Why do I study biology instead of a writing degree?

Yup. This post is a day late. I’ve yet to purchase either time turner or Tardis, so such is my life.

Speaking of my life, what am I doing with it? I love stories above all else. I love to read and analyse and find patterns in plots and letters. People complain when we watch films together “Sonora, stop meta-watching”. So why am I not doing a literature degree? Or a creative writing degree? Or something “artsy”?

Well, here’s my rambling answer to that. If you’re currently trying to decide what to do with your life (i.e. what university degree to choose, or university versus all the million other things out there), then maybe my story will help you think about it. Continue reading

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Am I a Writer?

Am I a Writer? - What is a 'real' writer and why you're allowed to call yourself one. https://sonorahillsauthor.com/

What is a writer? When can you call yourself one? And how do you get the world to?

We live in a world of titles, where the difference of a few words can offend or flatter–fire you or get you a job–make enemies or friends. Finding out who you are is a big part of accepting yourself, and telling others where your strengths lie or what your job is. But often, there’s a line between professional and unprofessional. If you took a summer course in first aid, you cannot call yourself a trauma surgeon–it wouldn’t make sense. But turn to creativity titles like youtuber or photographer, and the lines are very blurred. In many cases, I don’t think they even exist.

I call myself a writer. An author, even. Am I being presumptuous? Do I really “understand” what I’m talking about? Why am I not a bestseller? If I’m a writer, shouldn’t I at least learn how to write regularly scheduled blog posts?

Well… let’s discuss. What does it really mean to be a writer? Continue reading

Biology Projects – Tales and Tips From a 2nd Year Uni Student

Biology Projects - Tales and Tips from a second year uni student about fish, insects, and writing a good scientific paper https://sonorahillsauthor.com/I thought it would be fun to share some of the science I’ve been doing, especially because it involves words. When people think of biology, they tend to think of the experiments, not the hours spent trying to condense those projects into a legible and concise piece of art.

It may not be literary art, but writing good papers is still an art–you’re still telling a story. For this post, I’m going to attempt to break down a little bit of that story and also to talk about two of the fun behavioural studies I’ve been doing!

WARNING: contains big bugs, pretty graphs, some numbers, and twenty zebrafish. Continue reading

Literary Persuasion–The Hunger Games

In an age where easy-to-watch films are everywhere, what makes us continue to dedicate our time to reading books?

I was kindly invited to guest post on the blog Propaganda for Change. I tried my hand at a more scientific post that talks about the persuasive content hidden in the pages of our papery friends, using the impressive Hunger Games Trilogy as an example.

If you’re reading this, then chances are you like to read. And you almost certainly like stories.
 
From an evolutionary viewpoint, the reason for loving stories is clear; prehistoric man could listen to his friend talking about a close encounter with a wolf in a cave and then he could use that knowledge to stay alive on his search for food. Stories were sugar coated pills of important information. They were also a way of creating beauty to bond with other humans and increase one’s survival (1). Even today, it’s a well-known fact that we tend to enjoy things that lengthen our lifespans–mother nature is funny that way.
 

Granted, the ‘don’t eat those red berries, because…’ story is extremely different from the modern fictional sagas, but we’re captivated by them just the same.
However, this still doesn’t explain our love of books in particular. These days, most books have been turned into films, which require little effort or time to watch. Reading a 700-page book is an entirely different form of crazy. It requires days, and sometimes weeks, of dedicated page flipping. Why do we do this?
 
One simple answer could be ‘the book is better than the film’. But why would we say this? What powerful force would make us struggle through not just one book, but a whole series because it’s ‘better’ than anything on the screen?
 
I believe the answer is ‘persuasion’. The writer is trying, and often succeeding, to convince you that those 100,000 words are worth your time. Essentially, a book is a never-ending stream of propaganda that tells you to read more propaganda.