Personal Paradox

So, for this week we were asked to discuss competing thoughts which were at least partially contradictory as far as our evolution as a writer. These thoughts manifest in the evolution essay and are something that we must grapple with to create a solid, meaningful essay. I have two that go hand in hand.

Revision is important vs. I’m good enough to not revise.

It is a self identified fact that my biggest writing flaw is a lack of revision. I don’t go over my work nearly enough. Because of this I end up with dumb mistakes and shallow messages. Sure I can make this mess pretty, and someone might not realize that I didn’t put extra thought into the piece…but writers know. I know when I look at the piece again. My teachers know when they grade. I’ve gotten a lot of messages that are summed up as: this is good work, but needs more revision to connect and string through theme, or where exactly are you going here, and this is close to potential, but needs more thought. I always seem to come up a little short because I won’t go back and do the necessary re-writes and edits and final polishing and teasing out of a central theme and bringing that theme out through an entire project. I guess I am a lazy writer sometimes. I think I am also a bit vain at times. I do actually feel as if I’ve written a perfect draft after five hours of typing a paper (beginning-middle-end). There are many times that I don’t even go back over this rough, rushed draft…and to be honest it usually works out. However, once I got into upper level writing the chinks in my armor were exposed. I was specifically called out in my evaluations for lack of necessary revision. I still attacked my papers with the same attitude and as a result received the worst grade I ever have in an English or writing class. The kicker here is that my dad has the same problem…and I’m pretty critical of him for not revising like he should. He has published two books, and is about to release his third ( a sequel to the second book).  While I think that he is a good story teller, and I credit him highly for constructing a story that spans 300+ pages and connecting the dots, I think he could be so much more. I know for a fact that he has read literature from all over the world and from many different times. He knows what good writing is, does, feels like, and looks like. He is smart enough to produce writing that at least moves in that direction. And yet, after writing a book for nine months he gives it a two month break and then revises for about a week, maybe two. And bear in mind that he isn’t a professional writer so the actual revision that is happening isn’t two weeks of nonstop revision. The effort into the rough draft is completely imbalanced to the work that goes into the final, he also spends the revision time making the book cover! I’m not knocking my dad, but just pointing out my own problem on a larger scale…5 hours of writing to 5 minutes of revising is basically nothing. Moreover, it’s even worse on me because I know better and I know that it is my primary problem in writing, and yet I still don’t revise like I should. I’m working on it! One great thing about this capstone class is the high stakes which will require the revision or else risk embarrassment and failing grades.

My love for writing vs. Only writing for school

These two connect in the phrase “I guess I am a lazy writer sometimes.” I think writing is potentially the thing I can be best at. I play music and have good reviews by people who here me, but I don’t really like to brag because there are so many better musicians. I was okay at sports. Understanding high level writing at a young age, through reading, and then eventually starting to form complex metaphors and messages in my own writing made me feel gifted. That is the one area that I (at least used to) brag about. Of course there are countless writers out there that are better than I am, but I truly feel like someday I could have my name in a book with them. Maybe not, and who cares either way, but I think I’m good. Even with that confidence and passion though, I don’t really do a lot of writing outside of school assignments. I populate my free time with friends and video games, and an array of social events to the point that I don’t really give myself the free time necessary to write. This is a huge problem. On one hand I don’t feel too bad because I like my life and the people in it and the way I live (mostly). On the other I feel like  I could have written a book by now if I followed this passion and shut out the other stimuli. For this reason, I am very excited for the capstone project. I will actually be forced to apply myself to a writing venture of my choosing, that I am interested in, and that will require the work and level of thought to make it a high quality piece that I can be proud of. I am grading against my own expectations and ambition, not a rubric. I feel that the capstone project will help me to fix…or at least find a path through my writing deficiencies.

Pixar and the Spiral

I am thinking about the capstone project and what I can do. I have been leaning heavily towards an analysis of Inside Out alongside other Pixar movies. I want to analyze the movies and give a commentary about the way emotion and memory interact and play into growing up.

I have this idea of a spiral of interaction between emotion and memory. Think of it in terms of some significant event happens. At the time of this event the memory is formed, and along with it an emotional attachment to the memory. This is probably sounding a bit like Inside out, but bare with me. At another time, let’s say a week later, you think of the event again. This reflection looks back at the memory and the feeling, and inevitably it will be a small bit different, but maybe not too different at only a week. Now go a year later, and this event will be viewed much differently than it was before. Some parts of the memory might be gone, or changed, and the emotion surrounding it will likely be different as well. Now, five years, ten years later and so on, this even continues to transform and have new meaning and different impact. The spiral is a metaphor for the way the memories and emotions  change and build on each other to help define who you are as a person.

Now memory and emotion don’t define a person, but I think they say a lot about how a person sees themselves. Do you agree? What are other aspects that are relevant and should be considered for an idea like this?

I want to talk about this interaction of emotion and memory, and specifically I want to explore nostalgia. I also want to analyze the Pixar movies to find what they say about emotion and memory, and also about growing up. Finally it is my ultimate goal to weave the spiral, the analysis, and some personal experience into a cohesive story about growing up. More than just a story about growing up, I want to comment on how we learn about growing up, and how that impacts the way it happens.

If this sounds like a cool idea let me know! If you have any ideas for me to consider, or comments on what I’m doing let me know! Anything helps!

 

inside-out

School’s Out!

So the end of the year is upon us and so is the end of fall semester. Here is my final e-portfolio for the writing 220 class. I hope anyone who looks at it enjoys it! let me know on here or on the site if you have any questions or want to know more!

This was a very fun project and it made me think about what I wanted to have on my site representing me. I chose to go with a few pictures but not too many. I also added a monthly content area on my home page that has a poem and a ted talk every month. I like poetry and ted talks, so I thought that was good content to have because it represents me and my interests. I am going to try and continue on with this site, update that monthly content, and tweak it here and there to be an online profile that a potential employer might look for.

As for the project in it’s current form, I wanted to keep it more focused on the class. At the same time I wanted the site to portray me to some extent. I don’t know if that comes across the greatest, but I think the style, theme, and other personal touches that I added help paint the picture of who I am.

Writing 220 was a great class, and I’m so happy to be off on the right foot in the minor! I hope you enjoy the portfolio!

e-portfolio

 

Keeping a short story short.

So I’ve been writing a short story for my Project 2. Immediately as I got going I started to realize how hard it would be to keep the story short, and not give up any of the content that I want. So far, I have written a section from the point of view of just one of my characters, and I was surprised at how little of the story I was able to bring forward. However, the upside to this is the fact that I have been able to develop the character a good amount already.

My other question that has stuck in my head is the way I have the events coming up in my story. So far for my first character Ed, I have used a staggered delivery. For example, it starts introducing a man with lung cancer, and says it has been 2 months since his diagnosis. From that sentence I go back in time to the doctor’s visit, and have that dialogue. Right after that I bring the character back to the current situation. Shortly after this he goes back in reminiscence of the first cigarette that he ever smoked. Within this memory I jump around a little bit too. It makes sense to me, and I think it’s easy enough to follow, but it could be an issue to actual readers.

Other than these though, the project is coming along. Fortunately, I have a pretty good plan of how I want to write the story, and the direction it is going.

Writing, Is.

People say writing is for big brains.

People say writing is just writing.

I say that writing is for all.

I say that writing is just feeling.

Feeling is being alive.

Writing doesn’t need pens, pencils, or paper.

Just Words

Just Feeling

POWER.

The man who cannot write, can still live, and a story is made from his life.

A message, a feeling, a moment in time, but for writing, might be missed.

 

Writing is like the coolest rainbow you've ever seen.
Writing is the coolest rainbow you’ve ever seen.

 

The end is just the beginning

So, I think I have settled on a series of fictional speculations about the afterlife as the topic of my project 2. In my earlier post I mentioned that this idea came from a book I read. That book is titled Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, written by David Eagleman. This book has forty different versions of the afterlife, each very different from the others. I came across this book in my English 223 class.

To start my research off, I have decided to read the book over again. I’ll be looking for ways I can be different from the stories in the book, but also how I can stay within the same realm of thought. I may deviate from David Eagleman and write longer stories that are more fleshed out, however, being concise and letting the reader envision as much as possible is important to me as well. I think reading the book again will help get me into the mindset I need to start writing my own stories.

Sum has been published in 27 different languages!
Sum has been published in 27 different languages!

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