At one point this semester, I think I slept maybe? Here’s some of the big stuff that’s been happening in my life lately:
At the end of March, I presented my paper “Selling Nostalgia: Transmedia Storytelling in Video Game-Inspired Films” in the games studies division of the Pop Culture Association’s (PCA) National Conference in Indianapolis. I don’t have time to play many video games, so the only game series I know much about are Kingdom Hearts (my favorite), Final Fantasy, Pokemon, and Fire Emblem (such diversity in style!). Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy both have movie entries in their transmedia stories, so this paper interrogates how these series commodify nostalgia to encourage consumption of the peripheral transmedia texts. I presented to an audience of around 40 people and received GREAT feedback. I’m planning on incorporating some of that feedback and submitting the paper to a journal this summer.
When I got back into town, my 2018 ICA research team worked to finish our second manuscript and submitted it to a conference and journal. I submitted a book review to another journal around the same time, and I should have another article out to a journal in a few weeks. I also found out that I was awarded the John F. Murray Outstanding Doctoral Student—Teaching award, which honors a graduate student for their excellent work in teaching.
Two weeks after PCA, I traveled to Madison, WI with three other graduate students for the Big 10 Mini-Conference. This conference brings together multiple Big 10 schools’ journalism and mass communications graduate students to present papers. I presented my paper “‘They Can Now Be Seen’: Netflix and the Cost of Transnational Audiences for Independent Film Producers” at the conference. This conference is interesting because it’s only grad students presenting and you listen to everyone’s papers. It was a long day, but I had fun getting to know some of the other students and hearing what other people across the field are working on.
Outside of work, I’ve mainly been trying to work on more creative writing and finishing some songs for a new Twin Cities album. I submitted a poem to a magazine for publication for the first time in a few years earlier this spring, and I’m going to try and focus more on publishing creative work in the coming months. Gregory Orr, one of my favorite poets, just published a book about writing poetry that I’m excited to read this summer. I’m hoping it will help guide some more focused writing this summer. I’m still trying to write a new album for Twin Cities to record, and I’m about to start demoing some of the songs we’ve written. I’m excited to share more on the creative front in the coming months.
The most creatively inspiring moment of the spring was attending Mission Creek Festival at the beginning of April. The festival conveniently fell in between my two conference presentations this spring. Amanda came up for the week to see Wye Oak, S. Carey, Built to Spill, Julien Baker, and more with me. While I loved seeing some of my favorite current songwriters (Julien Baker) and all time favorite bands (Built to Spill), one of the many highlights of the week was the conversation between Roxanne Gay, Amber Tamblyn, and Jessica Hopper. The three brought a lively conversation about culture, race, feminism, and writing to the Englert, and I wish it would have gone on way longer than it did. Regardless, seeing creative conversations and extremely talented musicians reinvigorated my creative drive.
Finally and most importantly, Amanda and I are getting married in two months. Two years of long distance have gone way faster than I anticipated, and I’m so excited for her to move up to Iowa after the wedding. We’re done with all the big planning for the wedding, and invitations should be going out soon. I’m mostly trying to figure out how to get our apartment ready for her to move in now.
To close off, here’s a list of thing I’d suggest reading or listening to:
- “On Kindness” by Cord Jefferson
- “Retweets are Trash” by Alexis Madrigal in The Atlantic
- “YouTube, The Great Radicalizer” by Zeynep Tufekci in The New York Times
- “The Lofty Optimism of Spotify and the Influence of the Streaming Revolution” by Amanda Petrusich in The New Yorker
- “Wakanda Forever: The Pleasures, The Politics, and The Problems” by Racquel Gates and Kristen J. Warner in Film Quarterly
And a playlist of some of my favorite songs released this spring: