first impressions // blog post seven

when I saw “The Elements of Style” on the reading list, I assumed it was some kind of textbook that discussed different uses of literary devices. I did not expect a play by play rulebook of the proper way to write in English. this little book was sort of daunting as reading rule after rule after rule kind of made my head swim, but I did find some of the examples really helpful. I guess overall this is a really good guide to have around, especially as an English major.

one part that I found really helpful was their distinction between colons and dashes. I try to use both of these in my writing because I feel like they help convey my voice, but I always am hesitant about which one to use. it was great to have solid examples and a strict definition laid out for me. I never knew how many ways you can use a colon, but there are a bunch. Strunk and White list these uses as: “after an independent clause to introduce a list of particulars, an appositive, an amplification, or an illustrative quotation” (15). I always had considered a colon only for the list option, but now I know a few other places to put it. on the other hand, dashes actually should only be used for two things which are “to set off an abrupt break or interruption” or “to announce a long apposition or summary” (16). In the past I kind of just put dashes wherever I wanted to give pause to the reader, but now that I know that’s not really an appropriate way to use them I will use commas instead.

as for things that seemed outdated, one rule that really stood out to me was their discussion of the exclamation point. on page 55, they say that you should not “attempt to emphasize simple statements by using a mark of exclamation.” the reason this struck me as outdated was more in reference to casual writing, like texting. because of the way technology has evolved, punctuation like exclamation points and periods have become extremely important in emphasizing the mood or connotation of a message. for instance, there is a HUGE difference between “this is all your fault!” and “this is all your fault.” the first implies that the sender might be joking or dramaticizing things, and the second is more serious and to the point. although this may not relate to formal writing, I believe a style guide should encompass all uses of the language because people may turn to it for speech as well. I also felt that their section on omitting needless words could be dependent on opinion. they state that “vigorous writing is concise” on page 39, which I agree with, but I also think there are times when you may want to elaborate on statements. they give the example of the difference between “her story is a strange one” and “her story is strange.” I understand their idea of trying to get to the point and not beat around the bush, but the difference between those two phrases is so minimal I don’t really see it being that effective.

I think that strunk and white’s guide is useful and I will be referring to it in the future. however, I will use it as just that –  a guide – and not the absolute ruling for how to write.

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commercials // blog post six

the first commercial I’m considering is one I see every weekend as I am an avid notre dame football fan. I’m always thought it was quite captivating, but after reading the text I think it has a lot of  “ancient style” to it. the use of an ancient Irish blessing connected with screen shots symbolizing the words being spoken works really well. I think this would fall under middle style because although it is a little sophisticated, it is also very clear about its message. I think it would be fun to interpret and analyze how the Irish blessing is being portrayed in this commercial.

the second commercial I’m considering using for analyzation is one of the iPad commercials. I think apple has the best commercials out there because they always do a great job showcasing their product in both creative and useful ways. I like the first one because the dialogue encompasses so many different ways to learn things, but the second one is also cool because even though there are only ten words in the whole thing, they are perfectly chosen. both of these would probably be considered simple style and use some cool tropes.

now I just have to choose!

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a breakdown of style // blog post five

first of all, I’m aware that this is incredibly late and probably won’t be counted for credit. but I feel that it’s important to complete all the blog assignments because they’re reflections of what we’re talking about and help me wrap my head around things a bit more. plus, it’s a kind of too late for me to join the discussion threads so I have to discuss with myself. or maybe I’m just a little OCD and don’t like the idea of my post skipping from four to six. either way: here it is, my feedback on crowley & hawhee’s chapter on style.

mainly, I thought it was weird that this chapter was called “ancient style” because they connected everything to current times. I suppose that’s proof that style is timeless. I also found it really interesting to read about all the different little parts of style that are found in any type of literature. things that you normally consider yourself familiar with (such as puns) now have a fancy name (paranomasia) and actually are important to understand when writing (interests and engages the reader). I loved reading all the new terms and their examples and then trying to think of how I’ve used them in my writing. the categorization of things I just did instinctively, like repeating a sentence in a different way to emphasize it (also known as antistrophe), kind of made me question if I really have my own sort of style. I guess I always considered style something that you developed on your own, and reading all the terms and definitions, as well as learning that there are four distinct requirements of style really brings what I considered an art form into a more scientific light.

I very honestly enjoyed this reading and felt like I learned a lot from it. my perceptions of what style means in a literary sense have changed greatly and I am starting to see why there is a class dedicated to “Writing, Style and Technology”. these things (style and technology) are looked over by most common writing classes and as English majors, we need to have an understanding of them because they truly are the foundation of the written word.

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looking inward from the outside // blog post four

in all honesty, I hate peer reviews. yep, I said it. maybe it’s because I don’t really like other people criticizing or taking apart my work. or because I feel that I’m pretty solid in the ways of writing and I don’t want anyone to shake that. or, better yet, I don’t like the idea that anyone else can tell me how to write what I’m trying to say. I just don’t like it. I take the suggestions personally and  I get a little bit defensive, reading comments and then judging them based on anything but factual merit.

however, peer review is a mandated part of my current course. and I’m not going to sacrifice my grade for my pride. that’s kind of a shocker, huh? either way, I subjected myself (and when I say myself, I mean my paper) to the critical eyes of two other students in my class. and it actually helped. they caught areas that felt awkward that I missed simply because I was caught up in writing them. they noted spots where I forgot a word and where I needed to add a comma. it was helpful because when I write, I don’t really look back, and so having them there to catch these tiny errors improved my paper greatly. I still had a hard time when they questioned the arguments I was making and suggested I add more background info, but maybe I need to take their advice. I never really proofread papers and seem to pull off the A- or B+ that gets me to a decent grade. maybe going over things more carefully and allowing hints from classmates to actually contribute will make it so that it’s always a solid A. and so that I know I put my best foot forward and didn’t just finish the assignment. definitely something for me to think about and consider as I move forward through my education.

 

as far as giving advice, I tried to stay neutral and just point out the areas that they could focus on. I think it helped me to read their reviews of my essay first so that I could feel more comfortable dishing out what they gave me. also, I had to rein in my corrective pen because often when I go over essays I get the need to completely rework it. but the two I read were actually decent and didn’t need that much help, just an outside perspective to show them what they may have missed in the same way that they showed me.

all in all, I think this first time around was a success. I’m kind of looking forward to the next peer edit. and google docs is a pretty sweet resource. I loved using it and can’t wait to use it again.

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language and light // invent your own writing technology project

one of my favorite things in the world are glowsticks. they are honestly one of the coolest inventions ever. all you do is break them, shake them and BAM. glorious glowing colored light for 24 hours. I was at a bat mitzvah roughly 8 years ago when I first realized that you could break glowsticks open and paint, write or draw with the juice inside. although it’s toxic to ingest, and leaves you a little itchy if it gets on your skin, there were no harmful effects from playing with glowstick goo. so, enter my writing technology. I thought it was going to be easy but I was wrong. it was a huge learning process to find a successful way to get the most juice out and definitely took practice. as you watch the evolution below, you can see that my letters in the last line are wayyyy more legible than in the first and they’re also brighter. by the end I had figured out some steps: crack glowstick, shake well, cut end off at an angle (like a flower stem), shake tip over trashcan to get hard crackly stuff out, write slowly and deliberately with moderate pressure. I had continually had to shake the glowsticks forward the same way you would an ink pen to get the crystallized stuff out and the goo to come forward. also, the “ink” faded pretty quickly once it was on the sheet, and because I had to go over each line a couple times, usually when I finished one line the previous one was no longer glowing. despite the difficulties, I think it turned out pretty cool and now that I have a refined technique, I may try using this to make some art or something. however, I really appreciate the convenience of a pen more now.

language and light

language and light

 

are forever intertwined

are forever intertwined

 

illuminating the world

illuminating the world

 

and brightening our whole lives

and brightening our whole lives

 

in mysterious ways

in mysterious ways

 

every single day

every single day

 

a picture of the text in full light so that you can read it more easily.

 

had some fun with the glowsticks I had left and just spackled the sheet

 

thought this was cool - this is my trash can when I finished the project.

 

the end.

 

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technologic // blog post three

when it comes to writing technology, I like to think I am pretty diverse. for school related projects, I mostly stick to the computer and the templates of word documents. so all papers, resumes, bibliographies, etc. are typed and spell-checked and formatted. however, I hate taking notes on my computer. I like the way that I can choose to outline and and bullet point things without messing with all the microsoft word controls. also, I know that I get distracted too easily on my computer and so that’s another reason I would rather take notes by hand. plus, I honestly like the feeling of a pen in my hand. my favorite kind of pens are the gel rollers that come in different colors. it makes me feel like I’m painting words onto paper. for me, writing has always seemed like an art. but the more we discuss in this class, the more I see it as technology. but who says technology isn’t a form of art?

as far as evolution, I guess I would say I was a normal kid who evolved from crayons to pencils to mechanical pencils and now to pens. it’s funny because as a kid you always think of pens as an adult utensil – I wonder who made that distinction. and now I favor pens to pencils – unless I’m doing math. doing math work is the only time I choose to use a pencil. interestingly enough, my handwriting actually varies between when I use a pencil and when I use a pen. my pencil handwriting is much more upright and disconnected, and my pen handwriting is more fluid and cursive. I guess that proves that writing is a technology because when you use different machines, you get different products.

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not just an imitation // blog post one

on·o·mat·o·poe·ia

noun

1. the formation of a word, as cuckoo, meow, honk,  or boom, by imitation of a sound made by or associated with itsreferent.
2. a word so formed.
3. the use of imitative and naturally suggestive words forrhetorical, dramatic, or poetic effect.
my name fits easily into this six syllable word. is that a coincidence? does my name sound like what it means?

a·na·sta·zi·a

resurrection, derived from greek origin.
now the real question: do I live up to my name? am I a true symbol of resurrection?
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