Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Response to Readings

This is one of my many responses to the readings we were presented in class, it discusses the piece “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros. I learned a good bit in these responses about what I feel when I read, how I choose to word it, and many other mental reactions that occur. I have never approached published works like this before. I have always read them and just accepted that this is how it is and what most people think and it is set in stone. To my disbelief though, for the first time I was asked to respond to published words challenging their integrity and correctness, adding on what I deemed necessary, interpreting what I wanted to take away from the work. I have now near the end of this course, become a responsive reader/writer knowing that I agree or disagree with what im reading however I please and then proceed to record it in writing.

A little bit more: my process for responding to readings is very open ended but contains a few definite steps. I first pick a part of the work that intrigues me or catches my attention. I then proceed to explore all the different things that come to mind and how It makes me feel. I then to express this in a way that is relevant to the work and logically conveys my opinion referencing words and phrases from the text if needed.

The Daybook

The day-books we use in this class have been one of the most eye opening tools or experiences to me. When I first heard we were going to be writing in day books I thought, oh great, now we will be forced to write every day about stuff we don't care about. Thankfully the actual experience was quite contrary. Lacy approached them from the beginning with the idea that these book weren't meant for "good writing" or organization or even legibility. They were treated as more of an outlet of raw concept and thought, expressed in very imperfect and unregulated written form. This revealed writing in a new light for me as we would begin each class with an activity that is called writing into the day. The best part about this activity is it posed a question or idea calling for a response from you the writer which allowed for exact feelings and opinions to be recorded on paper but, if the prompt of the day didn't suit me I was allowed to write about anything I  wanted. Writing really truly at this point became a form of expression for me not unlike talking or playing music. It was no longer an obstacle to over come but a means of learning, feeling, and being.

Google Plus!

Over that duration of this course I have become very familiar with the social media tool Google Plus. It has been an enlightening experience as I have become connected to so many peers on a science writing and learning level. Google Plus has been a great example and demonstration of writing as a tool for discussion. It all starts with a post from someone, talking about or questioning a scientific concept, a writing process, a connection between something in class and an outside source, or even just documentation. After this is posted people are able to reply to the author and each other, discussing their opinions on the subject or answering a question posed, which can lead to furthering the discussion into a more in depth state or maybe even a tangent that is more interesting than the original concept. This online tool has changed my perspective of writing and shown me that it is way more powerful than your average three paragraph essay and can benefit all those who participate.

Empathy Publication: Reflection and Revision

This whole publication process has been an interesting one. I was a little bit reluctant to get into it at first because of how formal it seemed but after a while I embraced the concept, accepting it as effective. The Idea of a group of people sending out a call that  that asks for the input of anybody who reads the call to clarify, elaborate, and inform people about a subject is pretty powerful. My group, who picked empathy and emotion for our subject, saw many people respond with all different types of pieces, some very scientific,  and complex, others more general and life relevant, all providing insight and varying view points on human emotions and how they work within us. This process shows that we as a people can very quickly compile useful information from multiple sources into one, accessible document that can be shared with everyone to better their understanding of what ever is being shared.

Before ours and others publications were finalized all the contributing writers were asked to revise and refine their works for almost everything from clarity to grammar, even idea development. I have included some of my contributing papers in their revised form, color coded with red meaning editing of already existing material and blue being added text.

Seeing all the blue shows that sometime it takes me a couple of sessions of sitting down with a piece im working on to totally develop my ideas.

Make Cycle One

For this first make cycle, I decided to go with the avatar option. The challenging part was incorporating all of the elements that identify me into a humanoid shape. To start off, when choosing the art style for this drawing I decided to pull inspirations from capcom's blue bomber megaman because he has always been one of my favorite videogame characters. The mechanical looking arm is supposed to represent my time spent as a child playing and building with legos where I learned a little bit about structure and mechanics. His legs are jet engines referencing my affinity to aviation that spawned at a very young age leading eventually to flight lessons. The musical notes coming out of these engines represents my musical talents that I only recently discovered my sophmore year of highshool. The badge on his chest is a startreck commbadge because I loved watching Startek as a child and it got me thinking about space and astronomy. the window in the top of his head contains a universe inside representing my very active imagination and the dirigible also reinforces my obsession with flying machines. I feel this avatar is a pretty good representation of my science experiences up to this point and he will be even beefier after college.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Reflection on Call for Papers

I have really been enjoying this section of the class where we develop our ideas on a larger scale and submit them to collections. I have been able to examine my writing processes to see how it works, and how ideas form and develop throughout the process. I said before that playing video games helps me write, but I wanted to dig deeper into exactly how they help. Initially when I begin writing many times if I do not know what exactly I want to say, I feel stress and intimidation. Playing video games greatly relieves stress for me and so I sometimes play them in sort bursts to calm myself before ideas have formed clearly in my head. They also aid these ideas in forming because I have found that if I walk away from something I am writing for a few minutes, the fatigue from sitting at my computer lessens and my mind clears up allowing thoughts to flow more freely and wander, sometimes in the right direction. I have found that playing music seems to have the same effect. It is calming and clears my head helping me rearrange jumbled thoughts into clearly connected "idea trees" that make writing so much easier.