Introduction to Open Letters


As our second experiment cycle came to an end, I was initially dumb-founded as to what genre I was going to pick next.  I didn’t want to do another article, I already ventured out into the (sometimes) scary world of poems, and I knew I didn’t want to necessarily do anything that was necessarily “academic” or research based.  The topic of my origin piece is something extremely personal, and I was honestly at a loss for as to how I would turn this into yet another fitting genre.  After going back and rethinking what was most important from my origin piece, it hit me.  What would I have wished that I had at the time that I had written these short diary-like notes in my phone?  Advice, intuition, and thoughts from someone who had been through it all before.


What better way to do this than to do an open letter to my past self from my current self.


By definition, an open letter is “a letter that is intended to be read by a wide audience, or a letter intended for an individual, but that is nonetheless widely distributed intentionally.”  Some open letters are addressed to a specific person but meant to be read by a larger audience, while some letters are undressed but also meant to be read by a lot of people.  One of the most important conventions of an open letter is that they all have a purpose.  They are written with a goal in mind, and they attempt to make that goal clear throughout that letter.


One famous example of an open letter is the “Letter From Birmingham Jail” written by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  King was arrested and put in jail after engaging in a non violent protest, so his letter was a response to the statement by Alabama clergyman that said these anti segregation demonstrations must stop and be dealt with in court.  This letter was widely published, and it eventually became an important text for the American Civil Rights movement.  You can read more about the power of this letter here.


I’m honestly excited to explore doing an open letter as my next genre.  I think it will be a unique way for me to reflect on my past experiences and what I think about my these past experiences now that I might “know better.”




Introduction to BuzzFeed Articles

As a millennial, my outlook on media and news channels definitely varies from those of my parents who grew up in the 80’s.  I’m sure we’ve all heard it before: “why don’t you open up a damn newspaper and read something real for once!”  Honestly, it has taken my parents FOREVER to understand the significance of technology for our generation, and sometimes I think that they still don’t even get it.  It’s a concept that’s entirely new to them being that they grew up in an age where the most high-tech way of spreading information was through television broadcasts and phone calls.

For me, the news is everywhere.  With every scroll through Facebook or Instagram I’m undoubtedly seeing links and posts about everything from sports, to politics, to the newest cookie dough recipe.  The way in which we are exposed to the media on such a massive scale is entirely unique to our generation.  It’s never been so easy to simple Google “what’s going on in the world today” and receive 24 pages of links describing the day’s occurrences.

One media platform that immediately comes to mind when thinking of modern media is BuzzFeed.  BuzzFeed is an entirely new concept in itself.  There is nothing that isn’t on BuzzFeed: it encompasses all that a news platform hopes to achieve.  It’s relatable, easy to navigate, approachable, free, and has something for EVERYONE.  My personal favorite is their multitude of fun quizzes that they post (my friends and I send them back and forth in our group chat on the daily.) Check them out and let me know your results !!! Whether you’re looking to learn about the latest clothing trends or read a collection of embarrassing childhood stories, BuzzFeed has it all.

My favorite part about BuzzFeed is its often casual-feel.  Whenever I click on an article, I never feel intimidated by the way in which the piece is written.  I think that this is what makes the genre of a BuzzFeed article so perfect for my next experiment.  I initially struggled trying to conceptualize how I can take my jumbled thoughts and compose them into another piece of writing.  After re-reading my notes and talking with Julie, we realized that a central theme threaded through the majority of my notes were long distance relationships.  As a result, I figured I could use these raw feelings and thoughts and use them to compose a piece that discusses the ups and down of a long distance relationship in college.  Although I definitely don’t have a concrete solution for how to get through it (yet,) I think writing about my personal experience in this form could be helpful to those either going through it themselves or interested in hearing the struggles of transitioning from high school to college with a “home” boyfriend.



Introduction to Poetry – Amanda Rudolf

By definition, poetry is literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm; poems collectively or as a genre of literature.  Some typical conventions of poems are similes, metaphors, personification, alliteration, repetition, onomatopoeia, imagery, rhyme, rhythm.  For me, poems have always been more than just a piece of writing that uses these types of conventions.

Growing up, poetry always felt like the fun genre.  The wide array of colorful Doctor Seuss books, Robert Frost books, and eventually the Shel Silverstein books (The Giving Tree will always be my favorite book.)  Each poet seemingly bursting with creativity as the stories they told through their poems made me feel as though I was sitting right there inside of every page.


As I’ve gotten older, poetry still stands out to me because of its huge opportunity to make a piece open for interpretation.  Not every poem has an explicit message because the way that the words are interpreted can be dependent on the reader.  It’s up to the poet to decide how they shape their piece: they’re not necessarily just shaping sentences into well-arranged paragraphs.  Indentations, spaces, capitalization, and many other formatting choices all have an impact on the message that’s being conveyed.  I also think it is fascinating how poetry and types of poetry have evolved over the years.  A sonnet written in the 1800’s probably has vast differences from a contemporary poem written in 2010, but both pieces of writing would fall into the same category of a poem.

Lately I’ve found that I’ve been drawn to contemporary poems that are typically short but instill a lot of meaning that I can relate to.  With the overbearingly difficult transition from leaving behind my high school boyfriend, the friends I’ve had since I was five years old, and my family that has been with me every step of the way, these poems cushioned me with a sense of comfort.  It made me feel better to read something that described someone going through similar young-adult struggles, while I also felt empowered by reading about overcoming these everyday teenage obstacles.  Specifically, I found myself drawn toward Rupi Kaur’s poems and poems that are similar to hers.  I fell in love with her style of writing and also her choice of illustrations (which she does on her own.)  Her poems have inspired me to begin to transform my own thoughts into words whenever I’m overwhelmed with emotion.  I often lay in bed after a long day, my mind whirling with 1,000 different problems, and simply jot down how I’m feeling into the notes section on my phone.  Although these notes aren’t necessarily poems, they’re sentences with intense meaning that allow me to release my anger, sadness, happiness, or frustration, and reflect back on it.  I think turning these thoughts and feelings into a poem or a series of short poems would be an interesting journey for myself both as a writer and as a person who’s still finding herself.  I also always loved art in high school and even completed an AP course in Studio Art, so with the previous inspiration from Rupi Kaur, I’d love to potentially experiment with illustrations to compliment my work just like she does.



Below I attached a link of some of Rupi Kaur poems! (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.



Amanda Rudolf Introduction

Hi everyone!  My name is Amanda Rudolf, and I am in Julie Babcock’s Gateway into the Minor in Writing class.  I am a sophomore, and my major is currently undecided.  I am from Long Island, New York, which is one of my favorite places to be!  Close to New York City and also the beach, I am always eager to be outside or see something new.  I’m sad that the summer is over because it’s the time when I get to do my favorite things like swim in my pool or tan by the beach, but I’m happy to be back in Ann Arbor.  My older sister graduated from the University of Michigan last year, so for the past 5 years of my life Michigan has been an important aspect of my family’s lives.

One thing that I knew for sure was that I wanted to pursue writing in college.  I’ve always loved to write, and through the classes I’ve taken here at the University of Michigan I was able to realize how important it truly is to me.  Whether it’s writing for an academic course or just jotting down my thoughts in the notes app on my phone before bed, I love to use writing as a way to express myself.  I enjoy taking initiative and feel comfortable talking in front of a crowd, but I definitely think it is an important skill to be able to put my thoughts and words into writing.  I am excited to see what I can learn from this course!