Where Do They All Belong?

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Photo by Routine @ Morguefile.com

Many days ago, I remember praising SunkenThought’s article in which she described the relationship she had with her husband. That was for a very specific reason, because I was at the end of a long string of lousy dates that never seemed to go anywhere. I was consumed by the cynicism that modern dating, online dating especially, engendered.

My peers have become worn out, and many of them remain single. But not just single, they’re lonely too. Many of them yearn for affection and love, but things just don’t seem to be working out for them. It is not just my male friends who feel this way, as my female friends also feel this crushing sense of loneliness. If there was a theme to the 21st century millennial dating experience, it would be the Beatles’ classic “Eleanor Rigby”.

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Self-Esteem Exercises

All right, out of the winter haze. On we go! Let’s get to it!

Today, I’m going to mention a bit more about some of the hurdles of depression that I am currently going through. But more specifically, I want to mention some things that help through the times of darkness.

I recently made improving my self-esteem a priority, something which I intended to do much earlier but always conveniently had the excuse not to do. However, when I read through my draft of “One Hundred Days of Mist”, I found that it had an intensely therapeutic aspect. Something about reading the words that I wrote back that made it stronger than me merely repeating the words back to myself.

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Every Tear

My experience with Final Fantasy XV is slowly, but surely coming to a close. I had to start over so I could try once more with a steadier supply of gil and items. I have much to say on the game itself, more than a single article could possibly contain.

But, since I previously wrote about the soundtrack I figured it would be the best approach to start, because it is also the part of the game that I have the most positive things to say about. Not that I had a negative experience with the game as a whole, but if there was any element worthy of praise in my eyes, it would be Yoko Shimomura’s soundtrack.

I have heard some people describe the soundtrack as “disjointed”, and I think that has to do with the fact that the music’s intensity does not match the narrative’s intensity (though I think that has to do with the way the narrative is delivered in the game rather than anything that Shimomura did). However, when viewed as a whole product, I am pleased with how it turned out.

The soundtrack was quietly released on iTunes. I took the opportunity to snatch it up and give it a listen. Even though “Somnus” is the main theme of Final Fantasy XV, the song that was played the most during Final Fantasy XV and the time it spent as Final Fantasy Versus XIII was “Omnis Lacrima”.

The best music in the soundtrack is built around the tone that Omnis Lacrima sets. The sweeping orchestral score, complete with choir, is excellent for conveying intense combat scenes in the game. I remember it being most effective when I confronted the Adamantoise (it seemed like a good idea at the time).

Another particularly noteworthy track was “Invidia”, which plays during the battle with Aranea Highwind. “Premonition” and “Nox Divina” are also tracks of a similar vein, which play upon summoning an Astral. When Shimomura is given the instruction to work with intensity, it brings out the best in her music. “Valse Di Fantastica” conveys a sense of triumph and adventure that

Where Final Fantasy XV’s music falters is that the other side of the emotional palette,  moments of extreme sadness, are not present. Though I fully believe this is within Shimomura’s capability to produce, the tracks that are meant to convey sadness don’t quite reach the levels that say “Aerith’s Theme” from Final Fantasy VII does.

“Sorrow Without Solace” feels too subdued, as does “End of the Road”. It feels like the listener is kept at arm’s length from really experiencing the sadness that the scenes are supposed to convey.

I think Shimomura’s talent for conveying emotion is clearly there, but I wish I could have seen the other side more clearly. While I love the intensity of tracks like Omnis Lacrima and Invidia, I also like the somber tracks that arouse a sense of deep sorrow. Somnus is the closest to get to this point, but it still doesn’t feel as impactful as Uematsu’s work. Perhaps in an another time, Shimomura will showcase that aspect in a different soundtrack. If she has produced this work already and I am not aware of it, please link it to me in the comments, because I would love to hear it!

Where Art Thou, Audience?

 

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Photo by DodgertonSkillhause @ Morguefile.com

Much like my previous ambitions to attain Discover, my ambitions for an audience have also grown. In my days at Eyes Through the Glass, I was very grateful for whatever audience I had. There were a handful of people, though I do not recall much in terms of a community.

If I recall correctly, many of my followers for Eyes Through the Glass were spambots. So perhaps the fact that there are far fewer means that I am simply not getting picked up by spambots for an easy follow.

In terms of SEO, you can find my domain if you Google “memoryofthestar”, but won’t find it if you use “Memory of the star”. I am unsure of what to make of this. I’ll probably get someone on Google to explain what is going on.

I must confess, I don’t think I do enough in terms of promotion and outreach. Part of that has to do with the fact that I prioritize my journalism and schoolwork over blog promotion. I am on Flipboard since that has the greatest return on investment in terms of audience. However, I also fell behind with putting posts up.

I do have a Facebook page but it doesn’t really generate views. Neither did my Twitter feed. Part of the difficulty is not just finding an audience, but finding the right audience.

I could go to Reddit and post, but I honestly doubt that they’d be interested in my writing style.

I also recognize that I don’t have an audience. There will be people who are interested in my autism spectrum posts. There are going to be others who are interested in hearing about board games and Dungeons & Dragons. When I finally get to writing about other geeky topics, I’m sure that’s gonna be part of it too. The difficulty with catering to a single specific audience, as I learned during Eyes Through the Glass, is that I am interested in writing about many different things. You can pull out some patterns, for certain. But I still wonder about what I can do.

And yes, I am still eyeing Discover. Though the process is that in which I submit an article and summarily hear nothing ever again. It’s no one’s fault, but I wonder what the issue is in particular.

I’ve heard the cliché a million times, “just write for yourself and don’t worry if people read your stuff” But I find that unsatisfactory. The purpose of making a blog, one that is publicly accessible, is so that someone else can read it. It’s why I’m typing on WordPress and not on Word.

I don’t want fame, but I confess that I do want recognition. Perhaps my expectations are unreasonable in that regard. If I had the money to burn on advertising, I’d take it up. But I’m a student, and still trying to find exactly where I fit in, especially since journalism is a tough field.

I have found that getting people offline to read my blog is a Herculean task. Some of my friends do, but only on occasion and usually without comment.  My thoughts have turned to attempting to establish myself as a Baltimore blogger. Currently, there is no Baltimore blogger meetup group present, so I may just go ahead and attempt to rectify that.

Until then, I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do. I guess I’m just going to keep writing good content and then hopefully an audience will find something that I produced.

The Stroke of Midnight

2016-04-23-14-04-20Today is officially the first day of 2017. It is, by luck of the draw, the first birthday of Memory of the Star. As with most of us, it is a time to reflect on the year behind me but also a way to plan the year ahead.

My therapist has instructed me not to take up New Year’s resolutions and I understand her reasoning. Instead of performing a resolution, I am going to do what I like doing the most: taking a snapshot of where I am and where I was the year before.

Unfortunately, my inaugural post has since been trashed. Not because I particularly regretted it, but because Memory of the Star began as a directionless blog. During that time, I was at the start of a long process of recovery from depression, a process that continues to this day. My thoughtful posts were mostly forgotten by both me and whatever audience I had at the time.

In their place were daily prompts, which I often answered with little enthusiasm or vigor. Not that they weren’t helpful with bringing in fresh faces, but the bump in traffic that I received was not really that significant. Nor did it help build any semblance of community. Bringing eyeballs means one thing, getting them to stay is another. Yet, I’m glad that I let it remain dormant until my journalism classes completed.

Memory of the Star, like the New Year itself, represented a fresh start. As I had grown dissatisfied with the direction that Eyes Through The Glass had taken. Fortunately for me, a fresh start is not needed this year. Just a look back to the year before and a look forward to the year ahead.

Despite the deletion of my first post, I have an excellent recollection of what had happened. At the time, I was in a state of limbo, having been out of school for some time and in preparation for my triumphant return during the following spring.

My social group had formed over Dungeons & Dragons. I had focused on getting my social life and academics back in order before anything else.

Now, those aspects of my life have been pretty much fulfilled. So, I figured I’d spend the time this year focusing on some more subtle aspects. Some of these are things I’ve already started doing, others are things I started and fell off the wagon with.

Dating is an ongoing journey, and given that my post “Curse of the Lonely Heart” was the post that received the most likes I will likely make more references to it. For a while, it was a tie with my decent but personally uninteresting topic of weight loss. However, a few days ago someone pushed it over the edge.

For the purposes of this snapshot, I am currently single. Some things hint at a possible direction, and I am still trying, but we’ll have to see where this goes.

Speaking of weight…My NaNoWriMo adventures did my weight loss program no favors, having gained all of the weight I took the time to lose. Fortunately for me, weight loss was a simpler process than I anticipated and the most it will take is a bit of discipline.

There are other aspects that I could highlight, but for the sake of brevity and focus, I will use these. We’ll see where this is in 2018.