Log #14: A Reflection and a Letter

Dear Aris,

I am replying to your letter from last week.  I also wanted to tell you that if you are gointo deliver me a letter, do not do it on the back of a unicorn.  It’s “disguise” did not work at all.  It only made the unicorn more obvious.  People started to call the cops, and I had to get the unicorn to run away, which is much harder than it actually sounds.

I am very thankful that I can help you Aris.  I had a great time helping arganee, and now that it is safe, I feel good about your future.  M told me that when you traveled here you used the door.  Why didn’t you pop out in our classroom? In your letter you said that there was a past gateway that made Arganee “explosive”.  There are a lot of bad people online, and that can be a major problem.  Was it people abusing the network that caused Arganee to become explosive?  Or was their a bad alchemist controlling it?  Also, Tokyo isn’t in the Bronx but Japan, and Cambridge is in England, not the U.S.  You really need to take Earth studies.  You have a lot to learn Aris, but that is ok.  Me too.



NetNarr Celebration

I do have quite a bit to learn.  Here are the some of things I learned in Networked Narratives and also in my travels to Arganee:

  • I learned how to make memes and gifs.
  • I learned how to use twitter in a responsible and fun way
  • I learned how to use a hashtag to connect
  • I learned how to build a thoughtful blog
  • I learned how to use a network
  • I learned how to write blackout poetry
  • I learned how to do improv and netprov
  • I learned the beginnings of digital alchemy
  • I learned how to make a character who is like me, but also really different than me
  • I learned how to connect with other people
  • I learned how to use Hypothes.is
  • I learned how to share in a webinar
  • I learned how to make and edit sound files
  • I learned how to participate in a twitter chat
  • I learned how to “Cook with Anger”
  • I learned how to write in different digital spaces
  • I learned how to collaborate with other people to make a bigger story

I learned a lot in #NetNarr.  I am glad I participated in it,.  Every Wednesday I would wake up and look forward to it.  I am so happy I was the first kid to ever participate in it. I am sad that it is “paused for now”, but next year I will be able to help other kids be a part of the alchemy.  I will try to keep the hashtag alive with some posts here and there.

Joining Networked Narratives was one of the best things I ever did.

Thank you NetNarr for the digital alchemy.  Thank you Arganee for the fun.






Log# 12.5: A Goodbye (For Now)

The other day while I was eating a cookie, I received a strange letter arriving pinned on the back of a unicorn.  This unicorn had a sign on it that said “Normal Human Animal”.  I think my alchemist friend from Arganee needs to take a class on Earth species.  Anyway, the letter was quite peculiar:

My goaafy friend,

I am writing to tell you that I am thankful for your help.  Rebeg contacted me and the other alchemists to tell us the results of our mission.  It turns out that everybody survived and the planet is thriving.  Thanks to your contributions, arganee has new connections and knowledge.

I visited Earth the other day and decided to travel around. Yesterday I flew in that flying metal bird you call a plane.  Looks like some futuristic torture device, made to break a human’s mind.  I sat there for 6 hours to end up in the wrong place.  Isn’t Tokyo in the Bronx?  I ended up in some strange place called New York City in Europe.  And then when I tried to get to Kean University for the party, I ended up in Cambridge.

Rebeg contacted me and said that there is a rip in the time continuum.  I don’t know where it is, but hopefully in a more hidden place than last time.  It supposedly is a direct gateway from arganee to Earth.  The last gate was the reason why arganee became “explosive.”Rinmaru Character

Tomorrow I am going to collect a box of Earth items and traditions to take home with me.  Hopefully they will be beneficial on our kind.  I like that
game you play.  It is called Team Fortress 2, right?

Your world is strange, but has a good vibe.  You and your oth
er goaafy friends will be remembered as heroes (I think. I have to wait for M’s approval).  I have to say goodbye now.  Arganee needs me.  But I will see you soon.  Peace out!

From your magical friend,

Aris Anastos

The letter has got me wondering.  Where was the last gateway?  And why did Arganee become “explosive”?  I think I’ll write him back soon.

Log # 12: Alchemy in Paint

Even though I am a digital alchemist, I also work with other kinds of alchemy. Here are some of my own paintings:

This acrylic piece depicts a snowy mountainside in the middle of February.
This acrylic piece depicts a snowy forest in the middle of December.
This oil pastel depicts a field with a forest in the background.
This is an impression of Alexander Calder’s painting of Balloons at the Circus.

Log #11: A Pinch of Homesickness and a New Friend

Rinmaru Character.pngThis week in NetNarr I befriended an imaginative alchemist named Aris Anastos (@Aris_Anastos). He seemed to be from the dying world of #arganee.  He wrote a flavorful story for me called “A Pinch of Homesickness”:

 A Pinch of Homesickness

Main Ingredients:






Spice Pack:

1/8 whisper of disapproval

1/4 pinch of homesickness

One day a 17 year old boy was walking down the street, dreaming of becoming an archaeologist.  He was just about to be home when he saw a tattoo shop.  He thought to himself why not check it out.  When he went into the shop, he noticed a strange symbol on the sample board.  That would look cool on me, he said to himself.

45 minutes later he came out of the shop and started to walk home to find his mom worried sick.  “Where have you been!? Your dinner is…” She paused and looked down at his tattoo.  “…is on the table.”  The boy sat down and started eating.  “What is in this soup?” he asked.  His mom responded by saying “Some coriander and ⅛ a whisper of disapproval.”  His cheeks turned a bright shade of red, for even though he felt no pain when he got the tattoo, he didn’t realise the pain might be felt by others.

The next day in school his teacher stopped him at the door.  “Where did you get that tattoo?” She asked.  He then responded “At the new tattoo store.”  She then she said with a seriousness on her face “That symbol you chose is an ancient sign that means that the wearer seeks something.  Perhaps what you seek is buried in the past.”  The boy was puzzled.  The whole school day he was thinking about what his teacher said.  He decided to leave home to dig up the past in search of artifacts, traces, and more whispers.

When he arrived at his apartment a bottle of champagne was sitting at the table.  “What was there to celebrate?” he thought to himself.  The label said “MADE WITH ¼ A PINCH OF HOMESICKNESS”.  All of these signs seemed to foretell his departure, like his life was controlled by a divine force.

He placed a note on the table that expressed his regrets.  He took one last glance at the apartment, then left.

Log# 10: Is the Truth Gone?

Man Bat HoaxLast week I went to Washington D.C. with my mom to go to the National Writing Project spring meeting.  They had a presentation on fake news.  The presenter shared a historic example from the 19th century like the “manbat” rumor, where two scientists that were looking for attention made up a story that said “manbats” lived on the moon.  The funny thing is that people believed it.  It was posted in a historic  newspaper.  But why did people believe this fraud?  The bad thing is that today fake news has grown.  Since anybody can post anything they want on the internet, I learned that you should always check the site you are getting information from and see if it is trustworthy.   Since the internet is full of unreliable information, it results in a world where truth may be lost or hidden.

FullSizeRender-2FullSizeRender-4.jpgWhen I was in D.C. I also visited Senator Cory Booker’s office and Senator Robert Menendez’s office to drop of information about the National Writing Project and to support teachers in New Jersey.  The most surprising thing that happened though is that one of the Senator’ Booker’s aides is the niece of my fifth grade teacher.  What a small world! Before I went to D.C., I had no clue what the offices were like and I would not be able to visualize their work environment and where they sign important bills.  Now I have a reference point in my mind for the work that they do.

PV_ish5nlVmsdeAroVB57e3h6UgNJoAYi5YfsSzfU7w.jpegFor my last thoughts for this blog post, I will include my own memories of Kean University.  My favorite memory is when I was in the preschool there and we were learning about “decay”.  I was the only one who got to help the teachers with the vegetable we were watching decompose.  That was one of the happiest days of my life.  Since I was a toddeler I have been lucky to be in this learning community.  It all started in the campus childcare center.

Log #9: The Sound of Life

underwater-ambience-sound-effect-018177135_iconmIn Week 8 of Networked Narratives, we are talking more about sound.  Therefore, I took a closer look at sound.

When I think of sound, I think of everyday normal sounds like footsteps or a conversation.  But when I recorded “ambiance,” it just sounded like a foggy mess of words and noises with no defined subject.  It was background gibberish.  After listening to a track I recorded in Starbucks a few times,  I realized that we take ambiance for granted, and it is everywhere.  When you walk in the park, you here birds, the wind, and probably other people talking and laughing.  When walking in New York City, you here cars, people walking, shouting, honking, and many other sounds.  These sounds are so common, we don’t even notice them.  But they reveal life around us.  Most living things make noises and speak to one another in some way.  But it fades into our background unless we pay close attention.  But in order to set the stage for a real life world, general sounds of people doing their thing – human ambience – is essential.  Those noises show that we are here.

Moving on to another part of Networked Narratives, the bus stopped at The Young Writers Project in Vermont this week.  Young Writers Project  I think it is a great environment from my perspective as a kid who loves to write.  It is full of kids who love to write too and I noticed that this network welcomes kids who love to write from all over the world.  I was able to participate in the webinar conversation, and I met other members of the Y.W.P.  Here is the video recording:


Since then I have posted two poems on the Y.W.P. site.  One poem is funny, and the other one is serious:

S.L.O.S. (The Secret Life Of Shoes)

I always wondered if shoes had thoughts.
Do they chose the feet they wont too?
What if shoes had a secret life of their own?

Would shoe boxes be their houses?
Would different brands be different races?
Would our houses be cities to them?

What if being our shoes is just their job, and they have “families” of their own?
When boots are shined, is it a shower to them?
Do not underestimate the S.L.O.S.



I am silent and intent.
I wonder what the mouse feels.
I hear the rustle of a bush.
I spot the mouse peek it’s nose out.
I am silent and intent.

I pretend to be a bushel of leaves.
I feel collected.
I grasp the branch.
I worry that it has seen me.
I screech thinking my prey has vanished.
I am silent and intent.

I understand my meaning in life.
I say the world is unfair.
I dream of being more.
I try to help my fledglings.
I hope I can raise them to adulthood.
I am silent and intent.

Log#8: Pros and Cons of Life Online


This post is about the pros and cons of online life.  I have only been online for a few years, but since then I have learned a lot about the internet.

The Pros of the internet:  

#1: The internet is a virtual library of things!  It makes researching things for school or any subject a ton easier.  Instead of going to the library overtime to research a subject, you can just look it up on your nearest electronic devise.

#2:  We all have some online networks, or groups we participate in.  I can go on for a long time naming all the different types of networks.  Why is this good you Pros of internet.jpgmight ask?  Everyone has a hobby or activity they like. Many might want to connect with people who have the same interests.  Networks are just that.  They are developed by people that have similar passions to share ideas.

#3:  The internet has a special feature: speed.  Before in the olden days, communicating with people from far away would be hard. It would take days and days for a letter to arrive somewhere, and more weeks to get a reply.  Now that there is Email, you can send a message to a person in an instant.

The Cons of the internet:

#1:  Distraction is a majoi-want-my-life-back.jpgr issue when using the internet.  A lot of things on the internet are clickbait, or something made to get your attention.  When you click on something, you just keep clicking the next video or article over and over again, until you have wasted all of your time spiraling down a deep hole.

#2: It is easy to abuse the internet, such as using it to hurt other people or troll them.   A lot of people hide behind fake identities to hurt other people or get something out of them such as money.  It is harder to scam people in real life.

#3:  Not all of the information you find on the internet is real.  Since anyone can post anything they want on the internet, you have to be sure that the information you are reading is truthful and factual.  How do we know where the truth lies in the internet?


creativity1Being online for me has opened many gateways of creativity.  Being in Networked Narratives makes me happy because I am collaborating online and in person with new people.  I am learning a lot about online culture, and think #NetNarr is great.


Log# 5: Listening is Noticing

canaries-listeningIn week 5  of Networked Narratives, our class was given an assignment about sound.  In the small clips that are posted on the weekly announcements,  one of the videos talks about how we hear things, but we don’t listen.  There is a huge difference between hearing and listening.  Hearing is just hearing.  Listening, is hearing and taking in what somebody said.  Listening is noticing.  My mind trailed off and I started thinking about language.   When you think deeply about language,  we are just making random noises with our mouths.  What makes us decode these random noises that we understand as language?  How did we set certain combinations of sound to equal logical meaning?  Sound is truly a story shrouded in mystery.

Picking up on the idea of listening, I participated in the NetNarr weekly webinar.  It was intriguing to listen to so many with experience.  In the Networked Narratives webinar, the subject was creative chaos.  Howard Rheingold talked about how when he was in school, everything had a lot of restrictions and rules.  But luckily his mother was the art teacher, and any students who didn’t follow the rules were sent to the art room.  I am able to relate to this because my old school had similar restrictions. There were even rules and boundaries in the art room.  It was hard to shape a cool idea in that atmosphere.

Near the end of our conversation,  Howard Rheingold talked about how when you don’t do creative things, you “starve” a part of your mind.  I like this idea because whenever I just do things that don’t make me think in new ways, I don’t see the point.  He also mentioned he was a gardener, and said that life is like building a compost pile. You throw in ideas like seeds that grow into a garden.  My favorite comment is that when an alchemist  experiments with elements, the alchemist transforms too.  Everything creative that I do shapes me and changes my mind set.  Howard’s comment makes me see why our minds change due to our actions and personality.

Log #4: Stories are like buildings…

images-2.jpegThe format of a story was always a mystery to me.  I always had trouble understanding where the character is in the climax, or the rising action.  But in the Week #4 post of Networked Narratives,  there is a video by Kurt Vonnegut which explains a lot.

In this small clip, he draws two lines on the top and the bottom of a blackboard.  Then he draws a line in the middle of the blackboard.  He explained that the top line is where the character is most healthy, happy, and rich.  The middle line is the tipping point for whether the character is going “downwards” or “upwards” in their emotional disposition.  The final and bottom line is where the character is unhappy, in despair , and sick in the story.  Then he used Cinderella’s emotion’s from the book  Cinderella and drew a line on how her emotions fluctuated throughout the story.  For example, when the Fairy Godmother appeared and gave her a dress, glass slippers, and a sweet ride, her mood rises up to above the center line.  When she dances with the prince, her mood rises even further!  But when the clock strikes midnight,  all of her special stuff disappeared.  The line rocketed downwards.  Later on when the glass slipper fits here feet, her mood once again rockets skywards.

This example helped me understand a character’s position in the story by looking at their feelings at the time of a big change in a good story.  After watching this video,  I can think from outside of the story to see how it is structured.  Stories are like buildings.  On the outside,  you can see the structure of the building, but you have no idea what is happening inside it.  When you walk inside of the building,  you can experience what is happening inside.  But maybe you can’t see where you are.  Stories are the same.

The Underground Greenhouse

Earth, 2084. A Nuclear war has broken out between the races of men. Earth is now a charred, barren desert world. Deep underground, in a fallout shelter, there is a tunnel. Not a clean, shiny tunnel. But a very dirty and disgusting tunnel. Not one that many would hope to climb. If you would think to climb down it, you will find the most magnificent sight the world should see. Down in the depths of the shelter, Is a greenhouse as big as a country. It has such forest,s and flower of all sorts. The are different climates, as well as habitats. But if you are brave enough, in the snowy pine forest, there is a small cabin. Inside, is an Alchemist. He, is the Guardian of the Underground Greenhouse. ug1ug2ug4ug5ug3