||These are quotes
of good passages from first-year seminar portfolios (class of 2004). They have been approved by the authors for use
on the webpage.
Along with the shock of realizing the quality of writing that was required, came the aftershock of realizing the quality that was expected. Last minute efforts wouldn't hack it, and that was made clear form the beginning. However, effort was rewarded and the writing process greatly facilitated my proposed methods of writing and research. An example of that was out semester research project; an assignment that sounded daunting at first, but in actuality would be blissfully easy to write.
As Shakespeare once put it in his play As You Like It, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women are merely players; they have their exits and entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts." (Act II, scene iv) This quote sums up the focus of my first-year seminar class, Theater Appreciation. We learned all the behind the scenes details of the theater, what makes a good performance, and how to be a critical reviewer. I have viewed more than plays though. I have viewed my life as a new college student and as a college writer.
As Shakespeare said, "All the world's a stage, and all the man and women merely players." As the author of these papers, I am merely a player on the stag of life, performing as I write. I am playing to the reader, who is my audience. All I can do is put forth my best effort, and hope that the audience is pleased with my performance. And now, on with the show.
When I went in for my first conference with my professor about that paper, I was nervous about what he was going to say. I knew that I desperately needed help with the paper, but I was afraid of having my work criticized. In high school I has always thought of myself as a good writer and had never needed to seek outside help from anyone before, so I was not sure how to act when I walked into my professor's office and he started making suggestions on how to improve the paper. I tried to listen intently during the conference and process everything that he said, but at the same time I was overwhelmed with how much revising he was asking me to do. When I left his office that day, I left like throwing that paper in the trash and starting over. I resisted that temptation and instead let the paper sit on my desk for a couple of days until I felt up to the challenge of revising it.
"It's like a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest." This analogy Dolly Parton uses in the movie "Steel Magnolias" is a good reference to my writing process. Writing and I do not go together well; but not to unappetize my audience, I will tell you that I enjoy trying. I believe that writing, for anyone, is a skill that is not easily acquired. Classes like my first-year seminar, Women in Literature, are good for people like me, the writing impaired. I greatly enjoyed the class; it pushed my conceptualization of literary works. I think that my writing has transformed from a so-so high school book review to the beginnings of college paper that contain more depth in the analysis. My professor exposed me to new ways of writing that were so much more fun than the standard five paragraph essay I am used to. Dr Bashant (Wendy in class) had us compose poetry, letters, and essays to expand our horizons in literature.
The first piece I would like to share is entitled Chimes of Love because it represents how I learned to use detail with variety while simultaneously being concise. The poem describes my reflection of a fond memory. I found the assignment to be intriguing, for my professor instructed up to concentrate on a childhood memory that occurred in our kitchen. Closing my eyes I envisioned how light bounced off the shiny tile floor and how the chestnut hue of the cabinets resembled bacon. After roaming my imagination I retold my vivid memory on paper. It contained numerous short sentences that showed the beginning of a creative and detailed work of art. I then proceeded, as told, to remove extraneous ideas and simplify my thoughts. By this time, I was left with half of what I had started with. I was flabbergasted. In high school I had never learned hoe to revise a paper in such a way that would shoe the concise picture I wanted to paint. Professor Schlesinger then added an unexpected twist to the assignment. She asked us to transform the paper into a poem. I found this to be rather fascinating. A long story has now become a colorful poem.
I usually take the sculpture approach to my writing. An artist cannot sculpt without clay or some sort of mold in front of them. So I lay out my work word for word and do not stop for punctuation or proper grammar. Just like an artist would do I take the clay, my first draft, and delicately carve away the unwanted pieces and define the sculpture, or paper. My ending product eventually comes out. Starting with a bunch of jumbled words and phrases I revise over and over again each time detailing and sculpting my piece to make a final piece of artwork. I try to encourage people to try it that way. You cannot start a project without a base.
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E-mail Dr. Bob Marrs with any questions, comments or suggestions.