Just Spitballin’ Here

I was scrolling through my past documents on my laptop, there are some real doozies in there—not in a good way. But I came across my application letter to the Sweetland Minor in Writing Program. I had forgotten what I wrote about, but as a was re-reading it, my inspiration returned to me. I had written about my grandfather. As a Journalism major, he is always telling me to learn how to write. He’s always telling me that writing is the most important skill you can have. He says that no matter how intelligent someone is, if he sounds like a fool in writing, he won’t be taken seriously. Now, I understand that my grandfather grew up in very different times. People don’t rely on writing as much as they used to, and engineers are in much higher demand than journalists. But I made a promise to my grandfather and I have every intention of keeping it.

For my project I plan to make an academic argumentation on the importance of writing. I want to emphasize the importance of teaching proper writing skills in grade school. I also want to argue that even in an increasingly technological society, being able to write is as necessary a skill as any. The skill transcends to being able to communicate clearly in any situation, and through any medium.

I don’t know what publication to gear my project towards. Cohorts, any ideas? T, I definitely plan to meet with you and just talk it out.

Thinking even further ahead, because my grandfather was my inspiration for both my Sweetland application and this upcoming project, I was thinking of writing a short fictional novella based on his life. Has anyone read Half-Broke Horses or Unbroken? Similar format to those books, but most definitely without the finesse of Jeannette Walls or Laura Hillenbrand. That’s just an idea though, not sure if I’m cut out to be writing on that scale just yet.

My Paga and Blue kickin it back like a couple of homies.
My Paga and Blue kickin it back like a couple of homies.

 

Decisions, Decisions

As T began explaining our next project, my mind began to wander. I have written endless amounts of papers and essays throughout my life, but what was I going to use for Project 2? Something that T said stood out in my mind, “Pick a piece about something you are passionate about and that you will be happy working with for the rest of the semester.” In my head I went through the list of papers I have written during my time at Michigan. Although I have liked a lot of pieces I have written and done well on them, nothing stuck out. It was then when I remembered the ice- breaker game we played on the first day of class. Someone had asked me what my favorite piece of writing I had ever wrote was, and I had responded: my college common application essay. I knew that I had to use it for Project 2.

I wrote my common application essay about how Rory Gilmore, the main character in the TV Show Gilmore Girls, has influenced my life, both personally and academically. I had not read the essay since the end of senior year, but it has always held a special spot in my heart. When I went back and re-read my essay, my decision about using it for Project 2 was reinforced.

In my essay I write about how I have grown up watching Gilmore Girls. Throughout my adolescences I connected to Rory, and she influenced me in many ways. I think that in my re-purposing and then re-mediatiation it will be interesting to explore all of the ways Rory has influenced me as well as focusing on how fictional characters have influenced other individuals. If I focused on Rory’s influence on me, I think I would create a BuzzFeed article about reasons why you should look up to Rory Gilmore. I was also thinking that I could ask students if they have ever been influenced by a fictional character and create something from all of their answers. I’m not quite sure the direction I want to take, but I do know that I want to use my Rory Gilmore essay!

gilmore-girls

 

The iconic mother daughter pair: Rory and Lorelai Gilmore

Making Another Writer’s Decisions

When looking at my project ideas I get a little overwhelmed.  I am not sure what to do specifically for my project and I always tend to get a little flustered when having to choose a topic for projects that are open ended.  I think Ben understood my interest fairly well and tried to make the interview as useful as possibly with the time we had to talk about subjects.  He gave me a good idea on a type of media to try, which is Prezi.  I have never used Prezi before, but I have seen multiple presentations using it and they look great and flowed well for the presenter.  I’m not sure that there are any topics on my list that I would be interested in pursing for this project.  The main topic that we talked about that I was considering doing for the project was speech synthesis.  Speech synthesis is basically the communication between humans and computers.  The only reason I am not considering this for my project is because I feel that it may be a little too technical and it may get boring over the course of an entire semester.  I think that Ben was led to propose the idea of speech synthesis because it came up when we were talking about interest and the topic also ties into my major, which is linguistics.  Based on this experience in the future I may be less forward about saying certain things that interest me and maybe let them be pried out because it may make the topic something that would be more creative and seem less forced.  I do not think that because of using this method it will change how I solicit advice in the future, because I tend to use a type of interview method to figure out topic ideas, but mostly it is just talking it out with someone.   This experience is sort of sending me back to the drawing board as far as finding a topic, because I did not find anything that was particularly interesting the first round.  I will have to implore other brainstorming methods to try to find a project that will suit me best for the semester.

The Power of Perspectives

I have an actual, debilitating fear of choosing a topic. The amount of times I’ve complained, “I don’t know what to write about” too anyone in the nearest vicinity is embarrassingly high. The majority of my stress comes from not actually completing an assignment, but from getting to a point where I feel excited and confident about a topic. So, I must say, I am a huge proponent of this “Making Another Writer’s Decisions” activity.

During the “interview” Kaitlin picked up on several topics that I would have never thought to be interesting enough to consider. For example, I live in a house with 10 girls, and as an out of state college student I have not been home in a full year. From a fresh, outside perspective Kaitlin found these statements to be interesting and unique, whereas I would have seen them as normal and mundane. She suggested writing a series of short stories about living with 10 girls, or a blog for out of state college students documenting my journey thus far.

It was not until the very end of the interview that I mentioned I actually had an interest in expanding on a piece I wrote about my experiences studying in Belgium last semester. I think if I had shared this at the beginning it would have hindered many of Kaitlin’s other exciting ideas. In the future, I want to continue this technique when soliciting advice. With less guidance and foreshadowing the advice becomes more unique and different from your own thoughts.

I can’t say that I came away with an exact project that I want to pursue; however (and more importantly for someone like myself) I came away with numerous subjects that I am excited to choose from. I now have a large bank of topics that I would have never considered when brainstorming on my own. What shape and form these topics will take I still don’t know, but at least now I have exciting topics to shape and form.

Remediation Brainstorming

After struggling to find a topic and venue for my repurposing project I never thought I’d be sitting here with the exact opposite problem going in to the remediating project. There are so many different forms of media that seem like good ways to present my topic that now I’m having a hard time deciding on the best one! I’m hoping maybe one of you can help me out.

Here’s a little background…

My repurposing project was a blog post in Consider Magazine regarding the topic of going to college and how we make that choice. I argue that in my community it’s really not a choice at all, it’s become warped into this path that people blindly follow without stopping to think why exactly they are on it. Part of the issue is that as highschoolers it’s really all we are presented with — college pamphlets, college fairs, college advising, etc. Nobody asks us to sit down and critically think through why we want to go to college, instead it just “what comes next”. I believe that one way to change this could be to present students with just as much information on all types of post high school choices including travel programs, volunteering, arts and entertainment, the military, etc. so that they are pushed to critically think about what is the best choice and why. So, for my remediating project that is exactly what I’d like to do — present this information to high school students.

With that being said, I’ve narrowed down the possible media outlets to present the information to two choices

1. Create a fun, colorful pamphlet/booklet similar to books I’ve looked through on study abroad programs (something like this). They often have lots of images, quotes, and short details about the programs. I’d have a page or two for each different post-high school option. I would also make the book online to explore a new form of media (I remember in class we looked at a portfolio where the remediating project was an online magazine with arrows that actually flipped the pages…anyone remember what that was called!?)

2. Create a high school assembly presentation with a powerpoint. The same information would be provided but I would be speaking/presenting rather than putting the information in a pamphlet

So…any thoughts on which one seems like a better fit? Make more of an impact? Or have a different source of media you think could work? Any feedback is welcome! Thanks!

 

Writing New Media

http://medfieldpubliclibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/writing-for-the-web.jpg

Freedom.

As I started brainstorming for my writing new media essay and looked over the list of comparisons we came up with in class, one word jumped out at me (that wasn’t even on the list): freedom. Writing in new media is to freedom as writing in traditional forms is to confinement.

How is new media writing related to freedom?

  • Freedom of choice (the possibilities are endless)
  • Freedom of expression/creativity (multiple modes of expression, more freedom to be creative by incorporating different design elements)
  • Freedom of presentation (chronological, circular, etc.)
  • Freedom of exposure (post online, post on social networking sites, link to other pages, email, share)

How is traditional writing related to confinement?

  • Forced choice (type into a word document, use APA format)
  • Restricted to text only (where is the creativity in this?)
  • Static presentation (into, body, conclusion, thesis, supporting arguments, concrete examples)
  • Limited options for exposure (post to ctools, print out and hand in to teacher, file in a folder, save as doc)

Traditional writing doesn’t do justice to Freedom of Speech, but new media writing does.

What do you think of this as a guiding theme for my essay? Should I narrow it down to one specific thing or is it okay to have the sub-sections of the main idea “freedom”?