Thursday, January 10, 2008

Blogaday 13 of 20

Wow, day 13. It's going to be an interesting one.

It's currently 3:12 PM, significantly earlier than I've ever blogaday'd. I'm currently at the high school, in the media center. I'm typing this on a computer in bondage. Internet blocks for the loss.

I can't access any blogs, or anything even remotely related to blogs. Popular science has a blog that they update several times a day. Right now they're doing a ton of coverage of CES, consumer electronics show or something like that. It's all the consumer tech for the next couple years, it's pretty important business. This year a few companies are showcasing handheld projectors. They're about I-pod sized, and you can beam a 50 inch image onto a wall in a dark room. In a light room, you can still bust out an 11 inch masterpiece. Tech like that is dang impressive. As time goes on we'll be able to shrink the size even more. One could theorize that we could bust out these projectors on cell phones or ipods themselves. Laptops could come with a tiny projector built right in. It'd make presentations incredibly easy. Sharing video would be super easy.

So CES is pretty cool stuff, and I'd love to go read about it. But I can't, because weblogs/personal webpages are evil. Yeah, give me a break.

In ninth grade, everybody in the journalism class received the assignment to start a blog. I had to do some research to figure out -

Bahahaha, I'm getting kicked out. That's ridiculous. Broken school computers for the win!

So, I'm out. I'll finish this later. This place is a joke.

Whoosh, I'm back. I'm at home now. I have a churchball game in 2 hours, and I'm very excited about it. My ward is at 6:45, and kyle's is at seven. I'm going to Kyle's. I feel a little bad about just shafting my stake, but I've got a commitment to Kyle's ward, and there's no commitment to mine. Any time I can make it to both, I will. Tonight's just a night that I only get to play with Kyle's. I'm really looking forward to it though. It's basketball, and I do love basketball.

But yeah, I'm sleepy, so I'm going to finish this later. Yay for three part posts.

Whoosh, I'm back. It's now 1:22 AM. I'm happy because it's earlier than usual. It's still late, and I'm still unhappy about the fact that it's late. But I'm aware that things could be worse.

This cycle that I'm in, the sleeping deal, isn't going to fix itself. I think the trouble here is that I'm entirely capable of living through it. Even if nothing changes, I'm not going to die. Because of that, it's difficult for me to do something significant to change it. I know that it's necessary. I do not want to keep this up. It's a bad cycle and habit to be in as it is, and I figure it'll only get worse as time goes on. I will have to do something about this.

But it's blogaday, and I've committed to writing. so, therefore verily, write I shall.

I had my meeting with Parrish today. It was interesting, I guess. It wasn't what I expected. I got dinged pretty hard with the whole "You write like a sexist pig" treatment like Nick did. I don't know about all that, it kinda bugged me. I can see where she's coming from, I guess, but I don't think it's as big of a deal as she says it is. Maybe it's because I'm a guy and have never been "repressed" or whatever.

The problem is that I represent the entirety of humanity with male terms. "She is representative of man's struggle with nature." I use "man" to represent humanity. I would use humanity, but I just used humanity in the last sentence, and I don't find that repeating words two sentences in a row is the most effective way to write. "Man" represents something. I don't literally mean that only males have that struggle against nature. I don't mean to leave women out of the deal at all. It's just the word that I'm using to represent the entirety of humanity. I would have said the entirety of mankind in that last sentence, but she doesn't like that one either.

I don't know, I figure it's not a big deal and all that, but I felt like I had really offended her unintentionally and that my essays were trash because of it. Kinda obnoxious.

And I know I'm going to get dirty looks from the audience for saying this. It's heresy to feel this way about Parrish. Kyle will be clapping, but other than that I figure I'll be shunned. I've Karl was residing in a grave, he'd be rolling in it.

We talked a lot about my style. She made the point that Nickmo has often alerted me to, that I write the same way I talk. She didn't say that this was necessarily a bad thing, but she said that I needed to learn the time and place to write like that and the time and place to write like a machine.

Yeah, that's probably not a bad idea. But it did feel like my style was under attack a little bit. And I know, I know, she prefaced everything she said with "It's hard to put my finger on this" and "You're a good writer, but in order to be a great writer..."

And she's right. According to the old rules, in order for me to be a great writer, I need to learn to write with no voice. I need cold hard analysis and nothing else, at certain times. There's still a time and place for my voice, but I need to learn to shut it up when the time is right for it.

And I understand that, but I don't know if I accept it. I don't know if I'm willing to play by the old rules. I write the way I do for a reason. I know that my writing isn't perfect by any means, but I love it for what it is.

I've developed this style over a lot of years. It comes from the Bible and Book of Mormon and The Simpsons and SNL Celebrity Jeopardy and the Forums and numerous blogs and Popular Science and Harry Potter and all sorts of other stuff. I've borrowed extensively.

I write informally, all the time. I do that because that's the way I want to be heard. I believe that in order for me to be the most effective, I need to write informally. Parrish asked me to consider how I would write an essay for the AP American History test, trying to get me to admit that I needed to be cold. I responded by saying that I believed that since the graders had just been reading the exact same essay over and over again for the past five days, that any breath of fresh air or humor would cheer them up and force them to give me a five. I really believe it.

And I think that's part of the reason that I write the way I do. Because I believe in the individual. I don't believe that we can stereotype all college professors as stodgy old coots that would burn me at the stake for considering myself their equals. I believe that everybody is an individual and that they think and act and feel for themselves, regardless of what they're "supposed" to think or do because of their profession's stereotypes. I want to talk to people, not to nameplates or titles.

So what am I saying here? I'm saying that I don't necessarily agree with the counsel I got this afternoon. I know that from an academic stand point, Parrish is absolutely correct. She knows more than me here, and academically speaking, there's no question whether or not I ought to listen to her.

But my writing is more than academics to me. I don't write to get the A or impress the teacher. I write to live. I write the way I do for a reason. Those reasons are based on the deepest fundamental beliefs I hold about the world around me and how I fit into it. I understand that my writing won't work for certain people. But my beliefs about people in general prevents me from giving it up, at least not yet. If what I believe about people is true, I can't help but believe that my way of writing is going to be my best shot at getting my point across. I write the way I do because I believe it'll help me accomplish what I need accomplished.

And so I find myself in an interesting pickle. I am at a crossroads between laying down and accepting what I've been told to do, or taking an entirely inconsequential stand based upon my belief system.

And as far as pickles go, this one isn't too earth-shaking. My decision will probably go entirely unnoticed. I probably won't even feel much of an effect from it. I'll still write the way I write, that's for sure. I'll revise my essays the way she asked me to, but my writing, and by that I mean my journal, my emails, my blogging, and any public speeches I give, will remain one hundred percent me and my style.

It's just rare that I find myself weighing what I know to be right academically to what I believe to be right personally. I know it's stupid, but I believe in people, and I believe that people aren't looking for the old rules any more.

Writing is interesting to me. I do it a lot. I think about it a lot. It's kind of a big deal.


I'm sitting here in my mad pajamas. This is the first time I've worn them since Dec. 19. Tonight will be the very first night I spend in these pajamas. Because of the frantic schedule of December, I never did sleep a night in them. I took a few naps at school, sure, but they were always neatly folded in my drawer at night, ready to be worn tomorrow. I washed them often. They were a uniform, not pajamas.

And I've had plenty of opportunity to wear them to bed before now. It's been hard to take them, though, because for as long as I've known these pajamas they've been for singing, not for sleeping. Making the transition from special pajamas to normal pajamas is something that I've never had to be involved with before.

Perhaps I've been delaying the wearing of these pajamas because of the finality it all represents. I've never been much of one for the sentimental, but this really means that I'm not going to be prancing about in these pajamas or slippers any more. That chapter of my life has effectively ended. I've always been pretty good at the page turn between chapters. And I'm not trying to say that I'm an emotional nutcase over here about the pajamas, but it's interesting to note that tonight's the first night, even though I'vehad plenty of opportunities. That obviously means something, right?

So I've sat for the last seven minutes or so and haven't typed anything. I've thought about plenty of stuff. Some related, some unrelated. I do that at night. Especially when I've got something to write into in front of me. I spend a long time in my journal each night, but not necessarily a long time writing in my journal. A lot of it is just wandering through thoughts. I'm not sure if it's an intentional response or just daydreaming, but it's an interesting effect. I just experienced seven minutes of grade-A thinking. Score one for me.

I think it grows late. I understand that this post doesn't really have a conclusion of any sort. It's been penned in three separate sessions, under three very different circumstances. At one time I was in a suit, at the school. I was then at home, in my jeans. And now here I am, home, several hours later, in my Christmas pajama get-up. The post itself has kind of been all over the place. Kinda been all over the place? Kind have been all over the place? I seem to have forgotten what kinda is supposed to mean or represent. Odd how words just randomly drop out of association in my brain sometimes. Usually it takes staring at one for a really long time until individual letters seem to look so funny. But here I am, not staring at anything, and I've forgotten, subconsciously, what kinda really means. Kind have? Kind of? Some kind of tube? Yeah, maybe that starts to make sense. I'm not poistive though.

It grows late, and I'm sure excited for bed. This cat is out of here. It's blogaday day 13, and I talked to a very educated lady about my writing today. It's blogaday day 13, and I'm ignoring every bit of advice she gave me. Funny how that works, eh?


Nathan said...



Nah, just kidding. I agree with you on the whole voice issue; besides, that's what makes long blog posts readable. :-P

My college instructors last semester preferred that I used a strong, natural voice instead of a mechanic one. Then again, of my only two instructors, one was for a public speaking class and both were from SLCC. So I wouldn't really know. :-P

Lydia said...

Meh. I've never really agreed with Parrish on the whole "don't use mankind/man/he" thing. I think it's kind of silly.

I'm really jealous of these interviews you're getting. She never even graded or commented on any of our papers last year. She gave them back for our portfolios, and there were no comments on them at all. It would have been so nice to have her feedback on them.