The Process

The Process

Essay 1) Letting Go of Conventional Communication 

-Formal vs. Informal

-New ways of thinking about beginnings/endings

-Generally keeping binaries in mind–speech vs. writing, formal vs. informal, ends vs. beginnings, structured vs. unstructured, poetry vs. prose, knowing vs. cluelessness

While writing this essay, I tried to keep in mind the distinction between formal and informal forms of writing.  In class we talked about leaving an essay open ended.  I really liked this idea.  I wanted to be able to write something without having to argue a point and then wrap it all up neatly with a conclusion.  It is liberating to be able to write without all the rules my work is usually subjected to.  However, it also can be hard to know where to begin or what exactly I am doing.  All in all I am excited to try and develop my own voice in my writing.


Essay 2) Snow Sports

-Adventurousness vs. fear

-Holding back, letting go (Cliches)

-Ice/Snow–getting hurt

-Those who DO and those who DON’T

I think I am still looking for something in this work.  When I remembered this one experience of playing ice hockey with my brother I thought, there it is, there is an opening for an idea.  I did not really know what that idea was.  It ended up talking a lot about falling.  It is a very specific thing that has happened to everyone.  I think that this concept is too narrow.  I realized that the idea that I had been circling was not just falling, but the fear of falling.  I am having a difficult time landing on some way of conveying this clearly.  I want this essay to sound less cliche, more original.  However, I find myself writing with the purpose of being unique, and I cannot find my voice that way.  I need to know what I’m doing, and I’m still not quite sure if I do.


Essay 3) Meditative Though About Telling Tales 

 –HOW does he write, HOW do you talk about a writer’s voice?

-Connections between his poetry and his essays

-Gary Snyder– straightforward in a roundabout way, he sounds like he is speaking matter-of-factly, while he is taking you through twists and turns of metaphors, stories, etc.

When I started this assignment I was sure I wanted to write about a collection of essays from my previous class with Professor Long, “Writing in an Endangered World”.  I remembered really enjoying the essays we read that had to do with human being’s relationship with the environment.  For the first time, I began to see the way that we looked at ‘nature’ as something other that ourselves–something non-human–as a socially constructed tool that makes it easier to destroy our home.  I thought about writing about Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, but I wanted something more philosophical and less scientific.  So, I began rereading Wendell Berry’s The Unsettling of America.  I had been assigned his poem The Peace of Wild Things to memorize in high school and have loved it ever since.  However, as I began drafting my essay, I found that Berry’s topics were still too scientific for what I wanted to write about.  He talks a lot about the industrialization of the farming industry, the economy,  and how people are loosing their place on this earth.  This is when I remembered reading Gary Snyder for the first time–that poem The Bath— and how much his writing made an impression on me.  So, I scratched what I had of my first essay and began writing about Snyder instead.  I hope to develop an idea about connections–my connection to Snyder, his connection to his writing and his topic, and his ideas about humanities connection to the natural world.


Essays 4)-6) Dogs, Guns, and Adderall 


I, still, am not exactly sure what I want to write my essays about.  I thought about the quote on the page “The Essay Collection”, that reads, “All of us, especially when young, are vexed by the questions: Who am I? What am I doing here? What’s going on?” (Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild).  These are the kind of questions that most profound essayists seem to be asking.  Obviously these questions are too large to answer or even full contemplate in three to five essays.  However, I want my essays to be connected by a big question. I want them to all be unique and different from each other, but I need some sort of theme.  

In our class last semester, “Writing in an Endangered World”, our essays were mostly reflections on novels and essay collections that we had read.  They were guided by a specific subject to comment on. Even so, I went back and reread my essays for that class to try and find some sort of commonality in that writing.  Obviously all the essays were tied together by recurring themes about nature and our relationship to what is “wild”. As I read, I noticed how much I talk about social construction.  My preface for that blog is literally titled: “Social Construction”. I want to make each essay different from each other. I definitely want to write one about gender roles, and maybe one about the environment.  I am fascinated by how regularly we allow social construct to dictate the way we view reality. I may do an essay on politics. I would like to interview people and get some real perspectives into my writing. So, for my essays I want to focus on just that.  I want to talk about societal mentality and the way that we come to see the world through a social lens.

Dogs, Guns, and Adderall–

As I thought more about the idea of social construction, I realized that I have a tendency to approach the idea from a broad place.  I tend to look at theory about social construction, rather than individual examples of it.  I have decided to write a final three essays about constants in everyday life that are completely normalized to us, but, when really thought about, may not seem so normal.  Each essay will tackle a different subject.  The first will be about dogs.  Dogs are so normal to us.  They exist everywhere, from the home, to commercials, to cute Facebook videos.  However, when really thought about, they are a pretty strange idea.  Dogs have been bred for thousands of years into different kinds, so we can pick and choose as we like.  The second essay will tackle the existence of guns.  This is a pretty hot-button topic right now.  However, I want to look at guns the same way I’ve looked at dogs, through the light that, although they are normalized, they are not all that normal.  Lastly, I will write my final essay on the use of prescription ADHD medication on college campuses.  This is yet another example of something that has become incredibly normalized, but is a way of feeding into a system of hyper-competitiveness in academia.  For each subject, I will attempt to lift the curtain of “normalcy” and try to think about how everyday things maybe shouldn’t be seen as usual.


-Straightforward, individual narratives of my own dogs

-move out to how I was raised to view dogs, explanation for why the adoption stories are so random, and maybe why I chose to write this essay

-move further out to general views on dogs, societal views on dogs, socially constructed views on dogs, maybe add some videos or research


-My own experience how I was raised, (irrational fear?)

-the experience of others? (videos?), voices of all over the spectrum opinions

-high school, normalization, stories from people in my hometown (where guns are VERY normal)

-accidentally bringing a shotgun to school and not getting in trouble

-constantly posting videos of yourself shooting guns

-going hunting with teachers who are family friends


-NETFLIX Documentary (Take Your Pills)

-From use in Elementary school all the way to College Use–

-maybe a poll? Who uses ADHD meds? Why do you use them?

-Gateway into talking about normalization of competitive learning…kids medicating themselves to do schoolwork

-Unfair advantage?