My Love & My Love for Writing By Jennifer Pacek Â
Table of Contents
Shadow Narrative ……………………….……………………………………………..Page 3 Part 1: Essay to Poem Translation – Target & Rules………….………….…………...Page 9 Essay to Poem Translation…………………………………………………………….Page 10 Essay to Poem Reflection……………………………………………………………...Page 11 Part 2: Essay to Rhetorical Translation – Target & Rules……………………………..Page 12 Essay to Rhetorical Translation……………………………………………………….Page 13 Essay to Rhetorical Translation Reflection…………………………………………….Page 15 Part 3: Writing Arts Goal Reflection…………………………………………………..Page 17
Shadow Narrative I haven’t always loved my boyfriend. Ever since I took my first steps into high school, I was given a strangely large amount of attention from the upperclassmen boys. In my high school, the upperclassmen boys had a reputation for scouting the freshmen girls—I know now, for their vulnerability and easiness. I was one of those girls. I just thought all of the upperclassmen boys were so attractive, and because they all knew my brother from the soccer team as well, I used the connections to my advantage…and it worked. I was not a sleezeball, but I simply liked to talk to the attractive boys that approached me (okay, maybe I wasn’t so bad at flirting.) Every day was structured the same way with my crushes as the center of my attention. Once my mom dropped my best friend and I off at school, it was story time. As Shelby and I waited to be given the OK by the teacher on duty to head to our first period classrooms, I blabbered on about what I saw them doing at their soccer practice the day before when I was supposed to be paying attention to my own coach’s instructions; about their old Facebook profile pictures that I browsed through; about the dreams I had of me going out with any one of them. Shelby listened and laughed at my stalkerish and obsessive tendencies when it came to confronting them, responding to them, or just flat out following them. By “them” I mean three dudes—called-douchebags-but-I-didn’t-care-because-they-were-fun-to-look-at attractive, upperclassmen dudes; their code names were Someone, Anyone, and Him. Feelings of guilt and shame soon come over me. “…I’m really sorry, Shel. You must think I am the most annoying person in the world. I’ll stop talking your ear off.” “Oh, Jen. You’re not annoying at all! I enjoy listening to your stories! Besides, my life is boring and you make every day entertaining!” “Okay, good,” and so, relieved, I excitedly continued with my gossip. Throughout the day I anticipated the next time I would see Someone or Anyone or Him. There was always a point during my Algebra I class when Someone walked by one of the classroom doors; when he got to the other door, he pointed and waved to me through the glass window. If I wasn’t sitting at my desk I would have fainted. Anyone was in Woodshop during fourth period, and whenever I passed by the room, he spotted me right away, as if I were on his radar. He dropped what he was working on, walked out into the hallway, and gave me a hug. I was always surprised that I didn’t go all Wolverine on him and dig my fingernails into his back so that he didn’t have to leave. And Him, oh Him. I spent every lunch period catching glimpses of Him three folding tables away from mine. This time, Shelby would be the one talking my ear off about something, only I wouldn’t be paying full attention. “Oh my God, no way! Seriously? I can’t believe that!”
Him’s eyes would find mine and he’d give me a playful smile that said, Hey, girl. I caught you! I’m pretty sure the screaming red stain that crept up on my face blew my cover a few times; I hope Shelby didn’t care. At the end of the day I got back into my mom’s mountaineer and raved over them— Someone’s waves, Anyone’s hugs, Him’s looks. She played along, and her expression brightened with each squeal I made. She was happy and excited that her baby was off to a great first year of high school; so was I! I was content with this routine… until one by one my crushes crushed me—they ripped out, punched, and stomped on heart. I felt so defeated and hopeless, yet, by sophomore year I decided that I would hold my head up high, be myself, and not focus on boys so much anymore. I was strong, and I figured that if love ever came my way, I would take it; but I was done looking for it. This brings me back to my locker next-door neighbor. Dan replied to my Myspace message and the conversation kept rolling from there. Getting to know each other online helped eliminated the awkward vibes at our lockers, and I was proud of myself for starting it all. As time went on, I found myself seeing more of Dan outside of school. We were getting ice cream together, going to sports events, and hanging out with groups of our friends. We even spent time together at each other’s houses, which meant we met each other’s parents. Being with Dan just felt so…normal. I didn’t feel like I had to impress him, like I had to do with the other upperclassmen boys. I felt like I had known Dan for forever; he came to be that friend that you feel comfortable doing anything with. And then our friends from student council—more his friends than my own—asked me if I liked Dan, because he had a thing for me. I was caught off guard. Sure I liked Dan, he was a really sweet kid and a good friend…but I didn’t like him that way…did I? I hadn’t thought of Dan in that way before, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to, especially when I looked back on my track record of crushes that crushed my heart. I decided not to think too much about the situation, and I continued to do me—the more independent me, keeping Dan as a good friend. September passed by with a snap of a finger, and I found Dan getting more involved in my life. In October, my parents threw me a surprise sweet sixteen party, and there, amongst my friends from elementary school, girls from the soccer team, and other close peers, was Dan. In November, when Homecoming rolled around, Dan asked me to be his date. A couple days after that, Dan asked me to be his girlfriend (by text message too, but I won’t get started on that). Everything was flowing so smoothly that I didn’t put much thought into my answer (text message back to him). I would luv to go out with u! :) The next morning on the drive to school, I brought up my fresh relationship status to my mom. I mentioned how I wasn’t really sure how Dan and I would work out, especially since I had never been in a real relationship before. Then again, the more I brought up his name and thought of myself finally being someone’s girlfriend, the more I smiled and felt more confident in the decision I had made the night before. Baby. Dear. Sweetheart. Honey.
These were the words I never thought I would hate so much. Why, every time Dan called me by a pet name I cringed, is still confusing to me. Isn’t this something all couples do? Yes. Then why don’t I get that fuzzy feeling inside when he refers to me as “Cutie Pie,” or “Doll”? I couldn’t wrap my head around it; this name-calling just made my blood curdle. You know what else did this to me—holding hands. Dan and I would be watching TV on the couch, sitting sideby-side. My hands were in my lap as I fiddled with my class ring on my left hand; I couldn’t tell you how Dan was seated, after all, my eyes were glued to the TV. There’d be a point when I felt something brush against my wrist. He would let his fingers crawl on my skin all the way to my fingers, like the legs of a spider capturing prey—slow and skilled but gentle. In the beginning, I would take Dan’s gesture and respond to it in a playing-hard-to-get kind of way. I would watch his hand attack mine and then, like a yappy girl, I’d swat his hand away and giggle; if gestures could speak, mine would have said, Oh, you silly boy, you! This would turn into a tickle fight. My nicer type of response ended, rather quickly. When Dan would continue to reach for my hand, I would continue to swat at him…but in a now-annoyed-and-violent way; this gesture would have said, You are acting like a child…grow up! Things were even weirder when it came to kissing, and with that being as it was, I couldn’t handle all of the romance. It all got to a point where I didn’t even want to see him anymore; I’d make up excuses so he wouldn’t get hurt and I wouldn’t have to hide my aggravation (which I was poor at doing, yet I did it all of the time). If my mom was amazing at anything back then, it was giving me a shoulder to cry on. I must have cried every other night of every week when Dan and I were a couple for 1-2-3 months. I was upset, angry, and super confused. He and I were not on the same page in our relationship, it was pretty obvious. I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I didn’t really love Dan, and it hurt so bad that I couldn’t get myself to tell him how I felt, or at least force myself to love him. I remember complaining to my mom about everything Dan did that made me irritated. “Mom, I can’t take it anymore!” I gave a muffled cry into her shoulder. This became a routine that happened right after Dan would leave my house. “Shhh, calm down Peanut,“ my Mom said in a soothing tone—all too soothing if you asked me. I wondered why she was so composed; this was serious! “I don’t want this. I’m done. We’re done.” I started to sound like a whiny, little child. “Jennifer. Come on, don’t say that, Baby Girl. You don’t mean that.” I did… at the time. There were just too many things that bothered me about my relationship with Dan. I was overwhelmed by my own thoughts. If I were to stay with him, what kind of girlfriend would I be? That just wouldn’t be fair to Dan…or even fair to me. I think? Why should I have to put up with things that make me feel uncomfortable? This is never going to work—we are too incompatible. I don’t even know if I love him. I should never have said yes to him. God, I suck at this! My mom allowed me to let the rest of my tears out. She asked me about the things that pissed me off, and I listed everything in one breath. 1. I hate the stupid nicknames.
2. He fiddles with my hand. 3. He doesn’t know how to kiss a girl. 4. He wants to see me all the time. She waited until my face was dry; and then she voiced a light giggle when she spoke. “Jennifer. Did you listen to yourself? These shouldn’t be the things that you cry over, Peanut. Sure, the way he goes about expressing them might not be the way you’d want them to come out. You have never been in a real relationship like this before, so it’s okay if you feel a little uneasy. But you shouldn’t be mad at him for all of this, and you definitely shouldn’t break up with him for this. Think, with an open mind, of the other things he does for you—some things you probably don’t even realize he does.” I wasn’t sure what to think. Whenever I thought of him, my mind would jump right to my hate list and everything it stood for; I’d grow angry. My mom brought up some situations that I had to have complained about before, but that I never looked at from any other perspective but my own. I sat motionless on my bed while my mom listed all of the good things I should have seen in Dan. He always offered to carry my books for me. Every day, by the end of school, I had accumulated the entire contents of my locker in the tote bag I used as a backpack. In pain, I would struggle to keep the bag handles on my shoulder; Dan would notice me limping and ask me if he could help me, but I wouldn’t let him. I had everything under control (not), so there was no need for assistance. Besides, I was too busy organizing my thoughts about homework and important dates that were coming up. Okay, go home; write that paper that’s due tomorrow in English; complete those pointless worksheets for Spanish; eat dinner; run out with Mom to pick up non perishables for that food drive…no, maybe I’ll do that before I start anything else…shoot! I forgot to type the minutes from the last Student Council meeting! With everything running through my head, I guess I never considered paying attention to where I was walking. I would somehow make it to the exit and find Dan already holding a door open for me, but I wouldn’t sound very appreciative when it came to “thank-yous”. Then, if I had a too-heavy-tocarry-anymore load, he would run to his car in the parking lot across the street and pick me up at the curb. On the ride home, I wouldn’t be very talkative. Dan would ask me how my day went, but after I responded and asked him back, I would be silent until we reached my house. I was on the verge of aggravation. Why does he always have to make everything a big deal? I was quite capable carry my bag out of the building; why couldn’t he just let me walk to his car? My thoughts would be interrupted when Dan would open the passenger side door so he could take my bag and I could get out easier. Again, I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of helping me; I’d struggle out of the seat with my arms hugging the bag against my stomach, and I’d give another thank-you before I’d turn around and walk to my front door. Sitting there watching myself in this situation from my past, I saw a stubborn teenager who was lucky her boyfriend didn’t just break up with her then and there. I rubbed my left shoulder with my right hand, a nervous habit. If I had a long night with never ending homework assignments, Dan would drop by with a pick-me-up surprise. I can still picture him on my front
door step shivering as he held in his red and frozen hand a birthday cake Friendly’s Frenzy, which was pretty much Friendly’s version of a DQ Blizzard. I wouldn’t act all that grateful towards his act of kindness. I was always so irritated and stressed out with chapters to read in books, tests to study for, and anything else that I had assigned for the night, that when Dan went out of his way to cheer me up, I wouldn’t let myself enjoy it. The thought of him going through the trouble to bring me a treat that was way too cold for his poor icy hand in the beginning of winter made me bite my quivering bottom lip. Dan would worry if I hadn’t texted him back after fifteen minutes…a half hour…an hour, so he would politely call my mom to check up on me. About ninety percent of the time when Dan texted my mom, I would be with her. I wouldn’t be paying attention to my phone, because I just wouldn’t feel like talking. I felt the corners of my mouth drooping. I was blind to all of little things that Dan did…er…tried to do for me; I wouldn’t give him a chance. I was shocked at first, and every other time this pep talk would happen, I would respond as if it were still the first time. I can’t believe myself. What a bitch. I’m actually surprised that Dan hasn’t been the one to want to leave first. He cares a lot about me, and I haven’t given him any indication that I care about him too. I’m like those assholes that broke my heart. I showed interest in Dan and then, since shit got real, I’ve wanted to bail. For real though, what kind of girlfriend am I? After reflecting on all of the good that Dan had to offer—everything he provided that meant something, no matter how annoying it came across—I laughed along with my mom. I knew that I sounded like a whining child; this time it was apparent how ridiculous I was to be affected by his love. My hate list was a huge indicator. I had been thinking selfishly all that time, and then I sat, my face all blotched with running makeup, laughing about it all next to the woman who apparently knew more about my relationship than I did. When my mom then asked how I felt about everything, I responded with, “I love him, I do. He is good for me…but come on, Mom—‘Cutie Pie’?” Again, we broke out in laughter that brought the both of us to tears. Dan was a gentleman, the nicest guy I had ever met. He was genuine, and he cared about me—unlike the jerks I chased prior to meeting this kid…my boyfriend. No one had ever treated me the way Dan did—the way Dan does. Of course, once my vision was cleared of all of the teeny things that he did, I would have a better attitude…until Dan continued with his habits that drove me up the wall. This was a pattern that lasted a while—Dan doing things that made me resist his love—and my mom was there to console me every step of the way. I’d remember the science experiments my class would work on in elementary school when we learned about magnetism. Each group of students was given two magnets with ends marked in red and blue. The students would play around with the magnets to find out the difference between the relationships of the poles when they were put together. In this experiment, students were testing the magnetic forces between the two magnets. The red ends of the magnets were referred to as the North Poles, and the blue ends were the South Poles. When the same ends of the magnets were put facing together, their lines of magnetic fields would move
away from each other. As a result, the magnets would repel each other; with such a resisting force between the two magnets, there was no possible way to make their same ends touch. The class would then figure out how to make the magnets stick together. When the magnets were facing each other’s opposite pole, the field lines of one pole would reach the lines of the other; this would create an attracting force between the two magnets. Dan and I were in the same boat—we had never been in real, committed relationships before we found each other, so neither of us were used to the whole serious dating thing; but we did know what we wanted. We were basically the same person, despite the fact that my feelings did quite not match his. I couldn’t see how Dan and I were going to make it as a couple—it seemed close to impossible for us to stay together if we weren’t emotionally on the same page. When my mom would show me just how lucky I was to have Dan in my life—when she would point out all of the things Dan that makes him so special—I turned on my side; I made ends meet. I talked to Dan about my feelings, and I told him that I wanted to stay together but only if we took things slow (granted, we had been going out for about a quarter of a year already). I’d like to say that he understood—he didn’t—and our relationship took some turns on some bumpy roads, but like any other compatible couple, we got by just fine. Ever since our dysfunctional episodes, I have been able to appreciate Dan for the special man that he is. There’s something about a kid who loves playing videogames, has the worst wardrobe of shirts and shorts that don’t match, and still watches Spongebob, that resonates somewhere in my heart. Dan has made me a better person, and he has changed my outlook on life. He is my sunshine and my only sunshine, who makes me happy when skies are gray. They say that no one is perfect, and I agree. Dan is not perfect, nor am I, but we are imperfect-butokay-with-that perfect for each other. Like I said, just because I know I love Dan (for sure now,) doesn’t mean he doesn’t get under my skin…like all the time. Although, when he does something that makes me want to throw something, I look back to where I started in our relationship, how much love I have grown for this man, and how happy I am to be with him. I had my issues with him at first, but I have learned to roll with the punches and pay more attention to the things that matter more…like what flavor ice cream he’ll bring me next! (Just kidding!) There may have been a time when I didn’t love my boyfriend, but when I look at him now, I love him for all that he is and all that he isn’t; for all that he does and all that I wish he didn’t do. I love my locker next-door neighbor, and I always will
Part One: The Essay to Poem Translation Assignment Target: I want to write a poem that captures my narrative, while presenting a metaphor. I want to represent fishing as “dating” and express my feelings through a fish and also a person who goes fishing. Although this piece is a poem, I would say that in terms of translation, I would call this piece an adaptation in the genre of poetry. Rules: In order to make my poem relevant to my narrative, I will break the poem up into three different scenarios and separate the stanzas, to represent the events in my shadow. I will also keep the proper capitalization of a poem, so that it has the same poetic effect, even though this poem sounds more like a group of stories. The form of my poem will be free verse, and the structure will appear as fins. Lastly, I will keep the tense of this poem in the present, so that the reader can go back and make connections to my own feelings in my shadow narrative.
FINally Three fishermen go fishing on the side of the lake, See a flounder popping its head out of the water every day. It’s a beaut they say, cast their lines and wait. The flounder Swims around the different bait, then catches itself onto one the first day, Moves onto the next the next, the last the last. The flounder is close, flops at The water’s surface. It took the bait but wants more, holds tight. Each day, a fisherman reels it in but stops to grab a beer. The flounder waits, doesn’t let go. One by one, day by day, the fishermen drop their poles and leave. The flounder gives up, swims back down into the depths of the lake. Breathes, cools down, keeps swimming. Months pass until another person comes along, yet He does not use a line—he drops flakes onto the water. The flounder responds, forgot what it was like to be given Attention and not have to go after a hook. The man comes back every Day to feed the flounder until he decides he wants it. The man takes a pole Along with him. The flounder is caught off guard, but takes the line, is reeled in, taken home. A woman goes to the lake, casts a line. Right away it’s taken by a trout. Easier than Ever before, the fish is hers…she has never caught A fish that held through to take home. The women reels The trout in and tosses it back into the water. Each day is routine. The woman casts her line, the trout persistently attaches to the hook Only to be reeled in, sent back into the lake. I don’t want you, trout! But I do want a fish… I finally have one. What’s wrong with you?
Reflection When thinking about what kind of poem I wanted to write, the sequence of events that occurred in my shadow narrative kept playing in my head. I kept thinking about how it felt to be led on and let down, and how Dan came so smoothly into my life right after that. When Dan asked me out, I felt good about it, but I definitely was not prepared for a real relationship. Then, I got the smallest taste of what it was like to be someone’s girlfriend, and I panicked with confusion; I pushed Dan away. I wanted to treat this poem the way that Cofer used her poems to write essays. In “But Tell It Slant: From Poetry to Prose and Back Again,” Cofer says, “It involves attaining a sort of out-of-body state”. In this way, Cofer is able to distance herself as a writer and write about herself, while looking at herself as a character. This idea is related to Philip Lopate’s “On Turning Oneself Into a Character.” Lopate explains how you need to distance yourself so that you can take an “inventory” for your own character’s characterization. When you are able to see yourself in an unbiased way, you can allow your readers to better understand your character— you! As the sequence of events circled my mind, I thought about how the guys I fell for— before I met Dan—reeled me into liking them. When I thought I actually had a chance at getting closer to each of my crushes, they just put me off, not even caring about my hurt feelings. The idea for making this poem about “fishermen” who reeled in the same fish but never advanced any further very much represented my situation. Then, I saw Dan as the sweet man who was not at the lake to look for fish (girls), but who just wanted to take care of the fish (flounder—me). This is how Dan got me to say yes…his friendly and smooth approach. On the other hand, when I was Dan’s girlfriend, I acted similar to how my ex-crushed treated me. Since I was already close with Dan, I was reeling him in, but when it came to acting like a couple, I didn’t want any part of it and pushed him away (thankfully, he wasn’t hurt!) When I thought of each of these situations, I realized that I was able to see the whole picture; yet, I also could understand my feelings and the role reversal that took place. I feel that with this idea, I could relate my shadow narrative to animals in nature, to reveal how humans treat fish the way they treat other humans. Switching to a woman and a trout, in my third stanza, I wanted to capture the characteristics I saw in Dan that I once had when I liked the other boys. I also wanted the woman to show disrespect for the trout the way the fishermen did for the flounder. Sticking to the fishing story, I did not smoothly transition into my third stanza; although each part of my poem relates to a situation in my narrative, I wanted to create an effect that made the poem come off as just a sequence of occurrences at a lake. I planned on making this poem two-dimensional—a bundle of fishing stories and also my shadow.
Part Two: The Essay to New Genre Translation Assignment Target: Since my shadow narrative is based on love and not being able to see it when it’s right in front of you, I decided that creating a new type of contact lens would be a smart rhetorical translation. What I used the most to influence this translation was the scene where my mom and I talk about everything—about the things I hated that Dan did, and the things he did that I took for granted. Contact lenses help your vision; what helped my vision were the pep talks I had with my mom. Rules: I knew from the start what the key features for the genre I chose would include! Right off the bat, I knew what I wanted to call the brand of contact lenses (based off of ACUVE Moist through Johnson&Johnson). I needed to change the “1-DAY” limit, since my lenses are for seeing my boyfriend—I need them every day! The original ACUVUE Moist box read “90 Lenses,” so I had to change it to 2, with an additional slogan for added effect! I also wanted to change “Johnson&Johnson” to “Jennifer&Daniel,” since the lenses are to help me view my boyfriend and our relationship in a clearer way. My plan was to create my own directions for how to apply the contact lenses on the back of the box. I couldn’t find any pictures on Google of the back of an actual box, so I would have to create one on my own. I knew I wanted to do something about the side of the box of lenses, as well, but I wasn’t sure what I would change and what I would leave alone.
LUVTHEVUE MORON Brand Contact Lenses For better results, try
Over our competitor,
Reflection I LOVED working on this part of my portfolio! My idea for my rhetorical translation came very easily to me, and I am happy with the way my models came out! Putting this translation together, however, was difficult, because covering the original ACUVUE Moist contact lens box –blending colors to make my version look the same—was more work than I had ever expected. if I could do this part of my project all over again, I would definitely make my own box—it would be so much quicker to do! Then again, if I were to work off of a Google image again, I would use a box with a picture on it. I spent so much time on the picture that I used, that when I realized I could’ve used a better box, I had already put too much time into my original work. I am happy with the brand name I came up with; LUVTHE VUE is a play-onwords based off of ACUVUE and it represents my shadow really well. The point of my shadow is that I needed to take a better look at my relationship with Dan. I needed to see what he was doing and what I was doing in response to turn my attitude around. I am also pleased with the “MORON” instead of “MOIST” aspect of the brand. At first, I thought that maybe the name seemed too harsh to be put on an item; then again, this was a rhetorical translation for my own shadow narrative, and “MORON” worked for me. Before I learned to see things differently, I was a moron’ I thought everything was wrong with Dan, and I didn’t take the time to evaluate myself in the situation. I was stuck on the side of the contact lens box for quite a while. I didn’t want to mess with the actual measurements and numbers that were on the original box; plus, I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to change the numbers to stand for something related to my shadow. Although I wish I could have done more with the side of the box, I do like what I did to the expiration date; on top of the date on the original picture, I put “NOT/NOW.” This alteration may be small, but I feel that the meaning behind it hits home in relation to my shadow. There isn’t an expiration on my view of Dan and our relationship; I will always see him as the man I love and whom I’m lucky to have…unless something happens, which would be another story. Last but not least, the back of the box—my favorite part! Before I had a set plan for my rhetorical translation, I wasn’t even thinking about creating the back of the box, however, I knew that just creating a front and a side would not be good enough. I based the back of the box off of the scene when my mom and I have a pep talk. I include directions on the back of the box on how to apply the lenses for a clearer view throughout the stages of the pep talk, including strong statements that wisened me up. I wish that I had seen these directions when I was having second thoughts about Dan—I would have straightened out my act a lot quicker…and with far less crying! Lectures and powerpoints from class helped me to reinforce the intentionality of my decisions. Again, Cofer’s “But Tell It Slant: From Poetry to Prose and Back Again” helped me understand how to work with different genres. With this rhetorical translation, I was able to “tell it slant” by explaining my shadow narrative through a different lens (haha!) The information in this translation was the same, but the structure and style were altered to fit the rhetorical model I
chose. What also helped me to understand the idea of translation were the examples Professor Frederick provided in class. Using actual translation generators online and watching videos on popular movies that were translated showed me the many ways in which you can take a subject and translate it through “Rhetorical Awareness” and “Language Use”. I was glad that Professor Frederick showed the class an example of a past student’s rhetorical translation. The student used a beer bottle as her model and wrote on the bottle (where the nutrition facts and warnings would be) a blurb that connected to her shadow narrative. I thought that was a really smart idea, especially if alcohol was a main factor in her narrative. With all of this in mind, I was able to come up with an idea that is hopefully as effective as I intended!
Part Three: Writing Arts Goals Reflection As I go through the pages of this portfolio, I can’t help but feel accomplished. Over the past couple months, I have seen my writing grow stronger through the processes of creating my shadow narrative. I never expected to work so much with one piece than I have with this story from my own experience. I fully understand the Writing Arts objective that states that as a Writing Arts major, and a student in Professor Frederick’s The Writer’s Mind class, I have been experiencing revision as an ongoing process rather than an endpoint. My shadow narrative underwent several revisions, however, I never seemed to get bored with my piece. I have learned how much more a story or any other written work can develop into something bigger and more meaningful when it is reworked using different crafts and viewed through different lenses. In Bonnie J. Rough’s essay, “Notes on the Space We Take,” she presents information on the concept of living and taking up space both literally and tangentially. Through research, Rough goes through her essay by a sequence of factual sections that are related to space. At first glance, each section comes off a random and hard to understand; however, when reading the essay, all of Rough’s research was right on point with her main subject of space. Rough leapfrogs from topic to topic through associative thinking, as she speaks of one thing and transitions so smoothly into the next. Having gone over Rough’s craft in class, I was able to do write another revision for my shadow narrative in which I added my own research. Although my subject was not easy to relate other topics to, I was able to come up with different objects and things that represented opposites and how they repel each other; for example, oil and vinegar! I found it very interesting to include research in a personal narrative work. I have realized that in writing, anything is possible! A work can be revised more than once, and more than twice. That is not to say that the revision process never ends; the process can go on for as long as it possibly can before the work becomes unmovable. There are countless ways that you can look at a piece of writing which bring about more possibilities for revision; however, the writer has to be the judge of when the work is complete! Speaking of different ways of writing, I fully understand the Writing Arts objective that states that as a Writing Arts major, and a student in Professor Frederick’s The Writer’s Mind class, I have been developing a practical understanding of my own writing processes. Through course readings and exercises—not to mention, my shadow narrative—I’ve taken notice of my writing process and how it is utilized. Early in the semester, I was able to dissect my writing process through a calibration assignment. In this assignment, I needed to choose a past written work and list the actions I took as part of my writing process, touching on my brainstorming techniques, the idea I came up with, my intentions behind writing the particular piece, my plan for writing the piece, how my piece was critiqued in my writing workshop group, what I did to make my piece better, and how I felt about the final product. In this assignment I also needed to list my writing habits and create a Wordle to review the words that I used the most in my piece. After examining my writing process, along with my habits and use of wording, I wrote reflections for each. Reflecting the way I write through this assignment showed me just
how my mind works in creating a piece of writing, as well as things that I need to work on and constantly look out for. I also learned about my own writing through Philip Lopate’s :Introduction to the Art of the Personal Essay.” In this work, Lopate discusses how the personal essay allows writers to form relationships with their readers, “Through sharing thoughts, memories, desires, complaints, and whimsies” (xxiii). Through this excerpt I would say that I include “The Conversational Element” in my own writing, which is the conversation between the essayist and the reader that occurs when the essayist asks herself questions and then reflects on them within her own writing. I know this element is evident in most of my writings, and by discovering it in this excerpt, I felt better that it is a normal way of writing. I have learned to become more comfortable and confident in my writing process. The part that still will always bother me is that 1. I take forever to write anything and 2. I could write until my hands fall off. Then again, I would not be the writer I am today, if it were not for these factors that make up the way I write! An objective of the Writing Arts major that is not a core value, but is a goal, which I believe I have met in this course, is that I have completed all course assignments and have able to take away meaningful understandings that I can use throughout my writing career. The point of homework assignments is to test a student’s knowledge on a subject or lesson learned in class, and to prove that the student has an understanding of what they learned. There are classes in that you receive homework assignments that you do just to get them done and handed in for a decent grade. In this class, however, I was able to enjoy all of the readings and exercises given, and I do believe they helped me in becoming a better writer. Not only did I learn how to write in a clearer and proficient way, but I also learned how to think like a writer. I came to understand the ways in which writers talk about abstractions, and themselves as characters, and about topics that seem different, but that all connect to a central idea. I also know now how to write for specific audiences and how to respond to rhetorical situations, fittingly. To be honest, this is the first class wherein I have been given readings and exercises that I have taken something from. I believe that the writing assignments that followed every article, story, and essay helped me to understand the works more and also to understand myself! Having gone through The Writer’s Mind, I feel well prepared and confident to be place in the major that I am in. I always knew that I loved to write, but what a difference it makes to know that you get it—writing and thinking about writing. Linda Flower states in “Cognition of Discovery,” a good writer is able to write in a way that clearly presents his or her role in his or her writing. (27) I believe that with this portfolio, I have proved that I am an expert on my shadow, and that I have met many goals in this class that have helped me to develop into a better writer!
“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.” ― Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist