From Little League to Big League

Jake LourimJake Lourim is a senior sports editor for The Michigan Daily, the official student newspaper of the University of Michigan. He covers men’s basketball among many other sports and served as the managing sports editor in summer 2014.

Lourim started sports writing in middle school and knew from a very early age it was something he wanted to do as a career. In high school, he established an independent sports news website covering sports at his high school.

Born and raised in Troy, Michigan, Lourim is from metro Detroit and isn’t ashamed to say it. He loves Aaron Sorkin TV shows, neck ties and his mom’s homemade macaroni and cheese. His favorite memories from his childhood are nights spent on the baseball diamond. He grew up with his parents, brother, sister and dog, Mugsy.

 

Rock On!

For me, the decision of selecting a written piece for my project was relatively easy. After thinking it through, I’ve decided to use a “history of rock n’ roll” tumblr project I did last semester in an American Culture Class. However, when first thinking about what to choose I had three main categories in mind: standard academic essays, personal essays such as narratives and college application papers, and creative argumentation projects such as the one I have ultimately selected. After brief consideration, I quickly ruled out my standard academic essays. Although the articles or books they are about may be interesting, I found nothing I am super passionate about and would want to work with for the rest of the semester. Next, I read through all of my personal essays. Although I have a strong connection with these papers, I have been writing many personal narratives recently such as the Why I Write project in this class and another paper in my English 325 Class. A little worn out on writing about myself, I stumbled upon my rock and roll project and was immediately sold. I am very passionate about music and I’m convinced I can think of creative ways to re-purpose this project and present it and new and informative ways.

About the Author: Allison Raeck

NOTE: Allison does not in any way play basketball, or any sport. She just thought this was a neat picture.
NOTE: Allison does not in any way play basketball, or any sport. She just thought this was a neat picture.

Who is Allison Raeck? If you have to ask that question, you’re just like everyone else because she’s not famous. A self-proclaimed “basic,” Allison enjoys well-mannered cats, caramel iced coffee, the Oxford comma, and those perfume samples that come in magazines. She has not received any awards for her writing since the eighth grade, though she would give herself “Greatest Procrastinator,” and “The Comic Sans Award for Nonsense and Frivalry.” In the future (a word she attempts to avoid at all costs), she hopes to enter the field of journalism and write for a publication. For now, she inhabits Ann Arbor, Michigan, studying both Communications and the weirdness around her.

Hello, My Name Is…

Julia Liss is a junior at the University of Michigan studying Communications and Writing. She comes all the way from Livingston, New Jersey where she lives with her mom, dad, and two labrador retrievers. She also has two brothers and a sister-in-law, but since they’re adults, they all live in New York City, where Julia plans to live once she graduates. Julia is a staff news reporter for the Michigan Daily as well as the editor-in-chief of the Michigan chapter of Spoon University. Her reputation for being obsessed with food is extremely accurate as most of her days are spent planning her next meal. Much like a 5 year old, Julia gets really excited about the prospect of eating a blue snow cone.

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From Father to Son

Will Ruben’s inspiration for writing has always stemmed from his father. Together, they spend many late nights working on essays, discussing grammar rules, and re-building flawed sentences. He is now a student at the University of Michigan studying business and writing. Outside of the classroom, Will enjoys playing golf at the local course, exploring Ann Arbor, and strumming his guitar named Carson.

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The Daunting Task

In my writing class we are re-purposing a previous piece.

I have a decent number of old writing pieces that I would love to go back to and work with. I think all writers feel this way at one point or another. For some it could be to rediscover that period of time and work. It could also come from a place of regret over not doing the best they could on a piece of work. For me it’s a school assignment. Just kidding, it goes further than that. I have a couple ideas that I really like. Some coming from working with ideas surrounding my old fiction writing. Others coming from old assignments that I knew could have been better, but didn’t reach their potential when I finished working on them.

The first piece is titled Redd Revolvers. It was a spinoff of an idea I was working with for a cowboy novel. Basically, a gunslinger is going to kill a gang boss under the guise of being his man. The piece itself is a bit odd, and frankly grotesque, but it could be a good jumping off point for creating that world and writing that novel. If I went this route I would probably go for a series of connected stories in this world, that are released one-by-one on my blog.

Similarly, I was thinking of doing a series of fiction released through blog but regarding different ideas of what happens when we die. This piece is titled Walking the Earth, and gives my imagined possibility of life after death. I assert that when we die our spirit is released from our body, and given the opportunity to travel around the world and do whatever they want to really. They are further given option to be reincarnated or go to heaven after this stage. If I did a series I would want to write different scenarios. Like, what if when we died we could see how many people someone has killed, or assisted in killing, and whether they themselves were murdered. What would those conversations be like? The original inspiration for this piece was a book of poems: Sum by David Eagleman.

On a different note, I have written a couple pieces of creative non-fiction that I would like to visit again. The first, titled: Family Complications, is about my family situation, and how I have dealt with it over time. It explores my feelings about my parents splitting when I was young, and the subsequent introduction of my step-dad. I try to tackle how the situation has effected me for better or worse, and come to a point of acceptance.

The other piece was about a walk I took through the woods on a rainy night. It turned out to be a spiritual walk. I had a very unexpected reaction to being alone in the cold, dark, rainy woods. I felt more alive than I had in months, and I also felt like it pointed out my connection to nature.

In both of these last two pieces I think I had decent writing, but they could have been much better had I put more work into them. I’m not exactly sure how I would re-purpose these pieces though. Family and Nature are two very broad topics that I could draw a lot from. I just haven’t figured out what I want to do differently with them.

If anyone wants to help me out, any ideas for alternate media/format/forum that I could write in? Whether it is for the fiction stories, or the non-fiction, any ideas are welcome!

 

 

velma
everyone likes kittens

 

 

Boom! Pow! Bio!

Anthony Nielsen was born in 1993 and was raised between Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.  He attended Ypsilanti  High School where he earned the award for excellence in language arts. After that, he continued to the University of Michigan where he is discovering himself and what he really likes. He is currently in the Fall 2014 cohort for the writing minor. He hopes  to use his writing ability to create great works of fiction in the veins of Orwell and Tolkien. Maybe he’ll move to New York, but probably not.

How focused I want to be when I write.
Anthony Nielsen shredding bass at a local show

Brainstorming is hard.

After talking with a small group in class, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m pretty much on the same page as most other people when it comes to project 2. We all sort of have ideas and options of past writing that we could build off of for the rest of the semester, but we aren’t quite sure which pieces would work best. I have to admit, it’s been difficult sifting through all of my old pieces of writing. Most of my work was lost when my old computer crashed somewhere between junior and senior year of high school. Among the few pieces I was able to recover, along with everything I have written since the devastating incident, I am still having difficulty choosing which direction I’d like to take this assignment. The pieces I’ve looked at range from something as elementary as a Junie B. Jones journal to a rhetorical analysis of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

I have taken T’s advice to heart, that we should pick a piece that we are passionate about and would be happy working with for the rest of the semester, and have narrowed down my options quite significantly . After some sifting and a lot of thinking, here’s what I’ve got so far:

Option 1: I’ve being doing a lot of thinking about a piece that I wrote back in middle school. It’s titled, “My Hero,” and is written about how much my father means to me. I’m almost positive that this is the piece of writing I want to work with because, although my middle school writing is poor, the basic ideas of the paper are still relevant today. I still look up to my dad in more ways than one and consider him one of my most important role models. It’s the “taking my writing in a new direction” part of project 2 that is causing me some problems. In regards to this piece of writing, I was considering a couple directions to take it. One direction that I’m thinking about is possibly making a brochure about the importance of father figures in a child’s life. I could research stats on the emotional/educational effects of not having a father figure. The trouble I have with this, however, is I’m not quite sure who my audience would be. Men who have fathered a baby, possibly? Or even single mothers…? The only problem with this is that this type of writing is fairly typical for me, as I am a Neuroscience major and constantly rely on numerical evidence in research projects. Again, T suggested picking a piece that would stretch our writing abilities, which is why my second option seems rather interesting to me. This option being a comic strip of some sort. Because my essay was titled, “My Hero,” I think it would interesting to somehow create my own comic strip. I could make it satirical, or for children. Again, I’m not quite sure about my target audience, I’ll have to discuss that with T. I guess we will see.

My dad and I on game day!
My dad and I on game day!

Option 2: Aside from the paper about my dad, I also have been looking at a piece I wrote for my English 124 class last year. It was an informal, one-page piece about what makes me wild (as the subject of the class was wilderness/wild). I’m not quite sure where I’d go with this piece, but I’m probably going to give it a little more thought. The only thing I could think of was maybe create some type of buzz feed-like quiz about hair, because the paper was about my wild hair.

SOS: terribly lost in my own ideas

The goal of the second project is to re-purpose an argument and stretch my writing abilities by finding inspiration for a new piece in one that I’ve already completed. While at first glance the selection of a topic seems like it would be the easiest part, I suddenly found myself lost and overwhelmed when sifting through the large body of work I’ve produced in my years as a student. Clicking through my archived documents, I found everything from a ninth grade essay on “To Kill A Mockingbird” to a college paper arguing against the validity of generational entelechy in the context of immigration. I began to narrow down my options and eliminated some, but in the end I approached the printer and realized that I had thoroughly abused the print button, since there were about seventy pages of my writing sitting in the tray.

I decided to begin by reading everything. Seventy pages later, however, the only conclusion I had come to was that I really like a lot of things I’ve written already. At this point I asked for some help. “How do I decide?” I asked my professor, T. “Maybe you could tell me about the strangest, or most odd essay you printed out in the pile?  Which one was the most difficult to reckon with?  What left you with more questions? she replied. At this point I decided I needed to be a little more selective and read everything again, this time keeping T’s questions in mind. I ultimately set aside four pieces that I am interested in pursuing further. In my opinion, these four were the ones that most left me wanting more.

The first is the piece I mentioned above about generational entelechy. This piece was written for a political psychology class and involved me interviewing my grandparents to determine how generation shapes political attitude. I was most intrigued here by my ultimate conclusion that while generation plays an important role in attitude formation, it is superimposed by culture and experience, which means that those with different origins may form drastically different political attitudes from others of their generation. This is very interesting to me in that I want to know more about the effects of culture and national origin on our beliefs. Are Americans drastically different from the Chinese or South Africans or Costa Ricans? In project two, I would develop the aspect of this piece that focuses on these questions.

The second is a speech I wrote for a class entitled “Great Speeches: Ancient and Modern.” The goal of the class was to study the great speeches of the past, and then take the elements that made those speeches great and incorporate them into our own speeches, which we presented to the class. My speech centers on the role of the media in perpetuating poor self image and eating disorders. In this speech, I use an interesting combination of empirical evidence, individual observation, and personal narrative to tell the story of the media intervening in our lives. I was most intrigued by my idea that the media has the ability to change how and what we feel, even without our knowledge or consent. In project two, this element would drive my creative process and I would look to expand into other media effects.

The third piece was written for a class entitled “22 Ways to Think About Race.” Specifically, this essay was an independent study project that I completed outside of class in order to convert the class to honors. In the piece, I analyze three novels about outsiders in American culture and conclude that you can never escape your past or your roots. I think that it would be very interesting to explore this concept further and investigate whether or not it holds true for those outside of fiction.

The final piece I set aside is a personal essay I wrote for a creative writing class. The piece investigates the love lives of myself and six friends with the goal of examining why everything has to be so complicated. In the end, I conclude that nothing is truly complicated, but that everything is subject to complication. In other words, when things get hard, its because we made them that way. In project two, I would be interested in exploring this idea further and determining whether this holds true in other situations.

Choosing a piece to stretch further in this project has been extremely daunting! In the coming days, I hope to think more about these ideas and find one that will guide me in creating a strong project.

Writing About Myself in the Third Person

Oscar Patch Brown
Oscar Patch Brown

Meghan Brown is a sophomore at the University of Michigan. She is currently pursuing a degree in Neuroscience, as well as taking part in the Minor in Writing program. She considers her hometown, Traverse City, Michigan, the biggest influence on her passions in life. Growing up surrounded by water, she spends most of her time at home swimming, boating and enjoying the beauty of Northern Michigan. She also loves spending time with her big Italian family, her friends and her beloved dog, Oscar.