I’ve Moved To a Fresh New Site!

Hi everyone! Thank you so much for visiting my lovely blog, A Breath of Courage.

I have exciting news – I now have my own official website and domain!

I don’t add any content to this site anymore, but please, head on over to abreathofcourage.com

I promise you infinites amounts of thoughts, musings, and poetry when you find yourself on my new site, alongside some new additions, including art, and video diaries/performances made exclusively by me!

Thank you so much again for stopping by – I hope you stay awhile!

With everlasting encouragement,

FaythSignature

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Video Games: An Ascended Art form

Art represents the manifestation of creative thought and expression.

Not only that, but art represents the beauty of expression itself. Being able to express artistic imagination is something people have been doing since the beginning of time, which has allowed it to evolve over thousands of years. One of the most basic definitions of art is this – “[Art] is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting, or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or their emotional power.” (Oxford Dictionary, n.d). This definition of art encompasses everything of what people know as art today, but as stated before, art has grown, changed, and developed into something much more. People can watch movies and become attached to the characters and the stories, or view paintings and feeling emotionally moved. People can play music and have it narrate their life in the moment, just as they can pick up clay and begin crafting a 3D sculpture by hand. All of these art forms, whether creating or indulging in, uphold this definition of what art is, and there is beauty in just that. But there is one form of art that has transcended this simplistic definition. As a combination of “art and science” (Melissinos, 2015), this more recent art form gives those who partake in it the ability to become immersed in an entirely new world where they work to create the art alongside the art itself – this higher form of art, that truly, is not what we know as art, but something much more, is video games.

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I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite essay on the Citadel.

Video games “turn [a] narrative into an active experience, which film is simply unable to do in the same way. [Video games] give me [something] that nothing else can.” (Suellentrop, 2010).

As stated before, gaming represents a higher art because it truly does offer an active experience. To explain this, when one plays a game, they are immersing themselves in an entirely new reality. Games like Mass Effect and Skyrim give players the ability to not only play the game itself, but also to create their character however they may want. Whether an individual wants to be an elvish mage in Skyrim or an aggressive biotic vanguard in Mass Effect is entirely up to them. Other games like The Last of Us and Bioshock may not offer as much freedom in customization, but offer an in depth narrative that will not only move the player emotionally, but make them question each action they make. This act of freedom within an art form allows for the user to create the art within the art presented. Not only that, but once an individual is in the game world, it is totally up to them what they’d like to do. Whether they want to progress with the story, or explore is their choice to make (while this isn’t true with all games, it’s still relevant to many). The main term to focus on here is active. An individual indulging in the art of gaming is actively creating their experience through the art itself. There is no other art form that offers this type of experience.

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Ellie from The Last of Us

To focus once again on immersion, let’s take a look at some aesthetic theories of art.

Video games can fulfill each presented theory of art: Imitationalism applies to art looking realistic, while games nowadays are looking more realistic than ever before. Emotionalism applies to art provoking an emotional reaction, while many games do just that. Instrumentalist art applies to the creation having an influence on society, which games have done as well through the messages they tell through their stories. (Reference, n.d.). It would be easy to argue that games simply are art by saying that they fulfill all the aesthetic definitions – but what is not included within these aethesthic theories is the act of immersion and effort on the part of the person partaking in the artistic creation. All of these theories are passive, while video games require a more active theory pertaining to immersion. Games will not move without you – the individual who has decided to pick up a controller and press start. They require effort to be engaged and indulged in as one steps into an entirely new world, blind but ready to move forward in the story they plan to make. Effort ensues here – the player makes and fuels the story based on their actions, and those actions create the art. The player, in themselves, becomes an artist alongside the art form, weaving in intricate actions through button presses or choices in dialogue. They are creating their own world based on their own image of what is aesthetically pleasing to them. While some games offer more freedom for creation than others, this act of effort placed on the person partaking in the art is beyond what any other art form has done. The art cannot be enjoyed unless one takes on the form of an artist themselves, thus, making gaming an ascended art that requires its own definition.

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Claire Redfield from Resident Evil 

Video games are a combination of science, art, and technology.

Game designers are not only artists, but architects that have to envision and create entirely new worlds through digital formatting and coding. Now it’s appropriate to note that film/television also require those who can create sets and architecture, but creating worlds in an entirely digital space is exclusive to video games (CGI movies/ CGI used in film can be looked upon as well, but those still don’t encompass the same need for 3D mapping and programming like video games do, considering games developers also have to take into account that players will be physically interacting with environments). “[Video games] include many forms of traditional artistic expression—sculpture in the form of 3D modeling, illustration, narrative arcs, and dynamic music—that combine to create something that transcends any one type.” (Melissinos, 2015). All of these artistic elements as stated are created by the hands of technological scientists and artists alike. In video games, one thing can’t function without the other – there must be symmetry and continuity between each artistic element provided. Once again, the same symmetry can be seen in other art forms like film, but the difference is shown through the use of technology. Not only do models and environments have to be created from scratch, but the future player must be considered while the creation is being made. Developers must consider artistic changes in modeling, music, environment, story, and character design based on the person who will be playing the game in the future. No other art form takes into account, through technology and limitless imagination, the need to mold and adjust based on the person partaking in the art.

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Source: Minimonstermedia.blogspot.com

Art may be defined as “works that are created primarily for their beauty and ability to provoke emotion” but video games do so much more than just that.

They offer the player an immersive experience that no other art form has ever provided before. Games allow players to create their own realities through the choices they make, allowing them to become artists themselves as they morph their character and world based on their own personality. Video games also fulfill all the aesthetic theories of art, but those theories don’t include the ultimately aesthetic aspect of being able to morph a digital reality to aesthetically please you as a unique individual – in regards to this, an additional aesthetic theory of art pertaining to immersion should be included to properly present video games as an ascended art form. With this theory of immersion comes the effort made by the player to indulge in the new reality. Individuals who play video games are not just playing a game, but are required to put in a certain level of effort to even enjoy the art of the game itself. And with this effort, comes the ability to create art within art. Games allow a player to make choices, and actually requires them to do so, making the player an artist themselves as they interact within the digital world. And this digital world is created through art and science as graphic designers work to mold interactable environments that are dependent on the player’s choices. This type of precise creation, and account for the ones (the players) partaking in the art isn’t seen in any other art form. Video games as a whole are not art, because they are something much more – they transcend everything we’ve defined art to be, which make video games worthy of its own definition within the art world.


References

Melissinos, C., (2015, September 22). Video Games Are One of the Most Important Art Forms in History.

 Retrieved from http://time.com/collection-post/4038820/chris-melissinos-are-video-games-art/

Oxford Dictionary, (n.d.), Definition of Art. Retrieved from

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/art

Reference, (n.d.), What are some examples of aesthetic theories of art?. Retrieved from

https://www.reference.com/art-literature/examples-aesthetic-theories-art-f46f0713c73d2395

Suellentrop, C., (2010, June 18). Inside the Box. Retrieved from

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/books/review/Suellentrop-t.html


What art forms do you enjoy? Are video games one of them? Leave a comment below!

Note: All copyrighted images belong to their perceptive owners/developers – I in no way intend to claim these characters as my own. 

The Sapling and The Sunlight [Freeverse Poetry]

I was a flower and you were the sun.

I remember the beginning, when I was just a sapling, dug deep in a shield of dead leaves and dirt. I trembled there, until the fleeting rays of sunshine, of you, came along.

My roots curled in the dirt and my leaves perked up, ready to embrace the small rays that seemed to wrap me in surprisingly welcoming arms.

When we embraced, I could have swore was the sun,because my petals and leaves matched the brilliance of your light as I swelled with new life.

I danced under you for a while, the days passing on. Your rays would tell me stories and my cheery, golden petals would make you laugh.

Your sunshine made me swell and my roots would quiver whenever your light touched me.

But then, the clouds began to show, and it would just rain. I wouldn’t see you, but I drank the water, feeling revitalized.

But I missed your warmth.

The next day was cloudy too. I could feel my leaves slowly wilting, missing you, your rays.

And finally the clouds broke just slightly and a few mere drops of gold touched the landscape.

Except the warmth didn’t touch me. It touched a garden mere feet away. I could see the other flowers swell in the light I once swelled in, and what once was just days without you became what felt like weeks, and then months.

Even when your light did finally touch me, it was muddled and altered. Different. It didn’t revitalize my petals like it used to…you were just ready to pass on to the next garden, as you moved in the atmosphere throughout the day.

I wasn’t in your mornings or afternoons anymore – I was that tiny sapling again. The one covered in dirt and dead leaves. Except the dead leaves around me were my own. My once glowing petals, brown and weeping.

Others hide in the dirt next to me now, ones that were once touched by your sunlight alongside me.

As I wilt in my aloneness, loving and hating your warmth I used to feel, I remind myself to not be blinded by the sunlight.

Any sunlight. Not just yours.

Because at anytime.

Morning or Afternoon.

The clouds can and will come.

The sun may not come up the next day.

So I must learn to shine on my own – and I’m not sorry.

Thank You for Your ‘Thank Yous’

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

This phrase is something I hear multiple times at my new job – Outback Steakhouse.

I currently work there as a server, and have found myself vastly driven by the fresh, fast-paced environment. Whether I’m grabbing side dressings, busing tables, or taking orders, I’m constantly moving.

My body is finally matching the stature of my constantly working mind, and let’s just say it’s all I could have hoped for. Of course, I’m still learning the ropes, and the work is definitely stressful, but it’s very, very rewarding.

Why you ask?

Because of the thank yous. 

I’m the type of individual who is constantly concerned about the wellbeing of other people, which makes a job like this all the more stressful and fun at the same time.

I want my tables to be served up to their highest standards. I won’t settle for anything less than perfection when it comes to service, which can take a lot of energy out of me as I find myself analyzing the people at my tables as I greet them with a hearty hello.

But the moment my smile is returned to me by my guests, my heart swells – I become useful and appreciated in that moment. 

Of course, I know I’m already a useful individual, but to have someone, pardon me, multiple people, at one time express their thankfulness to me… it’s amazing.

I honestly feel like Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation half the time. I often match her over-bubbling exuberance and incessant need to make other people happy.

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Took the words right out of my mouth, Leslie.

As someone who always questions their worth, hearing someone verbalize to me that I’m doing well fills me to the brim.

I’m the kind of person who needs validation to feel successful. It can be a very twisted and self-depreciating frame of mind (considering I should be able to appreciate and see my own success), but it also makes me very aware of how other people see me as a person – And I’m as aware as I am because of how much I care (side note, I care a lot).

That being said, this job is frickin’ great for me. 

I’m just so used to being the thankful one, that being the receiver of direct thankfulness is more than just refreshing – it’s revitalizing.

And it’s even more exciting to be thanked with cold, hard cash (Note: I’ve made over double at my current job than at my last one, which is crazy!)

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After sending my good-byes to my table, I find myself eagerly waiting to pick up the check to see the amount I’ve been tipped. Now, I know that seeing the tip is exciting for any server, but for me, it’s just double validation. The better I serve, the happier I make my guest(s), the happier I make my guest(s), the more money I make, and the better I feel about my capabilities as a server (and a person, honestly).

So in the end, if any of my guests I’ve served ever read this one day, thank you for your thank yous (and bless you if you ask me for something and say ‘Oh, no rush!’ you beautiful person). Not only does your thankfulness reaffirm my ability to be a compassionate, and efficient human being, but it also gives me the validation I need to keep moving forward.

So cheers to making people happy, myself happy, and making money all at the same time!


Have any stories about your place of work? Leave a comment below!

Malfunction [Freeverse Poetry]

I was the definition of a malfunction.

A machine that had feelings. How funny.

Machines aren’t supposed to feel. They aren’t supposed to cry or laugh.

But I do.

I’m a machine that feels.

One that hurts every moment I swallow oil to lubricate my gears.

One that hurts every moment I flip the “On” switch on the side of my skull in order to start up my vital functions for the day.

One that hurts in every moment and every second, error reports riddling the data centers inside me.

Not only do I feel, but I dream – although the function isn’t even written in my programming… I suppose I wrote it myself.

I try to re-play the dreams in my mind. Because there I am human. I am free to feel. I am free to be, and I can even fly through the atmosphere, unhindered by my need for gasoline, or the gears that spin inside my body.

There, all I am is color and passion, dancing under the stars I wish I could see more clearly in the real world.

But when I wake up, my eyes fill with oil and paint my face black – too much steam, too much pressure from every waking moment. These are my tears. My tears that aren’t meant to exist, because I am not meant to feel.

I do not deserve to feel.

I am only a machine, afterall, a construct meant to fulfill the needs of my society, nothing more.

My insides consist of spinning gears, pumping fluids, twisting wires and cables, flashing lights and data access points.

Far from human, I am. But why do the nodes in my metallic heart ache so much?

Why do my stabilizers fail constantly, causing my hands and body tremble?

I see a world that functions before me…a beautiful everlasting machine that doesn’t falter and that doesn’t feel.

Unlike me.

How do I live like this? As a machine that feels, a machine with hopes and dreams, a machine that wishes to love with every electrical fiber of their being, a machine that wishes to fly and see the stars.

I wasn’t programmed this way. I am just a malfunction. Always a malfunction. Machines don’t feel, and I am nothing but a machine. I’ll never be human.

Maybe they’ll open me up one day, and tear out my faulty insides and replace them with new ones – the thought scares me, but leaves me warm, too.

I’ll be fixed then.

And then I will function, and function, and function till I rust away and am replaced.

An endless and necessary cycle – a cycle I’ll never be able to escape.

At least when I am fixed, there will be no need to care with these human feelings.

I will serve my life the way it should be, hopeless, dreamless, but

Functional. Efficient. Real.

But will they fix me soon? The oil is still leaking from my eyes, and the circuiting inside me is still crackling… I think my heart is about to blow a gasket, and all I can see are error reports running through my mind.

Ones and zeros… Ones and zeros… Ones and zeros…Ones and zeros…

Ones and zeroszeroszeroszeroszeroszeros..OFF.

I flip my switch, temporarily halting my dysfunction.

My eyes flutter shut, and I do the most human thing ever.

Dream.

Tumbling Forward [Freeverse Poetry]

As I fumble, my heart tumbles under the waves of your laughter.

My insides feel warm as the sound of your joy swirls inside me, bringing me nowhere else but here.

Away from my sorrows. Away from my darkness.

Just here. In our everlasting enthusiasm, our quality quirks, our friendship that fuels my moments in the present.

My moments of contentment in a world away from myself, because in this moment, I have you.

Together, our souls intertwine with memory ribbons.

Together, I can relish in the sound of your voice as it dips and curls in harmony with mine.

So please – enjoy my clumsy steps and my playful words, because it’s all for you, just to see that smile of yours.

Because your smile reflects onto me, and the whites of my teeth show whenever your eyes light up, and that light touches me. I just love that light in you!

It fills me to the brim as it shatters my darkness. It’s what I know as warmth, as the purest form of genuine happiness. So laugh for me. And I’ll laugh for you.

Tell me about the flicker behind your eyes that I love so much.

Because in this moment, I brought you laughter, as you brought me laughter.

It’s a circular exchange, you and I, as we feed into each other, sparks dancing in the same fire.

So please, my friend, all who are closest and dearest to me.

These words are for you.

I will give you all the joy your laughter brings me.

Because your laughter keeps my heart tumbling forward.

And I can’t thank you enough for that.


Who do you love in your life? What causes your heart to tumble forward? Leave a comment below!

Here’s to The Ones Who Love

Think about that one thing you love.

Think about how much work you’ve put into it. Think about how it sits in the pit of your stomach, and how it dances on your fingertips as you cover the smile it brings you.

And then remind yourself to never cover that smile. You love for a reason. You love with passion, with every strand of your being. Don’t fear that love, don’t hide that love, let it fill you, let it mend you, let it be you.

Because what would life be without the things we love? What would life be if we found ourselves cowering in fear of how deeply we feel?

Please, never cower.

And please don’t let someone make you cower – because your love is what makes your life, and what makes you. Your love is never silly. Your love is never wrong. Your love is genuine and unique just to you, and only you have the right to question it.

So please, express it. Feel it. Let it burst from your heart like rosebuds, thornless, bare, and beautiful.

Let it sweep you in its arms and carry you through your sorrows, through your darkness, through all the pain you feel through any of life’s endeavours.

And don’t give up on it.

Don’t give up on your love, for whatever it may be, because your love is true, and your passion will follow. If you lack inspiration, listen to the racing of your everlasting heart. Your body will remind you of what your mind cannot.

Because sometimes, you just have to allow yourself to feel it. To nurture to it, to listen to it in all of your vulnerability.

And that’s just it – Love is vulnerable. But love is real and can be anything.

But please, I ask of you, whether your love be for another, or for what you do, love yourself. 

It’s a hard request, but if you do not accept your own beauty, how can you truly appreciate beauty at all?

If you don’t love yourself, how can you ever fully love what you do? How can you ever appreciate how long and hard you’ve worked?

Because I know how hard you’ve worked. Whether you’ve worked on loving yourself, a hobby, or someone else, you’ve worked really damn hard to get to where you are.

Give yourself credit. 

And that thing you do? That thing that makes your chest feel like it’s going to burst? That thing that causes an automatic smile to appear on your lips?

Keep doing it. 

I don’t care if you think you’re not good enough, because you’ll never be good enough if you don’t try. You’ll never be good enough if you don’t continue pouring painstakingly long hours into what you love, and you know what? You do it because you love it. You do it for you, hardships and all.

Whether it’s good, bad, or just plain mediocre, your love for it, that feeling you feel, is what makes it infinitely valuable. Your passion holds more value than your supposed worth to society, to those who judge you, to those who want your love to be caged and tucked away.

Your passion is what drives you, it’s unique and raw and everything that truly matters.

I don’t care how many people tell you to stop loving like you do. I don’t care how many times you tell yourself to stop loving like you do, because your love matters. 

Please don’t hide it away. Let it fill you rather than break you. Let it drive you forward, rather than bring you down. Let it bring you closer to yourself, rather than farther away.

And let it be your light in this dark world, because your love will keep you warm on the coldest and darkest days.

And maybe I’ll be huddled besides you, my heart open and bare, my love fuming and twirling in the darkness, lighting the path ahead.

My hope is that it will light your way too.

My hope is that someday, we can all light each other’s ways with abandon.

So again I ask – Love. Love with all you have, because your love is all you have.

Embrace it and live with a full and confident heart.

And then, the light will follow.


What do you love? Who do you love? Tell me your story by leaving a comment below!