Intro and Origin Piece

My name is Jared Bartman, and I’m a sophomore here at the University of Michigan. I grew up in Westchester New York, and grew up a Wolverines fan. I’m studying Health and Fitness in the school of Kinesiology. I grew up writing fictional stories that were inspired by my daily experiences and the fantastical ideas that I wished could happen within them. I joined the minor in writing hoping I can continue to improve upon my writing skills, and rediscover the passion I had for it when I was younger. I also hope to figure out what writing I excel in to determine my identity as a writer.

The piece that I’ll be using this term as my origin piece is one I wrote for English125 my freshman year. This research essay aimed to pinpoint how big of a role circumstances play in the development of criminals from an early age. This felt like a good piece for me to start with because I had never written a research essay, and generally prefer to write out of experience, which is why I’m intrigued to see how the compilations of stories I know regarding this topic will help me piece together this idea from my own lens. I did appreciate the fact that producing a nonfiction research essay was appropriate for this topic, as it can be explained through facts and statistics, however, I believe this topic can be captivating to numerous audiences when discussed through a collection of true stories. I hope that I can uncover the genre that will help this piece shine and allow the audience to connect with it in a way that can’t be done with a nonfiction piece that encompasses little for the reader to relate to.

Intro & Origin Piece

Hi everyone, I’m Alex. I’m a junior majoring in Cellular and Molecular Biology with other interests in bioethics, gaming, and music. Writing has always been one of my strong suits, and I’ve realized over the years that – regardless of what I’m writing – I can write for hours on end without growing remotely tired or bored. I’m planning on pursuing a writing career, with specific interests in Science Writing and Technical Writing. I hope the Minor in Writing program will help me explore different avenues of writing and determine what I’m best suited for.

I wrote my origin piece, “The Creation of Ryan Kitt,” for my creative nonfiction class last spring (ENG 325 with Professor Nichols). It’s a personal narrative detailing my experiences creating a ridiculously complex Dungeons and Dragons character. The piece is a little unusual in that it tries to explain the very technical process behind creating this character while also trying to be funny and entertaining.

There are two main reasons I chose this as my origin piece: 1) It covers or at least touches on a lot of different topics. It explains all the technical nuances of creating a character in general terms, it details all the decisions that went into this particular character, and it covers some of the in-universe events and backstory surrounding this character. This gave me a lot of potential ideas to tackle in my experiments without stretching too far from the origin piece. 2) I tried to accomplish two goals at once with this piece, and there were times where I felt like it would’ve worked much better as two separate pieces. First, I was trying to teach people who’d never played this game before how it worked and how to create a character. Second, I was trying to provide a humorous narrative about this absurdly complex character I’d created. Sometimes the two goals conflicted – I’d try to explain a rule really well but it’d make the passage feel really dry, or I’d try to make a joke but it’d make the rules more confusing. I’d like to at least tackle one of those goals on its own as an experiment this semester.

There were a few things I really enjoyed about this piece. The research was very easy – everything’s available on a couple websites and I had most of it memorized anyway. Additionally, I love taking complex concepts and trying to make them simple and understandable. I likewise love when I get the chance to throw some humor into a piece. The genre was probably the odd part for me. All my technical explanations felt a little off from a typical personal narrative and it made certain parts quite awkward to write. I remember rewriting a few passages over and over because they’d either be overly detailed and dry or oversimplified and confusing. However, I was glad I was able to do something a bit more unusual with the genre – I’d already written several traditional personal narratives before and wanted to mix things up a bit.

How I Came Across the Writing Process

I was in an ankle-length skirt, a bonnet, and a petticoat fastened tight around my waist when I realized the passion I had for writing. I was a fourth grader pretending to have just have set sail on the Mayflower in search for a new life in America, when I realized the ease that came through expressing myself with paper and pen. It was Colonial Day at my elementary school and we were celebrating the discovery of America by dressing up, eating, and participating in activities that paralleled the pilgrims of 1492. Leading up to this day, we as fourth graders were tasked with keeping a journal that narrated our imagined travels on the Mayflower. The creation of this journal lies at the forefront of my memories involving my discovery of the writing process. But more specifically, it was the moment my fourth grade teacher called home to tell my mom I needed to continue to write when I knew this was something I wanted to pursue for the rest of my academic career.

Now, eleven years later, my love of writing has manifested into more of a passion for academic argumentation, as well as personal expression, through the form of written word. Writing is the creative way in which I express my dynamic persona and venturesome aspirations. I applied to the Sweetland Minor in Writing Program because I feel as though this program will allow for immense growth in my craft. In this field of creative expression and collaboration, I will be able to address my strengths and weakness, as well as receive newly informed insight into the writing process.

Before applying to the Writing minor, I took numerous classes about the art of the essay; my first being English 125. In this class, I wrote an open letter to the future resident of my dorm room explaining all the highs and lows accompanying Freshman year. I chose this piece as my origin piece because it provides surface level exposure to a multitude of personal stories that were not fully dissected in my open letter. With this piece, there is plenty opportunity to dive into different genres and use different lenses to convey my overall story in a more thorough manner.