Peering into the Rabbit Hole

Cartoon

In class on Wednesday, I was given the suggestion to write about the interplay between my faith and science. I am fascinated by people and by so many aspects of the physical world and I engage in this wonder both through my faith and through science. After I graduate, I intent to pursue a career in a health field. I think a career in a science-based field is highly compatible with my Christian faith. I want to see what other people in my soon-to-be-position think. I would love to interview Christian PAs, NPs, and physicians and found out how their scientific studies have enhanced their faiths and vice versa. I want to know about the evolution of their faith lives and how they view their careers.

With this in mind, my search through the research guides took me into the Health Sciences Category. A lot of the search results looked interesting; maybe that says something about my interests. I looked through the Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine database, a dosing calculator, and a Center for Disease Control and Prevention factsheet on disability. Access Medicine caught my eye because my physiology professor had recently made us aware of all the medical resources encompassed in this tool on the library website. There are all kinds of medical textbooks and other resources for medical students on Access Medicine. I mostly just looked at the titles of the textbooks but it is good to know that I have all this information if I need it.

I can’t say for sure if any of this will directly make it into my capstone project but I was excited to see how much patient care information is available to us. I’ve been very motivated to do research on grad schools and careers recently. The results of that research may help me decide who to interview.

Dear Newbies

To the next MIW cohort,

Welcome to the minor!  I hope you’re excited about it.  I was excited and nervous to begin the gateway course: excited because I made the commitment to join the minor and focus on my writing for the first time, nervous because I didn’t have much faith in myself as a writer.  Being nervous or excited is okay- so is whatever other feeling you are feeling.  My advice to you is to be confident and open-minded.  This class is going to force creativity out of you (it doesn’t come easy for me) but you have it.  Your visions and ideas are creative even if they don’t seem like it to you.

Take this class as an opportunity and even an invitation to explore yourself and your passions.  You are going to work on a project for 2/3rds of the semester.  It should be something you really care about.  When you love something, you invest in it and your creativity is strongest.

Don’t be afraid to take a risk.  I made a short video for my third project and I felt completely unprepared to do so.  Trust me when I say I knew nothing about it.  I didn’t know how to work iMovie or how to upload a video to YouTube.  I didn’t even know I had a YouTube account.  The video turned out well.  You will have the resources available to you to make it happen.  Do something different.  Something that seems a little scary.  There is no better way to learn.

You are a writer.  You are.  You need to believe that and you need to be willing to share your work with other people.  That was hard for me.  I like to keep it to myself.  I typically don’t think my work is good enough to call myself a writer or to impress people with my works.  But that’s not really what writing is about.  Write exactly what you want and don’t worry about other people being better writers or having better ideas.  You won’t improve unless you write with your own voice and share your writing even when it makes you feel vulnerable.

Have fun.  Get to know your class.  Write silly blog posts.  Tailer the class to be what you need as a writer.

You’ll do great!

Love,

Bethany

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Grammar Is So Pretty

I’m not a pompous grammar know-it-all.  I question my grammar every time I write (and I’m especially self-conscious about it now).  There are always more things to learn because even grammar has trends and is subject to change.  While doing a little research for this post, I came across several rules I didn’t know.  I’m sure there will even be a mistake or two in this post about grammar.  Despite my grammatical insecurities, I love grammar.  A polished, grammatically perfect essay is beautiful.  It gives the writer immense credibility and a grammatically sound essay or article is much more pleasant to read.

There is one piece of punctuation in particular that really has my heart.  This is the semicolon.

The semicolon is largely misunderstood by most common folk and exceedingly unloved by grammarians.  The grammar expert, Ben Yagoda, says “Semicolons should be used rarely, if at all… When you feel like using a semicolon, lie down till the urge goes away.”

Semicolons are handy for those of us who like to write really long sentences.  You can pop a semicolon in between two related, independent clauses and you have a coherent flow of ideas (assuming your word choice is appropriate).  The semicolon holds the sentences closer together than a period, emphasizing their relatedness and connecting them in one thorough thought.  It also serves to add a little creativity and punctuational spunk to your writing.  Don’t let the semicolon continue to get shafted; try it out yourself!

There is one grammar rule that I don’t hate but I hate when people break it.  Never start a sentence with “and” or “but.”  I was taught this sometime in elementary school and for some reason it really stuck.  I mean really stuck.  Some grammarians today say it is fine to do this in relatively informal writing.  I cringe whenever I see it.  I have tried to get over it and  start a sentence with “but” but I can’t do it.  An alarm goes off in my head, I feel nauseous, and I have to delete it immediately.

As much as I love grammar and structure, I also understand that sometimes it hinders good writing.  There is a time and a place for perfect grammar but many occasions to break grammar rule artfully.  I’m still working on letting myself break a few.

 

Photo Credit: http://adultesljobs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/funny-punctuation.jpg
The semicolon is adorable!

Buzzfeed inspiration

An image from the Buzzfeed list.
An image from the Buzzfeed list.

For my repurposing project, I’ve decided to write an open letter to Buzzfeed.  I started to do a little research on the news (social) and entertainment giant because really, I didn’t know much about it.  Buzzfeed is a regular on my Facebook newsfeed and a guilt inducing distraction for me with its endless lists- because everyone knows Buzzfeed is the ultimate source when you’re wondering what you are and are not doing right in your life.

Buzzfeed was created in 2006 by a graduate student at MIT.  He was probably procrastinating.  It’s amazing how influential it has become since then.  It always amazes me that one source, especially one that might be casually read out of boredom or procrastination, can start to change the way with think.  I hope the writers at Buzzfeed are very conscious of that.

The work I chose to repurpose is a mock Consider article that I wrote one side of for an English class.  It is about ethical eating and organic and locally grown food.  I’m going to stray a little bit from that topic to talk about disordered eating in college via Buzzfeed.  I came across a classic Buzzfeed list about food called “21 Signs Your Relationship With Food Has Gotten Out of Control” and I didn’t like what it said.  What bothered me is the casual and belittling way it brings up a incredibly prevalent and damaging trend among college students.  In this college environment, our “relationship” with food has indeed gotten out of control.  I want to address the type of disordered eating college students face and the potential students have to carry these issues with them after they graduate.

The issue I want to address is different than eating disorders and I think it is relatable to a lot of college students.  I hope this piece will convey a message and do so in a hopeful, optimistic manner.  That is how I think about this topic.  We, as college students, need to change the way we think about food to free ourselves from cycles of fixation on food choices, guilt, and frustration.  Everybody should love food and its troublesome that so many of us spend so much time wrestling with food choices.

So Buzzfeed and I are going to have a talk.  I hope you enjoy the project.

Love and Loveliness

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and love and general loveliness, I have a list of things I love.  These things make me smile and laugh.  They make me feel wonder and awe and a deep contentment.  They make me curious and excited, reverent and warm to my core.  How could I tire of things that make me so very happy?  God is good.  The world is incredible.  These are some of my favorite blessings.

Elephants- What’s the point of going to the zoo if the elephants aren’t out?

My mom’s smile- It’s the greatest smile out there.

Brightly colored vegetables- Really all vegetables.  Brussel sprouts turn a beautiful, glowing green when they are cooked (honestly!).  I get sick of almost any food if I eat it often enough but clean, fresh, colorful vegetables?  No.  They just make me feel good.

Tea- What’s not to like about tea?  It’s so dang refreshing and there are so many varieties to try.

Peanut butter- I temporarily lose interest (after I’ve eaten way too much) but I always go back.  I can’t stay away.

An enthralling book- I just finished Insurgent, the sequel to Divergent.  I actually woke up early so I could spend hours reading and still get some work done.

Old Catholic churches- I have a thing for them.  This I inherited from my mother.  Along with this, I’ll add cemeteries.

White picket fences- I will always be a Kentucky girl.

 

A few more things I think can stand without explanation:

The Ann Arbor Arboretum

My own bed

Care packages

Red wine

Neatly organized notes and school materials

Soap

Sunshine

Green trees

Country music

Classic clothing styles

Home

Vibrant carrots contributed to wonderful muffins

Vibrant carrots contributed to wonderful muffins

What’s your list?  Comment below!

 

My work in progress

Pancakes for Breakfast.

That incredible book left a mark on my childhood.  It has no words but my sisters and I would ask my mom to read it over and over.  Somehow the same pictures fostered a different story each time it was read.  She guided my imagination and I was captivated.  I started to “read” it to myself but it was never as satisfying.  Maybe it was the giftedness of the author shining on every page or maybe it was my devotion to my mother and her passions, like Sherman Alexie’s devotion to his father, that pulled me in.  My mom is a smart woman and she loves to read.  She reads for fun but she also reads to educate herself.  Books allow her to be a lifetime student.  That is what I want from books too.

I can’t say for sure that this book instilled in me a craving for knowledge but it may have, ironically, inspired my love for words.  All my life I have loved grammar, etymology, and reading just about anything.  The English language is a passion of mine but I always liked to take in its beauty; to read and read but not to write.  My dad used to read the early Harry Potter books to me every night.  These experiences are so vivid for me.  Hearing him tell the story was an experience full of wonder.  I picked up the books when I could get through them by myself and I didn’t put them down.

A young Sherman Alexie started to read in a similar way that I did with Pancakes for Breakfast, matching the pictures in his comic book to what he imagined Superman would say.  As an Indian child, pitied in non-Indian world, he read to save his life.  He read with “equal parts joy and desperation.”  “I refused to fail.  I was smart.  I was arrogant.”  At some point, somewhat unbeknownst to him, he became a writer.  I recognize some of his qualities evident in my motivation to write.  Part of me says, “I am smart.  I can do this.  I can move an audience.  I can make people feel something or think a little differently with my writing.”  It is a little arrogant but it drives me to keep writing.  Because I can.  Because I should.  Because it is a challenge.  Because it is so important that I write.

Reading has always amazed me.  Trusting my own writing, however, is a work in progress.

 

To Write- A Manifesto

Writing is a thrilling sensation of expectation or a painful uncertainty.

 One second it feels like

the walls are closing in.

In the next moment you feel enlightened and it is like the world is expanding.

It feels like you are taking up your rightful space.

To write is to always experience something new.

Write because there are things out there that cannot be explained.

But we can try.

 

 

A Little Glimpse Of Me

Bethany Canning is the author of a 5th grade report about her grandfather and a paper about E.coli.  She almost won an award for her writing her freshman year in college.  Bethany is an avid tea drinker and an exotic hat enthusiast.  She lives in Ann Arbor, MI in a cozy apartment with her two roommates but she has her own room.  They plan to adopt a fish.

Bethany showing off a particularly nice hat.
Bethany showing off a particularly nice hat.