Tuesday, 31 March 2009

On Essays

It seems that this week I am relearning how to write essays. It's been brought up in at least two of my courses, which is excellent. With any luck I will be getting distinctions and high distinctions before I know it. Fingers crossed. Touch wood.

I like the way I write essays. It's always worked for me in the past. I get a general idea, sometimes I will write a plan, but mostly it's about pressure. It's about being familiar with the text or the topic, and knowing a few quotes and generally doing the minimal necessary preparation. Because here's the thing. Pressure is good. Stress is excellent. Not sleeping from worry is fabulous. It pushes me to perform to my best because there is so much riding on everything I do in the essay.

So when I have a lot of time to think about my essay and I space out my planning, drafting etc, I actually find the process more daunting. If you remove the stress, do you remove the X factor that makes my work (or has made me work in the past) so dynamic.

I'm not going to go so far as to say that I am the best essay writer in the world, but I also wouldn't say I was the worst. Here are a few things I have going for me;
I can spell
I can construct a sentence that makes sense
I can think on my feet
I'm well read

Here are things I pay careful attention to:
Staying on topic
Linking to my thesis
Not using too many big words to make myself look smarter

So, here goes the most risky experiment of my university career, with me starring as my own lab rat. Will the university approved system that I have been taught for the last week and a half let me down? Was my own system fool proof? Am I the best darn writer in the world? (Doubt it.)

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

A Credit???

I am a published reviewer. Yes, I believe 250 words in a student magazine qualifies me more than any university degree ever could... :)

It's peculiar, putting your opinion out there in print for pretty much everyone you go to school with to read, especially when you know most of them won't agree. I did a rather cynical review of the movie He's Just Not That Into You after seeing it over Valentine's. Since then, most people who I have talked to about it have been a bit surprised by my opinion. Go figure.

So yeah, there's that one, and there will be more next time around. I'm working on an interview (perhaps) with some local musician who I can meet through the six degrees of separation network. Yay.

In other news, I got my first uni mark today and it was a credit...anti-yay. It's a point to work up from...

And also, does anyone know anything about Derrida?

Monday, 16 March 2009

A Day Early

I think I must have some sort of disease. There is the desire to write in me, but when I put my fingers to the keyboard, or my pen to my journal, nothing comes out but a few pretty lines. Pretty lines which mean nothing... well, they mean nothing.

I am frustrated with myself. This novel was supposed to be the one that I would see through, the one that I would pour my heart and soul into, and it would show. This was supposed to be my achievement. But I can't do anything right. The other day, when i was cleaning my room, I found my first draft mangled and bent among some shoes. What does that say about me?

I am in need of inspiration. I will endeavour to find some, but I don't think I will find it here.

Please take a look at the work of my good friend, Austen, who I have asked to help me with cover art. He's a busy boy, so I don't know if he has done any yet, but his work is really spectacular and I want more people to see how good his attention to detail is.




Wednesday, 11 March 2009

I am an evil, forgetful child

I neglected my blog.... again. What is the punishment for that these days?

As you can see, I am experimenting with Twitter, mostly because I am very bored just before I can be bothered going to sleep. Isn't that hilarious? I think that perhaps the laziest I could POSSIBLY BE is too lazy to go to sleep. Sigh. Teenagers are awful, aren't we.

I tried to work on my novel last night and it came out like an academic assignment so I deleted two hours worth of work and I enjoyed it. Deleting things made me cackle with glee... but quietly because people were sleeping and I'm a considerate, awful, lazy teenager who stays up a bit too late.

Yeah so maybe my blog will be a Wednesday thing from now on... or, a much better idea, I will no longer blog unless I have something to say!!!!!!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

My Quarrel with the Use of Second Person

I have just finished reading a text excerpt from my Foundation Unit reader. It was on the subject of Hume and Quantum Mechanics. It was written in the second person.

Roughly, the article followed this kind of style.
"You are at university, sitting in the lecture room and listening to your philosophy professor talk about Hume, and you start to think about something that happened in your physics class."

Obviously that is not in any way a quote from the actual book, or else I would have had to reference it, shock horror. I probably have to anyway. The writer is Wesley C. Salmon. No I didn't make him up.

I have this to say to Mr. Salmon. I respect that you have tried to reach your audience in a new way, but you have annoyed me greatly. I DO NOT enjoy physics or even understand the concepts involved in studying physics. I am not reacting very kindly to your supposition that I would. It made me disengage with your text immediately.

In fact, the chapter reminded me of Choose your own adventure. Does anyone remember those? They used to be based on ideas like: You are a rockstar. I would be reading along and suddenly this would happen.

a) go out and buy all their albums to research because you have never heard of a band called Mick Jagger before (go to page 45)
b) make up some imaginary engagement to get out of it (go to page 67)
c) jump at the chance and beg for five minutes to fix your hair and make up (go to page 99)

I never had a problem with those really. They took up time and kept me out of mischief. But the other thing was they had to carefully keep the audience in mind. It seems to me that use of second person in academic writing is like academic writing for four year olds. It completely ignores the fact that while the sentences are simplistic and the narrative structure entertaining, the subject matter is far too complex for the average four year old. So what I am saying is, I start reading second person and immediately lose all ability to successfully comprehend academic text.

Face it people. Academic writing is supposed to be scary and difficult to read. There is no getting around it so stop trying.

By the way, thank you for the comments everyone. Yes, I am one of those difficult girls at university. STAR is doing my head in. I got Derrida for my Oral Presentation. Oh the joy I can be sure to look forward to.