Slam Poetry

I have to admit, I’ve never been too much of a fan of poetry. It’s a little confusing to me and people tend to read it out loud with strange voices and the structural aspects of it are confusing.

But Slam Poetry is everything.

These girls kill it. I mean they are totally in sync, they speak from the heart, and they bring up a great message. It isn’t confounding or difficult to listen to or annoying. Here is what it is: thought-provoking. Sure, they could get the same point across through an essay or something, but it wouldn’t be as powerful or moving. Plus, these girls are just teenagers. Hail to the monsters.


And this guy. How on point is this? He takes one line that he overheard one friend say to another on a bus, and he threw it into a social context that made me listen and experience and see just a glimpse of the pain and suffering that rape and other violences impose on the world. Powerful stuff.

I don’t aspire to ever be as talented as these individuals; they are so great at what they do. But they have helped me see poetry in a whole new light and I really am enjoying this newly discovered genre.

#techchallenge Embedding a Video

You know when you make things harder than they really are? Like making a mountain out of a molehill?

Yeah… just did that.

I wanted to learn how to embed a video for my #techchallenge. So of course I google it. I come across this video:

“Great!” I think. I find the embed button on youtube, copy the link, click onto the “Text” button, paste the embedded link, save the draft, and hit preview. Annnnnnd… nothing. Hmm…

So of course it’s back to Youtube. Because Youtube doesn’t fail. And I’m a visual learner. So, yeah. I come across another video that alerted me to the fact that I needed to put the code into the HTML portion of the site.

Oh, duh! I was hitting the “Text” button instead of the “HTML” button! Silly Katie. All I have to do is… oh, wait, there isn’t an HTML button here. Where is the HTML button? There is every other button but HTML. COME ON.

So what do I do? Of course, I google it. But not googling the real problem. No, googling how to find the HTML button. Because that’s obviously more useful to me, considering I code (note sarcasm).

So after rounds and rounds of searching WordPress with the great advice of great minds such as “planetthoughtful” and “drdel” on random coding website threads, I finally come to terms with the fact that maybe I’m not meant to embed videos. Maybe I’m only meant to use pen and paper, and that I should just turn off my laptop and bury it in the backyard because technology is no friend of mine.

But then, a silver lining. I accidentally click on a link that takes me to the “help” site of none other than the creators of WordPress (who I really should have consulted initially, but hey, I’m stubborn). And guess what guys? You just copy and paste the link! Not the embedded link, not some fancy HTML coding place where you have to insert it, nope, just right onto the post.

The Answer to My Question

Well there ya go. Who woulda thunk?

So, my fellow Minor in Writing friends, if WordPress is difficult or confusing or challenging for you like it is for me, check out the help section. It might just save you a solid half hour of annoyance and frustration.

Blog on!



“But Pinterest is My Homework!”

During class I had an idea. A brilliant one, if you ask me.

I struggle to pay attention in class just like anyone else. Flip the laptop open in Econ lecture and I’m gone, lost in a world of tweets and tumbls and OH MY GOSH how cute are those shoes from J. Crew! Before I know it class has ended and I’m glancing up at the final slide, probably looking something like this:

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 10.43.43 AM

When I get to the library, I make a promise that I won’t, will not, absolutely can’t go on Netflix or Hulu or Facebook. And then I get frustrated with a paper and say that I just need a little bit of inspiration and suddenly I have 8 tabs open and not one, not a one, holds any relevance for whatever project I’m struggling to complete.

So what was my brilliant idea, you ask? Well, I made one of my most distracting non-homework occupations into an incredibly addicting homework project! For my re-mediating project I am making a Pinterest page. Boom. Win.

I’ll keep you posted on how it’s coming along. A little worried about all my other homework now, considering that I’ve been spending so much time on Pinterest…


Image from:

WordPress is No Friend of Mine

I worked with Weebly for my Re-Purposing Assignment, so I decided to stretch myself by using a different format for the E-Portfolio. WORDPRESS IS SO DIFFERENT. No really, this is so so so much less user friendly than Weebly for me. I am going to try to stick through the process, but I may just jump ship in a bit and head back to what’s comfortable. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

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Trying not to say, “Adios, WordPress!”

The classroom exercise helped me narrow down some of my ideas for the portfolio. I am very much a visual learner, so activities like that make my little creative heart leap with joy. I wish every class day could be like this. Working on projects while my peers’ opinions are only a shoulder tap away provides a great work environment and everyone in this class is full of great ideas and critiques. I’m definitely hoping for more days like this.

That’s all for now. I will probably table the WordPress E-Portfolio for a time when I have more patience (read: when I’ve had more sleep).

New media, new ideas

This re-purposing project is pretty fun so far, or at least captivating. I’m creating a website – a very new experience for me. This is a lot different than just posting to Twitter or Facebook. Working on this site has been both challenging and really interesting. Learning about things like Creative Commons, HTML, and even just linking information to pictures… things I didn’t expect coming into the Minor in Writing but that are making me enjoy writing more and more. I have a draft memo due for another class tomorrow at three, and yet I haven’t even started working on it because I’ve been so much more fascinated with creating this website.

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I don’t think that writing through websites will ever be as relaxing to me as simply putting my thoughts down in pencil and seeing them on a clean, white piece of paper, but maybe that isn’t the end game. Using new media is a whole different experience but in the same genre. It’s reaching for a blue pencil instead of a No. 2 and discovering how this changes my writing, adds value to it, questions it. I’m loving the blue pencil right now because it is new and exciting and so different than what I’m used to! This doesn’t mean that I abandon the No. 2. I still need to write the memos, type out my papers on word, and journal in a moleskin. But adding to my set of writing tools is enjoyable, and I’m really glad I decided to stretch myself for my re-purposing project.

Toward a Composing Model of Reading Notes

This article was focused on how the reader and the writer go through a lot of the same practices and stages as they conduct their activities. The author talks about how from a reader creates meaning by using background and experiences to understand what the writer is conveying. The writer also does this, but the writers objective is to generate ideas and filter through drafts. This way, the writer and reader are both steering each other towards a common goal.

I also enjoyed the part about how objectives assist readers. If a reader has an objective before he or she writes, they will recall more info than if he or she were just reading without any clear goal. The reader can do this through visualizing, which is a form of alignment which is equivalent to eye-witnessing. Through this practice the reader makes himself of herself more like the writer and they work together to reach their conclusions. Even if the reader and writer are from different continents and have never met, visualizing allows them both to see and feel the same thing.

Lastly, the author talks about negotiating meaning. The “inner reader” is reactive, and reacts to past, present, and future text. This point was really interesting to me because I’ve never thought of an inner reader voice. I’ll have to explore this more when I am reading for class and for pleasure.

In Real Time


“On my blog, my readers and I experienced 9/11 together, in real time. I can look back and see not just how I responded to the event, but how I responded to it at 3:47 that afternoon. And at 9:46 that night.”

Wow. This could not have been a more appropriate line for me to read this morning. Yesterday, as most of you probably know, DC experienced the terror and then heartbreak of a shooting at it’s Navy Yard. 13 people are now dead, and 8 are wounded. This is something especially upsetting for me, as this past summer I would ride by the Navy Yard twice a day on my way to and from work.

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Our bus would stop at the Navy Yard, pick up a few individuals who worked the night shift, drop off a few more that had the morning shift, and then drive over the bridge and stop five minutes later at the non-profit I worked at.

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This is the street my bus would go down (the Navy Yard is just beyond the white building on the right).

My initial instinct was to worry about the participants I worked with at my non-profit. Many of them live and work right in that area and it was unclear whether the gunman acted alone or if another gunman was evading the police.

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 12.40.41 PMA shot of 8th Street SE, which ends at the Navy Yard.

An email to my supervisor was answered quickly:

All is well here in SE. There is a stillness in the air! All the sirens this morning was something. We got to open and 2 volunteers were able to show. Do keep us in prayer.

It is a tragedy..

The reason I was so struck by the passage from Andrew Sullivan’s “Why I Blog” entry stems primarily from the fact that yesterday I was glued to CNN’s live blog of the shootings and the ensuing aftermath. Updates would sporadically appear throughout the day and this was my only way of keeping updated while in class or while walking home from school. This blog kept me in the loop and made me aware of what was going on in an area that I care deeply about.

Follow @thecollegeprepster

Sometimes global issues seems so important to me that I spend my time reading blogs from groups such as The Economist or Human Rights Campaign. Other times my blog tastes are more lighthearted (read: ditzy) and I prefer . And of course there is the staple MGoBlog, which keeps me up to date on my beloved wolverines. But there is one blog that always provides a nice mix of education and entertainment: The College Prepster.

The College Prepster TCP

Written by Carly Heitlinger, this blog is relevant for our class because we have quite a few girls in our class that can relate to her search for the perfect cute and functional agenda, and everyone in the cohort can find a friend and role model in Carly as we transition from college freshmen to the “real world” and beyond. Carly is a 2012 graduate of Georgetown University and is working in NYC in the tech startup field.

Carly gives suggestions on EVERYTHING. From finding the perfect work bag to giving out book recommendations to finding the best prices for textbooks, Carly is offering her tricks of the trade and is giving us a peak into her life as she navigates college and then her first year of work in the concrete jungle.

Some of my favorite posts by Carly are when she gets real about life. She opens up about what stresses her out, what confuses her, and what inspires her to keep working every day. Here is a recent post about how the Supposed Tos of life (supposed to take this class, do this internship, make these friends) were controlling her life and she wasn’t making any real decisions. It was something I related to a lot, and helped me step back and see my actions from a different perspective.

Build A Life

A few of my other favorite posts that we could all use:

– Intense Study Tips

– Tips for Increased Productivity

– And then there was rest.

The Balance Between Being Authoritative and Bossy

Political theory and public policy writing demand a certain succinctness and clarity. The audience for these types of papers does not want to be bothered with background information they are already familiar with or anecdotal notes that connect the author and the reader on a personal level. Therefore my writing tends to have a bit of an authoritative tone; I’m trying to convey to the reader what the problem is, what the solution for the problem should be, and why this solution is better than its alternatives.

By analyzing a political theory paper I wrote last term about how marginalized groups in the 1960’s could achieve political prominence, I was able to see that my “go-to” sentence contains subordination. One example: “A person gains freedom through sacrificing some of his or her power and including other groups that want similar changes so that everyone is better off.” The main clause, that a person gains freedom, can only be accomplished if he or she makes compromises and works with others.

I don’t stick to the “main clause then subordinate clause” pattern, as later on in the paper I write, “If the lesbian-feminists had utilized this principle, their attempt to change society’s attitudes towards women would have been more effective.” In this case, the main clause about whether or not the self-declared lesbian-feminists of the 1960’s were successful in their goals was dependent upon their implementation of the principle contained in the first part of the sentence.

My writing is usually geared toward a specific audience that is familiar with the jargon contained in the paper. Memos and political theory papers require that the writer convey information and recommendations in a relatively small amount of words. My paper shows that I do just that, including terms such as “black colony,” “Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,” “Stonewall Rebellion,” “third world gay men,” “CORE,” and others that were taken directly from class readings that might have a context outside of our political discussions that doesn’t directly correlate with what we were discussing.

Overall, I’d like to begin to incorporate different sentence structures into my papers. I don’t want to offend the audience by being too authoritative, so I will work on that balance between passive and assertive writing. I will also work towards eliminating superfluous “to be” words from my writing. I think this will make my work more professional as well as more pleasurable to read.

It’s Inevitable

As I read through Orwell’s “Why I Write” essay, I was confused by the title. He notes his inherent need to write since childhood – in fact, he made up descriptive stories in his head throughout his youth. I thought the essay was much more focused on the subject of his writing. He states that if he had grown up in a different time, his writing would be the cause of sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, and historical impulse. However, due to the political turmoil of the time, his writing is driven by political purpose, which in effect changes the content of the writing and makes this essay an exploration of why he chooses the topics he does. If Orwell had grown up in a time without the global issues he faced, would his writing be largely recognized and read today? Would we place merit on him as a writer or would he be lost in the background? We see that according to Orwell, “It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects.” So is his writing inevitable, a product of a middle child with enough time on his hands to allow his imagination to run wild combined with a controversial time period?