massachusetts is much different; we have four beautiful seasons (though with global warming, some of those seasons are stretching out a little bit). I'll start with autumn,  as that's the one we're in right now 

AUTUMN

New England is famous for autumn foliage and I can attest that it really is beautiful, in certain places. Where

I live, it's sort of just crusty brown leaves. But I love waking up and seeing the sun rise; there's always a pretty feathery pink in the sky that melts into orange and yellow and it's just gorgeous. Also, it's really only chilly in the morning, but only enough to call for a sweater, so there's a nice mix between summer and winter here. 

Regardless, I feel like autumn is a bit overrated. But maybe that's because for me, it's associated with school starting again :D 

WINTER

When I first moved to Massachusetts, winter was easily my favorite season, and for exactly one reason: snow. I'd never seen anything like it! The first snowfall, my face was pressed against my window the entire time. Now, after having shoveled way too much and almost frozen my butt off, I'm not so fond of winter anymore. In recent years, winter hasn't been so severe; we've had sporadic snowfall, a couple major storms--definitely more manageable than five or six years ago. But it's still annoying! 

SPRING

If I had to pick a favorite season, it would probably be between spring and summer. Spring is beautiful in Massachusetts; there's lots of pretty flowers and there's always a sense of growth and change, which is really nice. I dislike all the rain, but that, much like the snow, is very sporadic. Unfortunately, spring is very short here in Massachusetts; there's definitely a stretched out winter here. 

SUMMER 

Maybe because it's my default state, being from India and having grown up in California, summer is my favorite season. I don't mind the heat; I love it :D I'm always cold so summer is awesome. Summer in MA is never too hot, but just hot enough to feel really good. I like summer too because time seems to slow down with the longer days, which is great since my life seems to be permanently stuck on fast-forward in all the other seasons. 

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