SOS: terribly lost in my own ideas

The goal of the second project is to re-purpose an argument and stretch my writing abilities by finding inspiration for a new piece in one that I’ve already completed. While at first glance the selection of a topic seems like it would be the easiest part, I suddenly found myself lost and overwhelmed when sifting through the large body of work I’ve produced in my years as a student. Clicking through my archived documents, I found everything from a ninth grade essay on “To Kill A Mockingbird” to a college paper arguing against the validity of generational entelechy in the context of immigration. I began to narrow down my options and eliminated some, but in the end I approached the printer and realized that I had thoroughly abused the print button, since there were about seventy pages of my writing sitting in the tray.

I decided to begin by reading everything. Seventy pages later, however, the only conclusion I had come to was that I really like a lot of things I’ve written already. At this point I asked for some help. “How do I decide?” I asked my professor, T. “Maybe you could tell me about the strangest, or most odd essay you printed out in the pile?  Which one was the most difficult to reckon with?  What left you with more questions? she replied. At this point I decided I needed to be a little more selective and read everything again, this time keeping T’s questions in mind. I ultimately set aside four pieces that I am interested in pursuing further. In my opinion, these four were the ones that most left me wanting more.

The first is the piece I mentioned above about generational entelechy. This piece was written for a political psychology class and involved me interviewing my grandparents to determine how generation shapes political attitude. I was most intrigued here by my ultimate conclusion that while generation plays an important role in attitude formation, it is superimposed by culture and experience, which means that those with different origins may form drastically different political attitudes from others of their generation. This is very interesting to me in that I want to know more about the effects of culture and national origin on our beliefs. Are Americans drastically different from the Chinese or South Africans or Costa Ricans? In project two, I would develop the aspect of this piece that focuses on these questions.

The second is a speech I wrote for a class entitled “Great Speeches: Ancient and Modern.” The goal of the class was to study the great speeches of the past, and then take the elements that made those speeches great and incorporate them into our own speeches, which we presented to the class. My speech centers on the role of the media in perpetuating poor self image and eating disorders. In this speech, I use an interesting combination of empirical evidence, individual observation, and personal narrative to tell the story of the media intervening in our lives. I was most intrigued by my idea that the media has the ability to change how and what we feel, even without our knowledge or consent. In project two, this element would drive my creative process and I would look to expand into other media effects.

The third piece was written for a class entitled “22 Ways to Think About Race.” Specifically, this essay was an independent study project that I completed outside of class in order to convert the class to honors. In the piece, I analyze three novels about outsiders in American culture and conclude that you can never escape your past or your roots. I think that it would be very interesting to explore this concept further and investigate whether or not it holds true for those outside of fiction.

The final piece I set aside is a personal essay I wrote for a creative writing class. The piece investigates the love lives of myself and six friends with the goal of examining why everything has to be so complicated. In the end, I conclude that nothing is truly complicated, but that everything is subject to complication. In other words, when things get hard, its because we made them that way. In project two, I would be interested in exploring this idea further and determining whether this holds true in other situations.

Choosing a piece to stretch further in this project has been extremely daunting! In the coming days, I hope to think more about these ideas and find one that will guide me in creating a strong project.

2 thoughts to “SOS: terribly lost in my own ideas”

  1. First of all – I’m obsessed with the fact that you actually printed out the papers that caught your eye, leaving you with a stack of 70 pages. I like that you are taking the selection part so seriously because I think this is one of the most important parts of the process.

    It is clear that you are a passionate person. You delve into a topic and give it your all. That being said, I feel like you need to take a step back and think over what you’re passionate about. Because I think when you find piece you want to work with, you’ll know, and you’ll go at it full force. So maybe take a day to step back from all that you have already printed and then just mull over in your head any topic you’re passionate about that perhaps you have some written material from. Good luck! I’m excited to see what you choose.

  2. I love the process you used to narrow down the topic you want to write about, especially because it was the exact opposite of the process I used. By walking us through this process it really helped me understand where you are at so far with your project. One thing I noticed in particular though was that you numbered the four pieces of writing you are considering using. Is there a reason why you numbered them this way? Part of me thinks you may have subconsciously numbered them in the order of your preferences, which I think is something important to think about. Either way, I am looking forward to seeing what you do with this project.

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