E-Portfolio Madelaine Mitchell-Ward

My goodness technology…

I think that this e-portfolio was a great teaching tool on how to use blogs and websites and widgets, etc. I also know that it means I have some catching up to do in the computer department. I enjoyed this class and I am looking forward to the next one with the cohort.


Madelaine Mitchell-Ward


As of right now this won’t even link… copy and paste is nice too…

Learning About Simple Things in a Complex Way

Right now, I don’t want to learn about simple things in a complex way, and most people don’t, as the reading, “The Big Picture” decided. I  think that there is merit in hiding simple ideas in complex thought, however, I also think I am lazy and have to do other things like think about complex ideas in an oversimplified way (Physiology 201).

Do you think that there is value in obstructing simple concepts? I think so. Take “Street Haunting” by Virginia Woolf. Her prose is complex, marbled with description and difficult language, and the events are so strange that the reader is not really sure if and when they are happening. In analyzing the beautiful prose and the construction of the story, a reader can find simple concepts. Cheezy as it is, someone could effectively argue, “it’s about the journey” or “experiences are better than material possessions,” etc. But if Virginia Woolf just wrote those things on a poster and attached a sunrise or other picture that always seems to be on inspirational posters, her work would no longer be beautiful (in my opinion). The beauty of her work, I think, is the covering up of simple concepts with beautiful language and a story, and making the concepts available to the reader only if they wish to see them.

I admire and enjoy simple concepts explained well in complicated ways, but I don’t want to have to see any of that sort of writing right now.


Will Reiser- Writer and Producer of 50/50 the Movie

I attended the Screen Arts and Culture event where there was a viewing and Q & A with Will Reiser, writer and producer of 50/50 and… Seth Rogan’s best friend, which I was particularly impressed with. 50/50, for those not familiar to the film, is presented as a “humorous cancer story”. Reiser himself had cancer and thought that all the films about cancer previously made were sappy and unrealistic, an alienated middle aged person who gets cancer and reconnects with their family and goes on a soul searching journey to Africa. As Reiser pointed out, his immune system was so weak, “…there’s no fucking way I could have gone to Africa”. So he made a “cancer comedy,” if there is such a thing, and 50/50, I thought, turned out to be a great movie and balanced the humor and the tragedy very well.The parts of the event applicable to this class in particular was his discussion on developing the script. On script development:

  • It took a year and a half to write an outline (his outlining is extensive because he enjoys writing much more)
  • He did a revision of the outline and then sent it to Seth Rogan
  • It then took him a year to write the first draft
  • He submitted it to a director, got back notes
  • Wrote another three drafts over a series of two years
  • He then submitted it to Jonathan Levine (the director) and it was then still constantly being revised as they shot the movie.

My initial reaction was “holy cow that is forever”. But then he talked about how his characters had to develop, he was describing how he “talked to them” and “they talked to each other”. He talked about how he had to discover their childhoods, the relationships between them and their parents, and if they had any siblings or romantic interests. All this for major and minor characters, some of which appeared in only a couple of scenes. This commitment to the story must have taken for ever because he is basically creating a collection of people’s lives. It made me realize how difficult good writing can be, and why this movie was so good; he worked really, really hard and as a result the characters were multi-dimensional and very realistic. Also, the collaborative aspect was really important in writing the script, which is something that is especially present in this class.

I really enjoyed the film and highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it!



Really Fancy Prezi

For those of you doing prezi’s, copy and paste this link and check out this one. The way the writer set it up is very clear and easy to follow, with videos embedded and a lot of cool effects. It gave me some ideas so I thought I would share.




Bossypants- Tina Fey

Since I had to work during the talk, I watched multiple interviews by Tina Fey speaking on her fairly recent book, Bossypants. If anyone hasn’t read it, they should, and preferably on an airplane like I did so you laugh a lot and the person sitting next to you thinks you’re weird. In the “Google talk” and the interview with Gale King, Tina talks a lot about her start in comedy and improvisation. Improvisation was a instrumental part of her comedic talent, as well as writing abilities because she was taught how to think quickly, follow a set of rules, and most importantly, that an idea formed by two people is probably better than an idea thought of alone. This collaborative aspect is important in creating a successful work. In fact, Fey and her editors chose the title of her book, her editors turning down multiple titles before “bossy pants” stuck. Another thing Fey discussed was her love of language at an early age. Her father was a writer for a business newspaper and later a grant writer, and she talks about being a child and being expected to write and to write well. What I found most valuable from the interviews was her advice on comedy in writing and film. Self- deprecation is helpful in comedy, but you should not doubt your work abilities and what you produce. Be confident in what you are saying/doing and don’t ask questions, make statements. This speaks to her confidence as a writer as well as her talent as a comedian.

Here are the links if you would like to watch…


Maya Angelou- Why We Write

Why We Write


This is a really great interview with Maya Angelou, a writer and civil rights activist. I thought this interview was applicable to our previous prompts so I thought I’d share…. she also talks about writing for social change which we haven’t really talked about and something I found interesting in this interview.

Read if you are interested!


Politics on Facebook


Lately I have been overwhelmed on Facebook with notifications of who “liked” Mitt Romney or a shot of the back of Obama’s head with an inspirational word underneath. I see various political charged status posts and some heated conversations via “wall” conversations and some feverently write about how they are annoyed with the political attention and put up images like the one attached. My question is, is the picture I included true? Are we persuaded by Facebook to change or develop political opinions? Does this type of social media affect who we vote for? Or if we vote? I personally know who I am voting for and am not going to change my mind based on someones “wall” photo. However, the constant presence of political opinions on a website I often use has made me more conscious of the political turmoil.  I am more aware of my responsibility as a citizen to vote,  to play a role in my future, and possible fate, and much less so, but still a little bit, to defeat the people with political opinions I don’t agree with. Although I am annoyed by the badgering of photos such as these, I think that it is good people are asserting their opinions. I also think that the best way to do this though is to vote. “Liking” Obama or Romney won’t do much unless it is followed by a trip to the polls. Do you feel influenced by peoples photos? Are they able to change or influence your political opinions? 

blogging and repurposing

“A columnist can ignore or duck a subject less noticeably than a blogger committing thoughts to pixels several times a day. A reporter can wait—must wait—until every source has confirmed. A novelist can spend months or years before committing words to the world. For bloggers, the deadline is always now. Blogging is therefore to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud.”

I feel like this quote sums up the work blogging has done for me as well as what separates it from other genres, as well as what separates the other genres from each other. Blogging differs in its casual demeanor and informal tone. Bloggers write to appeal often to an audience who wants to read blogs because they don’t sound like the New York Times or Seventeen magazine. They are more personal. During class blogging thus far, I have read a lot of interesting ideas and thoughts from my peers, casual and more in depth. I enjoy reading blogs because the voice evokes a personality of a conversation with a friend, rather than an esteemed professor or columnist. I feel like I can write back and that my opinions are more valid, even if the topic is the same. Blogging makes me question credibility as well, simply because it is easy to. Hyperlinks and photographs and already being on the internet while reading a blog makes me a more invested reader, wanting to know more, and being able to find out more about the topic at hand.

My repurposing project is turning a rather fluffy magazine article into an informative, very business oriented piece for the Wall Street Journal. Blogging has helped me realize what I need to do in terms of audience. Since, in blogging, whether there is personal motive or the need for extra points, I want people to respond and be interested in what I have to say. Therefore, if I really wanted people to read things, I would tailor my blog posts for a specific audience. This need for specialization has made me think more about the specialization I will need in my repurposing project. I have to figure out what business people want to hear/read about, what vocabulary, what graphs, etc. I feel like blogging has better prepared me for this project…And that it might be kind of fun…

Ministry of Magic

Is the Mason Hall bathroom a blog? Women, have you ever been in that bathroom? Read what’s on the stalls? The war against the janitors is ongoing, FYI because according to a Sharpie named Mary, “The paint can’t stop us”. In all seriousness though, people really pour their hearts on to the smelly walls until they are repainted at least twice a year. Confessions of eating disorders, forced sexual encounters, and feelings of self-hatred are marked among sharpie hearts and people writing “believe in yourself” and “I love (insert man here)”. This sharing of, in some cases, very private information in a somewhat public place made me think of blogging. We share thoughts, often unprompted responses to anything we see, just as I am doing now and the women do in the stalls. Some of the restroom confessions are shocking, and most all anonymous, yet all are for a very specific audience. I think that is the most interesting part. The women writing to no one are really writing to exactly who they want to hear from. First the gender is narrowed down (female) unless men have the same type of graffiti, I don’t know. Then there is the fact that it is not just on a sink or by a mirror, but in a stall with a forced audience. They basically coerce others into reading their confessions. The audiences are captivated without necessarily wanting to be. So really, bathroom stalls are better. People have to read what you say.



Blogging with personality?


This guy is a lil bit of a goober- but in the middle, he decides if a blog doesn’t have personality, it’s not interesting. The reader will remember the article more if you infuse it with personality. “To me it’s always about you, the writer.” Is this true for all blogs? Do we always need to insert personality? Is a blog a blog because it’t not a news article, in other words, is the opinion section of the newspaper blogs in print. Is there any value in fact based, not personality infused blogging, or is it then no longer blogging? Is personal infusion into news what we value most about blogging? Sorry, lots of questions…