Indian-born French writer Shumona Sinh discussed her novels and their relationship to the political and social environments of the countries in which she has lived and worked during a lecture Tuesday titled “Literature and Activism: The Challenges of Representing the Impoverished Immigrant Other” hosted by French and Francophone Studies and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies.“Any writing, poems or novels, when we are touched by a sentence or an image or a metaphor, the writer is putting something that was right under our eyes into a new light,” Sinha said.Sinha said she cares deeply about the topics on which her novels focus, so much so that she feels she must write about them.“For me, even if I wanted to write a very romantic novel, I am unable to,” Sinha said. “If I do not write about what I think, then I am being dishonest.“Think of a literary work as a big train. There are people getting off and going up and down; this is the human story. However, the thing that interests me is the engine, that is, the socio-political codes.”Sinha said she uses her writing instead of physical activism to affect people and initiate change.“I was in a political party that was a very restrictive organization,” she said. “I knew that if I joined something like that again, that it would crush me. Barriers would be placed around my work and I would be labeled as a certain kind of writer.“My work is with words. If there are two people that are touched by something that I have written, and they are able to think differently, then that’s not bad.”Sinha said she believes the private morals of individuals and the public morals of politics should be closely connected.“I am quite stubborn in that I have my value system,” she said. “For me, stealing is bad. Lying is bad. But in the same way, I understand the nature of today’s politics. However, if you start thinking as a citizen that everything is fake, that all politicians are liars, then there is nothing to hope for, nothing to depend on.”Graduate student Lauren LaMore said Sinha’s lecture prompted her to think about the correlations between literature and society and the possibility for words to generate actions.“It was very cool for me to hear a writer talk about how she engages in society and different issues through literature,” LaMore said. “I took away that even if you manage to reach one person, even for an hour, it could change their relationships and how they view the world, which means everything.”“This lecture is very much what Notre Dame tries to do,” she said. “They take a field of study and apply it and see how it can make a real difference.” Tags: French and Francophone Studies, lecture, literature, Nanovic Institute for European Studies, Romance Languages and Literatures
Middle Georgia Goat Producers will sponsor a “Goat Basics” workshop Jan. 12 at the Houston County Extension Office at 733 Carroll Street in Perry, Ga.The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end by noon. Optional afternoon visits to goat farms will provide hands-on training in giving shots, worming goats and trimming goats’ feet.The free workshop is open to anyone. The sessions will be geared for people new to raising goats or just considering getting into the business.The sessions will cover fencing, housing, browse, medications and selecting goats. For more information, call Bill Haas at (478) 987-1789. Or e-mail him at (FancyBrits@msn.com).
Art therapy is a form of therapy that allows you to alleviate stress by making art. Usually, it means painting or creating other visual art forms, but it can be whatever you want it to be. Maybe for you it’s playing your guitar or writing angsty poetry or learning pottery. For me, it was making Tik Toks. The day I downloaded Tik Tok, a little part of my soul died. For as long as I could remember, I had been the person making fun of my friends for having Tik Tok, but two weeks into quarantine, my pride gave into boredom, and I watched the little circle fill up as the app loaded onto my phone. I clicked on the blue and red faded music note. Videos flooded my phone as I scrolled and scrolled and scrolled. Seasons changed outside my window. Pages flew off the calendar. Anna Velychko is a freshman writing about art and pop culture. Her column “Unquirky” runs every other Wednesday. As we embark on a new semester of Zoom University, we’re confronted with many of these same feelings. We’re forced to stay inside and stare at our computers all day long, and breakout rooms just don’t feel the same as in-person conversations used to. The viral video sharing app is increasing in popularity for many who seek a creative outlet (Photo from Creative Commons). OK, so maybe you don’t think of Tik Toks as art, but making them is definitely therapeutic. Something about the process was really soothing for me. First, I would figure out what I wanted the video to be. Then I would find a song, an outfit to wear and start filming. Afterwards, I would edit and post. That was the best part about Tik Tok — I could go all the way through with something without losing my mind. At a time when I barely had the motivation to get through a movie, the satisfaction of making something, from start to end, was everything. This semester is going to be hard. There’s no doubt about it. Zoom takes all the fun parts out of classes and leaves us with the hard part. You’re going to feel overwhelmed and lonely sometimes, and that’s OK you just have to find an outlet for all of that angst. And listen, it might not be Tik Tok. All I’m saying is it doesn’t hurt to try. Aside from being entertaining, Tik Tok is also extremely accessible. Other kinds of art therapy, such as painting or playing an instrument, require training and expensive supplies. To make a Tik Tok, you don’t have to buy a camera or expensive equipment. In fact, the most popular Tik Toks are often grainy and unprofessional. All you really need is your phone and your imagination. When quarantine started, a lot of us lost the things that used to make us happy. Those first couple of weeks were a difficult adjustment. We were trapped in our houses with pretty much nothing to do but to binge-watch television, and the fact that we couldn’t see our friends didn’t help. Many people felt bored and frustrated and helpless. I know I did. When I finally emerged from my Tik Tok spiral, my mind felt numb. I couldn’t remember a single video I had just watched. Everything was a blur of catchy songs and wild effects. It only got worse from there. Pretty much every day for the next month, I opened Tik Tok when I was feeling bored or lonely or overwhelmed and ended up wasting hours scrolling through countless videos. I felt subdued, but none of my stress was resolved. I’m not saying you have to go viral to be happy. You could make Tik Toks venting about your feelings or doing your makeup or parodying someone famous or even make your page entirely dedicated to zooming in on and editing random images until they look like the flag of Poland (as about 50 users do). The point is, it doesn’t really matter how you choose to express yourself as long as you are expressing yourself. You don’t even have to publish your Tik Toks. Just making them is therapeutic in itself, and it’s actually a lot of fun. You might just find that sharing how you feel with other people will make you feel a lot less alone.