Into The Rabbit Hole… and now I have a headache

The Michigan Library website overwhelms me. When I started using it 45 minutes ago I felt great; now I have a headache. I’ll be the first to admit that I never use the Library resources; I’ve probably used the lib’s website twice during my past four years at Michigan. When browsing online I’m used to google – with big letters and happy colors – kind of like a book for a really old person. The Library and its portals is filled with boring, dull colors that are all variations of beige, gray, and some really drab navy blue.

Furthermore, I hate reading on computers. I hate reading on my phone. I hate holding what is essentially a TV screen one foot from my face and staring into it for ten hours. That is why I, unlike most of my generation, still partake in the ancient art of reading books; another arcane art I practice – printing off PDF’s and reading them on paper. I’m telling you this to underline how negative my experience browsing the library site was.

Dear Prof. Barron, I’m usually a swell, happy-go-lucky guy. Sorry this was your first impression of me.

Essays Are Boring

I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book.  This is something I have zero experience with – it’s just a gut feeling. I’ve spent most of my life writing essays. The first writing assignments I ever made, in elementary school, were essentially one paragraph essays. I’m sick of writing essays, and for some reason I just really want to write a children’s book.

How does this relate to my MIW work? I joined the Minor In Writing for two reasons. One – I wanted to hone my essay skills. Two – I wanted to push myself outside of my comfort zones and try writing things I’ve never written before. Almost all the writing I’ve done so far in MIW has been focused towards accomplishing reason one. Even the first writing assignment (a narrative) ended up sounding like a formal essay. I haven’t really made any progress on goal two. I want to dive completely out of my comfort zone. I want to write something as unlike an essay as possible. A children’s book just sounds like a fun project. I just really want to write a children’s book.

Hopefully the MIW will provide an opportunity for me to seriously jump outside of my comfort zone. So far it hasn’t pushed the boundaries as far as I’ve liked. This is probably my fault. I need to make a point of choosing assignments that push me outside of my comfort zone. So next assignment I get to choose will be something radically out there…

Not WordPress – But I Like It

Last night I had the most difficult exam of my life. This prevented me from having any serious playtime with WordPress. However I did find a pretty cool blog. Its called strange maps.

http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/625-gingers-of-the-world-unite
^^ This article that I failed to hyperlink is post number 525. It’s a map of ginger prevalence throughout Europe. The following article tells you all you need to know about the strange race of gingers.

The Strange Maps blog format is remarkable because of it’s minimalism. The blog isn’t too crowded – therefore the maps draw all the attention. I want to design my portfolio in a similar way. I want each entry to have some type of photograph (or maybe even a map), and a minimalist blog format that won’t detract from my eye-popping articles.

Im Gonna Do a Podcast

The new media technique I’m learning for the remediation project is something you have all probably had exposure to before – a podcast. Amazingly I’ve never made a podcast. I’ve never recorded any kind of audio media. I am completely inexperienced in that realm of communication.

This podcast is exciting for two reasons. One – I wrote a speech for my repurposing project, so the material I’m working with was meant to be spoken, not read. Two – I can chop up my speech at put soundclips of it in my NPR-esque podcast I’m about to make.

Unfortunately I have yet to learn how to make a podcast. That’ll happen tomorrow at the Media Commons on North Campus.

superlateblogpost – supereffectivewritingstrategy

All through high school and my freshman year of college my writing process was something like this:

Step 1: Sit down in class and think about a cool topic.

Step 2: Procrastinate until the night before the rough draft was due, and write an utterly useless rough draft as quickly as possible.

Step 3: Procrastinate until the night before the final is due – try to edit the rough draft – realize it is really really bad – delete it – start over – stay up all night writing some kind of final draft top to bottom.

Step 4: Pray to the writing gods for a good grade.

 

This was a pretty shitty writing process. But somehow it worked out. By reducing the procrastination component just a little bit I was able to pull off A’s and B’s on most of the papers in my English classes. These papers were never longer than 5 or 6 pages. I rarely did any kind of prewriting. I rarely outlined. I rarely brainstormed. If figured I could do all the prewriting in my head.

Then I encountered English 225. We wrote huge papers. 10 pages plus… The first paper of class I reached step 2 in my old writing process. The draft was so bad – the whole class read it. I had to go to the professor for help. I didn’t know what to do. I knew I would delete it, start over, follow the old shitty writing process, and the final would turn out poorly.

I screamed to my professor in desperation, “Mr. Professor, what can I do!?!?”. He replied, “have you ever heard of prewriting?”.

“?” I replied. He explained to me that the writing process itself should usually be more work the writing the actual paper. A thoroughly planned paper that has gone through many drafts tends to write itself. He encouraged me to start by freewriting. He said the biggest problem for most writers is that they start at the top of the page, write for four pages, and expect to have a finished draft by the time they get to the bottom. This doesnt work. You need to start with mind-drivel – brain-vomit. You need to force yourself to not self edit and write whatever you think for as long as you can. This though dump on your paper will contain alot of bad stuff – but it will contain some gold nuggets. Build your paper off these gold nuggets, he said, and you will be successful.

I’ve been freewriting ever since.

Poetic Drone Warfare Criticism Speech

The paper I have chosen to repurpose is a strange essay from my freshman year. I wrote it for English 125. It’s an 8-page essay that attempts to explain the dangerous implications of the rise of drone warfare. I took a very roundabout route to get to that point – evidence I used ranged from historical, to psychological, to scientific. The essay works, but it could be better.

I want to repurpose this essay because just editing it wouldn’t make it more interesting. I want to repurpose it into a speech. Why? I think the language I used in the essay is sometimes almost poetic. It would make a cool speech. Also, I’ve never written a speech before but have always wanted to. Some of the most interesting writing I’ve read is meant to be delivered orally. Examples include Shakespeare plays and many famous speeches. A lot can be changed format-wise for a speech. Repurposing my essay into a speech format will be fun because I think the content of the essay will work well in the speech medium.

My intro is a great example of part of my essay that can be easily repurposed into a speech. It starts with a quotation from Robert E. Lee about warfare. I’ve read and heard quite a few speeches that have quotations in them. After that my intro tells the story of Cain and Abel. It describes how intimate the murder of Abel by Cain was. The purpose of this is to set the scene for the lack of intimacy of drone warfare – and the consequences of that lack of intimacy. It’s a dramatic intro – and most speeches are meant to be dramatic. The fact that my intro – and most of the essay – has a dramatic feel means that it will probably repurpose very well.