Ghostwriting

Really, the first paragraph written by Brandt made my laugh:

A prominent East Coast vanity press announced recently that it was the first ghostwriting firm in the country to offer their clients insurance protection against charges of plagiarism. Yes, for an extra fee people who pay other people to write books for which they will take the credit are protected in the event that the people they hire are using somebody else’s work without crediting it.

I couldn’t believe that this was actually being written because it is actually true. Really? People are paying for this? Why?

I first off don’t understand why people would pay other people to write things in their name. I understand that people are lazy, or want to take credit for something but don’t want to put in the work.  But this takes it to a whole different level.  It’s like cheating. It’s almost the same as me paying someone to write this blog post. Maybe not quite, since this is for a grade, but it’s close enough.  This blog may get annoying at times, or not be my preferred way of communication for the class, but I wouldn’t want anyone else to post things under my name because the ideas posted would not come from me, and may not necessarily reflect my views.

The other thing I don’t quite understand is why people are paying for this kind of service when it sounds somewhat sketchy.  They are offering protection in case the person you hire plagiarizes? I feel as if this also gives you a bad reputation, so why would you want to risk your name as well?  If you are going to do something not quite honest like this, you should probably try to be careful and hire someone who can be responsible for your sake.

 

If I always added details…

I write because of my Grandma. Maybe not all of the time, but anytime I open a journal or grab a pen to jot down a story, images of her warm face flash through my  head.  The smell of her house, a mixture of paint and cookies, something I often call how her house would have smelled in the fifties, washes a calm over me.  Feeling her friendly embrace upon my shoulders adds to the effect.

What if that was why I write? To feel those feelings?

That is not necessarily true, because I write for myself. To express what I want to say, to try to understand a situation a little better.  I write to make myself happy, or to fulfill an assignment. Really, there simply is no one reason as to why I write.  I like all kinds of writing for all kinds of reasons.  Nothing makes me happier than sending a letter to my friend, or writing a paper on a topic of my choice, or sitting down with a journal during an afternoon to update the paper on my life.

I will say though, when I write, my Grandma does often pop up in my head. I see her confused face, hear her low pitched voice.  Thinking of her somehow makes me able to write down everything I want to say, every detail I want to express.

There’s nothing more I love than History….

I mean, really, I love it. Ever since I was little… my American Girl doll was from WW2 (for those of you who know these dolls, I had Molly obviously). I always looked forward to having time after school, snow days, and free weekends to act out countless stories from her time. That’s how it all got started.  Clearly, a writer I would like to emulate, and also an author of a piece that is intellectually engaging would somehow come from a history background.

I love Homer Hickam.  He is the author of Rocket Boys, also republished as October Sky and later turned into a movie. I have read this book so many times I had to buy another copy because mine fell apart.  The way he shares his childhood memories from Coalwood, WV make me feel as if I’m living with him in this mining town in the 50s and 60s.  His aspirations of building rockets and leaving his town are continually shot down by his father, and we can feel the author’s constant feel of neglect from his father.  His work is so emotionally engaging that you forget for a moment you are not actually Sonny trying to build these rockets. If I could mimic any author’s works, it would be those of Homer Hickam; his details pull me in from the start. I feel like this skill as a writer is hard to accomplish- so many of us leave out too many details or simply over add details and make a beautiful work seem choppy and “too full.” Hickam does neither, but is close to perfection.

Not only do I enjoy learning about our country’s history, but I also love learning about countries in Europe. Last semester, I took a history class on the origins of Nazism (side note: if anyone is interested in this topic, it was by far the best class I have taken here and it will be offered this winter) and we were required to read a book titled: Weimar Germany, Promise and Tragedy by Eric D. Weitz.  The book is about the period in between WW1 and WW2 in Germany. We read the book section by section over the course of four or five weeks and I seemed to learn something new every time I turned the page.   I have never read something for class that kept my attention so well, gave new angles to ideas I had already thought of countless times, and kept me pondering new ideas about Weimar Germany.  I loved this book so much and I was very sad when we finished it, as were most of the other students in the class.  You rarely come across a book that is so intellectually stimulating but also very enjoyable for a class.

As much as I love both of these pieces and have my dreams of being able to compete on the level such as Homer Hickam, I hope that I am always able to be my own writer- come up with my own thoughts and ideas, write in my own style. It is important to be inspired by these great writers, but to also remember that we have something unique about the way we write too.

Why I Write, 9/8

I enjoyed reading both Orwell and Didion’s pieces for I thought that they delivered honesty into their pieces.  We all, as writers, know why we write: pleasure, requirement, communication. Not everyone enjoys writing academically but at some point, we all do enjoy writing something for someone else.

One was of Didion showing her honesty was through her personal opinion of writing being the way she delivers her thoughts. When she writes, she wants others to believe what she is saying and go along with what she believes.  Didion states, “In many ways writing is the act of saying I, imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind.”  I believe that many writers would not admit to such a statement for this honesty can make the audience second guess what the writer is saying. While reading a piece, you don’t want doubt to be in the back of the mind’s of anyone who is reading, but rather you want them to go along with you and understand you. Didion pointing out that she wants to change your mind opens up the audience to realizing her honesty.

Orwell proved his honesty as writer but not in the same was as Didion.  Orwell believes that, “All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery.” What a bold statement to make. However, he is partially true. Writers can become very selfish, seeing as one of their motives to write is to get everyone to see something the way they see it. They are not always the most open-minded of scholars, for if they try to argue more than one point or position, their opinion can often get lost on the paper, computer screen, print out, etc.

Honesty is the part I like about writing the most. I feel that I can be the most honest while writing more than any other time in my life. Whether it’s writing a little thank you note to my mother, a course evaluation for a class that went wrong, or a constitution for my club at school, it’s the way that I can express myself easiest and be honest with what I want to say.

That’s the beauty of writing: you can say what you wish to say.