Writing 220 Repurposing: Emily Fishman (again)

This is a second attempt at a proposal for my repurposing, because I am indecisive as heck when it comes to my writing. After thinking about it, I have decided to change the focus and the form of my repurposing piece entirely.

Last semester, I wrote a piece for the Michigan Daily entitled “Finding Structure in the Stylebook” all about my existential crisis in college about my lack of creativity and the ability of working at the copy desk to allow me to have a part to play in the creative process. I wrote about how the structure of the stylebook, in its 65 page glory, was comforting to me because I function best under rules and guidelines. I really enjoyed writing that piece and the truths about myself that it was able to reveal, but I think the genre of a newspaper environment limited how truthful I was able to be and how much I could play with the form. It can be found here, if anyone is interested.

For my repurposing, I would like to create my own Stylebook, personal to me. For the paper, the Stylebook governs what is said and how it is said, and I think it would be a challenge to take my anxieties about creativity, the creative process, and writing in general and channel them into, quite literally, writing my own rules. Sort of a guidebook/rulebook-style piece for those in college who, like me, have found their talents not quite panning out the way they thought thing would. The Stylebook also functions as a definition of terms and their uses, something I think would be interesting to explore in my own life. I think this new genre would allow me to, kind of paradoxically, express the ideas of creativity (or lack thereof) inclusion in the creative process with more freedom, while also having that structure that I spoke of craving in the original piece.

Thanks for reading a second post on this topic from me (I promise it’s the last one). Any and all feedback would be much appreciated!


Writing 220 Repurposing: Emily Fishman

I’ve done a lot of writing in my English classes thus far at U of M, and like the perfectionist that I am, I feel like almost every single one of them would be worth a second (or third or fourth) version to finally nail what I meant to do in the first place. However, one paper that I think could be repurposed for a better reason than just to satisfy my perfectionism is a paper I wrote for a CompLit class my freshman year.

The paper was supposed to be the crowning achievement of the semester: a synthesis of two or more texts we had read throughout the course entitled “The Decline and Fall of the British Empire Through Novels.” The guidelines were vague and there wasn’t even a prompt, so I went into the paper with a lot of freedom. I wrote about the themes of creation in Heart of Darkness, Frankenstein, and Heaven’s Command: An Imperial Progress. The main point around which I circled throughout my argument was that a creator could not control what they had created, and I drew upon the monster’s murderous rage, the collapse of Kurtz’s structure of power in the jungle, and the fall of a British colony in Afghanistan. I wasn’t happy with the paper while writing it, and I felt like the idea of a creator not being able to control their creation was interesting, but ultimately not represented well in the work that I produced.

I’d like to take a look at repurposing this work by both lifting some constraints and imposing others upon it. First, I think it would be cool to open up the material from which I could draw when thinking about these themes of creation. The creature in Frankenstein refers explicitly to Milton’s Paradise Lost and the fall of man through Adam and Eve, so I think it would be interesting to bring in the “original” instance of a creator (in this case a divine one) and creation that rebelled from his control. Additionally, I would like to add a constraint and change this work from a synthesis paper, which only points out connections, to an argumentative piece, one that has ideas about why creation seems prone to rebel.

I want to repurpose this particular work because the theme of creation and the relationship between creator and creation is intriguing to me, particularly due to my own religious beliefs. Additionally, I think writing is in and of itself a sort of “creation,” so it would be cool to have the chance to get kind of meta in discussing the relationship between a writer and their creation. I’m interested to hear what y’all think!