What Do You Write For?

A longing.

A feeling in your stomach.

Words in your head.

A desire–to be heard, to be known.

But also a privacy: characters to hide behind, to know, to learn from, to create.

A belief.

People are good; life can be happy; beautiful love does exist; this world,

Though it doesn’t make sense,

Is spinning with a purpose.

You have a purpose:

TO WRITE

A world that is yours, but is more,

A world you wrote,

With words you wrote.

 

What do you write for?

Nanny Life

I haven’t gotten far with my project yet, but I’m thinking more about making it closer to my original idea rather than the ideas I’ve gotten from class. I ended up just getting confused and straying away from a concrete plan, so I want to return to my original idea and go from there. My intention is to show people why being a nanny is more of a real job than usually thought of. I wanted to make it somewhat sarcastic and make a manual of every reason why a nanny is a really difficult job. I would make it funny in the sense that it is fun and easy to read, but I do want to make it serious as well. I have been with families through some really great times, but I have also helped a family through the process of a 4-year old’s brain surgery to remove a tumor, just two weeks after having a new baby born into the family. I face real family-type problems while balancing school and other jobs. I want to somehow put this into my project so that people know that when I say I am a nanny, it is something I take a lot of pride in because it has been one of the hardest but most fun things I’ve ever done. Now I just need to figure out the medium through which I will execute these ideas…

An Intimidating Idea (What hashtag are we using?!)

Hey y’all,

First off, we need to have a slogan/hashtag/symbol to signify which of our posts are coming from our class. Our Gateway Course used [Pika] as in Pikachu, but we definitely shouldn’t do the same thing…this is a new class and a new year! Perhaps we should do #Raichu? (that is what Pikachu evolves into when exposed to the Thunder Stone–don’t worry, I didn’t know that off the top of my head…I swear!). Just an idea.

Anyways, I’m experiencing some #projectanxiety as I think about the project idea that I have floating around in my head. It’s not because I’m not interested in the topic or don’t think I can produce something unique out of it, but because it is much more abstract than the writing I am more comfortable doing.

To keep a long story short, I love Harry Potter. In middle school and high school, I read each book at least 5 times, no exaggeration. Every time my parents would see me reading the books, they asked me why I was doing it for the millionth time. And I had no good explanation. Why did I continue to want to escape into this alternative world despite knowing exactly what was going to happen in every chapter of every book. The same is true for TV shows…even though I’ve seen every episode of Scrubs at least twice, I can’t help watching and imagining myself in JD, Turk, Carla, and Dr. Cox’s world. Why do I do this? Am I simply escaping from my own boring world (at least in comparison to Harry and JD), or is there more to it. Ray pointed out that there is a psychological phenomenon called Escapism that more or less addresses this exact topic. My project, as I see it now, is going to use myself as a case study to examine this phenomenon and delve into my own theoretical perspectives on whether or not my personal experiences mirror escapism directly or if there is more to this phenomena that meets the eye.

However, being theoretical ain’t my thing! That’s why I’m intimidated about this project idea. It has potential, but its very new and very different than what I’m used to.

I definitely think it’s going to be interesting to explore yet I have no idea what the final form will look like. Any suggestions for me? I’m all ears!

TV Junkie

Hey Nerds,

For my capstone project, I plan on doing an analysis of my own TV/Movie viewing habits.  I plan on taking  both qualitative and quantitative measures in order to inform my analysis (i.e. estimating amounts of hours spent on watching shows/evaluating the efficacy or worth of my time spent doing so) as well as potentially coming up with a proposal of what I could have done with my time.  Ultimately, I hope to have a better understanding of my viewing habits in order to recognize trends and hopefully come up with a useful way of utilizing my vast experience watching things.

I’ve already recognized the different ways in which I watch certain things; for example some shows or movies that I re-watch, I do so very analytically (examining the merits or strategies used by the writer or director to convey a certain sentiment).  Conversely, certain shows or movies I can re-watch countless times without ever considering this analytical perspective.  I prematurely have categorized this difference as the difference between ‘active watching’ and ‘passive watching.’  Despite recognizing this, there doesn’t seem to be a relationship with the genre, medium or content.  Certain comedies I’ll watch passively and others actively.  So I guess I would like to explore this relationship and try to find a connection there.

 

Although I am very passionate about the topic and focus of my project, I’m still a bit stumped with regards to the form it will ultimately take.  Although I think that after analysis, I could come up with a compelling prose report on my findings, however this seems rather boring.  I would really like to convey to the audience what watching these different mediums or with different perspectives feels like, but I’m not sure how to gear it towards a ‘universal’ audience (even though Ray said this was impossible, I’m still going to try).

 

Any feedback or ideas would be greatly appreciated!!

Why Bother, (Right?): A Writer’s Creed

Why write?  Well why bother, right?  Is it alright to just not WRITE?  When compared to thought and speech, it almost makes writing seem elite.  Now, if it were alright to ignore what may seem like a bore, there would be no hard-wood floor for the world to rest on.  Furthermore, there would be no door, to open up, pore, and explore the endless combinations of written language.  Writing gives us a physical, tangible, concrete method of language that we can touch.  Something that thought and speech cannot trust.  Without writing, we might as well all be dust.

A message someone living in Alphabet City, Manhattan felt they needed to share with the world.


Write Because

Write

Because you like to,

Because you know what words can do when they’re

strung together right,

Because you admire those

who do it well.

Write

Because you want to,

Because your fingers itch when you watch the

sun set,

Because it’s the only way to

be truly honest.

Write

Because you need to,

Because no one understands

you better than your pen,

Because you know your thoughts will

spark and combust

within you

If you don’t.

http://astrophysics.gsfc.nasa.gov/outreach/podcast/wordpress/index.php/2011/07/22/faiths-blog-sunsets-scattering-and-similes/

Too Much Free Time

Every sorority stereotype was fulfilled early Monday night as the news that the University of Michigan was cancelling all classes on Tuesday spread throughout my house. Absolutely dead to the world napping in my bed around 7:00 PM, I jerked awake to the cacophonous shrieks of my friends from the hallway outside my room. Throwing open the door, I bolted into the hallway, terrified. The sight that greeted me was far from scary, however – jumping, screaming girls filled the third-floor hallway, study room, and bathroom. Someone was blasting “Animals,” and through the music, I could hear sung snatches of “Hail to the Victors,” the famous chorus of “Seven Nation Army,” and the chest beating chant from The Wolf of Wall Street. Fear quickly turned to confusion as I felt myself lifted up from behind and spun around. One of my roommates had her phone lifted up in the air, taking a video. Another roommate shoved her phone in my face, showing me the Michigan Daily’s tweet heard ‘round the world. It read, “University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald confirms that #Umich will cancel classes tomorrow, January 28 because of the cold conditions.” (Michigan Daily Twitter). After what I remember as a solid 30 seconds of blank staring but what was probably actually no more than three, I found myself sharing my friends’ reactions. I called my mom, I texted my younger siblings, and I retweeted the Daily to subtly shove in my State friends’ faces how much better my school is than theirs. My parents and friends were ecstatic, and I was sure this excitement was uniform throughout the school, alumni included. So imagine my surprise when, scrolling through my Facebook news feed earlier today, I came across an article written by two alumni, David Watnick and William Petrich, that were bitter about the school closings, to say the least. Calling the current administration and student body “Cowards of the North,” (clever, boys, clever!) this dynamic duo proceeded to appoint themselves the undisputed kings of the largest alumni pool of any school in the entire world, very shrewdly note that the weather was “a bit cold. And windy!” and finish by deploring anyone who has ever felt joy. Put less dramatically, the two men criticized the University’s decision and cited weather statistics from years past, in which temperatures were colder and snowfall greater and during which classes went on regardless. To these two men I would like to say, “who cares?” I’m sure that most of my anger at their letter was just the overworked, overtired, and stress-ridden student who just wants a break speaking. Perhaps I’m entitled and pampered, and perhaps I truly didn’t deserve the day off. But either way, I fail to see how two (obviously) well-educated and intelligent members of the community found themselves so personally offended by a snow day. I apologize if your black, black souls were exposed to happiness for the first time since you yourselves walked our great campus. In all seriousness (and only half dramatics), why condemn the students and faculty of the University with whom you clearly feel such a sense of kinship for taking one singular day off? It’s not as though we’re seeing signs of class cancellations becoming a pattern – it was the first snow day in 36 years, after all. At the risk of sounding trite, I think perhaps they’re just jealous. Or perhaps they found themselves with too much free time today. No matter the cause or effect of their letter, however, I still thoroughly enjoyed my day off and am sending good vibes and thanks to the faculty and administration that made it possible for me to sit under my heated blanket all day and drink hot chocolate with approximately zero guilt.

 

Read Watnick and Petrich’s article here: http://www.michigandaily.com/opinion/01letter-editor-yellow-decision28

A thinker’s manifesto.

Write to share your thoughts. Thoughts

are POWERFUL and deserve to be analyzed not just by the thinker,

but by ALL THINKERS.

Write because it can brighten your day, and if not

your someone else’s.

Writing makes you feel like a child PLAYing at the beach, except now,

instead of mashing together grains of sand to build a work of art,

you MASH together words.

poster_ENG_web
If you look closely, you will see manifestos everywhere.

“Detroiters Speak”

I am a strong proponent in going to talks to learn about things. Hearing intelligent individuals speak eloquently about topics they are passionate about inspires me to not only become a better speaker, but also a better writer. Great speakers have a way with words; they can move people, evoke emotion and galvanize change.

As I write this (note: posting this several days later), I am sitting in the Ugli alone on a Thursday night (which is rare…I always surround myself with people because I’m scared of being alone). However, it is after hearing something great that I can sit in a library and think. By myself. And it is also when my most productive hours and greatest thoughts come about.

I joined the minicourse Detroiters Speak at the last minute because I wanted to get away from Ann Arbor a little bit and get a perspective on what is going on in a great city that I want to learn more about just a few short miles away. I signed up last night late and 16 hours later I was headed to the UM Detroit Center on a charter bus where I would get free dinner, listen to three Detroiters talk about their neighborhoods for an hour and get my much-needed weekly dose of real life perspective.

One thing that resonated me from the talk was the focus on the power of language. The speaker, a successful urban planner and community activist, explained how Detroit neighbors will either choose to join in the dialogue about neighborhood revitalization or reject the proposals based on how they are included and the language used around the issue. This made me think of the importance of sensitivity in language and how it contributes to building relationships. I strive to be continuously sensitive with language in my own writing and after this week, I am going to be even more aware of language choice and how it impacts people and causes.