Inquiry 4

Inquiry 4

Inquiry 4 has asked me to reflect upon my own writing, and so I have taken a look at the work I did for this class, as well as reflected upon the history of my work.
what I have decided is that I have a very weak style. Unlike many people, or at least how I perceive their writing is that it has some kind of principle characteristic. Perhaps they have a large vocabulary that they use extensively, or perhaps they plan out their essay to such a length that their ideas flow from one to the other seamlessly, with strong paragraphs and uncanny seguis. As I write more comfortably in a stream of consciousness, I don’t spend as much time as others on the preplanning period.

On an average piece of writing, I will, before crafting it, consider the topics and themes I could include. Once I have what I want to write about, I’m ready to begin. My mind works best in the moment, so by starting to write I will open my mind to the next topic, and from there on I can work. I’m not saying I will plan too far in the future, I have no idea how this essay is going to end. However, this far into a paragraph it has served its purpose, and now I am concentrating less on this one, simply wrapping it up, but my mind is already ahead on the next one.

I mentioned above that some people write well due just to their superior vocabulary. whilst this is not to be scoffed at, indeed it is a useful talent in this trade
of essay making, I implore that my skill with wordcraft has not matured to the level necessary to use it as a focus for my work. In precisely placed locations, basic language can serve as well as the fluff others use, and it is that style that suits me. While a majority of my writing will be vocabulary I use on a daily basis, I find I will have a few specific instances where i is a word that just seems to work. I have no explanation, but it will occur to me mid sentence what a fantastic place it would be for a larger word. I do this at risk of sounding forced. Rather than sounding like I forcibly shoved a buzz word into my work, I perceive it as a particularly well-made sentance.

Over the years, particularly Senior Year when I had the pleasure of taking AP Language with a very good teacher, my writing has become more definitive and my sentences more complex. I’m afraid much of what she taught me has diminished, but the basic ideas are still there. She also taught me how to properly integrate sources and facts into my writing. Before the class, my inclusion of outside information, in the case, for example, of a synthesis essay, was choppy and forced. Now I can easily put the information in. The one thing my teacher always harped on but I found hard to appreciate was she never wanted a “why?” left open. Endlessly, there would be questions of “why?” written in the margins of my essays. This happened most frequently when explaining something. Take, for example, the prompt asked about American actions following WWII. I might describe the Marshall Plan and in that description I would of course mention that it was beneficial. That is an obvious need for an explanation, so might describe the economic benefits gained, as well as the industrial benefits the European countries enjoyed. Here, my teacher would implore me to further explain why. Why what?

By the end of writing her ideal essay, I would likely have explained both the complete socio-economic system, what a dollar represents, as well as an unabridged history of U.S. – European relationships. While humorous, I understand what she was doing and appreciate it. It was her job to ensure that her students had the capabilities to write strong, defendable essays, devoid of logics flaws and general inconsistencies. I also appreciate her teaching her students the precious art of endlessly extending ones easy without getting off topic. If given the backstory of the socio-economic system first, one could make a short sentence about the Marshall plan evolve into a lesson of history and how it applies to one specific incident. That is a valuable tool in school when given, for example, a 1000 word essay.

I am comfortable with my writing style. On completion of an essay, unless it is an exception (as there always are), I am not ashamed of and and feel as tho I got my point or argument across. Most essays have an argument now that I mention that, I’m having a hard time identifying the argument in the essay. I have argued several different points, from frivolous vocabulary being frivolous to my teacher being helpful despite her nagging. Overall, I think this essay has been an argument for myself. I defend my writing style, using it’s quirks and flaws to prove itself worthy. Thank God for spell check, or this defense would be severely less legible. But I digress. I do defend my writing style, because while I may not be as clever as Tolstoy or Faulkner, nor as progressive as Steinbeck, what I have is a way to express myself. My style is unique and always I am armed with it. This is my style. There are many like it, but this one is mine. That is what matters, and beyond that is of little consequence to me.


Inquiry 3 Proposal

For this project, I am choosing to write a song based on the “call to nature” presented in “The Wild”. My song may or may not have an accompanying video, based on time and technical restraints. I am currently writing it to be in a Bluegrass style, so as to be appropriate with the mountain scene found primarily in the Wild. It is hard to say how long the song will be, but I predict that it will be between 2-4 minutes long, depending on if I want an instrumental break.  My song is about moving away from the everyday stress and restraints of the civilized world, and escaping to the serenity of nature in its purist form. Personally I find time in nature reinvigorating and healing, much as Strayed did. To avoid the Novelty or forced aspect that can appear in works not from direct inspiration to the creator, I am avoiding a finite subjects and leaving the song more about an ambiguous “I”. I felt that writing Strayed’s story directly would have made the song cheesy and un-polished. Currently I am in the process of writing the lyrics and composing music to accompany them. If all goes as plans the instrumentation will include Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, possibly Fiddle and, unlikely but not impossible, Drums.


This text, while very theoretic as we were forewarned in the calendar, was surprisingly simple for me to understand. When a work is, as that one, largely based on a reader’s interpretation, I figure what matters are the things I did understand and take out of it, rather than the finer points I may have missed. I also appreciate the Idea of borders and gaps in explain what we don’t understand. Intertextuality will play a major role in Inquiry 3, as the process of relating two separate projects is the basis for that characteristic.For inquiry 3 I need to accurately and seamlessly relate my work to the work I am using, making sure they relate appropriately. I think a modern day example are the songs that sample older tunes within themselves. This is a unique form of Intertextuality, but I defend it nonetheless. Specific examples are the titles  “Booty Swing”, Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda”,  and Eminems “Crazy in Love”.

2B Progress

Clearly Unfinished, here is the current draft

Chorus is ignored due to repetitive and non-insightful nature.
REM’s iconic song “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”,is a fast-phrased stream of consciousness that tells the tale of, as the title states, the End of the World. The artistically formed metaphors and the speed at which they are being related, however, make it difficult to understand exactly what this end is, and why. Written down lyrics remain longer than spoken, and upon dissecting the lyrics of the song, an Idea can be gleaned as to what Michael Stipe (the lead man of REM) may have been foretelling.

The first line of the song opens strongly with “That’s great, it starts with an earthquake
Birds and snakes, an aeroplane, and Lenny Bruce is not afraid”. Already an audience is left scratching their heads as to the purpose of the line. It is probable that the earthquake refers to the many earthquakes described in the BIble. Starting with an earthquake could refer specifically to Day 3 of creation, or seen as the end off times as seen in Revelation 11:19- “And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.”(Source 3) Perhaps Stipe is alluding that the creation of something new is the destruction of what existed prior. If the reference was to Revelations than the alluding to the end of the world is clear. He may simply have wished to begin his song with something quite literally “Earth Shattering”. Lenny Bruce, a controversial American comedian is named alongside this natural disaster, seemingly out of place. The phrase certainly catches the ear of the reader, what is it that Lenny Bruce is not afraid of? The obvious are the earthquake and the end of the world. But why specifically Lenny Bruce? One possibility is his name fits the pattern found later in the song (Which will be discussed in due time). Additionally, Lenny Bruce was known for his monologues on taboo subjects and infused with scatological language, indicating that Lenny bruce may simply have not been afraid of anything (Source 6).

The second verse is largely literal, with only a few lines being unclear. The reference to hurricanes, speed, strength, fear, and fire are all physical manifestations that may be related to the end of the world. The meaning of the “End of the World” begins to change at this point, when Stipe describes a Government for Hire and a Combat Site. While neither of these are apocalyptic, they are clearly unwanted situations. Stipe, a major figure in political statements, expresses his dissatisfaction towards governments that act with monetary interests in mind, and toward war. The Furies, Greek and Roman Mythological creatures, and described as breathing down your neck in the next line. The Furies were spirits of female and justice, and so Stipe indicates this way that justice is necessary toward the corrupt governments in the previous line.

The third verse holds very little meaning, as most of it is made up of un-related verbs. The bits that stick out, however, coincide with the End of the world theme. A breakdown of the media, “Reporters Baffled”, “Save yourself”, a theme in any apocalyps. Stipe also says “listen to your heart bleed”. “Bleeding Heart” refers to one who believes in liberal social programs (Source 6), saying to listen means REM is asking people to follow the liberal opinion. and the Rapture is directly mentioned in this occasion, both bringing back up the biblical end as well as supporting the earlier mentioning of an earthquake.

Six o’clock is known to be Newshour in television, and this is confirmed with the statement following, “TV hour”. What is being reported on follows next, “Don’t get caught in foreign tower. The only event that concurs with both the time and the description of getting caught in a tower was the Iranian Hostage Crisis, which took place from November, 1979 to January, 1981. On November 4th, students over ran the U.S. Embassy in Iran, taking over 60 people hostage. (Source 3). Multiple meanings can be derived from this. Stipe is rather obviously indicating that the action of taking people hostage like this is a sign toward the end of the world. Perhaps because it was students and not an official action, which shows a breakdown in order, or that innocent people are pulled into conflicts, something similar to the fear of a nuclear war. If civilians are not differentiated from soldiers, than war becomes a much more widespread and brutal affair. The Foreign Tower also throws back to the songs earlier lines of “government for hire and a combat site”, as both of these were present in the case of the Iranian Hostage crisis.

Following that line, the fourth verse continues in the pattern of the song, lining up rapid lyrics the provide glimpses of what REM sees as the end of the world

Response to Ronald

I find Ronald’s essay interesting i the fact that it is an angle I have never been exposed to. Having always been the student, I have seen the effects of several of his points without directly seeing the cause. Take, for example, his description of teachers being able to recognize good style, but being unable to foster it. Many times I and my classmates have been told a piece of writing was not up to par, but when driven for more details a teacher comes up short handed. This is due in part to them being exemplary readers while only being above-average writers. They hold their students to a level of writing that is equal to their own, and therefore find it hard to teach. I appreciate Ronald’s readiness to compare writings to prove his point; it clearly labels what she means and provides a sure path to being right/wrong in her point of view. Or prehaps just good/bad at style.

Inquiry 3 Brainstorming

I would most likely write a song for this project,music is my forte medium of art. It would take some work as I do not consider myself a skilled songwriter based on past attempts. The subject would also be very difficult.I hate overly cheesy songs, so I would like to polish it and make it sound as if it was meant as a popular songsong to be ingested by the public, not written for the sake of a project. Due to my acoustic preference I may use The Wild as my basis, with its wooded setting I could more easily write a folk tune about it than, say, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.I will likely film myself playing it as the final project to turn in,so I would need to get some decent software on my computer, but that wouldn’t be overly difficult. I may purposefully parody other songs and mash them together, but they would need a common theme for that to work. As of now, a simple acoustic song is my plan, perhaps if I can manage the software i can back myself up with some other instruments. Playing is easy, writing is difficult.

Last Weekend

It was three of us who rode down to Red River Gorge.  While any other time the scenery would have been enough of an excuse to make the trek, our purpose was for something that hadn’t lasted for thousands of years and that would exist for thousands more. Like the glaciers that carved out the cliff we stood on, we too stood on the brink of  ground altering, life changing events. My mother wore a White Dress.

It was my sister and girlfriend who rode with me to our destination. A small crowd for an event I disliked. I would have prefered to see the National Forest for its beauty and taken a nice walk, but it was not I who was walking. Arm in arm, my Mother and her Fiance marched toward a well cut man in a pressed suit, who signified to all of us a new beginning, as they put it. However happy it made her, I could not help but think of the things it was also an end to.

I had discussed this with my Mother on a previous occasion, she knew my sisters and my’s opinion on the man she now loved, ten years after her divorce with my Father. I know the classic stereotype of teen’s and step-parents, but this was different. I have no problem welcoming new people into my life, and love my Step-mother who my dad had married a few years prior. With thi, I rationalize that my opinions are unbiased. But this man, who seems more immature than his children, is not the kind of person I would hope to have in My Life, but to no avail it happened.

I am happy for my mother, it is not my place to be anything else. As she said her vows, her happiness poured from her, filling the space and even the canyon below. And in that moment, it is clear whatever happens I will support her, to support her happiness and ideas, and will be along for the trudge toward the future that every human must make. Only now, her hike through the scenic woods of life won’t be quite as lonely.


Strayed’s style  is represented here in the hinting at finalities before outwrite saying them. Flashback, Strayed’s go-to strategy in Wild can be found here,  as well as an emulation in her avid descriptions and metaphors. Ironically, but of our stories took place in a beautiful nature scene, and we both experienced life-changing events there. While that is not style, out content is strangely related.