Writing Across the Modes Collection ECI 509, Integrating Writing and Technology Student Name: Adrienne Berg
Part I. Expository Writing
My Scribe Report Oxford Excursion, Saturday, July 27. An international experience. Our group joined the larger group of students from China studying at Surrey this summer. We broke apart and boarded two buses, hoping to exchange a few words with our traveling companions. Colleen and Jill had extensive and wide-ranging intercultural conversations, while some others of us were turned away when we tried to take a vacant seat! On Bus 2, a Chinese student asked us to complete a cultural questionnaire on graduation rituals as part of her project to enhance the event at her college. The teachers leading the trip provided maps of the town and walked everyone to the entrance of Christ Church College, our meeting point for later in the day. We dispersed in little groups to explore this famous college town. Christ Church College lies along the scenic River Cherwell. From the Broad Walk we could watch rowers and punters enjoying the river, and people relaxed along the banks. Lauren, Colleen, Lisa, Elizabeth and Adrienne strolled past the Christ Church Meadow and the Botanical Garden to CafĂŠ Rendezvous, where we partook of some delicious continental refreshments, including crepes and lattes. At 1:00, people who had signed up for the tour of Christ Church College returned to the gate to find a massive queue. Even though the tour would let us walk through the Great Hall used in filming Harry Potter, everyone decided to skip the queue and explore the town some more. Some of the highlights: browsing in an antique store, learning about the British monetary system from a local, finding unique gifts at a charity shop, touring the Bodleian Library, enjoying the magnificent architecture and Camera Square, hanging out by the river, checking out local art and bookshops, and lunching at the Eagle and Child, former haunt of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. There were many nationalities in Oxford, and we were able to converse with people from China, Oman, Kurdistan, Scotland, Italy, Azerbijian, Spain, and other countries, and some Romany Gypsies.
The town was crowded and many of us sought respite from the hectic streets near our meeting spot as it neared 4:00. This offered more colorful scenes, like the group of tattooed Gypsies and their enormous dog, John Henry, spending the day in the park. Lisa, of course, was taken with the dog, and chatted with its owner about the dog, his name, and American folk hero John Henry. Some friends passing by called to the homeless group, and hilariously mooned everyone. Spencer was shocked at the cultural differences around shirtlessness and public behind-baring but it dramatically punctuated the end of the day. Somehow we all managed to get back on the bus and back to Surrey. In Building 66, everyone was tuckered out and ready for an early night. One-Sentence Summary An easy journey by train to Portsmouth Harbour left us right outside the Historic Dockyard, where we explored the HMS Victory and the 16th century remains of Henry VIIIs flagship, the Mary Rose, before a harbour tour and then dinner at the Spice Inn, reputedly the last pub in which Nelson lifted a pint. Summary Paragraph The Channel glittered in the brilliance of the sinking sun. Stone fortifications along the water’s edge rose above a disused moat. At one end of the wall, a squat tower guarded the entrance to the harbor and provided an excellent vantage for daytrippers. Stone stairs led down to a cobbled lane that ran between houses pushed up against the kerb and tight together. At the end of the lane, pubs with nautical signs anchor the Old Town at the edge of the emerald water. The Spice Inn, Admiral Nelson’s local, provided a welcome port for a cool drink and supper. 1st Additional Expository Writing (see Moodle for description of additional expository writings) I did some research, asked around as I selected a destination for the last free day in England. Reports of Portsmouth include words like seedy, shady, and sketchy – hardly images to inspire a visit. The bus driver said “Don’t go there.” The Rough Guide said there were no decent restaurants and lots of utilitarian post-war architecture. Yet in my mind, “the Channel” and “the Royal Navy” and “sea air” and “Admiral Nelson” echoed unignorably. Colleen’s morning knock on my window settled it. Train in twenty minutes. Direct, uncrowded train, for less than an hour and only eighteen GBP, return. The breezy station platform opened directly onto the street in front of the Historic Dockyard. At Victory Gate, enormous wooden doors set in the brick wall allow access to the premises. Square pavers marked the routes sailors and visitors and workmen could follow to the dry docks, the bays, Semaphore Tower, where flags signaled the fleet. Today it’s the Historic Dockyard, and requires a fee to visit, but it still bustles with a maritime atmosphere. The modern naval yards range along the harbor beyond, logical extensions as naval enterprises grew.
Brick storehouses and workshops that housed rope-making works, shipwrights’ facilities and the Paymaster’s Quarters now host tearooms, shops, and museum exhibits displaying an astonishing wealth of artifacts. Garish 18th century figureheads along a balcony encircle Charles II’s royal barge, the one he lent for Nelson’s burial procession. The rigged masts of the first iron-clad ship, the 1860 HMS Warrior, rise above its central smokestacks, illustrating the technological shift between the days of sail and of steam. A hubbub eddied around the buildings and lanes as sightseers – including me – gawked in every direction. The reason we came lay ahead, in dry dock and under repair. Her masts were down and a tarpaulin concealed her middle. This “historical, never seen since 1944” view of the HMS Victory still towered above the neighboring structures, awesome even in such undress. Her hull, exposed to the keel, and her decks, have the gravitas and immensity of the White House to these American eyes. And we were allowed aboard! Following the prescribed route, we went belowdecks into the hull, the orlop, the surgery, the galley, climbing step steps to the gundeck, the main deck, the forecastle. We peered into hammocks, counted guns, imagined a scene of battle. It took 800 men to run this vessel, which for all its vastness seemed dark, cramped, and smelly with just tourists aboard. The officers’ quarters were markedly more comfortable, with windows and carpets and crystal and room to stand up. To imagine the ship at full sail, with a full complement of men! Britain’s greatest hero, Lord Admiral Nelson, lived and died here. A gap cut into the construction tarp let us see the deck, the very spot, on which he breathed his last. With battle boiling around, he died, and the exact location is memorialized with a brass plaque. A ship’s carpenter secures the planking with a cordless electric drill. The Victory saw active service for 34 years, then spent the next 110 in Portsmouth Harbour in “a variety of practical and ceremonial roles.” In 1922, she was restored to 1805 conditions, and throughout her life she has been maintained to naval standards of repair. It’s quite an amazing thing, and a living piece of Britain’s naval heritage. Nearby, but in pristine Tudor condition, Henry VIII’s Mary Rose, with crew and contents, can be examined in a stunning and brand-new museum. Preserved in the seabed since the 16th century, she now rests in a brilliant 21st century showcase and visitors see the reconstructed, if partial, ship and her artifacts in dim protective lighting. Interpretive signage describes the collection – of the remains of actual crewmembers, of their belongings, of the ship’s stores. It’s fascinating, and an unbelievable, unprecedented archaeological trove. One tour is not enough. The Dockyard closes at six. We walk the ramparts of the harbour, look at the moat and the Channel. We stop for a bite at the Spice Inn, where Nelson drank his last of English ale on English soil. We observe the British Navy alive and well, with destroyers and carriers being built, repaired, or decommissioned, as ever, at docks all around the harbour. Cadets live aboard a retired warship. Ferries and tugs cruise to and fro. Delinquents loiter on the strand. The cold water glitters and locals jump in. Bells in the cathedral tower ring and ring. A train back now will get us back to Guilford by dark.
One could find faults with Portsmouth. It was bombed a lot and rebuilt cheap and ugly. Seaports are renowned for tawdry entertainment and rough characters in general. It isn’t a fancy spa town or picturesque medieval city. Perhaps it was touched by magic that day – it felt like it. An aura of history and excitement and wonder at what man can do perhaps lent an undeserved romance to salt and grit of a working harbour. I won’t say everyone should go. But I’m extremely relieved and enormously satisfied that I did.
2nd Additional Expository Writing (see Moodle for description of additional expository writings) “English food” doesn’t sound that good. A long-standing reputation for bland and starchy menus seems deserved, and “blood sausage” and “root vegetable tart” lack sex appeal. The brown sauce (that’s what they call it!) served at breakfast just mystifies me. In England, though, I had the best food of my life, and it’s what they eat every day. Two main things: it’s fresh, and it might be French. The American fad for eating local is just how they do it in the UK. Fruits and vegetables are everywhere, easily obtainable, and appealing. Vegetable stands and markets have daily offerings with beautiful displays. People choose the best, what looks good, and what’s in season. Simple preparation – not necessarily plain – highlights the fresh factor. And remember the Norman Invasion? That was the French, and they brought their food. Even a pub menu will have pates, tartares, goujons, and compotes. The vegetarians, the Italians, and the imperial holdings have contributed to the gustatory sensibilities of modern Britain as well. The food is good.
Part II. Poetic Writing
Where I’m From Poem Where I am from Black words open windows Sheets of paper in shades of white Enlighten or brighten or console Bindings of cloth (threadbare, gilded) Slick and shiny paper spines Assemble patiently in their ranks Where I am from A willow lies aslant a brook And holds a charming reading nook A hidey hole in a hidden crook Where they will never think to look Where I am from The cheapest ticket out My best forever-friends The garden of my mind The learned philosopher My chief consolation Stand in rows, tallest to shortest, Invisibly quivering
Where I am from Poem, Copycat Version I am from bare wood floors, swept clean, Wooden blocks and sunlit panes surrounding afternoon play. I am from marigolds that I planted, From vegetable plots where awareness grew. I am from clear lakes and cookouts and clambakes, from neighbors close as family. I am from Uncle Bill, who could carry the world, and wearing play clothes all summer. I am from “knock it off, kiddo,” whenever I had fun to “I’ll wipe that smirk off your face…” I am from chowder and macaroni, forced orange juice shots and peanut butter on a spoon. I am from a cardboard carton of loose black-and-whites, all jumbled, of people who look like me. I am from hope, always seeking, from pride and security in who I come from.
Poems Created in Class with Dr. Buckner Anna, sixteen, Swings her long hair And her long legs Into the driverâ€™s seat, Checks the mirror, Buckles up. Bio Poem About Self Adrienne Sharp, soft, and bitter/sweet Mother of the stalwart, the live wire, the open-hearted (and just like an extra mom whether you like it or not in the classroom), Lover of imaginary worlds and imaginary friends, Who feels ambiguous and ambivalent and needs reminders, Who gives every day a chance But fears forgetting to open her eyes, Who would like to see Atlantis, and Camelot, and Hogwarts, Resident of Room 4, Building 66, for now, Berg 1st Additional Poetic Writing (see Moodle for description of additional poetic writings) Haworth Moor Vast, sublime stoneearthsky home to wiry bounding rabbits with woolen neighbors, Rivulets cascading, Kestrels mewing, That holds secrets in crevice and spring, palpable through time,
That lifted the souls of three girls, and their minds, birthing Literature for Eternity, that spreads wide open for the wind, and erodes on the edges as builders build,
2nd Additional Poetic Writing (see Moodle for description of additional poetic writings) What brings me to Yorkshire? To yon downs and dales? Paying a call, my respects, to some friends. Misselthwaite Manor, the moors, Jane Eyre, the railway children, the wuthering heights, the secret garden, the last of the summer wine, all creatures great and small, bright and beautiful, wise and wonderful. Where is the purple heather, the crags, the rivulets of peaty water, the plaintive sheep, the stone-cobbled lane? Point me there, please, I have labored so far through city and grime for a walk on the moors and to remember all time.
Part III. Expressive Writing
Design A Room Late morning rays of summer sunshine slice down through glass panes. Salty air enters at will. Glass glints in shades of bottle-green and cobalt and lavender. Clear glass. Clear air. Clear mind. Squares frame each view of blue brilliance. Evergreen breath, unhindered, sways seed heads at the sill. Kitchen murmurs percolate nearby and gulls swear into the wind. The old cold hearth rests beneath the cream-washed mantel and chimney, hewn granite, burnished, by one generation then the next, shoring up the turning world, jointed here at the edge of sea and sky. Post Cards Home
Yesteryearâ€™s remains Over hill and dale Remind me of Time Keeping its steady march. Sweeping skies above Haworth Moor Inspire Reflection on the Eternal.
A Day in the Life Lunch, after a long walk. On the cobbled corner, just outside the cathedral close, frosted glass windows curve along the front of the best pub in England. So it is said. Its stately goldlettered sign invites the thirsty, promising sanctuary in mid-day Winchester. Potted mints and geraniums bedeck the courtyard, and the scent of lemon balm, brushed against, mixes with the smoke from lunchers’ cigarettes. The eclectic menu redefines English food. I eschew trotters with blood sausages for mackerel tartare – this is an island nation, after all. Our waiter, Ukrainian or Georgian or something similarly exotic, approaches, platters aloft. Platter, the word, only fills a lexical gap. A slate shingle, nostalgically familiar, bears a translucent, glistening sheet of kelp rolled around diced mackerel, scattered gooseberries and pearl couscous studded with olives and cress banked against it. Succulent and melting, the first bite evokes the sea, salty and wet. Like tiny shells washed ashore, the pearls and berries crush under pressure. The local ale rushes them away and a wave of complete gustatory contentment swells, with another to follow, and another. 1st Additional Expressive Writing (see Moodle for description of additional expressive writings) From Guildford to Waterloo to Kings’ Cross to Bradford to Keighly to Haworth, we passed closes and mews, station tracks and tube tunnels, escalating machines, underground Londoners bustling about, muggles queuing at Kings’ Cross Station, ever hopeful. The Bradford Express runs through bucolic mead and wood to the industrial north, where an unnameable stench nearly blocked our path. Some minutes of frantic flailing for air and bus schedules and station protocol led to a stone kerb, a red bus, and a helpful driver who assured safe passage to Keighly Station. The city thoroughfare, flanked by discount shops, abandoned nightclubs, and international grocery markets, slogs for several miles to a wooden building left over from the glory days of the wool trade. Painted red and yellow. Arrivals and departures chalked on an easel. Dusty tiled halls. Tickets, printed blue paperboard, available from an affable uniformed train enthusiast. The Keighly and Worth Valley Railway operates a full schedule in summer. A steam locomotive pulls vintage carriages of tourists and train fanciers past tiny train stations and banks of wildflowers. Blackened men shovel coal into the fire and white steam clouds out of the stack. Conductors and porters in black and white move with purpose. Children wave as the train passes. Twenty minutes or so elapse before the train pulls into Haworth Station, where an excited crowd awaits. A quid will get you onto the platform to see the trains pull in and out every half hour, and it seems a popular pastime. Ladies are offered an arm down the steps, and it would be churlish to refuse. Clear hand-lettered signs direct travelers into and through the station. The cobbled yard empties quickly. The station, red and yellow, is bedecked with exuberant petunias and geraniums. A few simple wooden signs highlight local features – ice cream, a pub, the village. We turn our steps towards the village, our goal. The railway brought us from the city of Bradford to Haworth, from our present into a story book, and time seems to run backwards as the cobbled lane climbs the hillside.
2nd Additional Expressive Writing (see Moodle for description of additional expressive writings) Re-entry is always bad for me. The worst day of the year feels like the worst day of my life. There’s the cessation of fun, the resumption of work, and the tangible obstacles to relaxation like cobwebs, and mold, and the deterioration of disuse. I typically attack, vacuum first. Then hot running water, then chucking. It happens annually, but this summer I return from an idyll unrivalled in the last score of years. What I really do: Clean the floors, then polish them. Launder everything in sight. Scrub the sinks, the tubs, the bathrooms. Sweep the porches. Wipe surfaces free of dust and mold. Clear out the closets. Move the furniture. Sort the mail. Throw things away. Paint the cupboards. Weed out my clothes. Discard items that I have been holding onto since the beginning of time. Berate others to do the same. Lapse into post-vacation depression. What I pretend I do: Stroll through castle grounds. Write in my daybook. Admire herbaceous borders. Stop for tea. Slather clotted cream on scones. Browse through antiques and boutiques and galleries. Walk to a charming pub. Select an ale that fits my mood. Enjoy it. Order another. Chat. While away time. Experience suggests that I’ll recover. In the meantime, I’ll muck out the chicken house, wash the car, weed the garden, all in a state of extreme frustration. Give me a wide berth. It won’t last forever, but I need to grieve. My lost experience! My lost summer! My lost youth! Poor me! And then, normalcy will return. Re-entry complete. Until then….. My Reflection on Myself as a Writer, in Poetic, Expressive, and Expository Modes Poeticexpressiveexpository all run together but the first is definitely easier. I start there, so I can start. The starting point for expression, and information, lies where I can write at all. Modern verse accepts everyone, the shallow, trite, banal. No structural insistence, no call to order, no pattern to match or not match or repeat. The starting line, with no course ahead just the world to navigate as I go. I reassure my student writers – “YOU are the writer, so you get to decide. You may choose as you please.” I am not sure this is a truth universally known. It may not even be true, or may be solely with in the walls of room 210, Woods Charter School. A poem, I can write. It doesn’t matter if it’s bad, and I expect it probably will be bad, and anyway, I’m not “a poet.” So I can dash off any old thing, and it serves. I only cringe on rereading. To describe and express what I see, do, or feel requires a bit more conscious direction. There usually is an idea, first, before the scrawling of impressions, sensations, and random details.
Again, the creative leeway prevents anxiety’s cold sweat from shutting the operation down. After all, when it’s my “opinion,” you, dear reader, are free to diverge. I can allow myself to complete a thought, articulate an experience, or describe endlessly without coming to a point. Some people sing in the shower. It feels like that. I don’t sing in the shower. I write expressively. There is no why, no panel of judges, no outcome. It feels normal – once I start. Expository: of, relating to, or containing exposition. Hmm. Exposition: a setting forth of the meaning or purpose (as of a writing). Now that, that calls for judgment. Meaning and purpose suggest
deliberate action, a definite end. That’s a stumbling block. That could inhibit initiation, not to mention progress. (It just did.) As a writer, I feel a sense of general competence in every area that does not matter. Reports, lesson plans, or critiques of academic arguments sort of write themselves. I find it easier to write a poem than tell a joke. Years of unhelpful and haphazard feedback on “my writing” left scars and scabs, though. Getting going is a bitch. Finishing, too. But as long as there is something to say, I can write. The less that’s riding on my writing, the easier it comes. I can write if I don’t care about what I’m writing. The more it matters, the worse I feel, and there begins the spiral of existential writing despair. I only unwillingly identify myself “as a writer,” and cling to irony like my life depends on it. I can’t write, and I can’t not write.
"Exposition." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 7 Sept. 2013. "Expository." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 7 Sept. 2013.