Repurpose and Old Essay

The paper that I am choosing to repurpose is an essay that I wrote in a community college class that I took which required me to interview my father. The class was for African American Studies and it required that I interview someone in my family and tie that individual’s history into the larger contextual history that we learn about in the class. It was a fun assignment and I loved seeing how my father’s family history really did reflect themes similar to the larger societal historical events. I really enjoyed writing this paper but thought that it would be a good one to repurpose because my father has told me to so much about his family’s history since I wrote this paper. In essence I have so much more research to add to this essay today than when I wrote it 3 years ago. I was thinking of writing it in a form that isn’t an essay but as if it were in a more common and easy to understand form such as play or a TV show script. That way I felt like it would be able to reach the youth in my family all the way to the adults and be a way to preserve the family history in a format that was suitable for all ages and education level.


My computer’s battery gave out, so I’m currently enclosed in a cubicle in the Dude trying to simultaneously grade math homework (EECS 376, so it’s in the computer science department but considered a math class and would more accurately be titled Confusing Proofs About Computers 101) (somehow I get paid for distinguishing between least/most confused) and write my repurposing draft. “Trying” being the operative word here.

I’ll blame my current procrastination on the rain (although I’m trapped far enough in the library to not know the weather outside) and the day of the week, but in the meantime want to share a goofy set of writing tips I just found in the hopes someone else laughs a little, too. and maybe convince myself I’m being marginally more productive. Good luck in your Sunday endeavors.

Poetic Drone Warfare Criticism Speech

The paper I have chosen to repurpose is a strange essay from my freshman year. I wrote it for English 125. It’s an 8-page essay that attempts to explain the dangerous implications of the rise of drone warfare. I took a very roundabout route to get to that point – evidence I used ranged from historical, to psychological, to scientific. The essay works, but it could be better.

I want to repurpose this essay because just editing it wouldn’t make it more interesting. I want to repurpose it into a speech. Why? I think the language I used in the essay is sometimes almost poetic. It would make a cool speech. Also, I’ve never written a speech before but have always wanted to. Some of the most interesting writing I’ve read is meant to be delivered orally. Examples include Shakespeare plays and many famous speeches. A lot can be changed format-wise for a speech. Repurposing my essay into a speech format will be fun because I think the content of the essay will work well in the speech medium.

My intro is a great example of part of my essay that can be easily repurposed into a speech. It starts with a quotation from Robert E. Lee about warfare. I’ve read and heard quite a few speeches that have quotations in them. After that my intro tells the story of Cain and Abel. It describes how intimate the murder of Abel by Cain was. The purpose of this is to set the scene for the lack of intimacy of drone warfare – and the consequences of that lack of intimacy. It’s a dramatic intro – and most speeches are meant to be dramatic. The fact that my intro – and most of the essay – has a dramatic feel means that it will probably repurpose very well.


I am of Pixels and Not Playtime

Imagine a tragic tale of a group of actors, once beloved by millions, undertake a historic fall from grace.  These performers performers were subject to public humiliation, accusations of homosexuality and have been removed from the public spotlight for years.  The story-arc that I have described for the most part isn’t completely out of the ordinary, but who am I really talking about?  The TeleTubbies of course.

Last year, I was taking English 223: Creative Writing, and I was asked to recreate a childhood character in a poetry exercise in a new light.  My poem’s goal was to highlight an unhighlighted history of these past beloved children show characters.  I thought of what a Teletubby might look like years after his demise from stardom.   The once physically fit performer with a trim television stomach has now grown fat and boasts a large wide screen on his chest.  In denial of his current situation as a rented television set, the star looks at the eyes watching him and mistakes them for those he entertained years ago.  He is not an appliance.  He is an actor, a visionary.  But one day, he realizes his worth and the reality of the situation he is.  Its over…

Static in their stomachs... Where are they now!?!
Static in their stomachs… Where are they now!?!

Yes, I know it’s ridiculous… but the word reality when completing this poem stuck with me.  I was fascinated diving into the world of hypotheticals in analyzing these child stars, yet I think I can go deeper.  For my repurposing project, I plan to write an essay that offers both a socio economic analysis and psychoanalysis of these characters and the effects of their demise and homosexuality, under the assumption if they were humans and real.

The end result, ideally, will be an essay that completes and satisfies my crazy analysis of these fuzzy children show stars.


Repurposing Ethnography

The paper I want to focus on for repurposing was an assignment for my cultural anthropology class freshman year. The paper was an 8 page long ethnography – an anthropological term that basically amounts to a study of some group or culture. Think of it as a content analysis of a group. The researcher is supposed to, through direct contact, learn about and explore the group or culture in question. The group I chose was an online community called Nerdfighteria that was formed around the video blogs of two men – John and Hank Green. Their Youtube project started out as one year of communication between them solely through these video blogs. They slowly amassed a following  and this following came to be called Nerdfighters. I wanted to choose the group for the ethnography assignment because I was a Nerdfighter and wanted to explore the community and the experience more deeply.

I chose this paper to repurpose because, to be honest, I wasn’t really happy with the way it turned out. I think it could have been a lot more interesting and engaging if it were formatted in a different way. The ethnography turned out more like a research paper, and I would have been happy just writing a more informal and informational paper. One specific thing to change would definitely be to get rid of the concrete sections (hypothesis, data, reactions, etc.) and to reformat the paper entirely in a more informal/less scientific/academic way. I’m honestly not sure what genre I could change it into, maybe an informational news article or something like that. It’s something I have to keep thinking about, but I definitely want it to have a less academic feel.

Repurposing the ROTC


Last year, I was a participant in the Lloyd Hall Scholars Program.  One of the requirements was taking a special English course, LHSP 125.  My instructor was Professor Tim Hedges.  Professor Hedges completely changed my view of writing and his projects were very immersive.  One of the more interesting writing assignments was the Experience Essay.  Professor Hedges challenged us to put ourselves into a situation that we would not be comfortable in, and write about it.  The goal of course, was to not only select something interesting, but to pick something that would be a revelation to us.   It was difficult to decide on an experience, but eventually I decided that I would shadow the campus ROTC program for a week.  The campus ROTC program has a relatively strict policy on visitors, so I had to lie to the US government, and tell them that I was a prospective member, and not just a student writing a paper.  The paper ended up being a 10 page essay, one that described my personal journey though what was basically a week of ROTC training.  I’m really proud of my work, and I’m pretty sure that it’s the best piece of writing I’ve produced.  But the story isn’t quite there.  The essay lacks an ending, and really doesn’t feel complete.  I want to turn my essay into a publication-worthy piece, morph it into a short story.  For example, I write, “I started thinking about what Mr. Stevenson said earlier in the lesson, about soldiers being a family.  Maybe the teamwork and bond that I saw in Army commercials and movies wasn’t a myth.  But my doubts remained; after all, this was just one over-eccentric former Sergeant.”  The ROTC instructor, Mr. Stevenson, would consistently refer to this bond, and more sensitive subjects like PTSD, but I was never able to do research on either of these subjects.  In my repurposing project, I’m planning on conducting more interviews, delving more into the aspect of PTSD and college educated ROTC members.  I’m also hoping to construct a more complete ending to the piece. Basically my question is: how does PTSD affect people who went through the ROTC program?



Repurposing: This essay is like the Christmas of essay assignments (how long can titles be, anyway? can I make my title a whole sentence long? how about four sentences long?)


I’m not going to waste time with false modesty — I have a really good idea for my repurposing essay.  It comes from the privilege of being able to spend last winter semester studying in Costa Rica, when I had the opportunity of planning and executing my own research project, as well as writing a long fifteen-page followup paper.

I went to Yorkin, an indigenous Bribri community on the border of Costa Rica and Panama.  Previously, it had been accessible only by river, but just a month before I got there the municipality built a road; I spent my time in the community talking to people who supported the road and people who opposed it, trying to figure out why it was built, why some people were opposing it, and how people expected it might affect Yorkin.

During this time, I was living with a huge extended family in a stilted thatch-roof house, stumbling over Spanish and going to three-hour Adventist church services and beginning to understand the family and community dynamics.  So much happened behind-the-scenes of that research paper, and ever since I got back I’ve wanted to write about the actual experience, rather than just the road.  This repurposing essay is just the excuse I need!

My research paper is full of information about community dynamics, because it was almost entirely based off of interviews with community members, as well as statistics and outside information from other indigenous groups.  I kept a journal every day (although much of it was lists of not-white-rice foods I would eat once I got back), and I plan on looking back at those journals and re-framing my experience with a more narrative, rather than research-based, lens.  It will be nice to be able to discuss my experience as a subjective formative experience, rather than as a project.

My repurposed essay is most likely going to come out in a memoir/creative non-fiction style, unless I suddenly feel compelled to write a longform poem or a five-page song.  I took a class over the summer that focused on the personal essay, and I really enjoyed that format.  I don’t think I’ve been this excited about an essay in a long, long time — it’s such a good opportunity to reexamine my time abroad and think about that place in a different way.


‘Jones’ and Joan

Apparently, back in 1971 – before he became Han Solo, Indiana Jones, the Bladerunner and a slew of other iconic men on the silver screen – Harrison Ford, who worked as a carpenter, built Joan Didion’s beach house.

And now, the legendary actor will present Didion with her lifetime achievement award at a ceremony in October.

In this article, Didion describes how she liked Ford’s work and his “moral presence” in her home.

Not that he still isn’t a fox right now at 70+, but THIS is what Harrison Ford looked like in 1971:

There would be nothing moral going on in my house…

To repurpose or not to repurpose? That is the Question.

The paper I am going to repurpose for this assignment is from a course I took last semester. In my Judaic Studies 410 class, we were asked to assess our Jewish Identities with the incorporation of research and evidence found in our class readings and from additional sources that we had to find on our own. I really enjoyed this assignment because it gave me a chance to really explore my Jewish identity and how and why I am where I am today. I want to repurpose this essay because after rereading it over the last couple of days, I think the research I had to include, clouded the strength and beauty of my story. The quotes and the research are so ordinary and are included because I wanted a good grade, not because I thought they helped my argument and my writing in any way.

I am going to repurpose this essay from the research paper that it is, to a letter written to my grandfather. I want to strip the essay of its “extra” skin and create a piece that is raw and thought provoking. Though my ideas are already on the paper, I know that through this repurposing, I will be able to dig deeper and visit new areas that my research paper didn’t allow me to do before. I want to write a piece that is important to me, but also to my family members and my grandfather’s legacy. He is the reason that my family observes Judaism the way we do and it is that point that I want to drive home in this repurposing assignment.

Repurposing Runes

The paper I will be repurposing is a paper from my Classic Civilization 325 class.  It is paper on the uses of Runes and some history of Runic written language.  The paper goes into a brief explanation about uses of runes and why it is believed that they were used for certain items.  I want to repurpose this paper because I love the topic, because it is really interesting to me and will be enjoyable to write.  I also want to repurpose it so that I can take it one step farther and write about how Runes shaped the development of written language and how the use of Runes changed over time with the culture.  As a linguistics major it would be interesting to see what I can write about now compared to when I wrote this paper 2 years ago because of the technical aspects that I will be understand now.