Reddit = $$?

After the interesting presentation yesterday in class (I had never heard of Reddit before the presentation..), I just saw this article on Forbes talking about how Reddit is actually worth a LOT of money. For those you interested in business (or just learning a little more about Reddit), this is a pretty interesting article!

Has anyone visited Reddit since we talked about it yesterday?

Learning why someone (semi) famous writes

I was unfortunately unable to make the “Why I Write” event this past week, so Angelle and I sat down to listen to another writer talk about why they write. We decided to listen to a lecture by Natasha Trethewey, an African-American poet who was named the Poet Laureate of the United States by the Library of Congress this past summer.

She gives a lot of her background to her life to begin her talk; she grew up in the south during the time of racial segregation and was very aware of the differences between races. She says that she had an “evolving attraction to words” as she grew up and it was her father in particular who told her that she had to be a writer because of the age in which she grew up. She came to agree with him: she needed to be a writer to answer the questions that needed answering, and that was her calling. She goes on to give multiple other reasons for why she writes. She writes to claim her native land (America, where she grew up, yet a place that was unfairly segregated), so as not to be a foreigner in her homeland, and to recover the stories/voices of people who had become lost in the racial discrimination. Although her poetry is not about race, her words reflect her racialized experience, which she says is only natural.

I appreciated the passion that she has for poetry. She says that poetry enables the human soul. As someone who has never had a large urge to write or read poetry, this was an interesting thing to hear. Natasha also says that she writes because she cannot stand by and say nothing. When I was listening to this part of her talk, I was also thinking about my “Why I Write” essay, and how different my reasons are. I do not feel inclined to write because of pressing issues or “racialized personal experiences.” However, I do believe that I write because of my experiences, so although I obviously do not share a similar background her, I can still understand her reasons for why she writes. She drew a lot of material from Orwell’s “Why I Write”, which was great because I knew what she was talking about when she quoted from him, too!



Re-Mediation? Yikes.

I feel like I’ve barely started my re-purposing project and I’m already having to think about my re-mediation! Exciting, yes, but overwhelming? Definitely.

Re-mediation is presenting the same argument to the same audience, but in a different media form. Basically, I’m thinking of it as taking something that is in written form and changing it into something of a different medium, like visual, auditory, etc.

I think that I need to see where my re-purposing project goes before I get locked into an idea for re-mediation. However, I am excited to try out new media techniques that I otherwise do not have a chance to experiment with!

Keep on blogging

At the start of this course, I was a little unsure about blogging. A lot unsure about blogging actually. I had never tried it before and I was not used to writing in a less formal tone. Nevertheless, I have become more comfortable with it and even turn to it sometimes to help me sort out my thoughts. As I mention in my recent post about my re-purposing project, blogging as turned into my stream of consciousness. I can toss ideas out into the blogging world and all of you lovely people can choose to comment and maybe help me refine my ideas! I have much more appreciation for the blogging process and it has helped me to approach my writing in general (not just blogging) in a more reflective, constructive way.

Sullivan’s piece on blogging has more significance for me now that I am forced to blog regularly. As I said, I appreciate the process much more now, and re-reading what he wrote even gave me new ideas on how to approach my future blog posts (I can give credit to Sullivan for reminding me that adding hyperlinks – see the hyperlink I added above – to blog posts is one of the powers of blogging). I am refreshed with the ideas that I can incorporate into my blog posts, many of which I have forgotten about/not made use of (i.e. pictures, videos, etc.).

A part of Sullivan’s piece caught my eye as I went back through it and that is the distinction between a “writer” and a “blogger”. The two are different largely because of the different approach they take to writing. A writer is assumed to have thought long and hard before writing, whereas a blogger does just the opposite. I think that this is interesting…can’t a blogger be a writer and vice versa? Maybe the two realms – writing and blogging – can be separated (for example, when Sullivan says, “The triumphalist notion that blogging should somehow replace traditional writing is as foolish as it is pernicious.”), but can you really separate a writer from a blogger? Just a thought as I re-read the essay…

In light of my re-purposing project of creating a travel essay, I will take a cue from Sullivan’s thoughts on blogging by infusing my personality into the piece. If I don’t do this, I think that my re-purposing will turn out dry and uninteresting – to both myself and any reader.

Blogging is definitely a different form of writing that what I have done in the past, but I think that there are valuable take aways from it.

Re-purposing begins..

I am hoping that blogging about my re-purposing project will help me to generate some of my own ideas, since me blogging has basically turned into a stream of consciousness (well…as fast as my fingers can type my thoughts)!

In preparation for class, I have been trying to start my annotated bibliography and draft a proposal. I have decided to use an entry that I wrote in the “One Line a Day” journal I have about traveling to Yellowstone with my family this past summer. What I wrote brings back good memories and I think that this will be a topic that I can deal with for the rest of the semester! I want to re-purpose it into a travel essay – something that would get published in a traveler magazine.

I’ve been semi-successful at finding sources…basically I googled “traveler magazine” and “travel essays”. There is a lot out there, but there is also a lot of “50 things to see at “place x”” articles, and those really aren’t all that helpful for me. It’s going to take some digging to find good material to work with so that I know how to format this re-purposing project. I feel like I have an idea in my head of how something like this should look, I just need to back up these thoughts with real examples!

That’s where I’m at so far. There is so much out there to pull from that it’s almost overwhelming starting to do research! However, if anyone enjoys reading travel essays/travel blogs/ANYTHING travel related, please let me know (i.e. send me the links ;))

Struggles with the ePortfolio

First and foremost, this whole process is a little overwhelming. Never before have I attempted an online creation such as this one. I know my learning curve will be a steep one…

To start, who do I want my audience to be? I really like the idea of having a professional feel to the ePort. But on the other hand, I don’t think that that’s as fun and, at the present moment, as soon as I’m done with undergrad I’m outta here…I’m not planning on any sort of grad school (at least not for many years…), so I don’t know if I would really show off my ePort to anyone other than this class/interested friends. So, to make a long story short, I think that I have come to the conclusion that the audience of my ePort will be just that…myself, this class, and fellow students. I want to be able to express myself creatively rather than worry about a professional image.

When I was younger, I did a lot of scrap booking with my mom. Whenever we traveled in Europe we would scrapbook the pictures that we took and record our trips. I love designing by hand, whether it be unique handwriting, the layout of pictures, or picking the right colors to complement a theme. I’m hoping to be able to incorporate some of these elements into the layout of my ePort!

I want my layout to be simple for readers to follow (maybe taking a cue from Steve Jobs’ push for simplicity in every aspect of his life…have any of you read the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson?). I think that it is easy to become lost in a website and not know how to navigate around efficiently, so I hope to master Word Press enough that this will not be a problem on my page!

One of the other things I’m stuck on is what I want the theme of my ePort to be. Should the theme be related to writing or something broader about my life?? Any thoughts? How are other people approaching the question of a theme for your ePort?

What’s the meaning?

Some of the readings this week really resonated with me, especially the parts about meaning creation. I have definitely thought about meaning and how what I get out of reading may be slightly different that the meaning that the writer intended. Now, being in a writing class, it is interesting to change my perspective to think about the meaning I am creating in my writing. I particularly liked what Teirney and Pearson wrote about (this is my summary):  All writing and reading, therefore, is an interaction between the writer and the reader: what the writer wants the meaning to be, what the reader thinks the meaning is, and what meaning the reader then associates with the text.

However, this makes me question how often the writers meaning is actually the meaning that readers get out of a text. That’s kind of a scary thought…what if you’re a writer who really wants to get your meaning across, but you have to question whether a reader will extract a completely different meaning based on his/her experiences? Maybe that’s where ideas from the “Craft of Research Reading” come in… the reader also has a role to play, and, as Teirney and Pearson discuss, it is the reader’s job to think about what meaning the writer wants to get across. 

For my own writing, I think that I need to become more cognizant of my role in creating meaning that is relevant for myself, but also relevant for other readers and something that they can understand. My experiences influence how and what I write about, so I need to make sure that these experiences are either something that people can relate to, or a least something that they can understand! 

(and I got bored with black font, so I’m changing it up) 🙂

Why DO I write?

I am majorly struggling with where to start! I’m not sure why I write…well, I’m sure there is a reason but it just hasn’t hit me yet. Honestly, I was kind of dreading this blog post because it meant that I had to face the difficulty of this task. A four word question shouldn’t be so hard!

However, as I sit talking with my housemates, I think I have found a little more direction. I like that we can write it in any form we’d like. Although I’ll be sticking to an essay format, I want to incorporate a large, descriptive title, modeled after the one used in the “What Should I Do With My Life?” article I brought to class the other day. So I think I have a general format down.

After that…I’ll just have to sit down, start writing, and see. I think the writing process itself will help me answer the question “Why do I write?” even more clearly.

Here’s to my first shitty first draft…!

Thoughts on the quote “What should I do with my life?”

When asked to read a favorite quotation from an example of writing that is intellecutally stimulating, this is what I chose from Po Bronson’s article, ” “What Should I Do With My Life? – The Real Meaning of Success-And How to Find It”:

“Asking “What should I do with my life?” is the modern, secular version of the great timeless questions about our identity. Asking The Question aspires to end the conflict between who you are and what you do. Answering The Question is the way to protect yourself from being lathed into someone you’re not.”

I always find myself thinking about what I want to do with my life. Will I devote myself to an inspirational cause? A powerful job where I can lead people in a pre-determined direction? I have no idea and perhaps this is why I like to read articles on these sorts of topics. Nothing or no one other than myself can provide me with the answer to this personal question, but perhaps insight into how to think about it will help me. Maybe.

A similar discussion of this topic is found in many commencement speeches. I particularly like the one given by Steve Jobs, which I just listened to the other day in my Management & Organizations class.

I love keeping track of quotes that I like and one in particular that I love comes from this speech, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”

I think it’s going to take me a long time to figure out what I should do with my life, but every step along the way (reading an article, writing about it…) will certainly help. Maybe the answer to “Why I Write” is tied up in this same question, too…

Why I Write (response)

I started by reading Orwell’s piece and immediately identified with his comment on how he initially produced “made-to-order stuff” for people when he wrote. I feel like that is the majority of what I end up writing, especially in the hectic college scene where I am required to churn out dozens of papers in a certain format. However, Orwell goes on to break down the reasons writers have the impulse to write when they are not being forced to. I thought his four reasons were very insightful. One of the only times I currently find myself not writing for class is when I jot down a sentence or two about my day in order to preserve my memories for later reflection. I feel like this tendency is similar to the “historical impulse” Orwell describes – I want to keep these facts/moments about my day for later use.

I found Didion’s piece to be humorous, yet a little hard to follow or relate to. Although I did not really identify with her comment that she writes to answer questions that she does not know the answers to, I found it intriguing and a great look into the mind of a published author.

Sullivan’s piece on why he blogs was refreshing because, until now, I have never blogged. It was fascinating to read his description and interpretation of what blogging is. I think I will try to remember his comment that blogging is “writing out loud” whenever I have to blog over the course of the writing minor. I appreciated the reasons he described for why he blogs and can see why this can be an appealing way to write and garner many readers and instant feedback. However, I sometimes find it hard to hear other’s criticisms, so I think that this could be a rude shock to me if I ever start blogging more religiously!