Writing 220 Repurposing: Steve Brown

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.

 

Writing 220: Repurposing – Janine Kerr

Hey y’all!

Unfortunately, due to the fact that I am a science major, I’ve had very limited opportunity to do much writing here at U of M (part of the reason why I decided to do the MiW!). Last semester I took Intro to Public Health and was given a paper assignment based on a controversial public health issue (we had a few to choose from). As I read through the options my heart leapt from my chest! Finally I was presented with a topic I truly felt passionate about! Not so. I selected the controversial decision by the FDA to ban MSM (men who have sex with men) from donating blood for a full year after their last sexual encounter with another man, a ban that previously prevented them from giving blood entirely. I was more excited to write that paper than any paper I had ever been presented with until I realized it was a research paper. It was not meant to be argumentative in any way; I simply had to present the cold, hard facts and keep my writing devoid of any and all personal bias/opinions. (I mentioned this in class- I had to scrap the entire first draft because it was so obvious how I felt on the topic).

I want to repurpose this paper in a way that I can use the passion I feel instead of trying to remove the passion from it. I will concede that because it was a research paper I did learn an incredible amount on the topic, which, if anything, only served to make me want to write my argument that much more. (We live in Ann Arbor guys, we’re all progressive. To put it bluntly, I think the FDA ban is stupid). In repurposing this paper I want to turn it into a sort of argument against the necessity of the FDA ban; how outdated it is both medically and culturally and how it now has negative impacts rather than postive. However, I don’t really want it to turn into your classic academic argument paper; I’m hoping to bring a little more humanity to it, make it something that could theoretically reach an audience outside scholars or students (perhaps people of the MSM community?).  I think the cold, hard medical facts behind why the ban doesn’t need to exist need to be in the paper, but I’m also thinking about adding a “cultural snapshot” aspect, if you will. A look into how the blood ban has impacted the MSM community of today, an attempt to encapsulate the emotional side behind the ban. Using articles written after the Orlando nightclub shooting might come in handy, as well as art projects protesting the ban, etc. I’m not entirely sure what the technical “form” of this paper will be, so maybe that’s where you guys can help me out

Any and all thoughts GREATLY appreciated, I need your brains.

– Janine (J9)

Writing 220 Repurposing: Lauren Royce

The piece I want to repurpose is an open letter to Jessica Valenti, a reputable feminist blogger/author. The original assignment from English 225 did not impose many constraints other than a page requirement and an issue that must be brought to the attention of the addressee. Because we were supposed to be convincing by employing complimentary language, I expressed my gratitude for her ambitions to highlight the disparity between men and women in society. My overarching argument was that much of her work focuses on the narrow issue of catcalling, which often detracts from more pressing issues that exist today.

While I genuinely enjoyed experimenting with the open letter format, I think some of my ideas can only be executed through a commentary that is not directed toward a single individual. I do not think I was able to include all of my thoughts on the feminist movement and the way that it is generally promoted today. Though I will still need to be diplomatic and not blatantly polarizing to write a persuasive opinion piece, I will be able to expound upon my concerns more in a piece intended for a large audience rather than a piece that confines me because I cannot tear Valenti’s ideas apart and remain convincing to her or an audience reading my letter to her. The format does not allow for as much opinion as I’d like to express without sounding too harsh.

As previously mentioned, I intend to remove the constraint of a letter format and create an opinion piece instead. In doing this, I will likely use many of the same arguments I used to critique Valenti’s work. I also plan to use some of her work as an example of the kind of feminist complaints that I see as detrimental to the progression of women in society. I hope to make this piece appealing to those who do not know who Jessica Valenti is, which I do not think will be too hard a task as the standing of women in society is a topic that is pertinent to everyone. I also think it would be interesting to bring in the writing of other feminists and antifeminists to provide a more dynamic picture of what opinions exist and how my ideas about what modern feminism should be concerned with fit into the spectrum.

Repurposing: Hudson Ling

What’s up everyone!

I’m currently wavering between two papers that I’d like to repurpose. The first paper is a Political Science 101 Commentary Assignment, about 650 words that also includes a political cartoon that I drew as a supplement to the paper. I wrote this commentary about an important environmental issue that affects my family and friends at home: the California Water Crisis. I write specifically about the variance in awareness and action for the water crisis across California. Some areas clearly suffer and show awareness to the cause, while other communities (including mine) flaunt water as if there were no issue at all! It’s a paper about irony but I just think I could make it better! Better language, stronger imagery to show what I see on a daily basis at home, and more powerful evidence to want to make Californians wake up and make a change! I’d even consider enhancing the cartoon drawing, and formatting the entire thing to look like a professional, appealing commentary for a major news network or paper. There is also so much updated information (one year later) that I could use to strengthen the paper, or I could add onto it as if I gave it a break and came back to it one year later to compare/contrast (A similar approach that the the movie “Boyhood” used to tell a story over time).

 

The other paper I’m considering repurposing is a little more personal — it’s a story about how I have moved away from strict religious codes in order to grow as an individual, develop my own views, and define my faith. It’s specifically about losing my virginity (without racy details or anything like that, don’t worry!) and what impact or prior worries that virginity brings up in terms of my faith and devotion to moral “laws” that my Christian elementary school tried to ingrain into my head. I wrote this “Enriched Narrative” for my LHSP 125 class with Ray last year, coincidentally. While I think it was a good paper that scored well, after a full year of college since completing the class, I think I am ready to delve deeply into the essay to make it feel more like a novel, drawing the reader in and making the reader worry about my changes in faith, beliefs, etc. This paper needs to be less cheesy/corny — straight up. It offers some pretty cool biblical analogies too, but needs expansion in some areas and cuts in others.

 

Let me know what you guys think! Both papers are special to me personally, but they offer two very different types of writing.

Happy Wednesday,

 

Hudson

Repurposing (Sanika Babtiwale)

Hi everyone! As a writer, many of my pieces in college have been research papers. Although I have written a few short stories and personal narratives, I didn’t really get the chance to work on those styles as much. For this repurposing assignment, it is my goal to take one of my academic works and transform it into something more relaxed yet enlightening.

In my ASIAN 255 class, I wrote a paper about goddesses in Mahayana Buddhism. I mainly discussed the origin stories of these divine beings and their personalities. This piece required research on some traditional stories, so there are several excerpts from them as well as quotes from academic sources. While the paper flows well and has a strong introduction and conclusion, I don’t think anyone would really read it for pleasure.

I plan to change this piece significantly. Since the original was non-fiction and explored a variety of primary and secondary sources, I would like to lose this structure completely. I have wondered about how the goddesses would interact with each other, and so I have been thinking of writing a discussion circle dialogue. It could be a scene from a play, where the goddesses meet up at a coffee shop or someone’s home and have an interesting conversation. As these goddesses have been present for centuries, I wanted them to talk about something from the future which they don’t understand. Since there are a lot of jokes centered around “today’s generation,” I was considering making this the main topic of discussion.

I would like to repurpose the paper in this format because I want to make it more fun to read. I will probably have to add more goddesses that we learned about in the class so this dialogue can be more diverse, but I still intend to retain all of the beings’ characteristics. I hope this piece can become an entertaining twist on complaining about young people in the present while still remaining informative about historical goddesses in Buddhism.

Writing 220 Repurposing: Emily Fishman

I’ve done a lot of writing in my English classes thus far at U of M, and like the perfectionist that I am, I feel like almost every single one of them would be worth a second (or third or fourth) version to finally nail what I meant to do in the first place. However, one paper that I think could be repurposed for a better reason than just to satisfy my perfectionism is a paper I wrote for a CompLit class my freshman year.

The paper was supposed to be the crowning achievement of the semester: a synthesis of two or more texts we had read throughout the course entitled “The Decline and Fall of the British Empire Through Novels.” The guidelines were vague and there wasn’t even a prompt, so I went into the paper with a lot of freedom. I wrote about the themes of creation in Heart of Darkness, Frankenstein, and Heaven’s Command: An Imperial Progress. The main point around which I circled throughout my argument was that a creator could not control what they had created, and I drew upon the monster’s murderous rage, the collapse of Kurtz’s structure of power in the jungle, and the fall of a British colony in Afghanistan. I wasn’t happy with the paper while writing it, and I felt like the idea of a creator not being able to control their creation was interesting, but ultimately not represented well in the work that I produced.

I’d like to take a look at repurposing this work by both lifting some constraints and imposing others upon it. First, I think it would be cool to open up the material from which I could draw when thinking about these themes of creation. The creature in Frankenstein refers explicitly to Milton’s Paradise Lost and the fall of man through Adam and Eve, so I think it would be interesting to bring in the “original” instance of a creator (in this case a divine one) and creation that rebelled from his control. Additionally, I would like to add a constraint and change this work from a synthesis paper, which only points out connections, to an argumentative piece, one that has ideas about why creation seems prone to rebel.

I want to repurpose this particular work because the theme of creation and the relationship between creator and creation is intriguing to me, particularly due to my own religious beliefs. Additionally, I think writing is in and of itself a sort of “creation,” so it would be cool to have the chance to get kind of meta in discussing the relationship between a writer and their creation. I’m interested to hear what y’all think!

Writing 220: Repurposing, Ethan Wolfe

While I’ve enjoyed a number of my English classes at the University, my favorite writing has come from my position as a sports writer for The Michigan Daily. Maybe it’s because I’m voluntarily writing about something I have a passion for, but I still haven’t gotten sick of doing game recaps every single week.

One article in particular where I had the opportunity to flaunt my creativity was a feature article about one of the players on the women’s basketball team who is typically not involved in their games. For the story, I got to talk to her and her coach and paint a detailed picture of her basketball journey. While I was ultimately pleased with how the article turned out, I was confined by the limits of AP style, word count, the need to interview people, and having to cut some relevant information.

To repurpose this article, I am considering expanding it into either a collection of short stories or one fluid story about the benchwarmer in collegiate/professional sports. I know that it may be difficult considering I won’t be able to get actual quotations or perspectives from a bunch of different athletes, so I may have to construct a fictitious or anecdotal aspect to my repurposed article.

I want to repurpose it this way because I believe it reaches a wider audience who not only care about sports, but those who maybe aren’t as athletic or may have once found themselves in the same position that I hope to write about it (i.e. getting picked last). It also grants me another opportunity to expand further on a subject that I am fascinated in but doesn’t receive a lot of attention. Given the non-fictional nature of this piece, I know I encounter a number of obstacles, so I am eager to hear some suggestions to help point me in a clearer direction.

Repurposing

Hi all- here are my thoughts:

Below are TWO ideas for the same original piece (because I’m indecisive, please help). Let me know if you think that one is more interesting than the other!

I wrote a creative nonfiction piece at the end of last semester called “The Sound of Silence”. It’s an investigative piece for which I remained silent for a day and documented my responses to this “lifestyle change”. I went on to reflect about it, and it wound up becoming a very spiritual essay. However, a lot of what I said became redundant. I’m sure this is because all of the ideas are coming from one perspective- mine. Therefore, I’d like to maintain this investigation of silence, but through different perspectives. A series of vignettes seems to be the best form for this. I’ve never written vignettes, so this will also be a nice exploration for me (get learnt!). I’d like the vignettes to be from the perspective of a variety of people in a variety of situations. They will be silent for different reasons- i.e. someone in solitary confinement, someone post-arguement at home with their partner, something broader like the silence of women, etc. These aren’t solid ideas, just examples. The point is- silence is a very universal notion that can elicit very individual responses (although it’s not really the norm). And by documenting only my own response, I feel that I’m not doing the topic any justice…

The second idea is to write a textbook description on silence that begins to take on a mind of its own. This explores the same idea- silence is universal and individual. So it would start of professional and slowly diverge into something less robotic.

I can’t wait to hear some critiques and ideas!

 

-Lauren W.

Writing 220: Repurposing Idea, Max Rysztak

One of my favorite papers I have written thus far in my college career was a research paper for my history class on the Arab-Israeli conflict. In that paper, I analyzed how The Haganah – Israel’s early militia force – was a key factor in leading to a structured IDF, in that it produced many of the organization’s figureheads. I looked at four members of The Haganah, their military development, and how their long-term careers were influenced by their shared development in the militia. It was a very interesting paper, but it was made bland by the high page number and a confusing structure.

 

In repurposing this paper I hope to achieve a few things. Firstly, I hope to broaden my audience beyond academia. While research in original nature, this paper could prove interesting to understanding Israeli-Palestinian relations. But who wants to read an almost 15-page paper on IDF history? I think by changing the tone of the paper, in hopes of making it more approachable and readable, could make it interesting/useful to a wider audience of people. I also hope to achieve a new tone. I think this paper translates well to what is happening today in the region. It shows a lot of militaristic mentalities, which can highlight tensions in the conflict. I think by focusing more on how it has modern impacts also makes it more appealing to the average reader.

 

I think these two goals can be achieved in two ways. Beyond by just shortening the paper, I should definitely change the style in which the paper is written. Even in just skimming it to remind myself of what I wrote, I’ve become a better, more concise and clear, writer, in my time since writing this essay. By removing the fluff, and making it more readable would go a long way. I also want to stay away from lofty diction and complex sentences, which in my mind seem to complicate my argument.

 

Overall, I’m really excited about working with this paper because I’m hopeful that I can take an already interesting topic and expand it to a wider audience and make it more readable.

Writing 220: Repurposing Idea, Casey Lyons

Hi, Everyone!

During my freshman year, I took an Introduction to Communication in the Media course. One of our assignments was to analyze an advertisement in a print magazine, and I chose a Playtex ad. While flipping through Seventeen Magazine, something I’m a little embarrassed to be admitting, the advertisement I chose to analyze immediately stood out to me. It was a black and white photo of a woman running through the streets of New York City in the rain. Immediately, I thought “Wow, this advertisement truly empowers women,” however, I soon noticed the very feminine, soft details in the ad that contradicted my immediate feelings.
The assignment was to take a list of terms that my professor gave us and apply them to the ad. These definitions including semiotics, interpellation, and connotation- words unknown to most unless they studied Communications. Thus, my paper was composed of a 5 page analysis of an advertisement using “important terms” and applying it to societal issues. Nevertheless, the format of the paper was essentially a research paper that I would write in middle school: stating the term, the term’s definitions, my argument, and my evidence to support it. Yet, the societal problem that existed in the ad- the contradictory elements of how females fit into the world- did not come across in my argument. Rather, I only scratched the surface of something that should have been addressed throughout my paper because I was so worried about including the necessary definitions in my work.
Thus, I am considering repurposing this paper in order to get away from the conventional analysis paper. I definitely want to keep the terms in my paper because they are supportive of the argument that I want to make throughout the paper- that of the contradictory ideas of a woman’s place in the world and how females are expected to act- but I do not want this to be a typical academic paper. I want to expand my audience and entertain them while informing them of this topic. I know for sure that I do not want to follow conventional academic writing, meaning I do not want to write this in an argumentative essay format. I was thinking about writing a satire piece, but I am not sure if this would be the best way to approach my repurpose. I was also considering writing the piece from the perspective of the female in the ad and putting a fiction spin on it.
I am excited to hear your thoughts and feedback!