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Creative Duality

Prompt: write about a dual quality (strength but weakness) of either in general or for yourself

This is possibly the most difficult question I’m faced with whenever I go into an interview.  Like an article I read, sometimes it’s hard to find the balance between completely devaluing yourself and coming off as being boastful.  It’s been said that the best strengths are weaknesses and vice versa.  The first answer that comes to me is perfectionism.  Perfectionism is all encompassing.  You can achieve so much as a perfectionist, you have incredibly high standards because, well, you’re essentially saying that you or the product you produce is perfect or near perfect and you wouldn’t submit it if it wasn’t that way.  And, of course, the flip is always something like you are too detail-oriented you fail to see the big picture or maybe because everything has to be perfect, it takes you a little longer than others to do the project because you’re checking every little detail.

I get it.  I am one.  So finding another quality to describe me is hard, but I think I’ve done it.

My weakness and my strength is my creativity.

But wait?  How can creativity be a weakness?  Let me explain by first telling you how it’s a strength for me.  Considering I’m a part of a September Writing Challenge that revolves around prompts that change every day, designed to challenge me by making me write something on the fly, I am utilizing a lot of creative ability here. (which can also be likened to improv, but this is a little less improv-y than improv).  The fact that I have a blog dedicated to my poetry and short stories, shows that I have a huge imagination.  Creativity is a skill.  I’ve trained really hard to get to where I am now.  Sure, sometimes it just looks like I don’t put in any effort, but that’s kind of the point.  Sure, I say I just let the words flow from my brain to my fingers onto a screen on written out on a piece of paper, but there’s a lot more going on than that.  It’s been wired into my brain so that I write as easily as I breathe.

Now consider this.  I’ve put my whole life into making writing look easy.  I’ve studied this skill for years and I can say that I still don’t have mastery over every aspect of it and I know that I never will.  Writing is one of those things you never stop learning.  I’ll always make mistakes, grammar and otherwise.  But my brain has been conditioned to think this way and if you ask me to think logically about something, I’m not saying I can’t do it, but it’s gonna be a hell of a lot harder.  I’ve developed my right brain so much that sometimes what comes out of my mouth is pure stupidity because it isn’t even processed or touched by the left brain.  Sure, there was a time when I was heavily left-brained, but having not utilized those skills for such a long time, my brain adapted and discarded the knowledge I no longer needed.  I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s so much harder.  I learned this about myself while studying and taking the LSAT.  Logic utilizes the brain in such a way that it’s not used to.  For me, it’s not just the time constraints of the LSAT that gets me, it’s being able to make my brain think a certain way.  And for someone who had things come so naturally to her (please don’t hate me, but I’m probably the laziest student ever and if things didn’t come naturally to me as a kid, I just pretty much just abandoned them.  I’m the kind of kid who didn’t care why something happened; I just respected whatever authority told me.  Thankfully, I’m not like that now.), this was really hard.  Sometimes I wonder if I lack the maturity to be able to process logic, but in other ways, I think I am much more mature than my age.

So in short what I’m saying is that my brain has, in a way, specialized, but not in the way that what I do becomes inaccessible to others.  That’s what I find so cool about creative endeavours.  For something like physics or the hard sciences or even English and law, there is a set of defined terminology that you’re expected to know or a series of calculations.  These are inaccessible to “regular” people who aren’t privy to that knowledge, to people who haven’t studied in that field.  But the creative sphere is great in that people acknowledge that it takes a certain type of skill to produce that piece and that they may not necessarily possess that skill or that level of skill, but can still enjoy it.

Coding Update: Python

So it’s been like two weeks since I started doing coding.  Since I’ve been busy with the writing challenge, coding has mostly been a weekend endeavour, which is both great and shitty because since I’m not reinforcing my learning everyday, there are times I forget what I was doing last week.  A better way I could be tackling this is treating it like a school course and take notes for everything (by hand because that’s how I learn best).  If that’s the case then I’m definitely starting my courses over again.

This past weekend, I’ve moved into something called functions.  Basically, functions allow for the programmer to input variables in order to display a particular message and have those variables change.  Well, I was working along just fine when I came across the final two lessons of the module.

In particular, the preamble/lesson part of the page said that we couldn’t call on specific variables because they only exist within the function, but then when I got to the instructions it said to try it.  In my head, all I’m thinking is, “it’s not going to work.”  So I try it and, of course, I get a name error, which is what I expected to see.  But then it shows an “x” in me completing the task meaning I can’t technically move on to the next part of the instructions (they’re just greyed out, doesn’t mean I can’t read them).  So I tried moving on and doing it, but it still wouldn’t say I completed it.  So, by this point, I’m super frustrated and ask to see the solution.  Okay, fair enough, I messed up some of the coding along the way, so I copy the solution and reset the code to try going through it again.  Nope, again it doesn’t work.  So I paste the solution in (and by this time I’ve tried doing this four or five times already) and it immediately says I’m right.  So I clear it again, write my code and paste the solution below to do a comparison.  Everything matches, so why is it that my code is wrong and the solution is right?

I move on thinking, “okay well that will result in a name error so I just have to know not to do it or to define the term outside of the function aka before the function” and I get to the review section and what does it ask me to do?  Yup, do the thing that results in the name error.  So now I’m stuck and frustrated and don’t know what to do.  I might redo the whole lesson and see if there was something I missed.


Coding 101

I’m not usually one who uses their blog to write about the daily happenings of my life.  At least not in so far as a blog that consistently posts non-fiction work.  There are the odd rant here and there and of course, all my non-fiction that hints at events within my life, but nothing so “mundane” as to cover a day in life of me.

As I sit here today, breathing in the cool September air, basking in the bright sunlight, I can’t help but think that this is the quintessential autumn day.  I can’t really say what it is, but this is the perfect autumn day for me.  And what does autumn bring with it?  School books and new friends, but that isn’t what awaits me this year.  Sure, I’ve said that it felt strange to not return to school after attending for 17 years when I graduated with my first degree, but after being in school for another two years, it again feels weird to not being going back.  At my core, I am a student.  I love nothing more than to return to a classroom and learn new things everyday (despite somedays/classes where I spend the entirety of it on social media or writing on my blog or shopping or what have you).

So this September, even though I’m no longer going to be at school, I will still be learning something new.

At first I considered doing my creative writing certificate because I’ve always lamented that I didn’t take the opportunity to have it added to my degree all those years ago.  However, based on the cost (and the fact that I am still in debt from my most recent educational endeavour – the legal assistant diploma program), I thought it best to wait a little first.  Then I came across code academy.

It was actually something my sister was already familiar with and I just happened to see it in passing.  I always saw her typing some “complicated” commands into a black screen and watching it translate into something more understandable on the right third of her screen.  Sure, I was intrigued, but not enough to actually make me take action.  But then today, I just thought to myself, why not try it?  It would allow me to discuss something with my sister that she was interested in and actually understand what she was saying back to me.

So, I’m doing it and in true Alcina fashion, I’m gonna blog about it as I do.  Here goes nothing!

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