Friday, May 17, 2013

Coming to *Midterms* with Non-Fiction. (I'm so funny.)

This is how I feel right now. 
I wish I had come to class on the first day, because I think this course would've made more sense from the beginning.  It has taken me a while to figure out how everything is supposed to work, evolve, etc.  Originally, my plan was to focus on literary terms.  But then in the next sentence, I wanted to focus on really enjoying what I read.  I feel like the two...are a bit conflicting, but.  That's okay.

Over the past few weeks, I've slowly tried to incorporate more genres into my list of favorites.  While I haven't gotten to all of them, I've kept track of them on my goodreads profile.  I added my Mom and aunt, and finally starred their recommendations.  I went back through all my journals and notes, and added the books that I've written down, randomly, on loose-leaf paper and in backs of binders.

All these books that everyone seems to love, and are mentioning in their posts, have found their way onto my "Want To Read" shelf.  I've read more poetry and fictional short stories in the past few weeks than I have in the past few years. And I like it! I just ordered The Complete Works of Shakespeare on Amazon the other day...  What is happening?!

This is great, though.  Really.  My plan has evolved from a close-minded objective to one that...hopefully will help me be more open-minded, and appreciative of writing that doesn't fall under the non-fiction genre.  That's all I ever read, and nearly all I've ever read (those two words are spelled the same, and it's driving me nuts that I can't emphasize the last one as past tense).  I feel like I can contribute so much more to class conversations, now that I'm rounding myself out.

1. & 2.  Learning, recognizing and using literary terms & methods... I can't say I've showcased this in my blogging all that much, but I've definitely made a point of sinking my teeth into learning more terms.  Charly's posts are always helpful, and I've written down countless words from her writing to be defined (also loved this one by her!).  I'm much more comfortable with names of genres, writing techniques, and words like synecdoche now.  That's improvement.   

3.  Write literary arguments.  If I've learned next-to-nothing from this class, then at least I've learned to back up my opinion with objective supporting points.  If you're passionate, that's great, but when you don't have any legitimate evidence to support your claims, very few will side with you, or even read further.

4. & 5.   Engage literature socially and creatively; Use emerging communication tools and pedagogical methods.   The learning curve, for me, has been S T E E P.  A while ago, I rid myself of any social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.  I think I still have Snapchat?  I didn't want to get back in that boat anytime soon.

Because I've traveled a lot in the past couple of years, I've had people make me a blog, and ask me to publish my e-mails home.  I wouldn't do it.  I was "anti-blog."

When I missed the first class and was listening to the class recording, I did that exasperated, shoulder-shrug, "dang it" thing when you announced the blog participation requirement.

I sulked for the rest of the recording, and then decided to suck it up and try my best.

And I have.  Tried my best.  I also....                         kind of..... like....       blogging now.

Because of positive feedback from classmates (and you), I've gotten up the nerve to +1 some of my family members and close friends on a few of my posts.  The post that was my most personal one (personal literary narrative) has received for me the most rewarding responses.  I got back in touch with my friend, Toni, because I +1'd him on our poetry adaptation analysis assignment. They were all thrilled, and provided more positive feedback.  Now I have friends sending me poetry and writing, and asking me to give constructive criticism.  The things we've learned in this class (terms, how-to-criticize, and the like) have become quite handy outside the classroom!

*(Also, aside from the blogging, I've quite enjoyed posting reviews of my favorite books on goodreads...)

Most impressive to me have been Dawn and Kimara's efforts, as well as their honesty in learning.  They've picked up blogging like it was their day job, and have written some of the most uncontrived, genuine posts I've yet read.

My all-time favorite post has been Kimara's explanation for her love of poetry. That's what helped me feel comfortable enough to post my own personal narrative.  There's something about the cross-over of genre teams, and commenting on each other's posts that makes you feel real good.  It's cool when you see that someone from another team read what you wrote.  Jocelyn commented on one of my posts, and it helped me realize the impact one of my seemingly thoughtless blurbs can have.

Every comment made on my personal narrative has buoyed my confidence in writing, particularly your simple "Nailed it."  Because I was so worried I had gone too far, crossed the line, or missed the mark.  Kirsten King even mentioned that she had gone and looked up the song I mentioned in the post.  I don't know why, but that was huge to me.  To realize that we really are sharing ideas; breaking off pieces of each other's thoughts, and internalizing them as our own.  Caitlyn complimented my formatting, and I think that may become a staple of my posts.  I like it.

All-in-all I have loved the relativity and style of this class' content, requirements and assignments.  It has required a lot of my time (especially when I'm an IDIOT and sent my textbook to an old Rexburg address, so I didn't have it until yesterday, thus having to Google every single reading.... and deciding which part of certain texts would be the most important to consume.  Online PDFs have proved to be quite useful), BUT I really have enjoyed it.  Every reading, with the exception of, say, maybe five, has expanded my appreciation of literature.  

Self-Evaluation: It has taken me a while to fully understand how to incorporate all the elements of this learning model and its outcomes, but I feel like I'm getting the hang of things now! I just need to use more of the terms we define in class, and do better about sharing those discoveries I make on my own reading time.

Within the realm of the five learning outcomes, blogging has provided a fantastic atmosphere for their accomplishment.  I plan to teach high school, and I'm wondering if--maybe even hoping that--blogging will be the mode of communication between student and teacher.  I think it's a fantastic way to synthesize classroom and "real world" for an overall objective in learning.


  1. Weirdly, these midterms have been my favorite posts. You're such a creative writer, who clearly has a real knack for social media (and your media fast makes me respect you all the more). Of everyone in the class, I think you have a real shot at becoming a critic of some sort.

    I feel rather honored that you like my register and learning new words. It's just how I write. :P

    1. Certainly! And that means the world that you think I have a shot at being a critic. I may be studying English Education, buuuuut. I've always wanted to be the next Joe Morgenstern. :///

  2. That is so great that you have gotten back with your friend, Toni, and that you are sending your posts to family and friends! I told a few family members about this blog and their comments have also been helpful. I have not been brave enough to let it out to friends:)

    This is a wonderful reflective post! I love seeing how you have evolved. And your formatting seems to have become your trademark! It is that distinctive style that sets you apart.

    1. Kimara. You're such a peach. Glad you read what I've loved of your blogging!

  3. When I saw this post, I was in the midst of doing my own midterm and the picture of Chris Farley was exactly how I felt at that moment! The thing is Jamie, you do amazing posts. I feel like a kindergartner next to you. You are inspiring!

    1. Not so! I meant what I said...said what I meant. You and Kimara are fantastic...on that I am bent. :)