Experience at Sweetland

This week I had to write a 4-5 page paper for English 360, The Rise of the Novel. The paper posed a particularly difficult challenge for me because we were not given a prompt or any information besides the page requirement from our teacher.

I was to write on the novel Tom Jones, one of the first novels every written–not exactly my favorite genre. And without a specific path to go on, I was at a loss for where to start. So I decided to watch the movie, classic college student reaction. At first, it was just to go over the plot of the book. But then I realized, why not write a paper about the novel and the movie?

Working with the many different forms of writing and media through out Writing 220 class has given me a new perspective on the way and things that you can write about. I no longer feel boxed in to a simple 5 paragraph essay analyzing symbolism.

Furthermore, I took my mixed up, shitty rough draft into the Sweetland Center for Writing to be reviewed, as I felt my ideas were all of the place and I knew I could do better. I had the most amazing experience.

Now, I’m not just saying this because I’m in the minor. I used to say that after every experience I had freshman and sophomore year as well. I always feel like the instructors help me to reach the argument and style that was already in my brain, but just not quite there yet. My appointment really inspired me to continue working on my writing and change up my style.

Rhetorical Reading

Understanding rhetorical reading is more difficult to break down and understand than it seems. In this article, the research and explanation is extensive. It focuses on more than just the material, but knowledge and context behind it.

The understanding that we receive from reading a text is a combination of the meaning in the words and our outside experiences and context.

Additionally, included in a reader’s reading of a text should be the author’s intention, the purpose and who the author intended on reading the piece.

This type of reading allows for a more in-depth understanding of what is in the text, gaining more knowledge or analysis from the piece. Rhetorical reading is something that seems easy enough, but many times it can be easy to skim over the material, get the main point and forget about the author entirely.

Thinking about the author as the reader is important in itself. But by understanding this process of rhetorical reading, it inspires the concept of considering this when writing. Maybe in order to be a better rhetorical reader, writing is a good place to start.

Repurposing Assignment

For my Repurposing an Argument assignment, I have decided to take a series of blog posts I wrote the summer after my freshman year of college. I was working at a publishing company in place of a woman on maternity leave. While I was perfectly capable of performing the job efficiently, I was often laughed at or treated much younger than my colleagues (of which I was 10 years younger than at least.) However, I wanted to be taken seriously.

So I decided to focus on how to be a young professional, and I began a blog about it. I’d like to take these blog posts and turn it into a magazine spread for kids our age (college aged, 20 somethings) about being a young professional. I think the magazine article will be a good way to repurpose the blog which was purely for myself.

However, I am looking ahead and thinking how I will remediate my argument. I was trying to think of new mediums it could be expressed on. A pamphlet? A presentation? Possibly an advice Twitter account?

If you have any ideas, please comment!

Why I Follow Blogs

tumblr_m58aekvYKW1rse6mzo1_1280Blogging for me is a purely personal thing. A online diary that a few anonymous other bloggers that I will never meet get to read. But, that is one version of blogging. So here is the first blog I ever found, one that inspired me to continue blogging and be a writer.

I Read Into Things, written¬†by Gloria Szabo is blog filled to the brim of Gloria’s writing. She began blogging as a form of expression, getting out all of the wonderful tidbits of emotion that she formed into fluid word. However, now she has published a book! Most of her blog recently consists of quotes and pages of her new book.

This is one of my favorite blogs because it is incredibly raw. I read this blog as a 14 year old high schooler and thought, okay I’m not alone, I’m not crazy. She opens up in an insane way and often is attacked for it or her opinions. But she at least inspired one girl (and she knows it because I emailed her.)

My most recently loved blog is the nocturnals. This blog is largely less focused on writing. It is filled with images and quotes, a majority of which I reblog. This photos or quotes (often from well-known writers) sometimes say more about the blogger than a personally written piece could.

That is something I have learned from blogging, mostly from this blog in particular. Sometimes things can’t be said any better than they’ve already been said. Or a picture describes an emotion, an inspiration, more than words ever could. Often famous writers have said what I have always struggled to understand. By reblogging these posts, I give a little nod to that person on the other side of the screen and say, “I understand.”

 

Sullivan’s Why I Blog

I found Sullivan’s essay on blogging to be one of the more interesting pieces I have read in my writing classes, because it’s relevant. I have a personal blog and have blogged for multiple companies that I have worked for. While I’ve always seen blogging as an emotion vulnerability in writing, I never saw the connection in how to be a relevant writer in the blogosphere. The comments that Sullivan made about using hyperlinks and references to other blogs in a helpful rather than hurtful way were really inspiring. I want to try to make my blog more well known, with more readers. The intimacy of a blogger with its readers is one that I find very important in communication today.

I thought Sullivan’s comparison of blogging to taking a narcotic to be oddly fitting. But the most resonating line he wrote was, “you have to express yourself now, while your emotions roil, wile your temper flares, while your humor lasts.” In my blog, I write in a fit of emotion, when I am at my peak. I later go back and read it, realizing the dramatics and vulnerability that exist in the piece, but I am happy that I captured such an honest moment.

My Writing Style

Working with editing in most of my jobs, I have spent a lot of time looking at writing style–but never my own. I always found it difficult to separate my objective mind about style from the sounds and images running through my head. However, reading this article and going back to a paper that I did quite some time ago, allowed me to separate from the personal and analyze.

Within my scholarly writing, I realized that my biggest go-to is prepositions and transitional phrases to fill in space and make the sentence roll off the tongue. See there, I just used “within” to start my sentence. This tends to make my sentences have less meaning for the amount of words they contain. The sentence shape I usually go for contains two or more clauses, always contains a comma and usually could be more broken up. I think the way that I think is in clauses, rather than sentences, so I tend to place them together or separate them in ways that wouldn’t make as much sense to other writers/readers.

A large tendency that I need to break in creative writing is writing from the personal, “I” point of view. I have done exercises attempting to change the perspective and get me out of myself, but I write best when I feel like I am the character that is experiencing what I am writing about. It’s easier to portray feelings, memories, details…it’s the safe way out.

Similarly, for diction, I tend to use a frivolous amount of adjectives. I have always loved when I am reading and I can see the image exactly in my head or feel as if I am experiencing the story for myself. Additionally, I really get caught up in the sound and combination of words, not necessarily the clarity.

These are all elements of my writing that I would like to work on and can analyze after reading these chapters.

Response to Why I Write

I related to both George Orwell and Joan Didion’s articles, but strongly rejected many ideas included in them as well. Finding myself comparing my childhood and experience with writing with George Orwell’s, I questioned if his motives to write were common in other writers because, personally, I don’t feel compelled to write politically. However, I found profound truth in his blatant statement of the egoism of writers as well as the pure enjoyment of prose style. It’s difficult to argue with the idea that writers are “driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist or understand” when I find myself writing notes in my phone walking down the street, about things I truly don’t understand how they got in my head.

In this manner, I understood Joan Didion’s description of her writing process. Sometimes writing is outside of your logic. And since I began writing for more than academic reasons, I’ve always said that I write to know what I think, similar to Didion’s apt description, “I write entirely to find out what I am thinking, what I’m looking at, what I’m thinking, what it means. What I want and what I fear.” However, rather than experiencing “shimmering” images, I simply think my thoughts are too jumbled to understand.