In my writing, I have found that I work my best when I can just write freely, in the form of a stream of consciousness, and jot down all my thoughts in order to later edit the work into a concise piece. I write my worst when I think too hard about what I’m trying to do. If I put too much thought into my work whilst writing, I lose my drive and passion. This tends to happen when I don’t care as much about a piece or when I don’t take a real stance in the writing.
In my first bridge assignment, I harnessed my emotions about a powerful memory of mine and just wrote continuously as I recalled the memory. I later went back and crafted my words into an understandable, engaging story. I’m glad I got to start off with this assignment because I had free reign to unleash my skill and express an instance of my life with intense detail. This kind of open ended, but not vague assignment guides me rather than pushing me to create an effective narrative. My detail in describing the experience was very effective in crafting my perspective.
My weakest assignment was definitely the second bridge paper. My partner for the project, Rachel, and I didn’t have very descriptive stories when we had our discussion. It was kind of weird to have to explain a distinct memory to someone I didn’t know at all. I don’t trust someone enough at that point to really vent to them about a part of my life that I keep wedged in my mind. Because of the discomfort of the situation, we spent a good amount of time just trying to get to know each other a little. When we got to our memories, they were vague and I didn’t have a strong connection to be able to make a passionate story. I tried really hard to make up details that she hadn’t actually mentioned. I kept feeling dissatisfied with everything I wrote. I wrote many drafts and beginnings of drafts. Nothing felt good enough. Finally, I pulled together the story as best I could and hoped for the best. I didn’t get the grade I wanted, and I knew exactly why, and I ended up opting to do the redo. I recreated the entire piece to the point that it was pretty unrecognizable. I liked this second piece a lot better than the first draft. Even so, it’s still my least favorite writing of mine because I didn’t feel like I was connected to my piece. I don’t know what I would do in this situation if I were to do it again. I tend to get stuck if I am not hooked on my subject.
For the third bridge paper, I had to analyze a display in the Natural History Museum. I had the idea immediately, one display stuck in my mind. From the time I saw a particular display in the Native American exhibit that was really horribly done, I was disgusted and couldn’t believe the museum would neglect even cleaning it’s displays. I wrote quite a passionate opinion piece about how the mannequin should be redesigned and the display should be well maintained. I got remarks after submitting my rough draft about how I needed to be more specific. A classic critique about my writing; I tend to have issues with making my writing too general. I tried my best to narrow my focus and describe the specific display and say what I wanted to do to change it. I learned that I could have gotten even more focused on explaining what I would do to change the display.
For the final assignment, we did a research essay about an artist of our choosing. I chose Firda Kahlo and my research question was asking how she influenced feminist and feminist art. I focused primarily on how she influenced the feminist art movement in the 1960s in the United States. I detail her history and how her life lead to becoming an artist, opinions on if she was a feminist, how her paintings contain proof she was a feminist, more specifically how she inspired the feminist art movement in USA, and specific analysis of select paintings of hers. I’m very proud of the research I did to create this essay and I think I crafted a great piece. I submerged myself in her life and I learned a lot and continue to be inspired by Kahlo’s legendary artistry and message.
From the talking notes, I’ve learned a lot about creating a concise, accurate summary, about describing what sticks out to me in a piece and why, and about what kinds of questions to ask when reading a piece. It’s been helpful to read critically and write about one piece each week and I think it’s enhanced my reading and writing skills.
Overall, this semester has helped me learn a lot about my writing. This class has changed the way I think about other’s writing, and certainly about the way I approach my writing. I understand that as a writer, I tend to be too broad and that details distinguish my writing and can really make it unique and not cliche. I know that I write my best if I have interest in my topic. If not, I don’t have motivation and find that my story loses its purpose and meaning. I hope in the future, I can somehow work around topics I don’t find interest in and can sort of bend it to be something I feel I can write about. I also need to be able to step back from my work and look back with fresh eyes, or even get someone else to look it over to help me edit.
Another thing this class has been great for was discussions. Having discussions about the talking notes was insanely helpful. It opened my mind to entirely new possibilities. Before this class, I would not think about the connections in a piece as much. I would just read it and take what I wanted from it. In this class, we worked together to find the meaning and hidden connections within a piece, which made it all the more beautifully crafted. It made me appreciate intricacies deeper than just words on a page. Everyone in the class had completely different views and great arguments. Everyone contributed and cared, which made it all the more special. This was a very unique class and I’m grateful I got to learn from it.