• Who am I?

    I am Qrystal; or at least, that's my dot-name! Har har. (My name is really Crystal, but that's not as internet-searchable; hence, switching the C for the little-used letter Q.)

    I am here because I enjoy writing. I do this mostly for myself, but I also have a passion for helping others learn things from the things I write. Now that I am done my Ph.D. in Physics, I am stepping away from academic research so that I can indulge in some creative ways to share my knowledge and inspire the appreciation of scientific thinking in others. I am also working as a tutor, which is one of the jobs I've most enjoyed doing in my life so far.


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  • About Me on Twitter

    Hello, fellow twitterer~!  I made this page especially for people coming from my twitter profile, figuring I can address more directly some of the things you might want to know about me if you’re coming from twitter.

    A-twitter about Life

    As I mention in my twitter profile, I am a grad student in Physics, and I’m working on my thesis.  Yes, I know I really don’t twitter about my thesis much at all, despite the fact that my bio says that I do.  I apologize for that, but… my bio is really written for me, to remind me of my intentions.  I really must finish this thesis and get out of school!  I’m in Grade 25 for goodness’ sake!

    Twitter is meant to be a pleasant break in the day for me, a sort of recess, so that it absorbs my tendencies to wander without sucking me in along with it.  If all goes well, I’m twittering about my thesis.  If it doesn’t go well, I’ll be tweeting about … well, just about anything else.  I’m constantly looking for twitter folk to follow who are also working on self-motivation, because perhaps we can inspire each other.

    My Haiku

    I also (as if you don’t know!) LOVE to twitter in haiku.  Some of the heaping handful of haiku artists I follow write traditional season-based haiku, while others take a more modern approach more like senryu.  Some follow the 5-7-5 syllable count strictly, while others feel that rule makes haiku much too long.  Some carefully mark / their haiku with slashes to / divide syllables; others carefully select words so that they fit without the markings.  Haiku is cool like that — it’s all about how you want to do it, and what rules to embrace or discard.

    My favourite haiku subjects include nature and weather, personal motivation and struggles with productivity, and other random observations about life and the world around me.

    I like to adhere to 5-7-5 form because I enjoy carefully choosing my words and ideas to fit into those constraints — much like I like jigsaw puzzles. I can relax into this kind of poetry because I have always thought of myself as more mathematical than poetic, and I enjoy surprising myself with what I can do within the structure.

    I started out just counting syllables, but over time I came to realize that I do have other tendencies to my creations:  I don’t like awkward splits in sentences or ideas.  I use punctuation just as I would in any other kind of writing (which is totally a stylistic choice on my part), and most punctuation is usually only at the end of a line, unless it’s a comma to connect ideas rather than separate them.

    Sometimes I hit upon an idea that creates impact in the last five syllables with some kind of punchline, and these moments make me very happy.  Other times, my haiku may be horribly mundane, but I make no apologies for these; the more I write, the better I will get!

    If I’m writing haiku on the go, I simply access a template I’ve made on my cell phone for text messaging to twitter.  It is set up as follows:

    / 5 / 7 / 5 / – #haiku

    …and yes, I have the numbers in there to remind me of my goals.  This is helpful when I come up with the last five syllables first, for example.  The #haiku hashtag ensures my work is added to various collections of twaiku.

    Lessons from Twitter

    I’ve learned a lot of things from twitter, but one of my favourites is how important it is to keep ideas concise.  After all, keeping ideas to 140 characters or less is no easy feat, especially when you’re used to rambling in writing!  See any blog entry (including this page) for proof of my long-windedness. ;)

    I’ve also gained an interest in politics and world events, probably because I am feeling more connected to people around the world.  This isn’t a totally new feeling, as I used to spend a lot of time at an online text-based game populated by many Europeans and Asians, as well as Americans and fellow Canadians.  What is new to me is that there are hundreds of thousands of people contributing, and they are all so varied in their interests and connections to world events.  It’s really awe-inspiring, and frustratingly difficult to explain to people who aren’t twittering, don’t you find? :)

    Lastly, and perhaps the most difficult of the lessons, is how to cut excesses from my life.  I’ve been addicted to the internet for as long as I can remember, but I refuse to give it up, because I’m sure I can learn to use it wisely. There is just so much information out there, increasing exponentially, and thus it is completely impossible to take it all in.  I must pick and choose, somehow!  Twitter is just a small subset of what exists on the internet, but it helps me practice streamlining the information I take in.  I must resist:

    …in general, I need to constantly make sure that I’m getting good value from the time I spend on twitter, and also make sure it doesn’t take a lot of time away from the other things I want (or need) to do.  

    My Twitter Follow Policy

    I probably will NOT follow you on twitter, if…

    I probably WILL follow you on twitter, if…

    I’m sure there’s more things I’ll add to these lists over time, but for now, this seems to be a fair overview of my twitter follow policy.

    I hope this has helped you see a bit more about me and my twitter habits, and that you enjoy my style enough to keep following me and perhaps (only if it’s deserving, of course!) retweeting my tweets to other peeps! :)