I hate to be that person…

I hate to be that person but I’m really excited about our E-portfolio coming up.

For my repurposing project, I created a website and it was SO much more fun than I anticipated. Not fun in a second grade, school project kind of way, but challenging to the point where once it was figured out, it was ridiculously satisfying. When you’re creating a webpage, there are so many different opportunities to make it your own and show the world who you really are. It may also be exciting to me because I’ve never done anything like this before. It’s been interesting to learn a little bit about formatting languages like HTML, if not extremely difficult! Putting pie charts and other data into my webpage proved to be challenging (and involved a lot of Google searching), but now that I have more experience with it, I have a good platform from which to jump once we start on our next project.

It’s been very helpful, as well, having a friend who is experienced with building webpages because he is able to give me more insight into what is possible with my ideas and how to go about executing them.

This has given me a lot of ideas for how I will set up my final E-portfolio in terms of the style, design and boundaries of what I can do with the tools that I have (with Wix in particular). I’m looking forward to showing all of you!

Grant-Davie’s Position on Rhetoric

Though somewhat dense in content, Grant-Davie’s piece about rhetorical situations and what defines them does leave much to contemplate. At first it seems slightly ironic that in his analysis of rhetoric, Grant-Davie uses large amounts of rhetoric to arrive at his point. Reading his writing is like sifting through a gold mine of idea; the problem being that there’s so much gold that it all blurs together and feels meaningless.

The points that I drew from this heavy piece were first of all his emphasis on the organization of rhetorical analysis. He states that one must first understand what the discourse is about, then why it is needed, and finally what it should accomplish. I feel that this process of definition, cause and effect, and evaluation of values is key to understanding ones own writing and the writing of others. Especially when it is done in this order can it be particularly useful for analysis. Moreso in one’s own writing would this technique be helpful, because if this three-step process is congruent and makes sense, then you know that your writing is going to work well with the audience.

Something that I would say that I disagree with is the idea that one should write for any competent man and not restrict one’s audience to a certain set of people. I think that this restricts the author in their ability to write his or her own subjective views on a topic, which is what writing is about in my opinion. When I write, I have a specific set of people in mind who would enjoy my writing, and certain people whom I know it would enrage, and this is my goal. Making it accessible to as many people as possible would lessen its power in this way.

Finally, the idea of writing constraints is very appealing to me and my own writing. He cites that in a campaign speech one must be aware of the political context and current issues, and these will limit what a politician may speak about. Particularly the idea that “the challenge for the rhetor is to decide which parts of the context bear on the situation enough to be considered constraints” is intriguing to me. Maybe this is something I should consider more in my own writing instead of just looking back upon what has been written in this light.

Uncomfortable Writing

I don’t know how many people at the University have taken African Art, but Professor Doris is constantly trying to get us to stretch our boundaries and take us out of our comfort zones. Sometimes it’s interesting to just see and hear what makes people uncomfortable, like the word fetish or the concept of women’s bare breasts. These ideas are only uncomfortable because of the context in which we have lived our lives, and may not be so to other cultures or types of people. Even for me to write today about different forms of fetish, and I’m a very straightforward person, has made me shift in my seat.

This all made me want to analyze why we feel discomfort at things that are perfectly natural, and why do we feel the need to laugh or walk away? It may be similar to the tendency of people to reject opinions other than their own, and then to prove to others that they are part of the norm and don’t hold these strange or forbidden characteristics. At the same time, these subjects hold a certain fascination within us that we are not outwardly able to share.

Sex is obviously one of these topics, and I personally believe that many of the subjects we find uncomfortable originate from this subject, like homosexuality, abortion (and birth control), privacy as a general concept. We are both afraid and transfixed by the idea of what people do behind closed doors, and yet it is forbidden to write about even though it dictates so much of our lives.

So you can probably anticipate more posts that will make you uncomfortable, but I ask that you at least analyze why it does so and don’t run away!

And here is a picture of a puppy to put you all at ease:

happypuppy

Food Blogs That Are Something To Drool Over

If you are a food blog, well you have already won over my heart, my mind, and absolutely my stomach. I was having a conversation with someone the other day about how much I enjoyed watching the cooking channel (I can’t fall asleep without it on, if I’m to be honest) and he stared back at me with a blank expression, as if food could actually mean nothing to some people. Hopefully, those that are reading this blog do not share his ambivalence towards the art of meal creation because this one is all about food.

Besides the daily pinterest recipe browse and the obvious 3x per day, food enters my life through the casual perusal of picture-filled food blogs. Possibly the allure comes from my knowledge of food, so I know that the pictures I see would taste good based on the fact that I know these individual flavors mesh together. Maybe I just like the pretty pictures and have a literal insatiable hunger, either way these forums drive me wild.

Smitten Kitchen is a particularly famous blog that is well-known for their pictures and recipes. It’s one of those sites where you can either come because you just like looking at pretty things, or you can come to mooch off their creativity to satisfy your noms. Either way, it’s definitely worth a few glances.

Another blog that satisfies my passion for food and also my obsession with Detroit is Detroit Foodie. I only discovered this one recently after living in Detroit and scoping out the food scene, but even if you don’t make the monthly pilgrimage to midtown like I do, you should still check this one out. They write about restaurants in and around Detroit, and it definitely has a young vibe which is where the city seems to be heading.

Lastly, if you’re looking for a chuckle, chortle, or snort you should check out Hannah Hart’s vlog. My Drunk Kitchen is her fun weekly web series, but she is actually passionate about the craft (especially the alcohol). It takes a very casual and haphazard approach to cooking, which may make it more approachable to those not familiar with the nitty-gritty of the gastronomic scene.

What Does My Writing Look Like?

“Some say, despite this overwhelming evidence, that the income and wealth disparities do not matter as long as GDP continues to grow, but this does not take into account that this inequality threatens the fundamental incentive structure that drives our economy; when workers do not have the opportunity to move up the socio-economic ladder, there is little reason for them to invest in their future with higher education, and therefore they will not have the opportunity to advance in our economy.”

This is an excerpt from a recent paper that I wrote about income inequality in America. Though this particular sentence is slightly long-winded for me, it does give a pretty accurate representation of my writing in terms of shape and diction. This sentence seems to be compound-complex, which is fairly common for my papers because I feel that, as long as my wording is accurate, this style can really illuminate the subject matter. I am very aware of the stigma associated with the use of semi-colons, but I use them reasonably frequently because it gives me an opportunity to further explain my theses in a way that flows more easily than a period would.

In terms of diction, I have noticed that my wording can often be vague, but at the same time vague can be relatable to certain audiences and in certain media. For example, in news media you may find specific details about conflict in Syria but you won’t find sentences like, “Their eyes flickered the mirror image of the incendiary rebellion that raged before them.” This sentence does give me a picture of the conflict in Syria, but it’s imagery is melodramatic to the point of discrediting the author. This is possibly the fine line I am trying to walk as a writer: I want accurate argumentative style and reporting, yet I appreciate the stylistic choices of creative fiction. I just don’t know how to reconcile the two.

Why I Write, A Response

Though Didion’s piece and her prose resonated with me in a beautiful sort of way, the inspiration and reasoning behind her writing is not similar to mine in many aspects. Considering that my background is specifically in politics, this part of Orwell’s piece is very relevant to my own writing. He emphasizes that the time in which one lives and the politics behind those times, is what drives most writers and is seen through their words. I absolutely find this to be true with my own writing, and I find that the more passion I have for a topic, the better my writing seems to be. This is not to say that my writing always comes across as perfection when I am passionate. On the contrary, similar to Orwell, I find that it is often a delicate balance between who you are and what you wish to convey. You cannot let go of one or the other, otherwise your writing will resonate with no one. This is absolutely my constant struggle in my own writing, though Orwell puts the words more elegantly than I would have thought to.

At times, though his words are so familiar, Orwell’s comments about the laziness and egoism in authors makes me uncomfortable. Can I really fit into this generalization? I don’t want to but how avoidable is a trait that is unmistakably common in creators? Maybe this is something that will take more writing, thought, and purpose on my part. I think this is the major contradiction between the two pieces; Didion believes in the concrete and perceivable, while Orwell talks about generalizing writers, himself, and even atmosphere. This is where I draw the distinction in my own association with one writer rather than the other. But who knows? Maybe these two styles aren’t so different.