I fell into a rabbit divot

I’m going to make a pretty obvious statement right here and now: the Internet is a magical thing. Good, now that that’s out of the way, I can confess that my searching habits resemble those that someone who never grew up with a computer may possess.

What I’m saying is that I don’t find myself clicking on link after link and “falling into a rabbit hole” on a usual basis. I think a big part of it is that I don’t like not knowing how much time I will spend looking up factoids that I will literally never need again. But also, maybe I am just not extremely inquisitive.

Sticking to what you know isn’t completely a terrible way to live life; I just like to think that I’m a pretty direct thinker who searches for something with a purpose. For example, on an almost daily basis, I will read or watch something entertaining, and I play the “What else has that actor been in?” game (big shout-out to IMDb).

So with this massive preface out of the way, my “rabbit hole” was more like a “rabbit divot” when using the library research guides. Because I have a pretty good idea of where I want to take my project this semester, I didn’t allow myself to just wander; instead I looked at categories that I thought were going to be beneficial for me (selfish, I know).

About my search: what I’m looking into is really gender and entertainment of the superhero variety, so I first clicked on Arts and that led me to Comic Books and Graphic Novels. There was not only an archive of comic books, but also essays about the superhero, which is pretty neat. I even found an archive about women in comic books (score) and how to cite a comic book properly.

From there, I tried to find something under the women’s studies category, but came up empty handed. However, I did stumble upon a pretty nice archive about how to obtain copyright to use images and things, which I think a lot of people in class might want if they are using pictures that aren’t theirs (you’re welcome).

Although I didn’t just free-fall through links and tabs, I now feel more assured that there is material on my potential project. So I encourage a more direct route even if you have various ideas just to see what kind of potential your project has!

I’m telling you, I can see into the future.

I could have told you on day one of class that I would wait to upload this e-portfolio until there were 30 minutes left. That’s just the way I operate; I love living life on the wild side.

But hey, I got it done, so that’s pretty neat.

If you wish to check out my e-portfolio, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Good work to all of my fellow cohorts. I know it goes without saying, but we are all kind of ballers.

You’re asking who I am as a writer? That makes two of us.

Preface: This is essentially a free-write where I drone on about my “evolution” as a writer, which I’m going to work on for my final essay.

I came into college freshman year Hell-bent on becoming the next Erin Andrews. Looking back at it, I might want to stop saying she was my role model because she shot herself in the foot career-wise. But that’s beside the bigger point here, which is that I wanted to be a sports broadcaster in the worst way. I thought it was so appealing to be on television talking about sports 24/7, but then I found out that it wasn’t all I had chalked it up to be.

After a year and a half chasing that dead-end dream, I decided to switch gears. The greater majority of women in my family are/were in the education field, so naturally I thought about teaching. The only bad part about this idea is that I have about as much patience as a hungry lion standing by an unarmed zookeeper- AKA, not a whole lot.

Finally in the fall of my junior year, I was thinking about writing for a magazine. I write for two publications on campus, so it felt natural to continue this progression after I graduate. Except I have fallen victim to what the kids call “burning out.” Now I am a year away from graduation, writing editorial pieces is growing old, and I haven’t the foggiest idea of where to direct my life.

All that I’m trying to say with this is that my evolution as a college student has been pretty normal. I’m 21 years old and I still have no clue what I want to do when I grow up. All I honestly know is that I’ve been writing throughout this entire journey, for whatever that’s worth.

That sounds rather blazé, but it’s true. These past few semesters I’ve been trying to figure out the importance of having my writing by my side, and working on my minor in writing has only emphasized this more. It’s odd because I’m not quite sure where I sit with writing. Hearing my classmates talk about writing novels or screenplays in their free time makes me feel inadequate, but I think that might be the beauty of writing— it has different meanings for everyone. For me, it’s just something I do, like it’s an extension of myself. I never try to be extremely formal when I write, because, like, what’s the fun in that? Maybe that’s the wrong way of saying that; I just include my personality in everything I write. For instance, I’ve never been one to write a boring introduction, there always has to be a cultural reference or a witty remark (at least it’s witty in my mind).

That being said, writing on this blog all semester has really allowed me to do me (YOLO). The way I see it, there is only so much of your own voice that you can put into an article about a Michigan athlete (a lot of what I write for the yearbook). While it is fun to try to find a new angle to cover a story, nothing really compares to just being completely me in my writing, which I can do in a blog. I feel like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music when she is singing “The Hills are Alive” and dancing in the field of flowers, except I would be having a severe allergic reaction to nature if that were the literal case.

After writing this, I’ve realized I don’t really like calling the past couple of years my “evolution as a writer.” I don’t think that’s the right term. It probably doesn’t sit well with me because I just think of humans evolving from monkeys…thanks Charles Darwin. I just don’t think it’s analogous with my situation. I haven’t really changed, transformed, or become this supreme writer, and I think “evolution” signifies coming from the bare minimum. Instead, I like to think of my life as a map-less road trip where my writing is my only fuel. I don’t really have a final destination in mind, but when I make it there, I’ll be home.

FREE PUPPY!!!

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Okay, so there actually isn’t a free puppy, but isn’t my dog the cutest? I know, I’m a terrible person for misleading you. But now that I’ve been sneaky enough to get you to read this post I want to tell you guys about a great opportunity on campus. The Michiganensian Yearbook is hiring a slew of new writers for the 2014-2015 school year and I thought that some of you may be interested in applying seeing as we are writing minors –> we must like writing. I’ve been on staff for the past two years, and it is a great way to get editorial experience without being on a constant deadline. You can write about a variety of topics too; there are a lot of really interesting events that happen on campus that we cover. Another positive: writing for the yearbook is not a huge time commitment. You get a lot of liberty, you just have to meet deadline (obviously).

Here’s a link to the website if you want to check out the staff and whatnot. Also here are the applications for both the business staff and editorial staff if you are interested!

Remediation Station. First Stop: proposal

For my repurposing project, I took a piece I wrote about masculinity on Modern Family and made it into a GQ magazine article. In doing this, I geared my argument to early 20 to 30-year-old men. I knew that for the remediation I wanted to make a video montage of sorts but I really didn’t know what platform to use. Then I looked at all of the tabs I had open on Google Chrome and saw “Buzzfeed.” Lightbulb.

How many hours have I spent watching Buzzfeed videos? I couldn’t even tell you, but it’s a lot. I think that making a Buzzfeed video keeps my audience and argument the same. Many young adults view content on Buzzfeed, or see the material shared on Facebook and Twitter, which would actually broaden my audience by reaching both genders. My argument that Modern Family presents more than just the hegemonic male masculinity would transfer well into a video. In my repurposed project I talked about the masculinities represented character by character, which I could also do in the video.

Most Buzzfeed videos are under two minutes long and aren’t extremely text heavy, which means epic consolidation on my part, but I’ll take that challenge. A lot of what I’ve explained in writing in my repurposed assignment I will have to explain using visuals from the show. I will do this by taking video screenshots from episodes of the show (I will have to learn how to do this) and then piecing them together in iMovie. I can add text to the video to explain the essentials of each character and the different type of masculinity they represent.

If you’ve never watched a Buzzfeed video (which is a crime), here is a link to get an idea of what I’m trying to emulate. I like these videos because they are short, entertaining, and informative and they have the easy capability to be shared online. I essentially want to make concrete what is visible about the masculinities on Modern Family putting a little bit of an academic spin on a popular television show.

I would add a title now, but there’s always later…

I made a claim in one of my blog posts before that I am the queen of procrastination. Now, a lot of people say that they are the worst procrastinator, but here is how bad I have it: in the midst of writing my re-purposing sketch draft, rough draft, this blog post, and reading copious amounts of academic writing, I stopped doing everything to calculate how many papers I have written so far in my college career. The answer is 45. I have written 45 full-blown papers; this is excluding blog posts, Ctools forums posts, or other writing assignments. That means that I have not once, not twice, but on 45 different occasions waited until the night before a paper was due to start writing it (but let’s be honest, it’s more like the morning of).

Why must I do this to myself? You would think that at some point I would have the conversation with myself saying, “Hey Louise, you know you really aren’t doing anything this weekend, maybe you should do some work?” to which I should reply to myself, “Hey self, that’s a phenomenal idea and I am going to do that so I’m not stressed out!”

But then there are these things called Netflix and sleeping that suck me in and hinder me from being productive. While I wish that I were the type of person who could sit down a week before an assignment is due and crank it out, I’m also kind of at peace with my procrastination. And I mean, I only went home for spring break to Grand Rapids, but did I even touch an assignment? No way, man. I sure told myself I would, but I guess I live my academic life by the motto “there is always tomorrow,” which works well until you run out of “tomorrows.”

I honestly am okay with my terrible habits; I’m not looking for sympathy because I knowingly do this to myself every time there is a project to be done or a paper to be written. I actually take great pride in what I am able to pull off. To explain, here is a Facebook status from this past December:Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 2.05.50 AM

While I might sound a little arrogant in this post, I was more amazed at the kind of dark magic that must have been pulsing through my veins during that all-nighter. But it just leaves me asking myself again, why do I do this? I can literally only write when I have a severe time crunch.

I don’t know if other people can relate, but to me, I only have good ideas when I don’t have the time to over think things. I suppose when I write I take the “go big or go home” mentality, and when you only have a couple hours to write a paper, you pull out all the stops. I also think that by having this pressure, I don’t write as stiffly. If I think about something too much when I’m writing, I really lose my voice and personality.

Also, I cannot tell a lie, writing a paper under pressure is sooooo much more fun than having weeks to do it. If there are any How I Met Your Mother Fans out there, I always say “Challenge Accepted” to my teachers who warn, “don’t wait until the night before to start this assignment.” And when I turn that bad boy in after an all-nighter filled with self-loathing, I feel invincible, and like I want to take a nap.

What I’m trying to say is that I do a poor job of being a writer. This whole drafting thing— it’s not really my style, but that’s probably because I never give myself enough time to write a draft if it isn’t required of me. Maybe my writing habits will change when I get older and wiser. And when I say “maybe” I actually mean that there is absolutely no chance that I will ever break the chain of procrastination. At least I’m realistic.

So this eportfolio….

I, unlike most of my classmates, am not going anywhere for spring break. Instead, I think I have a hot date with Mr. Eportfolio, because thinking about the questions made me realize I’m grabbing at straws in terms of where to start.

I guess I always thought, “Oh wow, a portfolio, what work do I want to include in it?” as opposed to “how interactive do you want your portfolio to be?” Maybe this is due to the fact that the only real time I heard the word portfolio used until this point was on Mad Men when a portfolio is just a manila envelope with sketched out ideas for advertisements. I know that we actually have computers now and should be more technologically savvy (heavy emphasis on “should be”) but there are still people like I am who can think elaborate things up in their heads but could never put them on a screen.

I know, I am really setting myself up for success with this project thus far. But here’s where I’m coming from: upon reading the first question on the prompt “What reading experience do you want your audience to have, both of the portfolio as a whole and of the particular artifacts you include?” I thought to myself, “I want my audience to have an enjoyable experience.” Boom. Done. Next question please. Then I read the bullet point underneath. This eportfolio is a lot more intricate than just posting what I’ve written onto the World Wide Web. I really need to consider how I want my audience to feel reading this. I most certainly do not want to come across as boring and run of the mill, so I have to upload what I’ve written in a way that evokes my personality. Seems easy enough.

But then I remember that I don’t know how to use computers, or at least things always come out better in my head than they do when I try to put them into motion. I think that to make people want to read what I post on my eportfolio, I’m going to have to differentiate myself somehow. I think it’s going to take almost “blogifying” (I think I just made up a word) my old work. What I mean is if and where I had citations, actually link it to the piece, or break up the blocks of text with images and videos, something to keep the reader motivated. I think just by incorporating media into my already existing writings I could potentially open up the doors for more conversation as well; instead of just spewing information at my audience, they could see examples of what I’m talking about (if it’s applicable), and choose to talk to me about it or not.

I’m also torn about what artifacts to include in my eportfolio. Obviously I have stuff for this class, and maybe some more academic pieces, but I really want my voice to show through everything. I’ve written my fair share of reflective pieces where I’ve had more liberty in how I write, but for the most part in college, everything I’ve produced is very academic and honestly a little boring to just sit down and read. I think it’s going to take me digging through all of my papers to find the pieces I distinctly remember writing and enjoying that I am confident others would like to read as well. I think it might also be beneficial to add links to my social media sites, namely Facebook and Twitter. I don’t know how to have my Twitter feed show up on my eportfolio, but Google could probably help me find a way to make it work. I just think that with an eportfolio you are trying to sell yourself and show who you are as a person, and I think that incorporating my everyday tweets could help me show not only what I’m interested in, but also help me develop the voice of my eportfolio as well.

I suppose this idea of establishing my voice throughout my eportfolio is my guiding theme for this project. I really write the same way that I converse, so I have an established voice when it comes to conversation. But I think that the layout of my eportfolio, how I choose to organize it, and what I decide to include are other ways for my voice to be seen and heard. So ultimately with this project, the biggest challenge I’m probably going to face is to keep the voice of Louise Fletke at the heart of it all.

Someone get me a Staples button, cause that was easy (AKA: Repurposing Reflection)

Sorry if I offend anyone by saying this, but I don’t think I could honestly care any less about the feminist movement. I know that probably sounds bad and that I might have made some enemies just now, but I’m kind of over women complaining all the time about stereotypes in the media and how it influences us to be skinny and sexy 24/7. I’m not just over it because I hear it all the time or see countless posts on Facebook about gender equality; I’m over it because more likely than not, women neglect the fact that men are faced with just as many stereotypes.

This preface might seem pointless, but trust me, it isn’t. I’ve done a lot of research and written some papers and conducted a content analysis study all about this idea of hegemonic masculinity and its acceptance or rejection in mainstream media. So going into this repurposing assignment, I thought it only natural to transform one of these pieces.

When we got into our groups I was leaning toward one piece quite heavily, so I think that for me, talking with my group members just confirmed what I already knew I wanted to do. Even when I explained the two potential paths, they all mentioned how much more excited I was for my first idea and told me to go for it.

Without further ado— for this repurposing assignment I am taking an essay that I wrote my freshman year in Communication Studies 101 about the masculinities represented in Modern Family and transforming it into a GQ Magazine article. Seeing as the original essay was written for a college class, it takes on a more academic tone as I argue that there are more masculinities represented in Modern Family than simply that of a hegemonic male.

Each of the men in "Modern Family" (including Luke and Manny) bring a different type of masculinity to the table.
Each of the men in “Modern Family” (including Luke and Manny) bring a different type of masculinity to the table.

The goal of the original assignment was to watch a television show analytically and apply concepts that we learned focusing on representations of women, African Americans, citizenship, or masculinity. Obviously, I chose masculinity and I analyzed the characteristics of the predominant males in the show. The research on this essay wasn’t very excessive; I just drew from the lectures and some readings, so most of the paper was just a content analysis.

While I wrote the original essay for my professor and GSI, in repurposing it, I want to write it for a male audience. We learned a little bit about how not a lot of men are taught these other types of masculinity, and so they feel that they need to just fit one standard mold. I really just want to help the guys out and make this piece the most meaningful by showing men that there are more ways to be manly than one.

In terms of a venue, writing it as a GQ article not only creates the audience that I want, but also the style of writing. It’s actually one of my dreams to write for a magazine someday, so I thought I would take advantage of this opportunity and combine my love for magazine editorial writing to make the repurposed piece less formal and more conversational.

I would talk about my other option for this assignment, but it would just be a massive waste of your time to make you keep reading. I knew from the day that Shelley assigned this to us that I wanted to repurpose my “Multiple Masculinities in Modern Family” paper, and I am honestly looking forward to giving this piece a new home.

I’ve Got The Power

The band Snap! has a very catchy song called “I’ve got the power,” and I couldn’t help but sing it when I was doing the readings for this week. While some might feel intimated or inexperienced in the realm of reading and writing, dare I say even lacking authority, I guess I have always felt empowered when I am constructing the meaning of a text from both sides of the paper.

Haas and Flower talk about how reading is viewed as generating multi-faceted yet integrated representations. Knowing that reading a text brings, potentially, a different representation to every reader causes me to feel like, as a writer, it is my job to create a text that can have many different viewings. It is also a little comforting to know that not every text has one strict meaning, so I can let my imagination run with an idea as long as I can support my thoughts.

This idea is also presented in the Penrose and Geisler reading, although here they are talking more about reading and writing authoritatively. They pointed at two examples of people reading various texts and then writing a paper: a college freshman with very little knowledge and authority, and a student working towards a doctorate degree in philosophy with a breadth of knowledge and, therefore, authority. With Janet’s paper, essentially all she did was transfer information from the texts she read and applied them to her own paper, while Roger’s essay actually analyzed the texts and drew original conclusions. I think that this is the key to being a writer; you can’t simply spew or regurgitate information no matter what class or circumstance you are writing about. Instead you have to make what you write meaningful, or else what’s the point of even writing in the first place? Yes, readers have a lot of weight in deciphering the meaning of a text and in comprehension, but there has to be something given to them by the writers that they can actually analyze. So naturally, while writing, you have to think about what you want to achieve and present to your readers.

While doing both of these readings, I kept thinking about my AP Lit and Comp class in high school. While we read various novels and poured over poetry, a lot of the emphasis was put on our analysis of the texts. If you just summarized something or transferred information when you wrote an essay, you were not going to get a good grade. I think the two most important words to my teacher were “So What?” These two words were bolded on the top of every handout for each writing assignment. Making myself think “so what?” when I am both reading and writing has definitely made an impact on me as a writer because it forces me to be thinking about the bigger picture. Haas and Flower hit on this when they talk about the four different types of constructive reading strategies: verbalizations, gathering the content, the function/feature of the text, and then the rhetorical strategies (129-130). While the first three strategies are a good starting place, it is only when a reader thinks rhetorically that the “so what?” really comes into play. At least, that’s the way that I was trained— to place the most emphasis on using rhetorical strategies. It’s not just about the words on the page, it’s about understanding the significance.

Reading for rhetorical analysis opens a door for writing authoritatively as far as I’m concerned. In all of the classes I’ve taken so far in my academic career the goal of the papers are always about drawing my own conclusions, not simply drawing on sources. It’s almost liberating as a writer to know that, as Haas and Flower state, reading is a constructive process and not simply receptive. This allows for a writer to open a conversation rather than locking their words into a text never to change. I for one love having a discussion about a text where everyone has something a little different to say, which is why I want to be the type of writer who provides a spark. I don’t want my words to be set in stone; rather, I want my readers to look at what I write and start a conversation.

 

Maybe I’m crazy, but a job search is like trying to find love.

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day being this week, I’m going to go on a little love journey of emotions. I’ve been tapping into my inner poet lately, channeling the greats like Robert Burns who said, “my love is like a red red rose,” and just mulling over what that means. The more I think about it, the more I’m realizing a new comparison about love that is much more applicable to 20-somethings living in the 21st century. Prepare to be poetically intrigued: love is like a serious job hunt.

Now this isn’t just some silly simile I have randomly created. Rather, I have been searching for internships for about a month while also trying my luck in the dating world and I have realized some scary similarities. Any way you slice it, landing a job and starting a relationship are practically identical.

Just think of the vapid cliché parents tell their kids when they’ve had their heart broken, “there are plenty of other fish in the sea.” This is very true, there are 7 billion people on the planet, so it’s likely that you are going to find someone to eventually spend your life with. But guess what, you go onto job posting sites and it feels essentially the same. By that I mean it feels totally overwhelming.

Now maybe you have a certain type of person you look for in a significant other; similarly, you probably have a certain type of job you are looking for when you start your process. Of course, this doesn’t mean that every person or every job that fits that type is perfect for you. If perfection was that easy to come by then there would be no reason for life at all, someone has to throw a wrench into the plan along the way. The wrench in this scenario is finding a person or job that you have a connection with beyond a first glance. This means you might have to go out on dates with multiple people who fit your type, and in the workplace world, it means pouring over Linkedin for hours, whittling down the kind of job you want, maybe saving a couple jobs that really caught your eye or make your heart flutter.

Now that you’ve tested the water, and you have some potential candidates, emotions come in to complicate everything. You start to feel more strongly for someone or one job in particular, so much so that you would do anything in the world to just have them or it be yours. You know what this feeling is? It’s vulnerability, and it is terrifying. You are willing to let your guard down for that person to see the true you, or for that cover letter to exemplify who you are as a person. Suddenly, the question “why are you interested in this job” makes you think about your entire history and what you need in a source of employment. Have you been trapped in a job that is dragging you down? Have you been floating from job to job trying to fill a void but in actuality you just need stability? Or have you been second-guessing yourself throughout your career because you are afraid of commitment? If these questions sound familiar, it’s because you’ve probably thought about them in regards to your dating life and trying to find that perfect someone.

Now that you’ve answered the tough questions, you have probably become emotionally invested to the point where no other job matters. You’ve spent so much time crafting the perfect resume and cover letter, because this job only deserves perfection, but then you worry about one crippling factor— rejection. You have poured your heart and soul into this application, but at what cost? It could all be for nothing, the company might not feel the same way about you. But you can’t let that shadow of doubt deter you, you have to put on your grownup pants, lay your heart on the line, and send in that application. You are committing to this one job (okay, maybe you have some back up plans, which does not mirror the dating world hopefully) with the intentions of earning an interview.

If you are still reading this then I thank you for sticking with this analogy. It makes sense in my eyes at least in that finding love and finding a job both take a lot of dedication. You can’t expect to throw together a sloppy resume and send it in all willy-nilly and get a job, much like you can’t really half-ass it in a relationship if you want it to work. The main take-away for me is just that both processes require time, persistence, and a whole lot of heart. But in the end, if you do it right, it should be completely worth it.