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Ashley H.
Co-founder and creative director of the Agoraphobia Collective
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Writing
TutorMe
Question:

What is the best way to become better at writing?

Ashley H.
Answer:

Reading. We learn to speak by imitating and responding to how we are spoken to, and in a parallel way we learn to write based off of our selective recollections and connection to the written words of others. Language was created to engage with other human beings. In isolation, we would have no need for language; our intrinsic interpretations of the experiential world would suffice since our world would be all there is, and without other humans, we would never need to distill these experiences or inclinations into the representational, or words. Reading rescues us from this isolation. When we see the words of others, we imprint parts of their diction or rhythm or syntax or invention, while simultaneously rejecting other parts that may be imprinted as well. We synthesize this author's style with those of all other things we have read, whether it is Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, or TMZ while we're laying in bed. We do not learn to speak in isolation, and we do not learn to write insolation either. If you write without people your inner-world remains your own. If you write because of people your inner-life because part of the world.

Film and Theater
TutorMe
Question:

How do the narratives differ of French New Wave films differ than those of classical Hollywood cinema?

Ashley H.
Answer:

Classical Hollywood films have a clear beginning, middle, and an end. These stories are centered around a [slightly] flawed but still likeable protagonist who operates within a universe of cause and effect. All of his actions are in pursuit of a concrete goal, which is clear though the characters never break the diagesis. It is the tale of the canonical hero. The narratives of the French New Wave films, on the other hand, embrace ambiguity. These filmmakers believe that real life is too complex to be explained by art. So, though aware of the conventions of classical Hollywood cinema, they chose to depart from the norm. Their characters were often directionless, or may have had a goal but said goal was never explicitly communicated. Their story world was not one of causality; their actions did not have logical consequences, and character arcs may be hazy or non-existent. French New Wave directors played off of the conventions of Hollywood film but in disregarding or exaggerating them they denied us the blissful ignorance of cinematic viewing, and instead gave us a filmic interpretation of everyday life.

Statistics
TutorMe
Question:

You rolled a six-sided die nine times. Your results: you rolled threes the first eight times and rolled a six on the ninth roll . What is the probability that your tenth roll will be a three?

Ashley H.
Answer:

1 out of 6 or 0.166667. Each roll of the dice is an independent event meaning each roll does not effect the others, so regardless of what you've rolled before, the odds of rolling any number on each roll is the same: 1 out of 6. Another way to look at it: a die does not remember what it has previously rolled (unless someone has invented a smart die since my writing this, I hope not). Un-remembered past-rolls cannot influence future rolls, and the universe has better things to do than to even things out.

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