I think history can be interesting, but most of the historical articles that I’ve been assigned in my historical communications courses are dry and difficult to get through. This could be changed if the articles were more upfront about how the historical event catalyzed change and progression in society. Most of the articles do eventually cover the greater significance of the historical event they are discussing, but it usually comes at the end. I think it would be helpful to mention the broader significance of the events being discussed at the beginning. They could be listed out, almost like theses. This would encourage people to continue reading, and it would also give people a perspective in which to view the historical events. This way, the article would be more interesting all the way through and would encourage more analytical thinking rather than the simple intake of facts.
My choice to repurpose my open letter to Jessica Valenti made the tone of my portfolio very conversational and almost lighthearted. Because the topic was intense, and I did not want to be overbearing in my claims, I took on a joyful and casual tone. I also did this because I thought it was a good way to present an important message without scaring people off. This resulted in a bio and remediation full of positive language. The colors I chose are tranquil but also non-standard.
If I had repurposed a piece I wrote for my political science class about the coexistence of liberty and equality, the portfolio would have taken a much more serious and “standard” approach. The portfolio would have used a more basic color scheme with gray and a subtle blue. I would have made the portfolio more professional and used it as a tool for self-promotion. Rather than being used as the “creative space” I claim it to be now, it would have been a place for me to put my purely academic writing. I would be wary of putting anything in the portfolio that I wouldn’t want to discuss with an employer. However, I’m not convinced that my voice or tone would have changed a ton.
How much do I trust myself in my assessment of why I write?
I’m up in the air with this one, guys.
My initial reaction was that I trust myself a lot because I genuinely believe all the things I said in my piece. I was thinking to myself about the accuracy of all the discoveries I made about myself while writing the piece. I think a ton; I have a horrible memory. This makes coming up with nuanced thoughts by the synthesis of ideas complicated. If I don’t record things, I will never remember them or be able to keep track of them. I want to keep track of them because I get very excited when I feel like I’ve learned something new about the way the world works. However, I am also somewhat skeptical because I’m sure that there are other reasons that I did not think about because I feel that analyses of our beings are difficult. Can you ever really know yourself or anyone well enough to predict what your actions would be if the scenario you’re trying to speculate about never comes to fruition? I don’t know that you can. So I suppose what I’m saying is that I still think I would have the ideas that I do, but I may have come across a few different discoveries about why I write had I chosen something else to repurpose.
I realized that I dislike visible effort in my reading. I can see this in my writing in the tone that I use. I usually write in a pretty conversational way. I think people could picture me sitting down with my laptop and writing up my pieces in one draft and then proceeding to send them as emails to my friends for their responses to my points. I try to make my writing sound intelligent but effortless, and I strive to make my readers feel like I’m standing in front of them and explaining the observations I have about the world in a casual and compelling way.
I read a novel called The Gin and Chowder Club last year. I picked it up initially because I saw it was set in Cape Cod, and I have a fascination with the East Coast. The book’s plot was mildly disturbing. I was uncomfortable because of the relationship between a young boy and an older woman who was in a relationship with another man. However, part of the reason I hated it was the fact that I really enjoyed reading the book because of the plot. The story also seemed very forced. The language was construed in such a way that made the dramatic elements of the book seem overdone, but I can’t say that I wasn’t intrigued by what was going to happen next. I was caught between my enjoyment of the book for its entertainment value and my shame in enjoying the book because of its poor execution in plot and language.
The two pieces I read cited similar goals with completely different methods. Athol Dickson, a novelist and teacher I had never heard of, wrote about writing helps people see the world how it is. However, he said that sometimes people need “distance” from their lives to see them “as they are.” This is especially interesting because the initial assumption about writing is that you are digging deep and uncovering truths through the process. Dickson, however, write “magical reality,” which he says helps people understand their own lives better and open themselves up to possibilities that don’t seem to exist in the real world but that actually do happen in everyday life. Mark Salzman, also a novelist I’d never heard of, says he writes “because it hurts so good.” He discusses the process of understanding through acknowledgement of the good and bad. In this way, the two authors I read both discussed writing as a process that generates better understanding of the world and life, but one was speaking of decontextualization and the other contextualization.
I read Keith Cline and Kristina Perkins’s pieces and enjoyed them both. They also had similar goals. Both pieces discussed the importance of writing for others. Keith’s was more explicit in this goal as he stated, “Whereas I once used the tools of those who came before me for selfish reasons, I have now discovered an intense desire to present those same opportunities to others, just as the authors I loved did for me.” Kristina’s was more implicit when she mentioned that though she may not be “a special snowflake,” she matters, which means her writing matters and may have consequence for others as well. I also liked that Keith addressed the relationship between speaking and writing as opposed to reading and writing.
From reading these pieces, I realized that similar positions can be taken from very different perspectives. I want to be sure that within my position on my reason for writing (whether it be for myself or others), my perspective is unique to myself. I enjoyed how many of the pieces incorporated a personal background leading up to the love for writing but didn’t put all of the weight of the reasoning on that background.
Here are some examples of boilerplate I found in my letter of interest to the program:
“The routine is particularly pleasant to me because it allows me to begin my day creating knowledge.” (referring to my love for sitting down with my laptop and coffee at a coffee shop)
This one is not true. I’m probably not creating knowledge because I’m not saying anything so profound that no one has ever thought of the idea I’m articulating, but it’s a nice thought. The idea would be more accurate if I said, “it allows me to contemplate ideas.”
“Because of my affinity for both the practice and the product, the writing and the creation of meaning, I am inclined to pursue a career in business communication.”
This is partially true. I do enjoy writing, and I know it will be a large part of a career in business communication, but there’s a lot more to it than that, and I’m simplifying quite a bit. Though I do think it makes more sense to say “creation of meaning” here because using words is creating meaning even if it isn’t novel.
“Ultimately, I hope to improve my abilities to create pieces that are relevant in academic and non-academic contexts because the academic works have infinite and inherent value beyond the classroom, and specifically in the realm of business communication.”
I do think academic pieces have value beyond the classroom, and I do hope to write things that are relevant in both contexts, but I’m not sure if the word”infinite” is accurate in this context. There will be a point when you have squeezed all of the possible value out of a piece. It’s just difficult to do.
My original piece was a letter to Jessica Valenti, a feminist author and blogger who I see as perpetuating a dialogue that spreads ineffective and negativity rather than effective negativity or optimism about women’s value and capabilities. I think if I were to take the letter and translate it into audio, it could be drastically improved because I would be able to use inflections in my voice and tone more effectively.
However, because I prefer my new piece, which is an opinion piece, I think I would prefer to complement it by adding more content and creating a collage with the original content of my opinion piece and a variety of quotes from women I interview about what being a woman means to them and how they see it affecting their lives. This would give me a broader perspective and a more personal presentation.
I also think that I could create a compilation of short-stories inspired by my opinion piece. The short-stories would all allow the reader to follow a woman throughout her day. The reader could be in their heads and experience what she is experiencing. This form would also allow me to broaden my scope with more perspectives than my own.
The piece I want to repurpose is an open letter to Jessica Valenti, a reputable feminist blogger/author. The original assignment from English 225 did not impose many constraints other than a page requirement and an issue that must be brought to the attention of the addressee. Because we were supposed to be convincing by employing complimentary language, I expressed my gratitude for her ambitions to highlight the disparity between men and women in society. My overarching argument was that much of her work focuses on the narrow issue of catcalling, which often detracts from more pressing issues that exist today.
While I genuinely enjoyed experimenting with the open letter format, I think some of my ideas can only be executed through a commentary that is not directed toward a single individual. I do not think I was able to include all of my thoughts on the feminist movement and the way that it is generally promoted today. Though I will still need to be diplomatic and not blatantly polarizing to write a persuasive opinion piece, I will be able to expound upon my concerns more in a piece intended for a large audience rather than a piece that confines me because I cannot tear Valenti’s ideas apart and remain convincing to her or an audience reading my letter to her. The format does not allow for as much opinion as I’d like to express without sounding too harsh.
As previously mentioned, I intend to remove the constraint of a letter format and create an opinion piece instead. In doing this, I will likely use many of the same arguments I used to critique Valenti’s work. I also plan to use some of her work as an example of the kind of feminist complaints that I see as detrimental to the progression of women in society. I hope to make this piece appealing to those who do not know who Jessica Valenti is, which I do not think will be too hard a task as the standing of women in society is a topic that is pertinent to everyone. I also think it would be interesting to bring in the writing of other feminists and antifeminists to provide a more dynamic picture of what opinions exist and how my ideas about what modern feminism should be concerned with fit into the spectrum.