From Panem’s Capitol to the Factionless

First open post for THST 2450!

Today was a fun class, as usual. The two main things we talked about were privilege and creativity. Or at least, those are the two things I paid most attention to.

First, privilege. Panem’s Capitol. We didn’t actually talk about YA franchises, but I couldn’t title this post with something as boring as “Privilege and Creativity.” I was once again reminded that privilege comes way before gender or race or sexuality or other sensitive categories that we try to put people in. After just coming out of a season of learning to be grateful for everything I have, I was a little disappointed that I had already kind of forgotten about it.

We also did the demonstration of “right place, right time” part of privilege with the throwing a page into the recycling bin. I had seen that on Facebook a few weeks ago. To be born in Canada, in a loving family, a safe household, is a privilege in itself. For the exercise, I was at the farthest point from the bin, so I just fell short of the target (I wonder if I would have succeeded with a  paper airplane instead of a crumpled ball…). In fact, I was so far away I couldn’t even see it. I wasn’t too sure what I was aiming for. It was nearly a shot in the dark. How true is that for people in lower social classes?

It’s easy to want success, but without a target, a clear view of where you want to end up, trying, working hard, and putting in all your effort could get you close, but no cigar. This was something that I knew, but didn’t fully realize until now, and how scary that is. It’s especially scary because my dream job, the career I’m aiming for is practically based on “right place, right time.” Am I aiming properly? The TV/film industry is so gated, I have no idea what it’s really like.

The next exercise we did was the “levels.” Taking a step backward or forward to illustrate privilege in specific situations. It was the exact same exercise that I had done at Sanctuary in Toronto, a drop-in centre for the homeless. The questions here didn’t touch race, gender, income and other ones that we did at Sanctuary. There, I was almost up against the back wall, but today I was just a step back or two from the front-most person in the room.

To the same purposes as today’s class, after the exercise at Sanctuary, we went out on a route around a few blocks of downtown, with only some spare change, under two dollars. The route took us to shady places and very public places, and the goal was to find a meal, and find a potential place to sleep. I got cat-called, I saw what might have been a drug deal, I saw a homeless turf war go down, I saw where prostitutes get clients… it was definitely an eye-opener to how different the world is when you have privilege and when you don’t.

As for the Factionless from Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy, it is my not-so-subtle segue into creativity. The Factionless, who are the homeless in that particular world, are similar to the Divergent. The Divergent don’t fit into any one faction. Their strengths lie in a combination of the factions. We talked about how nothing is original in and of itself, but rather the recombination of unoriginal components is what makes us and our work unique. Another connection to Divergent was the Divergent thinking exercise.

Pick a random object and think of 100 other things that it could be. I love that exercise. I had heard of it in Sir Ken Robinson’s talk before, but I hadn’t actually tried it. I like to think that I would be good at it and be a divergent thinker, but such is not the case unfortunately (but we did get to 57 things). Ever since I stopped playing with toys, I’ve been somewhat aware of my creativity and its “decline.” When I’m not at school sitting and being anaesthetized creatively, I’m doing homework. Following a rigid structure, rigid rules, finding the exclusive correct answer that is required for reward.

For years, my Mom has been telling me, “never lose your imagination,” and I have taken those words to heart. But preserving my capacity for imagination is getting harder and harder for me now, naturally. What with planning for the future, but also living in the present, I draw more and more blanks on new, cool ideas. My creativity in terms of the stories I want to tell are automatically driven by some sort of ideology, rather than just for fun, for experimentation, like I used to when I played with dole, or built new things with my Legos. I’d like to go back, or relearn how to dream. How to draw instant inspiration from anything that I can lay my eyes on.

If ever I have the privilege of owning a home in the future, or at least a space to call my own, I know what my dream work space would be. À la “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium,” half the room would be dedicated to the digital, and the other half to the analog. An entire wall will be turned into a chalk board, I’ll have a large white board and a large cork board. There will be a large desk with my organized mess: sticky notes, books, journals, Lego, clay, paint, sketch books, bristol boards, scrap paper, construction paper, sharpies, etc. Then on the digital side, I’ll have my iMac with Final Draft, Final Cut Pro, and Adobe Suite. I’ll have cameras, tripods, lights and microphones, maybe even a projector, screen and smart board… it will be glorious. Knowing me, I might set up a cot and just live there and never leave. After all, time, hunger, thirst and sleep seem to vanish when I’m in the zone and have that creative flow going.

A creativity lab… there it is, there’s the familiar high that comes with flexing my imagination muscles. Imagining the details, daydreaming about what newborn projects I would usher into the world, fantasizing about what that kind of life would look like…

Though it doesn’t do it justice, it’s a rush that kind of feels/sounds like this:



2 thoughts on “From Panem’s Capitol to the Factionless

  1. I could definitely imagine those experiences you described, even if not exactly how you experiences them…

    I could even picture that vision you gave of what your future home would look like, and well, it felt a bit exhilarating, like various pictures of beautiful homes from all over the net sort of did…


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