Getting Nostalgic

Here it is, the final blog post.

I can’t believe how fast this semester flew by and how much we all have grown through this class. Fall 2014 cohort, or at least T’s class, we have all become such a close community and I loved that so much about our class. We all have learned a lot from each other and I look forward to working with all of you in other Writing courses.

As for my E-Portfolio, it’s finally ready for the public to see. I hope you will all take a look around as it has come a long way since the in-class presentation.

T- Thanks for always being so wonderfully helpful and pleasant to work with. I am truly going to miss this class and having your encouragement but I hope to also continue to work with you as I progress through the minor.

Farewell Writing 220. As I love to say, “It’s been real.”

Here is the link to my portfolio with an image of my homepage: jlissjr.wix.com/julialiss

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Peer Review Is Awesome

Greetings future MIW gateway course takers. I once was in your shoes and I’ve reached the other side. ‘Tis magnificent.

Here is my piece of advice to you. Take advantage of your peers. Your classmates have invaluable wisdom to share and they have brilliant minds. One of my favorite things about this class was the community that formed. I looked to my classmates for feedback on every project, even when it wasn’t officially required.

Trust me, feedback is good. My classmates told me when my E-Portfolio needed some redesigning and gave me confidence when I ended my first project in a daring way. They helped me bounce ideas back and forth in a way that someone who’s not in the class cannot.

Also, and you’ll hear this a lot, think long and hard about your project 2 topic. Yes you will indeed spend most of the semester working with it. Make sure it’s something that you can stay interested in and that you feel there is more to talk about on that subject.

 

Get excited.
Get excited.

Bold Proclamation

You cannot seem well-educated if you aren’t at least a decent writer. How’s that for a bold proclamation? Go ahead, get offended. Disagree with me. Challenge me. That’s all good and well. Will you be able to adequately argue your perspective to me though? Because that too will depend on your skill as a writer.

 

You can be a creative genius, a math wiz—plenty of other things, sure. I didn’t say that you couldn’t be a genius. But in a world where even casual conversation takes place in large part over text message or email, you will sound quite ignorant indeed if you can’t keep your grammar and punctuation in its right place.

 

You need not have brilliant metaphors nor creative rhetoric running through you—not all of us can be Ernest Hemmingway and Kurt Vonnegut. You just need to be able to send a written correspondence or express your opinion using your words.

LOL
LOL

Home To Me Is Reality, And All I Need Is Something Real

One thing I could never get tired of is my family and my best friends. Sure I can get sick of them, and argue with them from time to time, but it means so much to me to have them in my life. Relationships with people are more valuable to me than anything. It’s around this time of year, Thanksgiving, that I am especially aware of how much my people mean to me. Of course the holiday prompts us to think about what we are thankful for, but also it’s often the first time I have seen or even spoken to most of my home friends and some of my relatives since August. I forget how much I miss them until I am reunited with them, and in the words of OAR, “When I’m with my friends I feel home”.

I take the term of “best friend” very seriously. I would be willing to do so much for anyone I would label a best friend and I hold high expectations for them to reciprocate that. I am so grateful to have people in my life that I know I can count on to help me in all the ways a person can be helped. I am grateful that if I’ve been in a lonely period where I didn’t know many people, such as the first days in a new place, my true friends and my family help me through that.

Going to the 4th of July fireworks has always been a tradition with my friends.
Going to the 4th of July fireworks has always been a tradition with my friends.

When it comes to family, I am always cognizant of how lucky I am that I have parents who love me and love each other. Not everyone gets to have that. They never make me feel like I have to get certain grades or be perfect, and I appreciate that since I’m obviously not perfect. My big brothers are my role models and because of the age difference between us, my oldest brother is almost more of a second father. He helps me with career and life advice, while my other brother is always the one I go to for a laugh.

Lights, Camera, Action: Project 3

My project 3 is going to be a book trailer. For those who don’t know, a book trailer is like a movie trailer, but for a book. It’s a brief little clip that gives you an idea of what a book is about and makes you think, “OMG I totally wanna read this!”.

As I mentioned earlier in the semester, I was thinking of writing my own dystopian short story, but then it never happened. I am still not trying to write the entire story, but this will bring me one step closer to the dream. And hey, who knows, maybe once my creative juices have gotten to work I’ll find the inspiration to eventually write the whole story.

What I have in mind for now is that I’m going to use imovie and maybe a camera from the tech center (or whatever that place in the MLB is called) and just have a teaser of the book, which would require me to think of the general storyline premise for my book without actually writing the whole thing.

So far, I have been watching lots of book trailers to get a sense of what they’re like and trying to think of what my general plotline will be. I’m thinking something involving social media/iphone selfies going terribly wrong and causing some sort of problem in the world. More to come on that, though.

Here are some links to a couple book trailers for those who don’t know what they are:

–       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tu5Erw-posg

–       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zy40wRmGq9c

You Had Me At Your Proper Use Of You’re*

The number one thing I hate about grammar is when some people (many fondly call them Grammar Nazis) feel a need to correct it in casual conversation. Trust me: I know the difference between their, there, and they’re. I write for multiple publications and got a perfect score on the grammar sections of both the SAT and the ACT (haha yes that’s me being a bit cocky, sorry). So please do not correct me when, in a haste to text you something under a desk quickly while doing ten other things, I used the wrong “there”. It’s because I don’t really care, not because I don’t know.

It takes a certain type of snob to interrupt a conversation to point out that you misspelled a word or said who instead of whom. Unless you are trying to write a professional email or a paper or something else that matters, I promise, no one wants to hear you point out these mistakes. It is condescending, unnecessary, and just plain annoying. Those who want advice will ask for it.

On the other hand, to genuinely not have these rules mastered do indeed look foolish, especially in a community of educated people. Because if you take the 5 extra seconds to think about the rule when you are trying to write properly, it’s really not that hard. As something I once saw on Tumblr says, “Grammar: The difference between knowing your shit and knowing you’re shit”.

Practice What You Preach

Be witty but not obnoxious, be edgy and not cheesey. This is the advice I give to writers. It’s not a line I created myself; it was written by the Wizards of Spoon, as I like to call them, Sarah Adler and Mackenzie Barth. They are the CEO’s of Spoon University, my bosses, my mentors and my friends. As the editor-in-chief of a publication, I actually do have to give writers feedback all the time and make sure they write good content. Giving writing feedback is something I do daily, not just during in-class peer reviews.

 

Now obviously this advice applies only to certain kinds of writing, as a very serious research paper shouldn’t necessarily be witty. But I always appreciate a writer who can lighten the mood with humor, even when it’s not specifically a funny paper. During my minicourse on blogging, our main focus was finding our voice. I wanted mine to be witty and edgy, but that’s easier said than done. You have to be a naturally funny and clever person, which not everyone is. That is why sometimes you simply can’t be funny. Sometimes the inspiration just doesn’t strike you.

 

Another thing I sort of know I should do and wish I could do is include poetic sounding language and metaphors. I always envied my classmates who could write in a way that sounded beautiful and profound. They use such colorful language and detailed description that adds a whole other layer of depth and strength that I can never seem to achieve. I don’t exactly preach others to do this, but it is definitely something I think a good writer should do.

Update on Project 2

Since my last official posting I have changed my direction on my project 2 a bit to reflect the fact that I am not really a fiction writer, nor do I want to be, and it would be immensely difficult and frustrating to have my first go at it be so time constrained. Keeping with my original theme of dystopian literature, I decided to instead write a fake piece for the online magazine, Slate, exploring why dystopian fiction has reemerged as so popular recently. I plan to interview a couple friends who enjoy the genre and look at some trends and other article. I will most likely argue that we are in a time where our generation feels the future of the planet is certainly at stake, and our interest in dystopias reflects our fear of the unknown, or something like that.

As I mentioned in my “Why I Write” paper, I am not a multiple drafts kind of girl. I generally will not sit down and write a word of a paper until I’m ready to write the entire thing. Therefore, there currently is no tangible “work in progress” and I am not really bothered by that. I have been making an effort to familiarize myself more with Slate so I can write in its tone and style, I have been researching the recent popularity of stories like  The Hunger Games and The Giver. Taking the idea from Sara Estes, I will probably try to use that website newsjack to make a cool looking Slate article.

Any suggestions of other things I should talk about in my article would be highly appreciated!

Writing Is

Writing is human discussion and interaction.
Writing is HISTORY. Writing is
how we know what really happened. What really was said.
Writing is expression. Writing is how we keep track of the world around us.

We could not adequately articulate our thoughts if not for writing.
Writing is what allows us to become polished
drafts, for even the greatest spoken words
were planned and rethought, and made perfect, through writing.

So It Goes

I decided to use my paper from senior year of high school about the common theme of dystopian society in Kurt Vonnegut stories as the source of my repurposing project. The paper was focused on one novel and two short stories by Kurt Vonnegut and I really enjoyed learning about and reading works by Kurt Vonnegut. Additionally, I find dystopian fiction incredibly interesting. I thought the paper could have been improved and elaborated on, but rather than try to rewrite it, decided to take a more creative route by attempting to write my own dystopian story.

The questions I have going into this project are mainly: What does my story need to contain to be able to have a meaningful larger message rather than just being a fictional story? I know that one of the conventions of the genre of dystopian stories is that they are meant to have a larger social commentary, which was the theme of my original paper. To do this, I plan to read a few more well known stories in this genre, such as 1984 by George Orwell and others by Vonnegut himself. I also plan to research elements of dystopian fiction so I can understand what themes and motifs to include in my own while I write. Here is one site I might use in my annotated bibliography.

This will be my first ever attempt at writing fiction so it will definitely achieve the goal of challenging myself to write in a way that I am not used to. My audience would be contemporary society in general. Usually these types of stories are meant to draw attention to a problem society is currently dealing with and meant to be like a wake up call. Though I haven’t yet looked into a specific publisher, I imagine there is a publishing company that put together a compilation of Vonnegut’s short stories that I would aim to use.

I am excited to work with this project because I know it will be challenging. I have said in class and in my project 1 that I did not come to this minor looking to work on fiction stories, and yet, here I am. Kurt Vonnegut is also the only author I could ever say that I really like as an author rather than for one specific book.

 

"I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'"- Kurt Vonnegut
“I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.'”- Kurt Vonnegut