12/19/2016

Read works by  Prof. Marsh

Objectives: Students will be able to reveal some element of culture that would have otherwise remained inaccessible or invisible through the lens of this one individual’s story.

Agenda

Do Now: Unpack the piece ” The Shadow Knows” by Beverly Lowry  or ” Finders Keepers: The Story of Joey Coyle” by Mark Bowden in a small group.

  • How does the story take shape based on what the author learns from your subject, rather than leading with his/her own assumptions?
  • How does the story “surprise” the author and reader?
  • What questions may have the author asked to gain the information or story that s/he needed to do the profile writing?
  • What element of culture do you believe the author tries to reveal through the narrative?

Teaching Point with Guided Practice

  • As author Beverly Lowry explains, literary journalism ventures deeper into complicated human material that the news may only touch upon; literary journalism “makes a stab at explanation.” How is your story an attempt to ” make a stab at explanation”?
  • Literary journalism (or new journalism) is defined in Tell It Slant as a form of creative nonfiction that “allow[s] writers the luxury of a first-person voice and the use of literary devices—scene, imagery, and so forth—in the service of reporting” (Miller & Paola 97)How does the story you are telling sound like it is your version not anyone else’s? 
  • Key points in “The Narrative Idea” by David Halberstam (PDF)
    1. Once you have an idea, it just flows out. Taking an idea, a central point, and pursuing it, turning it into a story that tells something about the way we live today, is the essence of narrative journalism.( 11)
    2. The more time, the more interviews you can do, the greater the density of your work.
    3. Telling a good story demands a great conception, a great idea for why the story works– for what it is and how it connects to the human conditions…you must be able to point to something larger.
    4. The more reporting- the more anecdotes, perception, and wisdom on a subject, the better. Ask: who else should I see? The more reporting you do, the more authority your voice has. The more views of any subject that you get, the better.
    5. Research and examine a good story. Figure out what the reporter did and how s/he controls the story and why it worked.

In Class Writing Exercise:

  • The writer must decide what larger meaning the story represents and lead the reader to that. What is the ” larger meaning” you are attempting to reveal?
  • If you had enough space to run with the full dialogue of your character, letting the truth of how people really speak, the truth what you saw? Select a dialogue and rewrite it to serve a specific purpose of whether it is to reveal a character or an issue or conflict.
  • Write our stories as natural story-tellers would. Don’t even stop for punctuation. Let the words fly. Based on the interviews you have conducted, tell the story within. Write non-stoppingly until the entire story is out. Don’t worry about punctuation.

Reflect: 

  • What is the sense of urgency or importance to your reporting?
  • Even though you are not the central focus, you will still be a peripheral presence in the story. How does your own subjectivity and positionality come into play in writing this piece?

Homework: Take some ideas from Deneen L. Brown’s “To Begin the Beginning” and start shaping the beginning of your narrative. “Begin with the specifics and then explain why; What’s the story about? What’s the theme? Where can I place a character quickly in a scene? How can I tempt the reader? How can I allow a reader to enter the subject’s thoughts, show her feelings? How do I use the beginning to establish a relationship with the reader? Beginning to read a story should feel life embarking on a journey, starting toward a destination.

Peer Review and Revision Workshop

Part I: Research

Objectives: Students will be able to add complexity to their essay about place and culture through research in traditional and non traditional methods.

Do Now:  Identify an area in your essay where you can add depth or complexity through research. Or ask a question on why you need to go deeper with this part of the essay?

Mini Lesson and Guided Practice

Workshopping: What kinds of non-traditional research might work well in grounding an essay on culture and place?  How do we add information and make it a seamless part of the essay?

  1. Unpack Madison Smartt Bell, “Sa’m Pèdi,” 331-355 ( In Fact)
  2. Share ideas and examples ( your own or from  published essays- Madison Smartt Bell, “Sa’m Pèdi,” 331-355 ( In Fact) to integrate researched information to your essay in an organic way.
  3. Present your findings to the class
  4. Describe one strategy you have learned from the piece from the piece and implement it in your own essay.

Independent Practice

Work in pairs: Critique each other’s essay only in regard to research. Is the research necessary? Does it take away or enhance the reader’s interests? Is the information an organic part of the essay? If not, how can we make it more organic? What other research needs can you help your partner identify?

Reflect: Based on the rubric of Unit three essay int he category of research, what else do I need to do to add complexity to  my essay?

Homework: Work to add complexity to your essay. Consider adding reflections, analysis and insight into your experience and observation into the larger culture or subculture. Think about why you frame the discussion of the place and culture in a certain way and what helped you make the choice. Bring in a hard copy of whatever you may have written for a workshop tomorrow.

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Part II Focus –Revision & Peer Review

Objectives: Students will be able to critique each other’s essay in google doc by using the questions and essay rubric provided.

Agenda

Do Now: Quick share in pairs where you are with your “place and culture” writing at this moment. What are you still struggling with?

Mini lesson and Guided Practice

We’ll first discuss what each question means in writing and make connections with sample essays we have studies in class.

They students will use the following guided questions to do a self-evaluation of the culture piece. Add comments in google doc. 

  • How did you forge discovery of your subject through moments of reflection, analysis, and insight into one’s own experience and into the larger relevant culture or subculture?
  • How did you provide a focused, complex, and nuanced treatment of a cultural issue?
  • Did you move your essay through both horizontal and vertical movements?
  • What helped you with making the decisions about framing your topic?
  • What images did you use to help arrange the material strategically?

  Student  Independent Practice

Workshopping: Provide feedback for a partner in your group . Consider using the following craft questions to provide critique:

  • Is there a distinctive theme emerging in your essay (themes as borders, relocation, immigration, resettlement, exile, homelessness, diaspora, pilgrimage, refuge, sanctuary, travel, the environment, urban spaces, suburban and rural landscapes, farming, gardening, architecture, and the emotions and relationships that accompany these many links to place and displacement)?
  • Did you explore conflict over a given space between individuals and communities?
  • Are there any individual and group encounters that give meaning to certain spaces?
  • In your essay, have you started addressed any of the following questions?
    • What is culture? How is it linked to place?
    • What’s the role of places in shaping culture?
    • How do the rules and rituals associated with a place shape the behaviors, beliefs, and bonds of the people who inhabit it?
    • How does the history of a place leave its mark on the present?
    • What’s the role of culture in leading to certain acts of place-making: i.e., the construction, architecture, interior design, arrangement, and decoration of the place?
    • How do our identities and social positions determine our experiences of particular places?
    • How much control do we have over our participation in and experience of culture and place?
    • To what extent do we construct culture, and to what extent does it construct us?

If you are still struggling with ideas, use the following Writing Prompt to help you: Consider exploring the “foreignness” of the culture you have been writing about. What makes it foreign to you? How does your rejection to or acceptance of it reveal who you are? Use Stephen Dunn’s “Locker Room Talk,” 149-151as a model to explore “foreign” culture in a familiar place.

Assessment: Please share with the teacher, in google doc, your peer reviewed essay with comments.

Homework:  Use the notes from the workshop to help you expand the essay. Consider using an appropriate form to suit the content. Focus on using scenes and imagery to reveal culture.

Additional reading that will help you understand the topic:

  1.  John Calderazzo, “Running Xian,” 168-171 ;
  2. Tim O’Brien, “LZ Gator, Vietnam, February 1994,” 60-619 ;
  3. Cynthia Ozick, “The Shock of Teapots,” In Short 68-71
  4. Pay close attention to the tone of each author when describing or exposing a foreign culture

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 Part III Revision-Lyricism

Objectives: Students will be able to add lyric quality to their essay by using imagery to describe the physical landscape of a place.

Do Now: What’s lyricism again? Pair share an example.

Mini Lesson and Guided Practice

Workshopping:

  • When you describe the physical landscape of a place, did you consider using a unique imagery to establish your unique perception of the place?
  • Does the way you describe the place seem to be cliché? Anyone could have seen it anywhere? Is there a personal stamp you put on the place?
  • Is your word choice innovative or again just cliché?
  • Do you often write short sentences or complete sentences? How about considering using fragments, short and long sentence to create a rhythm?
  • Is it possible to use a form more suitable to your essay content?

Workshopping on character profile

How descriptive and detailed are your scene and character portrayal?

  • Did you include strong detail rendered through interesting language and well-crafted scenes?
  • How vivid are the characterizations and place descriptions? Can the reader see what you see through the detailed descriptions?

Assessment: Teacher provides feedback to individual essays based on the self evaluation and peer review comments.

Independent Practice

Time to work on revision individually or have one-on-one conference with the teacher.

Homework: Use your notes from the workshop to revise or complete your essay. Focus on adding lyricism to your essay- imagery, figurative language, avoidance of cliché, word choice that is innovative and precise, attention to phrasing, the rhythm of your sentences. Be prepared to share your examples in the workshop. Share a peer reviewed draft with me using google doc.

Proofread your essay. Check the sentence structure, word choice, use of verb tenses, point of view, and use of punctuation.

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Part IV Focus-Revision: Establishing a Pack with your reader

Objectives: Students will be able to fine tune their essay by focusing on tone, context, ethical representation of subjects and precise choice of language to establish a pack with the reader.

Do Now: What does ” establishing a pack with the reader” mean? Pair share.

Mini Lesson and Guided Practice: 

  • How do you know you are establishing a pack with your reading?
  • How is each element listed below represented in your essay? Find details in your essay that illustrate each concept.

Workshopping: How successfully did you establish a pack with the reader? Consider the

  • tone, context, precise choice of language,
  • ethical treatment of subject matter, ethical representation of subjects, and
  • a mature, in-depth, well-researched approach to the topic.

Workshopping: Proofreading. Did you use…?

  • Variety of sentence structure to create rhythm and pacing and punctuation to make the reader “hear it” the way you imagine the essay sounding.
  • Precise word choice and verb tenses
  • Appropriate point of view to treat the topic ethically and fairly

Assessment: Present the examples in your essay that represent the literary strategies that can be used to establish a pack with your reader.

Independent Practice

Time to work on revision individually or have one-on-one conference with the teacher.

Homework:

Share your writing with a friend or family member and ask if the way you treat the subject matter sounds fair. What does your friend think of the tone of your essay? If the tone is not clear, how can you make it clearer considering your own intention? Print out a copy of your friend’s feedback and your revision and bring them to the class for the workshop.

Continue working on the essay. Focus on crafting scenes, strong characterization and place description. Be prepared to share a specific highlighted scene, a character and place description to share in the workshop. Essay due on Friday. Dec. 2.

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Part V

Objectives: Students will be able to evaluate an excerpt of the place and culture essay by using the Unit 3 rubric in a small group.

Do Now: How has research added complexity to your essay? Pair-share.

Mini Lesson

How to integrate researched information into your essay organically and add complexity to your narrative without making it sound like an informational essay?

  1. Unpack ” Using research to expand your perspectives” ( page 71 in Tell it Slant
  2. ” Sam Pedi” : How does the author use researched in for in his piece? ( page 342-343 In Fact)

In a small group, discuss, how does the author integrate research seamlessly? Present to the class.

If you ares till struggling with writing descriptions , pleas read “Writing the physical place” chapter ( page 25 Tell it Slant).

Independent Practice

  1. In a small group, share an excerpt of your essay that includes descriptions of a place and character in a scene. Use the rubric to evaluate your peer’s writing and provide feedback.
  2. Reflect on Unit 3 (

Assess: What have you gained about integrating research into non fictional writing?

Homework:

  1. Read and create a dialectical journal of Tell It Slant, review pp. 97-99 on “Literary or New Journalism”( What signifies literary journalism?);
  2. Tobias Wolff, “Last Shot,” 57-59 (In Short) ;

Notes: Before you hand in or email me the final draft of the culture essay, please do the following-

  1. Save a pdf copy of your draft with a peer’s comments and email it to me as an attachment ( in the same email)
  2. Share with me your final draft and Reflection

 

 

 

Connecting Place with Culture

Part I

Objectives: Students will be able to reveal a culture of any sort through describing a place where memories took place by means of personal writing as well as group discussion.

Agenda

Do Now: What thoughts have come across your mind in regard to writing about a place? Pick one or two reasons to explain why you want to write about the place.

  • I write to recapture, to preserve and return to the past.
  • I write about loss and feelings unhinged in provisional places where everyone else seems to have a home and a place…
  • I may write about a place and displacement but what I’m really writing about is dispersion, evasion, ambivalence…
  • I may write about a little parks in New York that reminds me of Rome… and about so many spots in the world that will ultimately take me back to Alexandria…I turn to Alexandria, the mythical home of paradox.
  • I write to find out who I am.
  • Writing about Alexandria helps me give a geographical frame to a psychological mess…
  • I keep writing about places. It is because some of them are coded ways of writing about myself
  • I write about diaspora, dispossession but these big words hold my inner tale together, the way lies help the truth afloat.

Mini Lesson:

Create a story map based on “Why I ride” .

  1. Use a headline-styled phrase to describe scenes that develop horizontally
  2. Before each scene, name the place with its geographical features
  3. Use semantic web mapping  to show the family history
  4. Use down arrow sign to suggest vertical development

Independent Practice

According to Barry Lopez,

  • There are two landscapes-one outside one self, the other within. The external landscape is the one we see- not only the line and color of the land and its shading at different times of the day, but also its plants and animals and season, its weather, its geology, the record of its climate and evolution… these are the elements of the land.
  • The second landscape is an interior one, a kind of projection within a person of a part of the exterior landscape… the speculations, intuitions are formal ideas we refer to as “ mind” are a set of relationships in the interior landscape with purpose and order, many impenetrably subtle.
  • The shapes and climate of these relationships in a person’s thinking re deeply influences by where on the earth one goes, what one touches, the patterns one observes in nature- the intricate history of one’s life in the land, even a life in the city where wind, the chirp of birds, the line of falling leaf, are known. The interior landscape responds to the character and subtlety of an exterior landscape, the shape of the individual mind is affected by land as it is by genres.

Students will-

  •  1) Continue writing about “home”;
  • 2) Consider in Barry Lopez’s “Landscape and Narrative” (PDF) (How does Lopez define exterior and interior landscapes?)
  • 3) Read Gretel Ehrlich’s “From The Solace of Open Spaces” (Consider: How does the exterior landscape of Wyoming shape the interior landscape of its people? Pay attention to the contrasting details of how the wide open landscape is juxtaposed with the narrow-mindness of the people who inhabit the place.)

Reflect: How does the landscape of your place shape its people  and culture?

HomeworkWriting Prompt: Is there any particular trait of an external landscape that has somehow shaped your “internal landscape”- your views, character, and identity? Describe the particulars about the external landscape that have had profound impact on making you on you are today. The external landscape can be from your childhood where you grew up or the urban landscape you live in right now. What is one part of you that you feel is imprinted by your environment such as your neighborhood? Avoid writing the most obvious or cliché (tough personality shaped by rough neighborhood, etc.) . Delve into the physical specifics of the place and why they have shaped your identity. Think of Michael Dorris’ “Three Yards”, Richman’s “Why I Ride” and Gretel Ehrlich’s “From the Solace of Open Spaces”. To go even further, write about a particular culture that is embedded in certain physical traits of the environment you live in. How is the place unique in its own way although it is part of broad urban landscape? Why is it special to you? Continue to draw connections between what Barry Lopez’ describes as “the shapes and climate of these relationships in a person’s thinking” and “where on the earth one goes, what one touches, the patterns one observes in nature- the intricate history of one’s life in the land, even a life in the city where wind, the chirp of birds, the line of falling leaf, are known”.

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Part II

Objectives: Students will be able to reveal a culture of any sort through describing a place where memories took place by means of personal writing as well as group discussion.

Agenda

Do Now: Pick one of the following statements by Lopez and respond-

According to Barry Lopez,

  • There are two landscapes-one outside one self, the other within. The external landscape is the one we see- not only he line and color of the land and its shading at different times of the day, but also its plants and animals and season, its weather, its geology, the record of its climate and evolution… these are the elements of the land.
  • The second landscape is an interior one, a kind of projection within a person of a part of the exterior landscape… the speculations, intuitions are formal ideas we refer to as “ mind” are a set of relationships in the interior landscape with purpose and order, many impenetrably subtle.
  • The shapes and climate of these relationships in a person’s thinking re deeply influences by where on the earth one goes, what one touches, the patterns one observes in nature- the intricate history of one’s life in the land, even a life in the city where wind, the chirp of birds, the line of falling leaf, are known. The interior landscape responds to the character and subtlety of an exterior landscape, the shape of the individual mind is affected by land as it is by genres.

Pair-share.

Mini Lesson:

Read and discuss

  1. “The Clan of One-Breasted Women” by Terry Tempest Williams:

a. How does each author use the place as a canvas set in a cultural or historical context in which s/he paints its people?

b. What cultural issues does each author explore? How are the issue directly linked to the place? Why do they bear distinctive marks of the places described?

2. Gretel Ehrlich’s “From The Solace of Open Spaces

a. How does the exterior landscape of Wyoming shape the interior landscape of its people? Pay attention to the contrasting details of how the wide open landscape is juxtaposed with the narrow-mindness of the people who inhabit the place.

Independent Practice:

Create a semantic web to explore the possible ways to writing about your place:

  • its landscape,
  • its inhabitants
  • the relationship between the landscape and its inhabitants
  • family/neighborhood history
  • tension: visible or invisible, homey yet “homeless”

Writing Prompt: Reframe the place you have been writing about or seek a new place in your memory. Is there a particular cultural or historical context about the place? Do some research and dig it out. How does the cultural or historical context shape who you are or the people who live within? Is there a particular language people use, a health issue people share, ritual or belief they follow, certain attitude, the way they demarcate the place, a shared identity? Do you fit in the culture of the place? Is there a tension among different people who live in the same place? What cause the tension? Where is it going? How do the culture, tension, and changes affect you? Do you want to stay or leave? Do you have conflicted feelings? Why?

Reflect: What really caused the tension in my place? Internal or external? Cultural or economical?

Homework: Continue writing and developing ideas about a place.

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Part III

Objectives: Students will be able to draft their place and culture essay by following the workshopping ideas or an individual conference with the teacher.

Agenda

Do Now: Describe a place where you experienced a cultural clash or conflict. What kind of place was it? What caused the conflict?

Mini Lesson:

Activity 1

In William Harrison’s piece ‘ Present Tense Africa”,  –

  • What particular places in Africa does Harrison describe?
  • What cultural issues does he direct the reader’s attention to either subtly or directly?
  • How does he infuse the descriptions of the culture of each place in his essay?
  • Does he show his attitude toward the different cultures he experiences? How do you know?
  • What do you believe compel the author to write about Africa?
  • What does the title suggest his attitude toward the place and its people?

Activity 2

How would you describe your place and reveal the culture within at the same time?

Independent Practice

Workshopping: Share your feedback with the writers in your group(Refer to the heuristics about “Strategies for Productive Workshopping” and “Craft Questions”). You may also consider the following at this point-

  • Is there a distinctive theme emerging in your essay (themes as borders, relocation, immigration, resettlement, exile, homelessness, diaspora, pilgrimage, refuge, sanctuary, travel, the environment, urban spaces, suburban and rural landscapes, farming, gardening, architecture, and the emotions and relationships that accompany these many links to place and displacement)?
  • Did you explore conflict over a given space between individuals and communities?
  • Are there any individual and group encounters that give meaning to certain spaces?
  • In your essay, have you started addressed any of the following questions?
    • What is culture? How is it linked to place?
    • What’s the role of places in shaping culture?
    • How do the rules and rituals associated with a place shape the behaviors, beliefs, and bonds of the people who inhabit it?
    • How does the history of a place leave its mark on the present?
    • What’s the role of culture in leading to certain acts of place-making: i.e., the construction, architecture, interior design, arrangement, and decoration of the place?
    • How do our identities and social positions determine our experiences of particular places?
    • How much control do we have over our participation in and experience of culture and place?
    • To what extent do we construct culture, and to what extent does it construct us?

Homework: Writing Prompt: Unit 3 #7

 Even if we don’t travel abroad, we still experience “foreign” culture in our own neighborhood. What makes the culture foreign to you? How does it affect you? Does it conflict with your own culture? How? How has the “foreign” culture played out in shaping the identity of the place (neighborhood) and you as an individual?

Writing about a place( home)

Objectives: Students will be able to explore the meaning of a place of home, in other words, how the place shapes his/her identity. through writing and discussions.

Do Now: Make a list of what home means to you.

Mini Lesson: 

  1. How does  the memory of home shape the narrator’s life as revealed in  “Three Yards” by Michael Dorris, In Short 203-205?
  2. How does the write explore her heritage through a personal narrative as portrayed in “Sanctuary ” by Jane Moress Schuster In Short 244-246 ?

Independent Practice:

  • Groups 1/2: What does home mean when “ home is away”?

How “Thank You in Arabic” by Naomi Shihab Nye(pdf) ( Consider:  Through her journey from the US to Egypt to Jerusalem back to the States, how does the author reassess her understanding of home and identify? How does the culture of each place to which she traveled shape her identity or her views of home?)

  • Groups 3/4:  Discuss Jana Richman’s “Why I Ride” In Fact 395-418 (How is her identify shaped by the place, Utah, where she has deep family history? Why is Utah the ultimate home to her?)

Reflect: What new meanings does home bring after your reading of pieces?

Homework: Compose a piece about home.

Unit 3 #4

Many of us find our sense of “desh” blends real and distant-maybe unseen- places. Is your family one of the many in this country that embodies a divided sense of home? What does home mean to you, your siblings, your parents? Some may say “home” is where there’s a room for me to unpack my things’. Think about whether there is a single place- a physical location- your family defines as “ home,” or what you do as you move around to bring the sense of home with you. Consider writing an essay in which you unpack the complex layers of meaning in the word home, with specific references to all the possibilities (Tell It Slant 36).

Unit 2 Reflection

Objectives: Students will be able to reflect on unit 2 project through small group discussion and class sharing.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.3.B
Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

Do Now: Check on turnin status of the unit 2 essay. Select and read one paragraph or scene ( 30 seconds or 1 minute) for the class.

Mini lesson: 

Critical Reflection

Your critical reflection should be approximately 2 pp. in length.  Please review your own pre-writing for this essay and reflect on crucial moments in the process of its development.  Consider these questions, but don’t try to answer them all.  Respond to the questions that speak most profoundly to your experience in composing this essay, or address other aspects of the composition and revision process:

  • Discuss some quotes or key passages from our Unit 1 or 2 readings that influenced your thinking about how to craft your personal/lyric essay, how to represent yourself as a speaking self in the essay, and how to arrange your material into the final draft.
  • How did you decide on a topic for this essay? What other topics did you consider, and what made you settle on your final selection?
  • Discuss a moment in the composition or revision process when your thinking took a sharp turn.
  • Describe your most significant discovery or intellectual breakthrough in composing/shaping this essay.
  • What aspects of this essay are you most proud of?
  • What are you still struggling with?

Independent Practice:

In a small group of 3-4, discuss and share your reflections based on the questions above.

Assessment: Students turn in their reflections.

Homework:  What is culture? Read Sherman Alexie, “White Men Can’t Drum,” In Short 152-156( What cultural issues does Alexie address in the essay?)

 

10/18 Review

Lyric Essay Review Notes:

Model lyric essays you need to read to learn how to braid your personal essay-

  • Stephen Corey, “A Voice for the Lonely,In Short178-182
  • Carol Lucci Wisner, “Stonehenge and the Louvre Were Cool,” 253-258
  • Gretel Ehrlich; “A Match to the Heart,” 219-220 In Short  (What central image does she use to portray her experience of being struck by lightning? How does she use white space of the page, incorporate figurative language and lyrical turns of phrase,and leverage images to complicate the meanings?)
  • Charles Simic, “Three Fragments,” In Short 191-192
  • Richard Rodriguez, “Proofs,” 48-54
  • Will Baker, “My Children Explain the Big Issues,” In Short 133-135 (How does Baker piece his different pieces together leaping over time, place and subject?)
  • Brian Doyle, “Being BriansIn Fact 163-173 (How doe Brian Doyle piece all Brians’ responses together in his essay?)

A. Focus-Self as a Character/social actor

Brainstorm ideas associated with  “Growing Up Game“ by Brenda Peterson –

(Consider your own gender. What expectations are on you because of your gender? How do you feel about those expectations? Were you ever envious over another gender? If so, why? Have you ever been discriminated against because of your gender? What sorts of tasks do you perform at home, in school, in life, which are gender-based?   What does your gender “get” you? What does it exclude you from?) 3) Judyth Har-Even, “A Walk Through the Jewish Divorce Ceremony,” In Fact, 269-287 ( How does the author become a character and her life an intense drama? How does the author even use dramatic acts to develop her narrative?

B. Writing Exercise: 

Think of yourself in the 3rd person–seeing yourself move through the world as a protagonist.

  • First, make a list of your quirks ( “mine your quirks”) -idiosyncrasies, stubborn tics, antisocial mannerism, and so on that set you apart from the majority of your fellowmen( learning to drive at a much later time in life; growing up game). Quirks can also be those small differences that make us feel self- conscious when standing among a crowd. Then focus on one particular “quirk” and describe it in details using all the five senses if necessary.
  • Now dramatize the protagonist. Situation yourself in a setting or a social situation. Describe it. Put yourself in an action scene(s), engage in a dialogue and see how your quirky characteristic gets played out (revealed) layer by layer (typically characteristic gestures, the ways the character speaks, i.e. “ I imagined his fingers twirl them with his blunt carpenter’s fingers”
  • All good drama needs tension. What is the tension (conflict)- physical, psychological, emotional? What seems to create the tension? Does it involve other characters? How? Portray other characters’ “quirkiness “through thoughts, direct speech and action. Let the readers feel the tension through characters’ action and words.
  • Finally, draw connections between the physical event and philosophical reflection, which may serve to help the readers question themselves or the world they live in.

C.  What ideas can we borrow from Stephen Corey, “A Voice for the Lonely,In Short178-182?

Use the Stephan Corey’s essay as an inspiration and write about a song or your favorite singer whose song inspired you or connected you to your “ burning question”.  Write down the lyrics, or at least those you remember, and then take a few minutes to jump off of that into a freewrite.  With whom do you associate this song/rhyme?  Is there a particular occasion, place, or time of day you connect with it?  When you think of this song/rhyme, what feelings and/or memories do you associate with it? Can you use a line from the song to “braid” your essay?

D. Writing about Secrets

{Reading and Unpacking: Sandra McPherson, “Secrets: Beginning to Write them Out” (PDF); Lauren Slater, “Three Spheres,” 3-23; Carol Lucci Wisner, “Stonehenge and the Louvre Were Cool,” 253-258]

(Notes from McPherson’s “Secrets”-For what reasons would you refuse to write about it? Have you at some time written about a subject or event that you withheld for a long time? If so, describe what you went through to get it on the page. Writers need especially to feel confident about the decision they have made for themselves- to reveal or not to reveal. Snodgrass wrote, “When events in the poem became no longer applicable in my life, they will be applicable to feelings of other lives.” We should place our work in history. The writer, unlike journalist, maybe struggling to survive a story of much personal anguish. We must ask for things we may not want to hear but which we crave because they are true. We must do it without tattling, or without a tone of tattling, gossiping or babbling.  To write about painful memories, we need to learn to ask questions about what we don’t see and to be good observers of what we do see. Any private story is human history not just your own. It can help someone else to live, some else who is perhaps feeling hopeless. Tobias Wolff says a good writer has “the willingness to say that unspeakable thing, which everyone else in the house is too coy, or too frightened, or too polite to say.”)

E. Writing Exercise Write about something you have decided you will never write about—or you were told never to “tell”—without saying exactly what that is.  Try, of course, to do this in the context of your conversation with your burning question.  Have others instructed, urged, or pressured you not to talk about certain issues?  Not to talk or write in certain ways or in certain kinds of language?  Or perhaps actually forbade you to “talk”? You might do this exercise by writing a dialog that imagines someone’s response to your “telling.”  For example, “If I told about X, so-and-so would ______.”  Or by writing an anecdote that tells a story of an imagined consequence of your “telling.”  Or you could free-write a list of reasons you haven’t told—with concrete, narrative or descriptive details for each reason—if for any reason you do not want to “tell.”  (Note: You do not have to include the writing you do here in your essay—this is just an exercise.)

Homework: Email a completed 1st draft of your essay to your group members. Be sure to read your peers’ essays before the workshop and bring three copies of your 1st draft to the class on Tuesday so we can workshop it in a small group of 3.

Review

Review

  1. Write a paragraph or two to describe a central idea you have had. In your writing, explain how the story you are reporting and writing is connected to the idea. If you don’t see the connection, what steps do you need to take ( more reporting of relevant event, action or the character, more interviews, more research ) so you can turn the idea into a story that represents the way we live or human conditions.
  2. Writing Prompt:In LeBranc’s essay, she provides advice for writers who have never attended journalism school and yet need to report their subjects journalistically? She streamlines ideas from picking a topic to determining the topic to when to start drafting scenes to how she should conduct interviews. Write a paragraph or two to explain what your own responses are to the events or situations described in your narrative as well as what you want to believe on the issue involved. Are there any “blind spot” or “dead end”? What are they? How can you unravel them? If you still feel on the outside, how can you move closer to the inside? Read the parts you have written, is there a particular person or subject you keep coming back to? Are there any dialogues between you and the subject? If not, how can you move forward to secure one? If yes, is the dialogue revealing about your subject? Do you need to go deeper through more interviews? What has your experience been like since the day you started the project? Have you been taking notes or writing journals to keep records of the development of the project?

Continue probing into your narrative and use yourself as the “thermometer”. How far have you gone into the reporting and researching? What else needs to be done? Have you been writing scenes as you gather information about events and actions?

Writing Prompt: Lowery advises, You go with what instinct tells you”. Set up an interview with someone you don’t know but may be able to provide information about the person or event you are writing about. Explain why you want to talk to the person. The story you are after may be an event of some consequence or of little significance at all. Prepare questions. Do your homework. Be ready to explore new territory when unexpected news comes your way. Write a scene. Fit the interview into the story, using direct quotes only when they contribute to the story you are telling and move the story alone.

How does the structure reveal meanings that are beyond the story itself?

Key ideas from “ A Story Structure”-

  • All our lives are lives are narrative…story is something else: take select pats of a narrative, separately, then from everything else, and arranging them so that they have meaning. Meaning is intrinsic to storytelling.
  • We mistake meaning for opinion. Journalism has very little to do with meaning. …what made stories powerful…character and plot.
  • Anton Chekov defines a story by its points of change, or plot points. The first point of change, at the end of the beginning, is the character complication. It is the point when main characters runs into something that complicates his or her life ( not necessarily a conflict but something that forces the character to exert effort.
  • The key is to find the significant point of change.
  • “Points of Insight”, the moment when the story turns toward the resolution, when the main character ( and/or the reader) finally grasp the true nature of the problem and knows what must be done about it.
  • Good stories show how people survive.
  • All stories have three layers-
  1. The top layer is what actually happens- the narrative
  2. The next layer is how those events make the main character feel. If the writer succeeds in getting the reader to suspend disbelief and see through the character’s eyes, then the character’s and the reader’s feelings will be joined.
  3. There is another layer below the factual and the emotional. It’s the rhythm of the piece and evokes the universal theme: love endures, wisdom prevails, children mature, war destroys, prejudice perverts.
  • The rhythms are the most important to storytelling. Storytelling can be symphonic.
  • The narrative writers may choose to speak at three levels very consciously, but the effect on the reader is usually unconscious.
  • Rhythm exists in story from the sentence level right up to the sectional level.
  • We like stories because we think in stores; it is how we derive meaning from the world.
  • You know the narrative behind the piece of news. The human mind looks at the evidence- new information and past experience- and figures out scenario, forms the narrative. This is why structure reveals meaning and why we like stories that have structure.

Homework:

Writing Prompt: Review the story you have written so far. If you have had a strong beginning that immediately and clearly drives the reader to read on, then how is the body of your story? Are all scenes or events written in a chronological order? Try to switch scenes around and see the effect the change may bring. Are all scenes about the protagonist? Can you add some paragraph profiles about other people in the subject’s life? Did the events reveal how the character feels instead of your own feelings? Is there a clear trajectory where your story is going? What is it like? How can you connect the structure of the story with the universal theme of the story? 

Discuss “The Naked Citadel” by Susan Faludi-

  • How does Faludi use summary narrative passages to link dramatic scenes? What effect does the shift have on the reader?
  • Select an example of summary narrative in the essay and identify the traits of the passage (emphasis on the abstract, collapsed time, employment of direct quotes, topical organization, omniscient point of view, writer’s hovering over the scene, statement of outcome instead of process, high end on the ladder of abstraction, consisting of digression, backstory, and explication)
  • Select an example of dramatic narrative and identify the traits within (emphasis on concrete details, reader’s direct experiences of the event( actions are described as if they were happening at the moment), employment of dialogue, characters talking to one another, organization by scenes, specific point of view, clear narrative stance( writer is inside the scene), dealing with process and giving specific description, consisting of story’s main line of action)

Scholastic Writing Competition

Writing Deadline: 12/16/2015
All deadlines are effective 11:59PM ET
 
Regional Awards will be posted on January 29, 2016!
  • Check this out- http://www.artandwriting.org/the-awards/national-student-poets-program/#about
  • http://www.artandwriting.org/Affiliate/NY001W ( To register )
  • https://nycscholasticawards.wordpress.com/ ( past submissions)
  • http://www.artandwriting.org/the-awards/categories/ (Categories)

10/27 Workshopping the Draft

UNIT II: Personal Essay / Lyric Essay (4 Weeks)

 Week 5: What is the personal essay? / The self as a social actor

Weeks 6-7: The lyric essay / researching the “self”

Week 8: Revision work: developing the personal/lyric essay

Unit 2 Assignments: Select one piece of flash non-fiction from your Unit 1 portfolio and develop the piece into a personal or lyric essay, OR choose a new topic (6-8 pp.); separate reflective essay (2 pp.) Due Nov .2.

 Objectives:

  • Students will focus on a single “burning question,” and will compose one extended creative nonfiction essay that demonstrates increasing awareness and expertise in mobilizing elements of the craft of CNF, as well as attention to ethics, positionality, and awareness of their own ideological biases.
  • Students will engage in brainstorming, writing, and revision exercises designed to help them interrogate and develop their topic, continue to take chances in their writing, forge connections across shorter pieces of writing, build transitions, deepen their perspectives and positions.
  • Students will examine the role of history, culture, and systems of power and privilege in shaping their overall approach to the essay, as well as specific depictions, characterizations, and rhetorical choices in the essay.
  • Students will read longer works of creative nonfiction and engage with a wide range of formal experiments in order to more broadly conceive of the possibilities for movement, structure, arrangement, and framing.

UNIT 2 ASSIGNMENT

WRT 114 / Unit 2 Assignment: Personal/Lyric Essay

Your second writing portfolio will showcase one polished personal or lyric essay (6-8 pp. double-spaced), and a critical reflection (approx. 2 pp. double-spaced).  The essay and reflection are due on Oct. 30, and the assignment is worth 20% of your overall grade for the course.  As with Unit 1, please submit your writing in a 2-pocket folder (or tightly bound in some other way).

 I’d like you to begin this project by identifying a “burning question” that arose for you during Unit 1.  You may begin with a piece of flash nonfiction that you submitted in the Unit 1 portfolio, or you may draw from a topic that’s been on your mind but hasn’t yet made its way into your writing.  All of the writing you’ll do during this unit will revolve around an in-depth exploration of your burning question.

Here are some of the important creative elements I’ll be reading for when I collect your final draft, all of which we will have discussed in class:

  • Success in establishing a pact with the reader through tone, context, setting, concision, ethical treatment of subject matter, and avoidance of pitfalls such as “revenge prose” and “therapist’s couch” writing.
  • Control over shaping the narrative line through decisions in narrative content, form, and pacing (attention to horizontal and vertical movement are essential, even if your essay utilizes other forms of movement such as juxtaposition).
  • Strong detail rendered through interesting language and well-crafted scenes.
  • Lyricism: imagery, figurative language, avoidance of cliché, word choice that is innovative and precise, attention to phrasing, the rhythm of your sentences.
  • A compelling narrative persona or voice that is engaging and authentic, and also mature and self-aware.
  • Success in forging discovery about one’s subject through moments of reflection, analysis, and insight into one’s own experience and into the larger relevant culture or subculture.
  • Thorough proof-reading that demonstrates the writer’s complete control over sentence structure, word choice, use of verb tenses, point of view, and use of punctuation to make the reader “hear it” the way you imagine the essay sounding.

Critical Reflection

Your critical reflection should be approximately 2 pp. in length.  Please review your own pre-writing for this essay and reflect on crucial moments in the process of its development.  Consider these questions, but don’t try to answer them all.  Respond to the questions that speak most profoundly to your experience in composing this essay, or address other aspects of the composition and revision process:

  • Discuss some quotes or key passages from our Unit 1 or 2 readings that influenced your thinking about how to craft your personal/lyric essay, how to represent yourself as a speaking self in the essay, and how to arrange your material into the final draft.
  • How did you decide on a topic for this essay? What other topics did you consider, and what made you settle on your final selection?
  • Discuss a moment in the composition or revision process when your thinking took a sharp turn.
  • Describe your most significant discovery or intellectual breakthrough in composing/shaping this essay.
  • What aspects of this essay are you most proud of?
  • What are you still struggling with?

Grading Rubric:

  • Success in establishing a pact with the reader through tone, context, setting, concision, ethical treatment of subject matter, and avoidance of pitfalls such as “revenge prose” and “therapist’s couch” writing
  • Control over shaping the narrative line through decisions in narrative content, form, and pacing (attention to horizontal and vertical movement are essential, even if your essay utilizes other forms of movement such as juxtaposition)
  • Strong detail rendered through interesting language and well-crafted scenes
  • Lyricism: imagery, figurative language, avoidance of cliché, word choice that is innovative and precise, attention to phrasing, the rhythm of your sentences
  • A compelling narrative persona or voice that is engaging and authentic, and also mature and self-aware
  • Success in forging discovery about one’s subject through moments of reflection, analysis, and insight into one’s own experience and into the larger relevant culture or subculture
  • Thorough proof-reading that demonstrates the writer’s complete control over sentence structure, word choice, use of verb tenses, point of view, and use of punctuation to make the reader “hear it” the way you imagine the essay sounding
  • Thoughtfulness and care in composing critical reflection; explicit connections to course readings.

Tue.  10/27 Focus-Small group revision workshop

Objectives: Students will engage in writing and revision exercises designed to help them interrogate and develop their topic, continue to take chances in their writing, forge connections across shorter pieces of writing, build transitions, and deepen their perspectives and positions.

Aim: What is this essay really about, or what could it be about?  Where in the essay would you like to see the writer delve deeper and provide more “vertical” movement or reflection on difficult/complicated parts of the story?

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.3.A
Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation and its significance, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.3.B
Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.3.C
Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole and build toward a particular tone and outcome (e.g., a sense of mystery, suspense, growth, or resolution).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.3.D
Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful.
Agenda

Do Now: Reading and unpacking-Sondra Perl and Mimi Schwartz, “Workshopping a Draft” (PDF); In small groups of 3, share your annotations from the reading. Which strategies resonate the most? Why? How? Share in class.

Acquisition:  (Heuristic #4 )Strategies for Productive Workshopping

As Sondra Perl and Mimi Schwartz say in their book Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction, “There is no formula or sure-fire way to respond to [others’] writing.  So much depends on the author’s intentions and needs, the dynamics of the writing group, the amount of time available, and the experience of participants” (93).  However, Perl and Schwartz provide a number of useful tips and strategies for productive workshopping.  Here are some suggestions…

  1.  Appoint a time-keeper and make sure that everyone gets the SAME amount of time.
  2. Give the writer 30-60 seconds to introduce their piece and ask for any special feedback. If the writer wishes to use more time than that at the beginning of the workshop, it is their time to use, but the clock is ticking.
  3. Readers: do your best to actively imagine the experiences, characterizations, descriptions, and meanings at the heart of the essay, and reflect your experience of the piece back to the writer.
  4. Rather than bring your own aesthetic sensibilities to the workshop (“I like” or “I don’t like”), try to mirror back what you observe. Use key phrases like these:
  • I notice that…
  • I get the sense that…
  • What I took away from this passage was…
  • Here’s how I’m reading/understanding you when you say…
  • In writing X, it seems like you’re trying to…

5. Be attentive to the writer’s strengths and purposes, and seek to nurture them. But don’t be afraid to challenge things the writer says, particularly if you think there’s an ideological bias in play.  You could say something like, “I think it might be important to challenge X.”

6. Stay focused: be aware of where the conversation is going and what little time you have.

  • Don’t waste time line-editing (grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.).
  • Avoid debates.
  • Avoid long explanations or defenses of your creative choices.
  • Avoid telling your own personal story that is like someone else’s.

7. The writer may ask or respond to questions, but writers should mostly be in listening mode while their pieces are being discussed. Again, the clock is ticking.

8. Give the writer 1-2 minutes at the end of the conversation to articulate their major take-aways.

9. Share your draft with two other members in your group online. Consider asking the following questions when proving feedback-

Meaning Making

Workshopping: Share your draft-in-progress in groups of three, and work to brainstorm ideas for additional scenes each person could compose.  User the same questions from yesterday’s homework(see below). Share your prepared responses and written feedback.

  • What is this essay really about, or what could it be about? Try answering this question in 3 different ways.
  • Who are the main characters so far, and what do you know about them? Pinpoint places in the essay where the writer is providing strong character development, and other places where you want/need to know more the characters.
  • What are you curious to know more about? Draft 3 questions for the writer.
  • What additional scenes could the writer include in this essay to help illustrate some of the questions you raised in part c (above)?
  • Where in the essay would you like to see the writer delve deeper and provide more “vertical” movement or reflection on difficult/complicated parts of the story?

Transfer: As a writer, what tips did I deem most useful about group workshoping a draft?

Homework: Use the feedback you received from your peers to continue working on or revising  your essay.