Words of Wisdom

quotes Khrystine likes

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."— Mark Twain

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Yes You Can!: Your Guide to Becoming an Activist… by Jane Drake

This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

The book jacket reads "A step-by-step guide to successful social change." I don't quite know if that's accurate. While this book offers a look at the process activism usually follows, there are less direct strategies and more stories of activists. There are a few helpful exercises, however. I liked that the book did not seem to be pushing one agenda, though the authors seemed to hint at discussing smoker's rights vs. non smokers rights and then only discussed the latter. There are some interesting nuggets about how much the U.S.A. sucks at environmental policy, but they are only facts in time lines, nothing pushy. All in all, this book offers an interesting look at how change is affected, and it does make me want to do something worthwhile in my community. I sense that this accomplishes the authors' true purpose.
3 Stars
Book Page

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Here are a lot of things I like:
A designer knows he has arrived at perfection not when there is no longer anything to add but when there is no longer anything to take away. - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

I am convinced we do not only love ourselves in others but hate ourselves in others too. - Georg C. Lichtenberg

Everyone sees the unseen in proportion to the clarity of his heart, and that depends upon how much he has polished it. Whoever has polished it more sees more - more unseen forms become manifest to him. – Jalal Ad-din Rumi

What this power is I cannot say; All I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in that state of mind in which he knows exactly what he wants and is fully determined not to quit until he finds it. - William Shakespeare

Times of great calamity and confusion have been productive for the greatest minds. The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace. The brightest thunder-bolt is elicited from the darkest storm.- Charles Caleb Colton

Mind and spirit together make up that which separates us from the rest of the animal world, that which enables a man to know the truth and that which enables him to die for the truth.- Edith Hamilton

People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they'll have good voice boxes in case there's ever anything really meaningful to say. - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

You know you are in love when you see the world in her eyes, and her eyes everywhere in the world. - David Levesque

So which is your favorite?
A Few Moments
Tomas Tranströmer

The dwarf pine on marsh grounds holds its head up: a dark rag.
But what you see is nothing compared to the roots,
the widening, secretly groping, deathless or half-
deathless root system.

I you she he also put roots out.
Outside our common will.
Outside the City.

Rain drifts from the summer sky that's pale as milk.
It is as if my five senses were hooked up to some other creature
that moves with the same stubborn flow
as the runners in white circling the track as the night comes misting in.

What's Love? by Daniel Handler

What's love, again? No, seriously: what is it? Why are you quoting song lyrics? Do the lyrics of love songs actually cut to the heart of the matter, or are they simply so vague that it feels like they do? Why does one's own love feel as if it cuts to the heart of things, but other people's loves feel like vague amusements? Why are love songs we don't like so noxious? How can we love a song so dearly for a number of years and then suddenly find it embarrassing? Also, a person?
Why is it that love feels so individual, and yet nearly every individual falls in and out of love in basically the same way? Why are stories of other people meeting and falling in love invariably tedious? Why are stories of other people breaking up so riveting? If love can happen in an instant how come it actually takes forever to get it together? Is love like taking a taxi, in which the route is important but the passengers could be anybody? Or is it more like driving a taxi, in which you end up in neighborhoods you'd never visit under ordinary circumstances, just because someone came into your life and bossed you around? Or it is more like trying to find a taxi in the rain, when everyone else is safe and dry and you're stuck on the corner wondering when in the world someone will come along and pick you up?
Why is love undimmed by the knowledge that there's absolutely no chance the person loves you back? How is it possible you can fall in love with three separate people who all go to your high school, but then not find anyone in the entire world later on? How could that boy or girl way back when have absolutely no clue you loved them? Also, how could they date that other, completely unsuitable person, when you were standing right there? In fact, why do so many supposedly sensible people fall in love with the ones who are so clearly going to make them miserable, and why, when these people try to answer this question, do they invariably use the phrase "my mother"? Why is it so easy to imagine how a love might work out, but so difficult to actually put this into practice? Why is love in the movies so completely unbelievable and yet tear-jerking, as opposed to, say, martial arts in the movies, or space travel?
If love has nothing to do with money, then why do lovers bicker about money so much? Why would it be so wonderful if one's lover gave one a million dollars, but so wretched if someone offered us a million dollars to be our lover? Or, maybe, not so wretched? Or, maybe if it were two million? Why does failure in other aspects of life actually make love more difficult, rather than easier? If honesty has everything to do with love, then why do we lie to the people we love more than anyone else? Why do we live with people we love, when sometimes we'd rather have absolutely anyone sitting at the opposite end of the couch except the person who is? How can we love someone and simultaneously despise every single thing they do for more than a month straight? Like, every six months?
Can you really love someone you met once a bunch of years ago who it's safe to say has never thought of you ever again? Why are some people breathtaking in their underwear and others mortifying, and how come we can't come anywhere close to agreeing on which people are which? Why are our friends considered an entirely different kind of love than our lovers, and why is it a miracle if these people get along? Why do we behave very much like crazy people wandering the streets when we're in love, and yet we never fall in love with crazy people wandering the streets? Why is it so miraculous to be loved by one person, but if we were simultaneously loved by several people it would be creepy? Why can't we have sex with anyone we want?
Why isn't love worth it, usually, when you tally it up? Can you really love somebody forever? If we're supposed to spend the afterlife with the ones we love, what happens if your loved one is some girl you haven't seen since high school? And, what if she loves somebody else? Is love like a volcano lurking beneath the city, simmering for years and then suddenly erupting when the time has come? Or is it more like a terrorist attack, containing an agenda so irrational that it cannot possibly excuse the damage it does? Or is it more like an Englishwoman in America, constantly misunderstood when the circumstances are not actually all that foreign? If cheese means different things in different countries, shouldn't love? Or, not cheese, but, know what I mean?
Say there's this guy Joe. Can he help it that he falls in love with people who don't make him happy? Or, that when they do make him happy he falls in love with someone else? And what about Helena — she's in love, but somehow this isn't enough. Shouldn't it be? And if it isn't enough, does this mean she's not really in love? It certainly seems to be spoiling the love she's in. And let's say there's a volcano underneath the city — doesn't that make things more urgent? Does urgency mean that you should keep the person you're with, or hold out for the best possible person? And what if the best possible person loves somebody else? For instance, what if Helena loves David, but David loves Peter, and used to love Andrea, who loves Tony, who thinks he loves Helena, who used to love Sam, who loves Andrea who now loves Steve, who might be the sort of person to murder somebody in the park — Eddie, for instance, who loves Hank, who ends up in a diner where two detectives are looking for the Snow Queen who loves Mike? Do you see what I'm getting at here?

Lessons From The Enemy

When someone falls from the sky, you just don’t know. They could be a god, but they could be one of us. You just have to wait and see. Most of the time they’re just another mortal, and you just need to make sure they’re not too happy, not too fulfilled. Keep them in the dark so they don’t really know what’s going on. They might join some social cause, they might wreck someone’s self esteem, but they are essentially average and hopefully discontent.
Sometimes you get one that is just waiting for some sort of immortality. One that’s aware of us. That knows it didn’t have just another nightmare. That realizes the gravitas. That knows you’ve been watching it all day. It isn’t mediocre. It doesn’t get drunk and go to bed. It talks to THEM and crusades against us. Or if we work it out right, it destroys. It kills something, maybe even itself.
When that happens it’s a clear win. Then it’s just like us. Even better, it chose to be just like us. It’s completely responsible for it. But sometimes, it decides it hates us. That’s the wrong word. Everyone hates us, we hate us. It decides to fight us. It doesn’t acknowledge that we’re there, but we’re not ignored either. It hurts us, but doesn’t even revel in it. It becomes garish. It stays in the lights, but doesn’t fear the dark. It decides it’s some sort of god. Some of us refuse to admit it gets stronger but it does. It starts to know things like what we can’t do. It doesn’t let us tell it things. It knows we lie. Our tricks work well, but not against a demi-god.
We say i need more belief in us. i say we need to face facts. We need to find the Ones and conquer. Because it decides who wins: us or THEM.

My writing again

I am saving lives
I am making enemies
I am finding my soul mate
I am knowing the unknown
I am falling in love
I am fighting wars in my sleep
I am writing the stories
I am keeper of the secrets
I am proclaimer of truth
I am crying for you...
I am conversing with the angels
I am conquering the alleyways
I am slaying the dragon
I am bowing to My King
I am learning to be queen
I am listening to my Divine
I am preparing for apotheosis.

Do we realize life is everything the poets and prophets claim it to be, and more? How deep the glittering ember of stardust is, when it's only one flame from a sun?

Faulkner and Fathers

In William Faulkner’s stories “A Rose for Emily” and “Barn Burning” (Faulkner), the protagonists both must deal with overbearing fathers. Emily’s father refuses to let her have boyfriends, and Sarty’s father Abner is an arsonist. We see how these authority figures dominate their lives indirectly, in “Emily”, and directly, in “Barn”. Faulkner creates a world in where no one is innocent, the need for control can be dangerous, and a break with authority can be necessary yet tragic.
Neither Emily nor Sarty are truly innocent, which traps them within an assumed innocence.
Emily is never allowed to experience romance until her father is dead, which makes her innocent of normal male-female relationships, but sadly experienced in a dominating, suppressive one. Her only other relationship is with her serving-man. It is very possible Emily views all men only as potential slave masters or slaves. There is no innocent first love, only a twisted one-sided relationship.
Sarty has also experienced hardship, due to his father’s pyrotechnics. Sarty is very aware of society’s laws and reactions to his father’s crimes. He has seen the destructive power of fire and his father shows this same destructiveness when he beats Sarty. Sarty tries to relate to his father, but cannot due to his experience of what arson really does.
In both stories, to be innocent is to be ignorant.
The townspeople are innocent enough to dismiss the smell at Emily’s as bad cooking or hygiene, and therefore miss the glaring evidence of murder. The pharmacist, while not completely naïve, does not have enough persuasiveness to stop Emily from buying arsenic because he has no experience with the situation.
Sarty’s siblings seem innocently ignorant as well. While we find it hard to believe they could be anymore innocent than Sarty, especially the accomplice older brother, they do not to seem to have the same grasp of their father’s actions. The sisters are lazy and unintelligent, and the brother follows Abner blindly.
In both stories, the need for control is dangerous and destructive.
Emily’s father controls her, and this leads to her wanting control over her lover, Homer Barron. Her desire is so strong she kills him, keeps his corpse and never leaves her house. Her home has become her own world in which she can control everything, even her lover. He will never tell her he’s not in the mood, that he doesn’t like the curtains, or that she shouldn’t go out tonight. More important for Emily, he will never leave her, at least physically or by his own volition. He can forever remain the ideal-no need to discover he’s a philanderer or an addict.
Abner exercises control over his family and over the element fire. Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to humanity, as a way to bridge the gap between them. This is basically how Abner utilizes fire. No barn is fire proof, no matter how much money or pedigree has gone into it. His employers may abuse him all they want, all men

are equal in the face of fire-and all are subservient to the one who controls it. Fire also represents rage, as both can be destructive and lose control in an instant.
Faulkner shows the sometimes tragic necessity of breaking with authority.
When Sarty finally betrays his father’s actions openly, it is at least partly in the interest of his family. They cannot keep travelling an losing jobs. They cannot constantly be put in the position of being made to commit perjury or take responsibility for actions that aren’t theirs. Sarty cannot continually be physically and mentally abused. The struggle of family vs. ethics/law/etc. is unsustainable, particularly for a child. Yet when Sarty hears gunshots, he knows it is likely that his father and brother are dead. Sarty will then have to reconcile the feelings of responsibility he may have.
In contrast, Emily never breaks with authority until she breaks what is the most crucial law-murder. Perhaps it is inevitable that those who feel oppressed will revolt, and perhaps it would have been better for everyone if Emily had done so earlier in her life. “Barn Burning” shows this necessity much more explicitly than “A Rose for Emily” does. We don’t actually know to what extent her father controlled her; it may have been very slight. It may have been incredibly abusive. We don’t know if it directly influenced her murderous ways, but one can reasonably assume so. One cannot act according to another’s desires forever. These stories show us the same thing experience has-the longer an emotion stays under wraps, the hotter it will grow, and the more combustible the release will be.
It may have been better for Sarty to turn in his father in the beginning as well. If Abner went to prison, it would have saved two lives. Perhaps what Faulkner is trying to say is that we should not subject anyone-ourselves or others-to someone’s own desires. Faulkner mentioned that the human heart was oftentimes in conflict with itself (Robbins)-add someone else’s heart and life in nearly unsustainable.
“Works Cited”
Faulkner, William. Selected Short Stories of William Faulkner. New York: Random House Inc., 1962.
"Edit Submission: Short Story Essay- Major Paper ." SLCC Virtual Campus. nd. 27 June 2008.

Very Cool

"If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down." - Ray Bradbury

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Although They Are by Sappho

Although they are

Only breath, words
Which I command
Are immortal

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Craft of Research

The Craft of Research
 Part II, "Asking Questions, Finding Answers"  (29) describes how to find a topic and develop it into a research paper. What the authors describe is essentially a cycle of question, answer, question, answer. We choose something of interest (say, pug dogs) and then say, essentially, what about them? Then, for example, you say something like, "Why are they bred with such short snouts?" You find the answer to that question, which leads to more questions and so on and so forth. Their advice seems to follow this general sort of pattern.
In Part III, "Making a Claim and Supporting It" (103), for instance, they recommend following a similar but more complex pattern of look at some evidence, draw a conclusion, anticipate a refutation of your conclusion, answer the refutation. It is a way of looking at claims somewhat similar to a court case, where the lawyer anticipates the cross-examination and so prepares his/her witness. Part IV ( 171) is essentially a more detailed "cross-examination" of claims as well as guidelines for writing style.
This book also includes an appendix of possible sources for future research projects (283). This is quite exhaustive and well organized. It also covers a wide range of topics.
This, combined with the anecdotes sprinkled throughout the book, the authors create the feeling that they are both knowledgeable and really understand what it is like to be a student, which reminded me of my uncle who works at CSU-Bakersfield. It also seems like they might work in different disciplines, however the author's note puts them all in English and Literature. This just further shows what a good job they've done being interdisciplinary.

Some ideas I especially will try is to use this appendix and other bibliographies to study things further. I think this will greatly improve my chances of finding usable evidence; as for now I simply type topic names into Google.
I also really like Section II  (29) because I always feel momentarily panicked when thinking of research topics. I also panic at some point during the research as well. The specific questions and templates the authors give for narrowing down a focus are extremely helpful, but not so complicated it feels like another assignment to answer them. 
A strategy I would like to implement is the storyboard (176). I have used storyboards in editing big group projects, but never a personal, individual one. It sounds a lot better than trying to keep nine separate Word documents open that I will never delete in case I lose something. So much copying and pasting...and being very visual and spatially oriented, it seems likely it will get my creative juices flowing as well.

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. WIlliams. The Craft of Research. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summaries-Integrating Sources. Exerpt Read in Writing 3011, June 2010.

Knowledge is cumulative, always building on what has come before. Primary sources are ideas that the writer will interpret, secondary sources are ideas that are interpretive that the writer builds on. Citing sources gives the writer credibility by differentiating between his/her original ideas and those s/he is building on and by substantiating his/her claims. One is obliged to cite sources so that the reader can determine credibility of that source. Citations show that a writer has thoroughly researched and thought out his/her subject.
Integrating Sources into a Paper
1.1  Three Basic Principles
Be concise. Clarify when you (the writer) are speaking and when you are referring to someone else’s work. Make it clear how this source or idea relates to the rest of what you are saying.
1.2  Rules For Quoting
Do not quote unnecessarily. Establish continuity between the quotation and your writing. Prepare your readers for a quotation and choose your words carefully while doing so. Follow punctuation rules and quote verbatim.
1.3  Quoting Blocks
For longer quotations, use a quotation block: ten spaces from the left margin, no quotation marks, with explanations before and after the block.
1.4  Using Discursive Notes
Add commentary to your paper to clarify your argument. Explain when things are your own translations or your unique way of citation. Suggest further reading, especially of ideas that have influenced or are similar to yours.
Citing Sources
            2.1 When To Cite
                        Cite when referring to facts, when quoting verbatim, when using some else’s ideas or method, or when mentioning their ideas or method in passing.
            2.2 When Not To Cite
                        You do not need a citation when the source material is obvious (such as when you have just cited it in the previous sentence), when dealing with commonly known facts, when using common phrases or ideas only discussed in conversation.
            2.3 Methods of Citing
                        Some methods of citing include sequential notes such as end or foot notes, in-text citations such as author-page style, or coding such as having a specific number for each of your references.
            2.4 Acknowledging Uncited Sources
                        While not all sources need formal citation, writers should acknowledge help from these other sources in an end or footnote.
Misuse of Sources
            3.1 Plagiarism
                        Plagiarism is appropriating another’s ideas as your own, whether by specifically saying that they are yours or by omitting source information. Plagiarism consists of failing to cite data, ideas, or methodology of another or by stating their words verbatim without quotation.
            3.2 Other Ways of Misusing Sources
                        Writers also misuse sources when they misrepresent evidence to suit their own claims, collaborate when disallowed or represent collaboration as the work of one author, submit the same work for two purposes, or help someone else misuse a source.
            3.3 Special Hazards of Electronic Sources
                        Online sources have special caveats-many are untrustworthy, so check your source out. Also, print it so you can produce it if necessary.
            3.4 Disciplinary Consequences
                        If caught plagiarizing, a writer will likely fail their course, receive academic suspension, and the mistake will remain permanently on their academic record.
            3.5 How to Avoid High Risk Situations
                        Do not procrastinate. Use mainly primary sources. Do not rely on a single source. Be sure to differentiate between your ideas and the ideas of others. Be engaged while taking notes. Do not try to write in a voice that is not your own. Do not read another’s paper or notes before writing yours, or collaborate with another person on your individual projects. Always turn in original (new) work. Backup your files. If you come across an idea similar to yours, acknowledge it and expound on it, or make a note referring to it and how you found it. Do not use this as a “trick” to cover a stolen idea.
Styles of Documentation
            This section gives straightforward “how-tos” on citation for different disciplines and styles.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

They Say/I Say

Chapter 1: Language is meaningless without context. If one wants to make a point, one should give some sort of framework for why they wish to make the point, or what conversations are already in place.
Chapter 2:When summarizing, it is common to over summarize, so that the reader drowns in details; or under summarize; so the reader has no idea of the context. An effective summary provides essential background and relates it to the writers own words.
Chapter 3: Quotes are engaging and give a writer credibility. The writer must provide relevance and context for any quotations used. It is best to avoid redundant language such as "There is a quote by Jefferson...."
Chapter 4: There are three basic ways to respond to an argument: to disagree, to agree, or a mixture of both, i.e. to (dis)agree with reservations.
Chapter 5: It is important to distinguish which ideas are the writer's and which the writer is summarizing or reiterating. A writer can use various voice markers to indicate who is "speaking", such as the first person.
Chapter 6: It can enhance a writer's credibility to address criticism in their writing, as long as the writer can convincingly defend his/her own ideas . If a writer finds the criticism too convincing, perhaps they need to write on a different topic or express his/her agreement with his/her reservations.
Chapter 7: A component of success (meaning others read the piece of writing) is the ability to define the audience and explain why the topic is relevant to them.
Chapter 8: Fluidity is paramount to reader comprehension. The easiest way to achieve fluidity is to make sure the individual sentences connect. Sentences of no to little relevance placed next to each other confuse the reader. After checking the individual sentences, the writer can evaluate the continuity of the work as a whole.
Chapter 9: A writers individual voice can have place in a formal paper. Often it adds interest and readability. A successful strategy for incorporating personal voice in writing is to balance it with more formal diction.
Chapter 10: Metacommentary is commentary on something the writer is writing; it is commentary on the more general commentary of the paper. It can help the writer clarify ideas that the reader may misunderstand. An example would be, "My point is not that we should do away with privatization, but that some institutions benefit from socialization."
Chapter 11: While class discussion is informal, it helps to integrate formal conversational strategies. Briefly summarizing a classmates point, for example, demonstrates that one is involved, understanding others correctly, and gives context to one's own arguments.
Chapter 12: Readers benefit by seeing writing as a response to an ongoing conversation. By noticing such cues as voice markers and pointing words, readers can interpret what the writer wants to say and why s/he is saying it.
Chapter 13: Scientific writing is primarily presenting data and interpreting it. While the data itself cannot be disputed, one can interpret it differently or find new implications thereof.
Chapter 14: Writing in the Social Sciences is usually analysis of behaviors and institutions. These subjects are often interpreted in many ways, and the meaning or significance of certain things are disputed. Common approaches to this writing include disputing interpretations, expounding on them, or explaining why something should be studied further.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Writing Life

1) Dillard's process—at least as she describes it on pages 49-52—involves trying to work herself up into a fury, drinking multiple cups of coffee, putting herself in a vise clamp (metaphorically), and smoking multiple cigarettes. In short, she engages in the physical manipulation of the self in order to attain a “writerly” state of mind, to find the “lions” so to speak. Do you engage in any physical rituals as you prepare to write? How much does your physical position affect your ability to write? Do you have any pre-writing rituals? If so, what do they accomplish? 

The main key to my writing-or anything else-really-is caffeine. I don't drink coffee though, so this means copious amounts of cherry coke. I like to write school papers in the library but I also like a healthy amount of very loud music when I write creatively. I end up writing in tempo to the music, with frequent breaks for air guitar and air drums. I sometimes end up writing in restaurants. I feel I can write okay in pretty much any situation, but some are better than others.

2) In the opening chapter, Dillard describes writing (or perhaps more accurately rewriting), as a process of knocking out bearing walls. When you write or rewrite, how often do you knock down those bearing walls? If we can think of bearing walls as the necessary structures that support, yet also put limitations upon, writing, who creates these foundations/limitations? That is to say, are the bearing walls to which Dillard refers generated by the writer, or by social constructions? 

I occasionally find myself knocking down the bearing walls of my writing. I think writers themselves put these limitations on their writing. It can feel like a betrayal to change/eliminate these original ideas.

3) Dillard uses myriad metaphors to describe the process of writing—Inchworms, bees, construction sites, exploding typewriters, etc. Do you find any of her metaphors particularly salient for—or applicable to—your own perception of writing? Do you have (or can you come up with) any metaphors or images that seem to describe your own writing process? Do you consider metaphors useful in this sense?

I really liked the metaphor of the inchworm. When I am struggling, I really do feel that overwhelmed after every sentence. I also like Ernest Hemingway's statement about sitting at a typewriter and bleeding. Sometimes writing is that raw, intimate, and painful. Sometimes I feel like I can barely get any blood out. I think metaphors are very effective when discussing writing.

4) Part of the reason Dillard uses so many metaphors (I think) is that she seems to take a “mystical” view of writing. Do you share her sense of mysticism when it comes to writing? If you do, it might be a line of narrative worth continuing. If you don't, then how do you view writing in more concrete terms?

I am pretty mystic. I tend to follow the original meaning of the word "inspire", that is, to breathe in the spirit of creativity.

5) It is possible (and I am truly not sure) that Dillard's thick prose, mystical descriptions, and constant use of metaphors are meant more to entertain and intrigue us than to say anything concrete about writing? It may be a mixture of both. Dillard is considered a very talented writer, as this book and other books show. But she seems determined to maintain a certain vagueness when writing about writing. Why?

I think it is mixed, but I also think she wants to create a sacred distance between writers and non-writers. She criticizes writing as a profession as well as young writers, but obviously she feels that she is a "real" writer.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Practice Sentences: Commas, Semicolons, and Colons

  1. The flooding was worst at the point where New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania meet.
  2. Because he loved to read, to write, and to edit, Mr. Diamond was considering a career in library work, marketing, or publishing.
  3. Salinger’s first novel, The Catcher in the Rye, captures the language and thoughts of teenagers.
  4. He has only one ambition: to produce a Broadway musical.
  5. If you blow out all your candles, your wish will come true.
  6. The district managers represent four regions: Terry Smith, Rochester, NY; Chris Adler, Superior, WI; Kim Young, Chimayo, NM; and Pat Golden, Tallahassee, FL.
  7. The weather report predicted high winds, freezing rain, and snow; the highway patrol advised caution when driving, yet the storm blew out to sea.
  8. My boss, who wears bright colors, is a cheerful person.
  9. He hires people who are energetic, efficient, and polite.
  10. When asked what she wanted to be later in life, she replied, “An Olympic swimmer.”
  11. The governor issued this statement: “I have done nothing wrong; the IRS will find that my tax returns are all in order.”
  12. Scientists spotted large numbers of dolphins, nurse and great white sharks, and blue, gray, and humpback whales, near the offshore station.
  13. She loves her car: a red Toyota.
  14. If you drop by the doctor’s office without an appointment, you can be sure of one thing: an icy reception.
  15. His dog, a big Labrador retriever, is afraid of mice.
  16. His recent painting, which is hanging in our local restaurant, shows dogs in various disguises.
  17. His recent painting that is hanging in our local restaurant shows dogs in various disguises.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bartholomae’s “Inventing the University”

Bartholomae’s “Inventing the University”

I found it very interesting that one reason one does not speak in the second person in an academic paper is that it is too didactic, obviously the professors and everyone the writer is citing are beyond the writer him/herself. At the same time, one must speak/write with authority, proving that actually one is on par with their audience or even beyond it. Once again the deliciously subversive qualities of education are revealed. Even as the student humbles him/herself in order to learn, one of the primary ways in which s/he does is by challenging the system and declaring "I am qualified to speak on this."
I always secretly thought one of  the things that made me a "good" writer is my ability to make stuff up-not facts, of course, but a mood, to not blink when I wasn't quite sure if I really knew what I was talking about. After reading Bartholomae's essay, I feel justified in this attitude.