ENG1121, Section D421: English Composition, SP2016

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  • WEEK OF FEBRUARY 8: Da Art of Storytellin'
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    Post responses to Kiese Laymon’s “Da Art of Storytellin’ (The Prequel)” here!

    • This topic was modified 8 years, 2 months ago by amcalderon.

    Mohammed Dawan

    In the essay ” Da Art of Storytellin’ “, Laymon talks about Pa song named “Wheelz of Steel” by ATLiens. The author, Laymon, describes the music in a bitter sweet fashion. Bitter from its failure to provide a full sense of empathy and sweet because the music is an encounter he’ll never forget. After looking at the album cover and hearing the song, I can say I was surprised by the beat and tone used through the song. I expected something along the lines of Grandmaster Flash but instead got a modern like beat and rap. The album cover was a cartoon which gave me the wrong impression of the music. The lyrics can be related to him in certain aspects but after analyzing them, the song reveals to have a small relation to Laymons life. Through out the essay, Laymon encounters many new things. He encounters the music that inspires him to interview ATLiens and to become a writer. “Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkle inspires me in a way that Laymon got inspired from ATLiens. I can feel the lyrics and ponder on the multiple meanings behind the song for hours. As ATLiens song was directed a little more towards African Americans, Simon and Garfunkle directed the song to humanity. The song gives me inspiration to become and be just as it did to Laymon.


    Justin L Lesta

    Laymon did a great job of sharing his own personal inspiration in “Da Art of Story Telling”. While I do not have an influence, role model or etc who I know in reality I do have a sort of connection with an artist. Ironically enough “College Dropout” introduced me to one of my favorite artist ever, Kanye West. He had a way about him that you can tell stood out. Whether it be because of his fashion sense, cockiness or sometimes overwhelming self love. He is actually motivating if you get past the outer shell that is “Yeezy”. For me to pick one song that I would say made me feel something would be like discrediting all the other many.
    Although these days at times he can be boasting about his sneakers or success he still always just makes people think. I can not honestly say I want to be like anyone, but he definitely has been an influence on me and made me think about trying new things, looking to be different, to take things serious and pursue my interest. He is also an openly emotional person which had made me feel comfortable with being able to relate to him or not feel like I’m the only one such as having to do with friendship, relationship or family. He makes it in a way clear that celebrities are not as perfect or so different then regular people. He is very flawed, that is what I probably like the most in a way.


    Laymon did a wonderful job of sharing his own personal inspiration in “Da Art of Story Telling”. While I do have many influence, but not a lot of role models who inspire me. But ironically I do have one song that I love to listen to when ever I fill like given up, “I know I can” by nas. This song does wonders on my emotion, ever time I feel down in a slup I replay it in my head or on my phone; it helps bring me back to the under standing I can do anything if I put my head to it and believe in the power of god to help me through it.
    Although in these days and time a lot can bring a person down, but all it takes is a little motivation to bring them back to the right state of mine. He has a saying in his song that goes like this “if the truth is told, the youth can grow, they learn to survive until they can gain control, nobody says you have to be a gangsta, hoe read more learn more, change the globe;” I take that as a sign if I want change i have to be the reason why we change for the good and for the bad change can open people’s eyes to more and that is my insprition every to live more and do more.


    Melany C.

    Kiese Laymon’s “Da Art of Storytellin” was a good way to show his progress of writing and was able to maintain everything an order to guide the reader through moments that allowed him to show who he was and his believes. Demonstrates a different type of essay of what we regularly format for an everyday essay. The whole idea of Art helped me understand how his art for writing was able to set an image as we will see on an actual piece of art.
    Don’t really have a song on mind but something that changed my way of seeing thinks it was an article in the New York Times- ‘Do It Yourself Deportation’ by Antonio Alarcon. This article talks about the struggle his parents had to face with self-deporting themselves but having to leave him here for a better education. I had the opportunity to meet him and be mentored by him and work with other youths that had faced similar experiences and they needed support or share their stories. There are other youths facing many other problems and they need a guidance to continue to meet their goals.



    In the passage Kiese Laymon did a wonderful job of sharing his own personal motivation and creativeness in “Da Art of Story Telling”. While I don’t have that many influence, but not a lot of role models who inspire me just a few but one of them is American Author “best day of life” he sometimes inspire me when am sad or just having a bad day at moments of my life. Some of the lyrics the author says are “This is gonna be the best day of my life” and “I howled at the moon with friends and then sun came crashing in…” this words the singer sings are like best part because according to the video they have fun and enjoying their time in the street or in other places also the music and rhythm to the song is wonderful because just how they show there have their life with joy and happiness. So this song brings me right up when I failed a test or just had a bad day in school or work it’s like I said the song has many parts that touch your feeling when you’re down.


    Mike Passarelli

    It was difficult for me to begin reading Kiese Laymon’s “Da Art of Storytellin’ (The Prequel).” The prose is unlike most I’ve seen in the sort essay format, and I lacked even a basic grasp of the cited material; namely, the discography of OutKast. So, I listened to tracks Laymon identified. Once I was able to understand and source the emotions of the author, through the lens of these songs, everything clicked into place, and I realized I am not the target audience. To be clear, this essay educated me on a topic where I didn’t even know the depth of my ignorance, but I am not a Southern black artist whose cultural history and expression has been marginalized or ignored outright. The enlightenment Kiese Laymon experienced from ATLiens, while not lost to me entirely, lacked the impact the author obviously felt. I’ve never felt unrepresented in a form of media. But the message conveyed, the concept of a piece of art redefining your own expectation and understanding of yourself, is something I do understand.

    As I mentioned in discussion on Monday, Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote a musical called Hamilton, chronicling the life, duty, and death of Alexander Hamilton on other significant figures during the Revolutionary War, and the years beyond. The closing number takes place after Vice President Aaron Burr kills Alexander Hamilton in a duel. The song is titled “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story,” and is sung as a form of eulogy to the late Alex Hamilton. The resounding theme of the song revolves around the concept of memory, more specifically, it forces the listener to ask themselves: “who remembers you after you have died?” I’ve been struggling with my own concept of legacy, and how I want to leave my mark and be remembered by the world. It’s very easy to accept the futility of it, to see firsthand the scores of people forgotten by history; walking the cemeteries and grave sites of this city alone, and you will find headstones wore away to near dust, any name or date once inscribed there now etched away by the constant march of time. But, Hamilton tries to teach us that memory, that legacy is not a tombstone. Legacy is your story, and who tells it after you’re gone. I want to leave a story worth telling.


    avril padilla

    I love the way Layman used his grandma’s out look of life calling it a “stank” in a good way. The way she lived her life was from different from others which was notice by other people. Its the same with his favorite artist. They put the same “stank” on their music. I have not listen to any music from Outkast. But if this group inspired Layman to cast his voice so that it can be heard, If I didn’t have something or someone to inspire me or something that I can identify with, Layman would be my choice of a person that I can say from his experience I can Identify how he feels want he is trying to say.


    Briana Roldan

    Kiese Laymon’s essay “Da Art of Storytellin’ (a prequel)” was a very interesting and enjoyable essay for me to read. The essay’s structure, style, and organization were very different from any type of essay I have encountered before. The concept and statement behind the essay is something everyone can really relate to because although the essay is especially about Laymon’s writing journey and how his upbringing and musical interest influenced that journey, I feel like every person’s upbringing and certain interest influence them and their personality in a very specific way too. I really liked that even if the essay was about Laymon, the concept he presented of being able to identify who you are to a specific person, place, or thing is universal. It made the essay relatable and understandable.
    While reading Laymon’s essay, I reflected upon myself and tried to figure out what identifies me as a person whether it is literature, a piece of art, a song, or album, a person, or even a place. After thinking I settled on two pieces of literature that I feel have shaped me into the person I am today. The first piece is an old short story written by Herman Melville called “Bartleby the Scrivener.” Bartleby is an employee at the law copying office; he is a very flat and odd character. Melville uses Barlteby’s odd behavior and loneliness to display to the reader that without other people we are just truly empty. Melville’s main purpose of the story is to show readers that without human connections, we have nothing to live for and nowhere to go. This specific piece has reminded just how important making connections with people is because if I don’t communicate my ideas, my personality, my views to other people I am really just a flat character in the background of a short story like Bartleby.
    The second piece of literature is a Nobel Prize speech known as “In Search of the Present” by Octavio Paz, a Mexican poet. The speech is long but Paz discusses to the audience the process of growing up, of being your own person, and the important value of time. Paz describes how identity is linked to your family, to where you come from and that really shapes who you are as you continue to grow. This is one of my favorite speeches because it is so important to value time, to enjoy it as much as possible, and to do the best you can with it. This speech has really shaped me into the person I am because it reminds me of some very important things. It reminds to use my time wisely, to hold onto who I am, and to continue to write no matter what. These pieces of literature are so important to me because they not only define who I am as a person but also as a writer.



    In Kiese Laymon’s essay “Da Art of Storytellin’ (a prequel)”, it was hard at first to read. He wrote his essay by telling many different stories and turning it into one story. He talked about how he grew up with his grandmother and how she would always look her best better than the week before. When his grandmother came home from work she would have this “stink” to her and with that “stink” he notices that it was the “root and residue of black Southern poverty, and devalued black Southern labor, black Southern excellence, black Southern imagination, and black Southern woman magic.” This was also where “black Southern life, love, and labor came” from. After a few years he hears an album by Outkast and with their songs, it changed his life and made him see things differently.
    I wouldn’t say that nothing or no one has changed my views on something. It may not be something big but going through high school, I’ve met many people who have impacted me. Each and every one of them has always told me to go after something I really wanted, chances and opportunities don’t often come. So go after it before it’s too late.


    Bryan Carranza

    In the essay “Da The Art Of Storytelling,“ Kiese Laymon was able to incorporate many of his ideas in an orderly way to guide the reader to see who he is and what he believes. Laymon takes us back to his adolescent stage when he hears Outcast for the first time. He describes how the “funk” of the album ATLiens brought inspired him to become a writer. Laymon uses this art form to identify himself.

    One art form I can identify myself with is not really an art but more of a saying “ni de aqui, ni de alla” which translate to “neither from here or there.” The saying refers to the struggle of being multicultural and feeling you do not belong to one. At young I would constantly travel to Mexico and people there would call me “gringo” because I came from USA. In USA people would call me Mexican even if I was born American. At a young age I couldn’t simply just pick one, I never felt like I belong to just to one. In high school is when I heard the saying “ni de aqui, ni de alla” for the first time and it changed perspective of myself. I’m Mexican-American. I’m a Chicano.


    Alexis Sosa

    In Kiese Laymon’s “Da Art of Storytellin’ (The Prequel)” he does an amazing job at engaging the reader with the many stories he shares within his essay. Laymon switches through different stories representing various points of time in his life which allows the reader to feel as though he’s being directly spoken to. Being able to witness what inspired Laymon from such a young age gives us a way to compare his writing to our own lives since we’ve all been inspired in some way when we were young. This further connects the reader to Laymons work making for very unique reading experience.
    Although recently I haven’t been inspired by anything I do have memories of being a kid and never giving up when it came to things that seemed to difficult to accomplish. The major cause for this was all the cartoons I watched as a kid such as Pokemon, Jimmy Neutron, Fairly Oddparents, etc. Although these might have been kid shows they really inspired me since watching these characters around my age accomplish such unbelievable things like travel the world, invent some peculiar invention, or even wish for some non-existent thing made whatever problem I had seem like I could always solve it. As a kid these cartoons really inspired me especially with the message that they conveyed which was that there is never a limit to your ability or what you can achieve as long as you give it your all and never give up.



    In Kiese Laymon’s experience “Da Art of Storytellin’ (The Prequel).” Laymon elaborates on how ATLiens music changed and inspired him. A YouTuber named Elliott Hulse did the same for me. While surfing YouTube, I came across Elliott at random, back in my sophomore year of high school. The first video I watched from him was tittle, “How to destroy self-doubt.” When I watched this video I was completely amazed at how greatly he explains his points. Also he adds his own life experiences to strengthen his ideas. After this video, I watched more and more, I could not stop. At that time in my high school journey I was extremely shy, like I wouldn’t talk to anyone, and all of my friends went to different high schools, which made it worst. Threw watching Elliott’s videos for years, listening to him stress how important it is to become the “strongest version of yourself”, made me into a complete different person. So much that in my junior year of high school people started noticing. That’s how much impact his videos had on my life.



    Mike Passarelli

    Briana, I am not too familiar with the work of Melville, but I want to ask how “Bartleby” ends; does Bartleby open up and find people to njoy his life with, or is it more tragic kind of tale? You describe him as odd, sure, but is he sad? Is he alone by choice or necessity? I ask because, while I admire and appreciate people who thrive socially, there are others who can be just as satisfied when isolated. Further, if it is Bartlebys choice to be alone, is it respected by the other characters in the story, or do they seek to change it?



    The essay “Da Art of Storytellin’ The Prequel” by Kiese Laymon does a good job telling how Outcast changed his life. The essay is well written which allows the reader to easily understand which is good for people who don’t know who Outcast is. For me, the artist Tyler, The Creator hasn’t changed the way a view my life significantly, but has changed the way I view music as a whole and he’s grown to become one of my favorite artists. Tyler, The Creator is a very controversial artist because in 2011 he released a song called “Yonkers”. In this song he says things like “Jesus called and said he’s sick of the disses I told him to quit bitching, this isn’t a fucking hotline.” When I first heard that song I was 13 years old enrolled in a catholic school my whole life and didn’t know as much as I do now about music and I thought that song should never ever be played anywhere. Two years later I’m enrolled into a public school and I got an iPhone and I could play whatever song or album I wanted to play. I decided to listen to his albums, at this time he has released two. When I listened to it I realized that he was one of my favorite artists because if you actually listed to his album when the song “Yonkers” came out, you’d be able to figure out that he’s rapping from one of five characters point of view and is telling a story from the trilogy album he released. The story in the trilogy is very well told. Listening to his albums taught me the over said saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” but it’s true. But that saying only really applied to music. Since then I gave artists a chance to convince me I like them and it’s brought me to artists like Travi$ Scott, Frank Ocean, Joey Badass, Asap Rocky, J. Cole and so many other artists to name. I’m not saying you’ll love Tyler, The Creator but go and try to listen to other artists you’ve heard of because you might like them.

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 2 months ago by Chaise.
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