Me as a Writer
My writing ability over the course of this semester, I feel, has improved. Engaging myself by being tasked in writing in different styles, genres, and formats, proved to be great exercise for my skills as a writer. Not only did I learn a lot of different ways to write, but I learned a little more about how to stay true to my own style of writing, and refine that style to convey my ideas in an effective, but distinct way.
What made this class so different, especially in regard to the comparison between this semester and my last semester’s English class, was its special emphasis on one’s “own voice”, and being able to express one’s ideas in their own unique way. In my last semester there was a quite contrasting focus on using specific writer’s templates in order to express our ideas to an audience in an effective way. For our major assignments, we were given specific articles to respond to, and templates to use as a guide. Leaving that semester and entering this new one, my expectations of the writing that I would be doing were still geared toward that template-driven form of writing. It ended up being surprising to find that this course and its professor takes a heavy approach on embracing self expression in writing.
Right off the bat, in the first unit of this course we were introduced to ideas like “everyone has their own English”. This means that a lot of us grow up in our own cultures, and in those cultures there may exist a different “normal” ways of speaking and expressing one’s self. So it’s reasonable to accept that: for a lot of us, our English-language grammar, writing and speaking won’t be so perfectly formal. This is especially true when considering that for a lot of people, English is not even a first language. Different “Englishes” can reflect different ways of expression, and that’s why they have value. After all, when writing about yourself, and your own experiences, why wouldn’t you want that piece of writing to sound as “you” as possible?
In my Unit 2 piece X-Men and Representation, what I really liked about producing that body of work, was that for the unit, I was allowed to choose upon any topic, which gave me leeay to use a subject that I could be particularly passionate about. In fact, a theme in that same writing piece also connects to one of the themes that I want to convey in this very work: That people enjoy and really appreciate having themselves be represented, whether “themself” refers to their way of thinking, their culture, their personality, or their experiences. In the X-Men piece, I wrote “representation in pop culture can be a wonderful experience for people who don’t normally see people like themselves in those mediums” (para. 5). I think that just like having someone’s background be represented in a medium can offer a deeper connection between a reader and a character, being allowed to fully embrace someone’s natural way of expression can just as well offer a deeper connection between a writer and their own work, allowing ideas and themes to come across more organically. Nowadays, I reflect off of this by reminding and allowing myself to be more conductive and fluid with my own ideas when it comes to layering my writing.
In Unit 3, we were allowed to choose any community problem that we deemed worthy of addressing. I had thought up and decided to expand upon addressing the problem of noise pollution. In one part, I had written: “the purpose of this letter is to persuade you to consider solutions to get New York City, one of the most noise polluted cities in the nation, to achieve a more considerate and moderate noise level, especially regarding our subway system”. (para. 1) What made the unit able to be interesting was that we got to choose our own problems to address, in regard to how we already felt about them. Getting to choose something like noise pollution to address, which could be a really obscure topic to many people, and having to collaborate with a team of people who would bring their own ideas to expand upon it proved to be both effective, and satisfying. I was able to see my own conceptual ideas motivate new ideas in other people, as well as have myself be inspired by those new ideas.
My work with both Units 2 and 3 really reflect the lessons that I’ve learned this semester, about the art of writing, and about the importance of expressing your own ideas; Ideas that hold value, both in the way that the ideas are expressed, and in the ideas themselves. Representation, both from the writer’s perspective as well as the reader’s, can offer a deeper connection from person to page.