Let’s change the stigma.

Politics. It’s taboo, haven’t you heard? You are never suppose to talk about it with anyone, and if you do you are just asking for trouble. Alright, lets rewind. Let’s change this ridiculous notion that we can’t have meaningful conversation with people without hurting their feelings.

In a world that is constantly evolving and changing in ways we may not have always hoped, it is time to break out of our shells and start to talk to one another about these issues. I am not saying you need to be particularly “woke”, but it may be time, for lack of a better term, to start giving a shit. Every single day, it feels like another liberty or group of people is being attacked, and to be quite honest I, along with many, am sick of it. But aren’t I just one person, aren’t I just a liberal snowflake? Yes, yes I could be these things – but by continuing to not speak out about issues and engage with those who are different than me, I will continue to get nowhere.

It’s time – time to start discussing and listening to one another. It’s time to start hearing what we ALL have to say. Yes I am looking at you, whether you are a conservative, liberal, independent, or honestly do not even know what politics are. Start learning about where you stand on the issues and start talking about it with your peers. Make your voice heard. And honestly, do it soon. Before it’s too late.

Here is the link to a fun website where I go more into the issue: https://msanghvi.wixsite.com/letslisten

Enjoy!

Writer to Writer Experience

As writers we constantly put ourselves out there. Everything we write can be interpreted in so many different ways, and we take that risk knowing that idea. Although I was not able to attend Writer to Writer at Literati last week, I listened to the podcast to hear Dr. Howard Markel’s thoughts.

He highlighted many important points, but one that particularly resonated with me was the importance of reading. With the craziness of college, it is hard to read in our free time. I have been making it a point to read more in my free time. He discussed that reading is important primarily since it constantly keeps you inspired. Being constantly inspired is often the hardest thing when writing. As a writer, I know that there are so many ideas I want to write about, but the ones that I do write about are the ones that have inspired me or ones I hope to inspire others with. Inspiration can strike at any time. So pick up a book, and you never know what could happen next.

Additionally, Markel discussed how to improve your writing by gradually increasing how much you write each day. This is something that I did last summer, and I saw improvements in my writing even though I was only writing for myself through journaling. He highlighted the importance of revising work, but doing so intelligently. Taking breaks is super important as well – do not rush the process!

Overall, I think this was an interesting conversation. Dr. Howard Markel discussed his background in medicine and writing, illustrating how he was able to combine both interests and write medical history books. Even one type of writing is not for you, that does not mean you can’t be writer. Writing is for anyone who is trying simply to tell a story, whether it is their own or not.

Tis the season! A Real Life Ghost Story

For experiment #3, I decided to do something a little more radical than my last two experiments. I will be writing a Ghost Story about the election of Donald Trump. It will focus on the deeper meaning behind a ghost story and what each character represents.

How to Write a Ghost Story:

In today’s society of technology and emphasis on the facts, we are in a era of reason. Great ghost stories are those that are deeper than skeletons and vampires. They play on our worst fears and have terror underneath the surface. As Roald Dahl defiantly stated, “The bet stories don’t have ghosts in them”. Ghost stories remind us that terror is just around the corner, and it can come in different shapes and sizes. The best ghost stories are those have the real chaos when no one is looking. It is the element of surprise that keeps us vigilant of the unknown.

Ghost writing goes between the psychological and physical. It is important for ghost writing to blur between reality and madness. The conventions of traditional ghost stories can vary, but often include chilling sounds, mysterious stains, and crime. Most importantly, atmosphere is critical for ghost writing. The mood, sounds, scents, and resonance all play crucial roles in setting the stage for the horror that will ensue. The idea that another presence or individual lies outside our conscience is what intrigues us. Good ghost stories never make someone laugh as well.

There exist numerous ways to properly formulate a ghost story. For my purposes, I will be constructing a ghost story that is in a short story format. First, I will set the stage describing the characters in a way so that is clear what/who they represent. Using descriptive jargon, I will describe the terror that is occurring and how it is affecting those in the community. The most difficult part when telling the story is to make sure the deeper meaning underneath is clear. When writing a ghost story, it is important to realize that you are not only creating the ghost, but you are crafting the way the reader encounters the ghost.

The drawbacks of this genre are that it can often alienate a larger audience. Younger audiences and families may not want to read a ghost story that plays on their fears. A general population may not want to intentionally be freaked out by a story they are reading. Additionally, not many individuals will read a ghost story in the middle of July. The typical audience for a ghost story would be young adults.

There are many ghost stories out there, spanning from just a few sentences to longer novel stories. One example accounts the story of a girl named Hannah. Living with her family and 4 siblings, she encountered frequent supernatural and scary events. From loud noises to doors closing rapidly, she felt terrorized in her home. When all of the family members finally discussed what was happening in the house, a mirror flew off the wall and shattered. On the back of the mirror, 666 was carved repeatedly along with the message “I am going to f—king kill you all.” Throughout it all, Hannah writes she still loved her home, and she tried to stop as many rumors as she can. This example highlights the major conventions of a ghost story: suspense, horror, and descriptive detail. The ghosts seem to haunt the family because they chose to live in the home, perhaps the ghosts were angry that the family “trespassed” into their home.

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The Proposal

For this experiment, I will be writing a ghost story focusing on the election of Donald Trump. Once again, I will be expanding from the Facebook post I made during the election last November. The audience of this piece will be young adults who were affected by the election. The Trump like character will be represented by a ghost of yesterday’s past. When Donald Trump won the election, he emboldened many groups that were dormant for so long. When the KKK held their white nationalist rally at University of Virginia, it was a testament to the type of hate and hate groups Trump was able to embolden with the election. This ghost story will focus on the scariest moments of the Trump presidency, but they will be highlighted in an implicit way. This genre joins the conversation because so many individuals are scared by this presidency. Playing on the fears of many (unfortunately), I will turn real life events into a chilling story.

 

How to Write ~Prose~

The genre of prose refers to simple statements being used to communicate a topic or idea in a lyrical way. It is a type of poetry that focuses less on rhythm and rhyme. It tends to highlight ideas in an eloquent way that is easy for the reader to grasp. It attempts to make you feel something, just like any type of writing.

Prose is less formal than traditional poetry, and it does not focus on structure and gimmicks as much. Prose focuses on descriptors often to convey a more realistic tone. It also tends to use longer sentences and structures the content into an essay

style. Although prose does use longer sentences, it is important to remain concise and in present tone. Prose sounds much more natural.

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Below are some easy steps to take to write your ~prose~ piece:

  1. Identify the type of prose you want to write. Depending on this selection, you will be able to dive into the semantics and structure of your piece.
  2. After deciding on the type of prose you want to write (i.e. oratory, short story, parable, etc.), you want to identify the core message you want to relay in your piece.
  3. Then begin to formulate your piece using dramatic, favor crisp sentences, and conjure metaphors.
  4. Many prose piece focus on telling a story or using multiple stories to convey messages.

Prose can be done in multiple shapes and forms, but the differentiating factors of a prose piece are that it conveys a story through descriptive jargon. Each piece does not tell the story, but it rather shows the story. By using effective descriptors, readers gain a better understanding of exactly what the author is trying to convey with each sentence.

Once again, I will be expanding on the Facebook post I made the night of the election. This time I will be turning it into a prose piece accounting how I have felt over the past 10 months. President Trump has made headlines too many times for often bizarre, confusing statements. I will describe how each post has made me fell. I will choose 3 policies or tweets to expand on. The primary audience I hope to reach is anyone that has felt similar sentiments as myself. This could include women of color, educated women, and college women, and people of color.

In each paragraph, I will focus one policy or tweet and explain how it made me feel. Using story telling tactics, I will compose an oratory broken down into 10 mini stories about how each instance made me feel. I will write about confusion, hopelessness, despair, new beginnings, and many other specific feelings or notions. Each story will also have some element of finding strength through this all. It is important to stand up for what you believe in. Through the Trump Presidency, there were many instances of people standing up against his administration. From The Women’s March to Black Lives Matter, people will stand up against those who try to defy them. We are always stronger together, and in my pieces I will highlight the times when leaning on one another led to a better ending.

How Writing Leads to My Own Thinking

Each day we grow and change. Writing is an imperative tool to discovering and understanding new experiences. Writing allows me to unearth my thoughts and reflect on issues that are important to me. Throughout the day, thoughts race through my mind, and it is crazy to believe that I probably won’t remember a large part of these thoughts that run through my mind. Writing allows me to capture as much as I can.

In the article, the writer, Lynn Hunt, highlights how most problems in writing tend to come from anxiety. She writes the anxiety comes from the unconscious realization that your writing is all you. The feeling of inadequacy can arise as well, especially when you could be accused of poor research or writing. Furthermore, she explains how writers often will hide behind fluffy words and passive voices to mask their anxiety about their writing.

I can relate to this idea primarily because when I was beginning my writing career I had the same qualms. In the Minor in Writing program and this class, I hope to shed the bit of “blog fright” (like stage fright but for writers) that I have and feel more comfortable sharing my written thoughts with individuals. In the beginning, it is scary to share your thoughts, especially when you know your audience is large. Additionally, I identify with the author’s comments about how unsatisfying it is to hide behind long, winded sentences and confusing structure. At that point, no reader cares enough to sift through the maze and understand your writing.

At the end of the piece, the author discusses how an individual is not born a writer but rather develops into one. It is often assumed by a certain age, you are a competent writer. You have picked up skills over the years, and so now you know how to write well. I agree with the author’s closing remarks in that although there may not be one way to do writing well, it is crucial that we pay attention to writing. Writing is the vehicle in which we express ourselves for an infinite amount of time. It is vital skill, and it should be appreciated as one.

As a writer, I want to be satisfied with the work I present, and this means presenting my best work, minus the fluff. A goal I have for this semester is to become more comfortable sharing my work with larger audiences as well. I often journal, but that writing is just for myself. Through these blogs, I hope to grow my writing and take more risks with what I choose to say. Throughout the minor, I hope to continue to develop my writing and focus on using more poignant, well structured sentences. I also hope to explore additional genres of writing like prose and fiction.

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Source: “10 Cartoons about Writing”

Multimodal Texts are All Around Us!

Text is all around us. It comes different forms, shapes, and sizes. Furthermore, the way we interpret it is highly dependent on the mode it comes in. Throughout the past few days, I collected a few modes of text that particularly stood out to me. The five texts I decided to analyze were my planner, an image of Florence, a banner, a Spotify commercial, and a Gossip Girl Episode. Each mode of text shared similarities and differences. It was interesting to notice the different ways each mode conveyed their messages and how different types of communication affected the message.

Of the written texts I documented, they were conveyed in only linguistic, visual, and spatial modes. It would not be possible for a gestural or aural mode to be conveyed since the text was written and not being presented verbally or physically. The written texts that I paid attention to were my planner and a banner.

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The planner conveyed the linguistic mode by stating what tasks needed to be done by certain dates. The language in my planner was basic and specific to me, as I am the only individual that will be reading my planner. It conveyed the visual mode through the colorful and floral patterns on each page of the planner. The spatial mode accounted for how the planner was broken up into days of the week and months of year. This is important for organization of the planner, since it will not be useful otherwise.

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The banner conveyed the linguistic mode as well by stating the School of Information at University of Michigan with the block M. I knew it was a University of Michigan school because of the block M. I saw this banner near the Diag while walking to class. The linguistic mode accounted for the words on the banner which were meant for the audience of whoever may walk by the banner. The banner’s linguistic mode conveys that a school of information exists at U-M. The visual and spatial mode aid in how the banner looks and how it is organized. The words have a simple, easy to read font and are organized to be read quickly.

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I stumbled upon this image when I was researching Florence, Italy for a trip I am taking with my friend this year. This image conveys gestural, visual, and spatial modes of communication. The couple in the image is enjoying a glass of wine, as shown by the smiles on their faces. This conveys the visual mode of communication. Since the two are gesturing to clink their glasses, the gestural mode is used here as well. It portrays a relationship, friendly or romantic. Lastly, the spatial mode is accounted since the two are sitting at a table looking over Florence. The two subjects are close to one another in the image conveying familiarity once again with each other.

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The next multimodal text I came across was a Spotify commercial when I was studying. The commercial was for Target, promoting a new children’s clothing line. The two modes of communication presented in this jingle were linguistic and aural. The linguistic mode accounted for the words that were stated during the commercial. This conveyed what the product was and the length of the promotion for the product. The aural mode of communication accounted for the song and music playing during the commercial, and it described the inflection in their voices.

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The last multimodal form of communication I documented was an episode of Gossip Girl. This episode conveyed all five modes of communication through various scenes. I will focus on one scene from the episode I watched (Season 2, Episode 10) for analytical purposes. When Jenny, a teenager trying to be emancipated from her father, goes to meet with a lawyer, she displays multiple modes of communication. The papers that the lawyer gives her account for the linguistic mode. These papers convey the terms of emancipation. The inflection and tone of the lawyer’s voice conveys the aural and linguistic mode. The hand movements and gestures Jenny does display the gestural mode. Additionally, the visual mode is displayed through the characters’ outfits and hairstyles which convey opulence. Lastly, the spatial mode is portrayed through the seating arrangements in the lawyer’s room illustrate that the lawyer has authority over Jenny.

Throughout each piece, I noticed that none of the texts had one single mode of communication that was present. In the written texts, visual, spatial, and linguistic were present. In the image, it was just visual, spatial, and gestural. On the contrary, in the Spotify commercial, only linguistic and aural were present. Lastly in the Gossip Girl episode, all modes of communication were present. It is interesting to see how different texts can convey different messages through different modes of communication. Aural modes of communication were only present in non-written texts, i.e. texts were the communication was said out loud to another individual or on a commercial. Overall, the multimodality of communication is present all around. From now on, I will start to take notice.