A form of production I am familiar with, but I would like to modify is the Wall Street Journal. Wall Street Journal articles are very dense and difficult to read, and while this is necessary to some extent, I would like to modify an article to be available to more readers. This could be done by changing the form of the article into a list of key points instead of a paragraph style structure. There is a lot of boilerplate in finance articles that make it accessible to only expert readers that can be eliminated by simply listing the main points of the article and providing either one or two viewpoints on the subject.
Would my portfolio be different?
Choosing to repurpose my personal narrative from English 125 gave me the opportunity to reflect on an extremely turbulent period of my life in a way that I had not to this point. Until my repurposing, I had only thought about my experience as a chronological series of events. However, my repurposing resulted in my reflection on this experience as having a causal impact on my life that I had not considered in-depth. Though my diagnosis drastically changed the physical circumstances of my life, I do not think it changed me very much otherwise.
I actually never considered any options for my repurposing other than my personal narrative from my English 125 course freshman year. However, had I chosen to repurpose another paper I had written I probably would’ve chosen to repurpose an essay from my English 225 class last semester in which I wrote about trends in the NBA towards three-point shooting. I would have wanted to make it personal, in the same way that my current repurposing is written and find a unique lens to write it through. I would have wanted it to be creative and would have written through the eyes of a little kid aspiring to be an NBA player deciding that he would make his sole purpose to be able to shoot like Steph Curry.
How much do you trust yourself in your assessment of why you write, and why?
I trust that my communication skills are strengthened by writing, but I do not trust that I write because of that. As such, I don’t trust the draft that I have currently written. However, based on the questions we were asked about our writing styles in class on Tuesday, I have reasoned that I like to write because it allows me to communicate my feelings to people in ways that I would never think of doing in a face-to-face interaction. After I include this portion in my WIW draft, I think it will be more honest.
Ranking from strongest to weakest:
Ideally I hope that Voice and Concept will work together in a complimentary way in my portfolio. Being that my repurposing and remediation are highly personal, I think this makes the most sense. My voice will hopefully be visible in my repurposing, and I hope that readers will appreciate my idea to write a letter to myself three years from my leukemia diagnosis. For my remediation, my voice will not be present, but I will be incorporating my mom’s voice from her blog posts on CaringBridge to give context to the visual timeline I have created. Again, I hope that readers are able to locate the significance rooted in this decision.
My anxieties for my portfolio are incorporating my “Why I Write” piece into the portfolio. I think my repurposing and remediation complement each other well, but my WIW piece does not fit with the others. Additionally, I am concerned that the composition of the website may detract from my repurposing and remediation. I do not have a great eye for design so I am trying to keep the website as simple as possible to highlight my two main pieces.
There was not as much boilerplate in my original application letter as I thought and I was mostly truthful about my interests in writing. However, there were MANY boilerplate phrases thrown into meaningful sentences in hopes of trying to amplify their value. This was, after all, an application to a writing program. I have emphasized boilerplate elements in bold:
“English 125 and English 225 have provided me a space to learn how to support my arguments with comprehensive supporting evidence, and I would like to continue building this skill through the Minor in Writing program.”
The writing sample I have submitted as part of the Minor in Writing application reflects my passion for exploring new writing techniques and experimenting with particular rhetorical devices”
“Additionally, the program’s goal to ensure students are able to develop complex arguments inside and outside of academia is intriguing to me.”
“A minor in writing will provide me with communication skills that will benefit me in any endeavor I pursue.”
My repurposing project was on a personal narrative that I wrote in English 125 about my experiences after being diagnosed with leukemia. I repurposed my narrative into a letter written three years after the diagnosis to my 17-year old self waiting to hear that I had cancer. The letter is intended to be readable by anyone roughly my age at the time (15-23 years old) that has just been diagnosed. My hope is that the letter would assure a new patient that by staying positive, they will eventually conquer their disease and develop a stronger outlook on life because of it.
For a remediation, I thought that I could adapt my letter into a handbook. This handbook would not only what to expect physically from treatment, but how best to handle your diagnosis socially and mentally. When I was originally diagnosed, I made sure my friends knew that I would be angry if they treated me any differently because I was sick. As such, I wanted them to bust me and make fun of me just the same way they would if I wasn’t sick. This strategy along with others normalized my life as much as possible. I think advice on how to handle difficult social situations during this time would be helpful to a young adult balancing the stresses of treatment.
Another idea I had was to translate my personal narrative into a children’s book. This book would be directed towards a younger audience than the one I am addressing in my repurposing and could be helpful for parents explaining the nature of a cancer diagnosis to a child that is young, but old enough to understand some of what is happening to them. This book would of course be positive and could also be shared with classmates and friends of a younger child that do not understand the situation that their friend is going through.
The story of how I came to attend the University of Michigan is one I have told many times to many different audiences. In short, I never thought about coming to Michigan until I was diagnosed with leukemia two weeks before my high school graduation and was forced to take a gap year between high school and college to receive treatment. I had committed to play football at Lehigh University prior to my diagnosis but was forced to give up football after undergoing extensive radiation. Thankfully, I am now cancer-free and am a proud Michigan Wolverine!
Since being diagnosed, I have spoken at several fundraising events on behalf of foundations that benefit the centers where I was treated and have written essays detailing my journey for scholarship applications. So when I encountered a topic in my English 125 class that required me to write a personal narrative, it was a no-brainer what I would write about. In the narrative, I detailed my battle with cancer from diagnosis to remission and received an A for the paper. In the same way that I had done before, I relied on the inherent drama of the narrative and simply replayed the story chronologically. I knew very well that by choosing to write about such a topic would pull on the heart strings of my instructor and most likely result in an A.
This semester I would like to repurpose the chronological personal narrative that I wrote in my English 125 into a new form that will allow for greater self-reflection and allow me to think about my experiences in a way that I haven’t before. When I was first diagnosed, my uncle bought me a journal and suggested that I record my thoughts each day throughout my treatment and eventually publish a book. At the time I was reluctant to do so because I largely rejected the idea that I was sick at all and tried to go about my normal life as much as possible. However, I have since tinkered with the idea of telling my story in the form of a comedic take on cancer. During my treatment, my friends and I often joked that I “pulled the cancer card” to get special treatment such as cutting the line at Chipotle, asking my mom to deliver me a glass of ice water (this was no easy task because my family uses an old-fashioned ice tray), and using my story to convince an employee at the Apple store to sell me the iPhone6 someone else had pre-ordered. I think writing a piece consisting of the humorous elements of my cancer treatment as opposed to the scary elements would be an interesting way of repurposing this narrative.
The pieces I have read by celebrities that have battled cancer such as Robin Roberts and Stuart Scott have all been extremely powerful and inspiring, however, I have never read a cancer story that takes a lighthearted approach. I know I would have welcomed reading a piece that I could have related to and laughed about during my chemotherapy treatments. This may not be the best way to repurpose my personal narrative from English 125 and I am conscious of the fact that cancer is a very sensitive topic to many people. With that being said, I think teenagers and young adults undergoing treatment for cancer and serious disease would be able to relate to my experiences and get a good laugh. I am certainly not committed to this form and am looking forward to suggestions.