Upon reading our class schedule for the day, I was a little shocked when I saw the words “style masquerade” listed as our activity. The word masquerade automatically made me think of costumes and masks – all things that are used to cover up.
I immediately thought to myself: “Why would we possibly want to cover up our style? Isn’t that what makes our writing/appearance unique?”
Little did I know how rewarding this activity would be. I used a very formal essay I had written about the novel, Emma, and took on the challenge of turning a paragraph into something that Ernest Hemingway would write. Did I emphasize the word challenge enough? Good.
For anyone who knows how Ernest Hemingway writes, it definitely is a style of its own. He uses a lot of parallel structure and writes in a concise conversational tone that emulates a lot tension. Quite different from the lengthy complex sentences that generally overpower my essays.
Although it was difficult to reproduce his style from my writing sample, I was proud of my final product. In fact, the newer version was more playful in tone and had more drama.
So…what’s the point?
After this activity and talking about Style chapters in class, I ultimately realized where I can improve. What I learned was that this was not about covering up our style, per se. It was more about seeing another way.
I think of style as the phrase “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.” Sure, you can speed walk the mile to get back to your old ways. But, if you take a chance to look around, you will gain a new perspective that will only enhance your own uniqueness in the long run.