My project is titled Modus Operandi. It is comprised of two mini-biographies and one section on current literature, all drawing from the idea of similarities between ultra-successful people.
It is that time of the semester when I despise writing. Unfortunately there is still much to be done. I no longer wish to hold a pen, pencil, or type but I am forced to in order to get grades. After a few short weeks it will be back to the grind. More writing and more grades. Then on to grad school or a job, both require writing. All that is left to look forward to is retirement, which does involve a bit of writing. Writing checks for the grandkids and signing birthday cards. I can handle that.
I am currently reading The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy and after listening to Thomas Hager I think there is much that could be written about Joseph Kennedy Sr in the realm of historical non fiction. He led a convoluted life that would need no embellishments to prove interesting to a reader. I was impressed with how Mr. Hager stood by his belief that fabricating conversations to any extent is doing a disservice to the reader. The amount of research Mr. Hager devotes to his writing is insane and proves he has a passion for his writing. I have a difficult enough time finding the motivation for a 10 pager let alone a novel. Then again, he writes what he wants whereas we as students write what our professors want. Nevertheless impressive.
There is a short section from one of Jack Johnson’s surf films, A Brokedown Melody, that I always enjoy. I couldn’t post the whole video so I found a clip of the section I am referring to, specifically 1:31 – 1:47 (Brokedown Melody Trailer).
Simplicity should not be underestimated as a tool for effectiveness. As I get older my vocabulary increases, my thought process, at times, becomes more complex, and there is increasing pressure to be professional. Sometimes I forget that it’s alright to be simple when writing. It’s easy to try to construct a profound argument in order to sound educated and feel confident that a higher grade will be awarded or adults will see a certain level of maturity. I understand there are times when more complex language is needed, however I firmly believe simplicity will never go out of style.
A GSI once told me if there is ever any confusion about passive/ active voice use the “by zombies” test. For example, “the legislation was enacted” makes sense if you add “by zombies.” Therefore it is passive voice, whereas ” so and so enacted the legislation” makes much less sense if “by zombies” is added.
One of the re-purpose examples we viewed Tuesday was focused on zombies so I thought I’d mention this ridiculous but sometimes helpful “test.”
At times, throughout the event, I felt a bit out of my element. Mainly because Sheila’s experiences and interests differ from mine. There is also a difference between gearing up to write when it’s one’s profession and when one is a student. Writing for me has always been subject to a strict dichotomy, either forced or completely willing. Class assignments usually fall into the forced category whereas any other form of writing outside of assignments comes naturally and does not need coaxing. I related to when Sheila mentioned auto-ethonography and how she just did it out of instinct. Most of my writing style just happens as well. I usually play it by ear, whether I’m critiquing grammar or style or whatever. I rarely have on hand any explicit rules – if it sounds good i’ll use it. I think this stems from my eagerness to be thrown into an environment and figure things out for myself, the “sink or swim” mentality. After listening to how Sheila writes I can say that is how I write. I just jump in and see what happens.