Information Changes, Blogging is Stationary

Spinning top from Inception... what what! ūüėÄ

As opposed to when I first read Andrew Sullivan’s article on “Why I Blog” I have recently started to see blogging as a more of a legitimate writing form. I’ve never been much of a diary-keeper, much less of a blogger. It always seemed rather irrational to me to keep written thoughts when I already had memories ¬†in my mind. What seemed even more illogical was the idea of putting my personal opinions on a webpage, for people to read at their leisure and comment on. Don’t get me wrong, I love receiving feedback on my writing. However, what puzzles me more is the reasons behind blogging. During the beginning of the class, I questioned the effectiveness of requiring all Writing 200 students to blog regularly for class. However, what I’ve come to realized from the past month of blogging is that what I originally¬†perceived¬†to be ever-changing and fickle (blogging, that is), is quite the opposite.

When I heard the word “blog” before, I more or less imagined a righteous crusader ranting about some cause or another. True story. What I imagined it to be was that blogging came naturally to some people, and not so much to others. (Guess which category I believed I fit in?) Being blatant and clear about your opinions was one thing, but what happens when your feeling about a subject change? As it turns out, I have come to agree with Andrew Sullivan about one thing: “You end up writing about yourself, since you are a relatively fixed point in this constant interaction with the ideas and facts of the exterior world.” And that’s how I’ve come to see blogging as stationary, as opposed to the changing world around the blogger itself.

I’ve found that I really enjoy blogging now, and it comes almost naturally to blog every week and respond other classmates’ blogs. While I’m more used to writing under a strict academic format of drafting, editing, re-writing and finalizing thoughts before ever turning them in for homework, I think that a blog itself has its own merits in academia.

Yep.

As I’m beginning to repurpose my essay, I’m thinking about how I want to construct my ethos around my topic of interest. I wanted to re-purpose my essay around the idea of how language acquisition may change the perception and style of a person’s writing. I also thought about how immigration may affect education on writing, as well as my own experiences with ESL classes in grade school. I’m a little lost as to where I should start, but I know one thing: To get some inspiration, I’m rereading my blog posts.

Read, Write, Blog… Portfolio?

Up until now, most things we’ve discussed in class and all the reading and writing exercises have seemed familiar to me. Despite my lack of knowledge on how to compose a precis or create an author’s note, these things were easily picked up when we applied them in the classroom/team setting. Even blogging has become almost natural and enjoyable as a pastime.

When I was younger, I’d started a Xanga account with the intention of blogging haphazardly and displaying some art and poems I’d worked on to the public. What I never though of it as was a portfolio of my work, something to update regularly and change over time as my writing style changed.

I’ve perhaps created one portfolio in my entire life, and that was for a leadership board in middle school. Now we have to create an entire portfolio of our writing online. Crap. Here’s to hoping some of my HTML and design experience comes in handy with this seemingly impossible project. I spent part of today trying to customize my WordPress Blog, and all I’ve managed so far is to create a large white text box, and simple image which is hidden underneath it. Methinks I need some more¬†caffeine.

Let’s all be “Politically Correct”

It's for real now...

I decided to get a head start on the reading due for next Wednesday this weekend. Our blog groups reading assignment is “Reading and Writing Without Authority”. The paper started with examples of writing from two people of different academic backgrounds as they were presented with the same controversial issue. While one, a college freshman, wrote as if she was a reporter vying for the favor both sides of the issue, the other, a doctorate¬†student¬†in¬†philosophy¬†began immediately by presenting a couple contentious scenarios for the reader.

As I continued to read, it became obvious to me that the author of the paper was making a point of writing that attracts and prompts critical reading. The phrase “politically correct” ran through my head a few times ¬†throughout the essay. I’d be the first to admit, I don’t put much thought into who’s reading my writing when I compose an essay or a piece of creative work. I don’t really think much of the external arguments that may arise from a reader as they skim a paper for English 225. However, I do aim to be as controversial and thought-provoking as possible, without being politically incorrect.

So what is considered “politically correct”? I often find that when a writer wants to get the favor of every one of their readers through their works, they end up writing dry compositions that, in essence, are a report or summary of others’ research. How does a writer stay in the safe zone for criticisms of prejudice while still getting their point across?

The answer: You can’t.

The word “prejudice” has become just a taboo to think in terms of a person that most people would deny that they have any “prejudice” in their thinking or writing. What is impossible to deny is that everyone is prejudiced. I am prejudiced. You, the reader, are prejudiced. And it’s foolish to think that anyone can be UNprejudiced. We have all lived in this world with a certain point of view on everything. It’s the stereotypes that we have and the¬†preconceived¬†notions of certain people that we can socialize in society. Are all stereotypes valid? No. But they are an integral part of our psyche and form our interactions with others. So why try to disguise it in your writing if you are indeed prejudiced?

When I write, I want my opinion to be heard. I don’t think about exactly who audience is (something I do need to improve in) ¬†and I, quite frankly, don’t care if the reader disagrees with everything I’ve written. I want my writing to challenge the way that the reader thinks about something, and I want the reader to challenge me. Writing without prejudice is writing without meaning. And you can disagree with me on all accounts of that.

-Diana

It’s hard to write.

And I’ve found it’s even harder for me to write about why I write. When I first peered at the topic of this essay, I though to myself “It should be easy to finish a draft of this essay.” After looking at the requires, I felt even more confident that I could write this paper within a matter of hours. I’m pretty sure my overconfidence was misplaced now.

Because we were allowed to chose the format of our essays, I decided to pick one that I’ve grown fond of after taking English 325: Mosaic style writing. It’s where one takes all the elements of an argument and/or story and pieces them together, like in a mosaic. However, there will be breaks in the writing, shown by spaces and it’s not necessarily in chronological order. What I loved about this style of writing is that as you read, you discover more about the thinking pattern of the writer as well. However, I’d forgotten how difficult it was for me to compose a creative essay.

If I had to describe my style of writing, it would have to be somewhere close to that of a lawyer arguing a civil suit and a research pharmacist reporting her new discovery of a new miracle drug. It’s rather formal and stiff. I found that after the first two paragraphs, I was at a loss for what to say. It’s not easy trying to determine the reason I write. I must admit, the easiest answer I can give is that I write because I’m told to, or because I have to. That would not make a very exciting paper though.

This past week, I wrote a few sentences at a time for this essay, then put it away again. I repeated this strategy until I had an entire paper finished–well, er, as finish as a rough draft can be. As it turns, I did find another reason of why I write, and I’m rather happy with it. But it’ll take a lot of revising to make my point get across in my own writing.

Writing: “It’s Serious Business”

When I think of writing, an image of a lonely figure, sitting under a dim light, scribbling his or her thoughts deep into the night comes to mind. A writer is a literary artist. A writer perfects his or her art through constant practice and honing of their skill. A writer writes because they are good at it.

After reading Orwell’s and Didion’s essays “Why I Write”, I began to have different ideas of how a writer is portrayed to myself as well as to others. Didion began her essay with introducing the fact that writing is an “aggressive, even hostile act.” She points out that no matter how a writer may sugar-coat their words, writing is the act of putting opinions to paper, with the hopes of changing the opinions of others. “The pen is mightier than the sword” has never rang more true to me. When people think of writing, they think of it as a passive thing, almost as normal as breathing or eating. It’s simply something you do to record your ideas or thoughts. Yet, the implications that come with displaying your writing to others can create strong responses, whether they’re positive or negative. Writing is a conscious decision to act, and the writer is the medium through which it’s expressed.

The example of writing that I will bring to class is the book “The Giver”. It is a children’s novel, easily read by any fifth grader. Yet, the implications that come with the story are immense, questioning the line between socialism/totalitarianism and the right of the government to protect its citizens. Lois Lowry dedicated the book “To all the children, to whom we entrust the future”. She wrote with a specific message in mind and forcefully introduced her point of view. Although the book has elicited good and bad responses, the novel has received many literary awards for it’s style and daring topic.

Orwell mentioned that “When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art’.” In his essay, he mentions how all of his essays, articles and books were failures. And all future literary pieces will be as well. Yet, Orwell knew that he’s a writer, whether good or bad. He didn’t question the reasons he wrote, he wrote because he knew there was a reason. What resonated most with me was that ¬†the motives for writing are different for each individual, but they all write because they are driven by a force: They want to be heard.

The image of a writer changed slightly for me after reading these articles. A writer is a writer, not matter how or why they write. A writer is only as good or bad as they think they are.

Anyone can write.