The Past is Surprisingly Relevant

I usually don’t think about my past writing, because it’s really difficult for me to find the thread that got me from there to here. What I have done in the past never seems to reflect what I do now. There isn’t a specific genre I tend to write in, and there isn’t a topic that I have been producing papers about since Freshman year. So when asked to reflect, I tend to think of the drastic differences on the surface and write about what I’ve changed or what I want to change.

I went back to my Gateway portfolio and reread my writing for the first time since that class. My project was about Italo Calvino and postmoderism, because I had just read some of his books and was obsessed. It was an interesting topic that came up during my brainstorm. But I wouldn’t say it’s a topic I’m passionate about. Frankly, I haven’t thought about it since (I reread Invisible Cities this summer, but I really didn’t think about it too hard).

For my Capstone, I will be writing about analytics (hopefully my interest in this topic will last longer, since it is my career path as of late). However, what does this have to do with postmodernism, and how can I even begin to connect what I did then with what I’m hoping to do now?

Well, for this entry I’m going to focus on tone.

My goal for my Capstone is to develop an educated and professional tone, without forfeiting the accessibility of my writing. It’s going to sound like an article in a business or economic or tech magazine, but without the confusing lingo. The point of my project is for everyone to understand what analytics is.

In Gateway, I produced what I called “an article” (you can find it here: about one of Calvino’s books being exemplary of its genre. These are the elements of that article that I want to reproduce or draw inspiration from for my current project:

  • I used a numbered list to structure some really confusing ideas in a clear way. It made my writing simpler and easier, and it’s visually welcoming (I love white space).
  • The writing is professional, yet conversational. I steer clear of formal, but I still manage to sound like I know what I’m talking about.
    • I use “But” to begin a sentence: “In modernist writing, the real world is the product of observation and analysis. But postmodernism completely rejects the concept of a ‘real’ world.”
    • I also pose and answer questions: “If writing does not carry theoretical, emotional, or symbolic meaning, form where do those meanings arise? It must be the case that there is something about reading itself that creates significance.”
  • There are many short sentences.
  • The grammar is correct. There’s no ambiguity even in the more complex sentences: “We’re so used to reading books set in the real world, or set in fantasy worlds that mirror the real world, with linear narratives and predictably structured plotlines, that when we’re confronted with concepts so abstract and unfamiliar as these, we’re tempted to brush them off as being failed attempts at something we know.” (Although I got a little winded reading this).

Instead of focusing on the surface level differences, I need to pay more attention to elements that I still like. What made this successful, even if I would never produce it now. 

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