Archive | November, 2012

The Research Essay (part one)

13 Nov

As a communication arts major, I found this weeks readings on the research essay to be particularly interesting. I’ve taken tons of journalism classes as well as creative writing classes. I have always thought the two to be just about as different as possible. Through this weeks readings, it was shown that the two can sometimes overlap.

The example that was given in one of the essays was travel writing. While this genre is journalistic in its style and nature, the actual content and language used is very creative. The author uses very descriptive and opinionated words, something you almost never see in typical journalism.

One article that I particularly enjoyed was B.J Hollar’s. In this article he talks about the tornados that struck his town and how this affected him. What I found to be the most interesting is that he took something that I’ve taken a class in, something I was sure would never show up in creative writing, and proved me wrong by discussing the two side by side–photojournalism. I thought it was interesting to see his perspective on how the two are somewhat related.

The South

13 Nov

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to move out of the south. I was born and raised here, and as such it will probably always hold a special place in my heart. That being said, I hate hot weather. I honestly think that’s one of the biggest reasons. I love winter and fall, and most of the time in the south we get two seasons: summer and slightly cooler summer. There are other reasons, of course (I’m more liberal than the south typically likes, I love big cities, etc.), but it doesn’t change the fact that I can’t wait for the day when I live up north.

That being said, there are some things I absolutely love about the south. I’ve found myself thinking about these things a lot lately, especially when my dream to move up north is starting to seem closer than ever. Here are just a few of those reasons:

1. Relaxing atmosphere: this may seem like a bit of a contradiction from my previous statement (the one about me loving big cities). While that is true, every time I’ve visited a big city, like New York, although I enjoy myself immensely, I still find myself getting very stressed and anxious with huge crowds of people. Seriously. I almost had a panic attack trying to figure out the New York subway system for the first time. In the south, however, though we still have our big cities, they are typically surrounded by relaxing, calm, towns where you can drive everywhere you need to go.

2. Phrases: I love the way that we southerners have found ways to shorten everything we say, and I’m not looking forward to the looks I’ll get for saying something like, “I’m fixin’ to,” or “y’all”, when I move up north. Perhaps one of my favorite things we say is coke. Everything is coke. Diet coke is a coke. A sprite is still a coke. While most people up north say soda or pop, we stick to coke. And I’m going to miss coke.

3. People holding doors: one of my teachers once told me about a time after she moved to Georgia from New Jersey, and someone held a door open for her. She was so shocked and amazed, she didn’t even know how to respond. I feel like the same thing will be true in reverse when I move. I won’t know what to do if the person in front of me closes the door behind themselves. Just yesterday, I was hurrying to catch an elevator, and the guy who was already on the elevator ran forward to throw his arm out to hold the door for me. My guess is that won’t happen up north.

4. General kindness: this could be broken down into several categories, but instead I’ll just say people are just nicer in the south, from my experience. For example, I took my car into the dealership today to get an oil change. I planned on just waiting until my car was done, but when I heard it would be an hour, I decided to just go to the closest shopping center for a little bit. I could have, in fact I planned on, walking to the center, but when the man at the desk heard my plan, he insisted I be given a ride by “one of his guys.” I’m serious. I’m writing this blog post from inside booksamillion while I wait on my car. How nice was that? And it’s something I’ll really miss.

Election Day

6 Nov

I normally refrain from posting anything about politics. I know a lot of people say that, but it’s true. I learned the hard way in high school that differing political opinions can ruin friendships, so it’s a topic I try to stay away from (unless I’m provoked, in which case I have no problem sharing my opinions.) I get so annoyed when people post countless facebook statuses or tweets about their political opinions and how [insert name here] would surely ruin our country because of his [insert beliefs here].

 

Considering that it’s election day these posts have become more frequent. A few days ago a friend of mine posted a video that she had watched. It was someone who was making a documentary at a Mitt Romney rally. They would walk up to the people cheering on their choice candidate and ask them questions about why they intended to vote for him, what they thought of various policies, etc. Do you know how these people responded? They didn’t know what to say! They couldn’t answer the questions or even describe Romney’s platforms. This got me very concerned.These people are going to go out and vote for someone they know nothing about to lead our country?

 

This made me do something out of the ordinary. I posted a political status. I know, I’m sorry. But to show you that it wasn’t slanted to a side. I’ll post verbatim what I said:

“Please be educated before you vote! No matter who you’re voting for, make sure you know the issues. Don’t just go based off of what you hear other people saying, think and educate yourself.”

 

See? That’s not so bad. I had people from both political parties liking the post, because it’s an honest plea aimed at both parties. Some people didn’t see it that way, however. My brother-in-law, who happens to not share my political views, sent me a message immediately on the defensive. He told me that he had educated himself, and that’s why he would not be voting for [insert name here]. I hold no hostility for people exercising their right to vote or their right to an opinion. The fact that we can vote differently makes us a democratic country. I firmly believe that everyone should be allowed to vote for whomever they like, I just hope that they are informed before doing so.

 

So I’ll make the plea again. I hope everyone goes out and votes today, but before you do, check some facts and make sure you actually agree with the person that you think you are voting for!

 

And now for a picture of my cat to make up for my political rant:

Lola in her heart shaped bed.

Place/Nature Essays

6 Nov

I really don’t like to admit it, but when it came to reading the place and nature essays, I found myself getting bored. That might sound bad, especially after the excerpt from Shadow Boxing: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction by Kristen Iverson. She talks about how people often find nature writing boring, but it’s much more than what they typically think.

 

It wasn’t that all of the readings from the nature/place genre failed to hold my attention. In fact, there were a few essays that I really enjoyed. For example, Into the Gulf: A Journal–Day 10: Beyond the Oiled Pelican, by David Gessner, was my favorite essay of the week. It was really interesting to read, and he did a great job of describing the things around him. He went into great detail about things in his daily life, that you might not ordinarily see in other genres. When he was describing the pelicans he saw that were covered in oil, I felt like I was there witnessing (and getting upset) with them.

 

I think what I liked best about Gessner’s essay is also what I liked about Nancy Lord’s “I met a Man Who Has Seen the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, and This is What He Told Me”. The best thing about both of these essays was the form that they were written it. Besides the topic and goal of the pieces, that obviously lets us know its a nature/place essay, the style there are written in reminds me of a linked essay or even a lyric essay. Because of the short bursts of essays, and the fact that each one told a different story, it held my attention a lot better than the others that read like pages of narratives.

 

Another thing I enjoyed from the readings this week was Gessner’s assignment, “Field Notes On Where You Are.” This seems like the perfect place to start with writing an essay from this genre. I am currently working on the task set out and I have already procured my field notes. I look forward to turning these into an essay.