48 hour change

Let me share with you some life advice my friend recently shared with me.

#1 Live your life for YOU. #2 Don’t SHOULD on anyone, especially yourself.

#1 It’s your life, what are you going to do with it? November 14th, M-Biz event #2 (a business professional speaker series) featured speaker, Follett Carter. Not only did he have some very insightful information on what it takes to be a successful salesmen but he also shed light on valuable life lessons. “Nobody is going to look after you but yourself.” If you want something significant to happen in your life, it is up to you to make it happen. He also said, “If you don’t go to bed every sunday night, excited for the week ahead, than you’re in the wrong occupation.” You have to love what you do. I want you to think about your future, and what it is you want out of this life. If you are unsure, don’t fret, we have plenty of time. But I encourage you to start thinking, NOW! Because I want you to live as much of your life doing the things you love as possible. And once you discover what it is you love, you will find this is where you will excel the most.

#2 Stop Shoulding on yourself – a great place to start achieving what you want out of this life. Imagine you are out with a group of friends, including your high school best friend who is visiting Ann Arbor for the weekend. You are walking down state street at 7pm on a thursday night. You are all hungry. You say, “where should we eat? Chipoltle, Five Guys, Savas” – you throw out some descriptions. Everyone start’s reading into it way too much, trying to figure out where everyone else wants to go. The decision takes forever…you know the drill. Now reverse back to the analogy: on state street, with your friends (visiting AA) and you’re hungry. You say, “how about we eat at this really great place, unique to Ann Arbor, Savas?!” By simply removing the word “should” you are able to please yourself. The group of friends you are with are able to agree rather than guess which of the suggested restaurants you actually want to go to. And the decision of where to eat is made more quickly. So everyone can eat and be merry! This is the least significant way excluding the word “should” can make your life more enjoyable. Now think for instance, I should study for my exam tonight vs. I am going to study for my exam tonight. I should travel before I have children vs. I will travel before I have children. Excluding the “should”, tricks your brain into action. You are more likely to complete the things you want by simply not “shoulding” on yourself.

A much better interpretation of the anti-should movement is below, by my friend, Mike Aidala.

You Should Read This…

Stop Shoulding


Sword Precis


Hooks and Sinkers

Although not every piece of writing begins with an interesting “hook,” most of the successful pieces do. Authors are aware that if they can keep your attention for the first three pages, they probably have your attention captured for the remaining contents of the book. Every scholarly subject has its own way to secure their readers attention. Historians begin with a specific event within a certain time period, literary scholars use meaningful quotes, science writers bring light to a fascinating fact, and the list goes on. It is important to all writing to captivate the audience early on. It shows a reader that you are, “willing to work hard to catch and hold their attention.”



Reflection of Natasha Trethewey’s “Why I Write”

Natasha Trethewey is a Poet. This is a reflection of a speech she gave on why she writes. Natasha’s “Why I Write”

Natasha found great inspiration from Orwell’s “Why I Write”. She too has a shear joy for words that has been instilled within her since a child. After reading Orwell’s piece, she was challenged to discover her answer to this very question.

Natasha said, “Poetry exists to open our heats.” It challenges us to question the meaning of humanity. She said she writes because she cares for the people in this world (more than words) and she simply can not keep her mouth shut regarding actions of injustice.   As a child, her father told her that she must become a writer. He said that she had a story to be told. As a young girl she never fully understood what story he was talking about. But with age she discovered the inequalities she experienced being a bi-racial women growing up in Mississippi: the crosses burned in her front yard, the hats her grandmother was not allowed to try on because they were for white ladies, the poor segregated neighborhoods with grocery stores containing higher prices. Orwell defined political purpose as, “a desire to push the world into a certain direction.” She decided she had a political purpose to tell the stories of people who have been under appreciated in America’s past.

Many of Natasha’s poems promote social justice. Just as Orwell described poets are advocates who defend what they believe, this is where Natasha’s inspiration is derived. She  does not intend for her poems to address race but  there are undertones because of her background experiences and geography, which she explains as fate. She write’s from her heart, voices her beliefs – all based on experiences of her past. This is why she writes. Orwell motivated Natasha to answer the question, why I write, herself; MLK describes her answer, “no lie can forever live.”

Do you find yourself writing based on experiences of your past? Does this involve any type of change you’re advocating for? If not, please explain to me where your inspiration from writing comes from!

Writing WRiting WRIting

For both my “How I write” essay and re-purposeing essay I have decided to tackle one of my weaknesses in writing: Narratives (DUHN DUHN DUHN). Narratives are interesting to read but very difficult to accurately describe, at least in my opinion. A reacurring theme in my peer reviews (of my attempted narratives) was: show don’t tell your reader. I struggle to take a picture in my mind and put it into words so that my reader can create a similar picture in their mind.

Just like Shelley said today, “don’t try to sound smart, try to communicate. Because if you try to sound smart, you’re going to end up sounding silly.” This is what I experience with my attempts to write a narrative (except I am trying to sound interesting instead of simply describing what I have in mind). I need to try less and just write what I am trying to portray. Then I can go back and edit my descriptions to make sure they do sound interesting.

I think part of the reason I struggle with narratives is because it is a type of writing that is barely focused on through high school and college. But if any of you find that you are particularly good at writing narratives or have any advice on how I can accurately describe pictures through words, please help me out! How do you portray a picture to your readers??


Although this post is not necessarily directly related to writing I was working on my re-purposing project when this thought came to mind. It is the kind of thing that you see as someone’s lame fb status, but I’ve decided just to blog about it and share it with you guys.


I feel like life is a trek down a Mountain. (Opposed to Miley Cirus’s view – “It’s the climb”). When you are born you are pushed off the top. Gravity will carry you down no matter what; so the only decision you are left with is how you will make it down the Mountain.

Right now I feel like I am uncontrollably rolling down the Mountain. I need to find a way to stand up and start running down.



Anyone feeling similarly?

We be bloggin

I have a newfound appreciation for blogging. At fist I was questioning the importance of blogging, especially when I found out we were required to blog weekly for this class. But blogging has improved my skills both as a reader and a writer already!

I enjoy blogging about our class readings because it helps with my comprehension. It forces me to analyze the piece and do more than “just get through it.” I find that blogging is especially good for this because when I talk about a completed reading, I can get away with ambiguous statements. I also find myself talking in circles of repetition. If I were to write about the readings I would be focused on the grammar a sentence structure of the writing, rather than responding to the reading itself. Blogging is a casual form of writing where I can just focus on my thoughts about the reading. But, because it is a form of writing, I still must make points and support them with evidence. Blogging has helped me form opinions about the readings we have done in class so far.

Blogging has alos improved my writing. Once again, it is a place where I can organize my thoughts. Writing about certain assignments has helped my development of ideas. It has been a great way to prepare. It is like a free write where I can write about what I will be writing about in the future (if that makes any sense). I have found blogging to be a great way to express my ideas. And even get feed back on them!

I have enjoyed blogging very much in this calls and once the blogging parties start, I know I will enjoy it even more 🙂


Noisy Cape Cod

As we discussed my repurposing project in class, I would like to elaborate on all of the wonderful ideas y’all gave me! The original piece of writing I have chosen for my re-purposing project is an argumentative essay against Cape Wind, an offshore wind turbine project. In the essay I make the point that Cape Cod is not a good host site; it is not that I am against renewable energy, I just think environmentalists need to take their project somewhere else. The original essay is directed towards homeowners who have the ability to vote against the project. It currently does not have enough funding which has pushed back its start date.

You all had some wonderful ideas to get my creative juices flowing. They included: targeting the environmentalists to show them a different point of view, write a narrative about a day on Cape Cod once the turbines have been built and Shelley gave me the idea to emulate something like Silent Spring – a nonfiction story describing the effects of uncontrollable pesticide use and how it is harming our environment. That is where Rachel Carson’s title fits in. She writes a story about a spring with now birds chirping or animal running: a silent spring. This brings me to the title of this blog post. If the turbines are built you will be able to hear them from the shoreline: Noisy Cape Cod.

I plan to take all of your advice. I am very glad you guys were able to help me come up with a new target audience – this is what I was struggling with the most! But I plan to target the environmentalist that wish to implement Cape Wind. I want to show them the ways the could be destroying such a beautiful place. I want to do a little bit more research on Silent Spring to get ideas about how to descriptively  show the effects of the wind project.

My fear is that this idea is not a holistic re-purpose of my paper. But, if it is I’m goin with these ideas. Thanks Guys!!

I can see it now … “Dear Environmentalists, Please don’t make my Cape Cod noisy.” JK


You can’t have one without the other

Craft of Research brings up the excellent point that we should not just accept every point made in our sources. When writing research papers I become so concerned about finding information that aligns with my points that I accept almost anything. I need to think more critically about my sources content. When learning the research process, my teachers emphasized what was considered a reliable source and what was NOT! I tend to focus more on the reliability of the source rather than its makeup. Although reliability of a source is important, I need to shift some of this energy in my research.

I also really enjoyed  suggestions for connecting the reader and writer by working in groups. I think this gateway class will be a great opportunity where we can utilize group resources to ensure  this connection. I feel that our peer editing has already helped the “Why I Write” paper we wrote.

Teirney and Pearson bring in the idea that the reader and writer must be connected as well. It is important for a writer to ensure their intent of the peice is clear to the reader. A good writer should be able to step back and observe if their writing is engaging or not. As a reader one must work hard to grasp what the writer is trying to portray. As Frank Sinatra said, “Love and marriage, you can’t have one without the other,” Teirney and Pearson claim: reading and writing – you can’t have one without the other.

I agree that reading and writing are strongly correlated and must be considered together. Do you feel that they are completely different aspects, or do you agree with Teirney and Pearson?

Repurposing Brainstorming

For my repurposing project I am thinking of taking an argumentative essay and transforming it into a children’s book. My essay is arguing against implementing Cape Wind (an off shore wind turbine project) on Cape Cod. I think I could easily portray Cape Cod’s beauty to children, explain the purpose of the wind project in very simplistic terms and get my point across of why I don’t want the project to take place on Cape Cod.

I want to explain all of this in the from of a story with undertones of my argument. I am brainstorming some ideas so I could write a metaphorical story based on my argument. I just need to figure out which age group of children I am targeting.

To get my children’s book juices flowing I would like to hear a few things from you.

What is your favorite children’s book and why?

Who was your favorite character as a child (TV or from a story – just not from the story you listed above)?


I find this question slightly difficult to answer. Questions such as: “Why should I write?” or “How can writing help me?” seem easier to answer. However, after much pondering I have answered this question: “Why do I enjoy writing more than studying?”.  And this is where I am going to begin my paper. Just as Lamott said in “Shitty First Drafts”, by getting words on paper I will come across an idea, although it may not come until the sixth page (something alone those lines). So here is the beginning of my words on paper.I

I think I enjoy writing more than studying because it is better aligned with my thought process. I have never been a quick thinker and I do not retain information well, especially information that I either do not care about or understand. In this sense writing allows me to take my time. I can wait until my ideas are fully developed before I need to put them down on paper. And if I change my mind, all it takes is the backspace button. Writing also allows me to refer back to sources to double check my facts. I don’t need to memorize the information in order to use it. Finally, I enjoy the freedom writing gives me. Maybe I interpret some piece of information differently than the person next to me. Writing gives me the ability to use my interpretation of the information and elaborate or explain my point of view. There are fewer “right or wrong” answers in writing of which I could use a few more.