RWET assignment 2: Winter, meet Spring
I'm writing this entry against the clock of my laptop battery running out on account of someone accidentally snagging it yesterday, so I'm keeping it brief for now and will extend after class if I can't before! This week we were assigned to use Python to create a cut-up text, which, as a poet, I have found to be a phenomenal practice in getting my hands dirty in a new language. Python gratifies quickly, even though I can say with this assignment that I have a lot to learn in order to have an actual grip on the text output. This exercise gave me the opportunity to feel around manipulating lists and strings, and some of the "bugs" in the output are really beautiful to me actually... I'd like to know how to control those things in the future because the formatting is something I could add to my repertoire for sure.
The first text I used was a piece I read in the February issue of Harper's Magazine, an excerpt of the novel "White Out by Han Kang that visits a girl who laments that she has been named after winter but grows to love the snow and ends up writing about it (at least the portion of the novel that appears in Harper's). It really struck me because I have historically had a bad relationship with winter, seasonal depression and all. This portion specifically struck me because the narrator notes how everyone stops what they're doing when it first begins to snow, to look at the falling flakes.
It reminded me of the first snow of this past winter... I came to school knowing the forecast and finding myself frustrated that I was going to have to deal with a wet and cold NYC commute. But when it started snowing, I watched as my classmates, some who have never really seen snow in their lives, run to the window in awe. It reminded me that snow was at some point enchanting for me too, and the reaction of my classmates lit a small flame in my heart.
I decided to respond to the text with a poem of my own, exploring the first breaths of spring. Spring in NYC is a magical phenomenon, where the city and its people bloom out of cold isolation into frenetic cross-pollination mode. The turn toward summer feels like an ecstatic drug, and I anticipate it like the religious do a pilgrimage. Given that tomorrow is the first of March, I figured a cut up of the two texts would serve as an acknowledgement of this estuary between seasons.
Will write more on the process later (and where I'd like to go from here), so in the interest of my laptop's battery life here is the code and some screen shots of some of my favorite generated outputs: https://github.com/medusamachina/rwet-2019-projects/blob/master/assignment_2_winter_spring_cutup.ipynb
So many questions!! And much more work I want to do on this assignment, to be honest. Will bring to office hours on Friday.