Moving Along through Scene II!

Surprisingly, and most definitely to my relief, the second scene was not as bad as the first. I think the need to stick somewhat to Aristophanes opening for MY opening gave me a little trouble--that and my utter fear it was way over my head! But once I got that on paper, it became easier to see where I wanted to change, add, or absolutely delete lines. The second scene seemed to roll on the page; I had given even more thought to how I would constuct that one as it was not following the original piece. In truth, the idea is exactly like the original--the men and women bicker to the point of losing their tempers. But I am not using men or women choruses--I instead have a plethora of Shoprite employees to replace those. What seems to be such a great deal of fun is the fact I have characters to work with--my coworkers--so I do not need to create people entirely from scratch. It gives my characters their voices, complete with complaints, drawls, accents and often  a loud, sarcastic tone, but these are real voices from the very types of people I am focusing on. The enthusiasm from my coworkers over their personas being used for my play is overwhelming--and for me it is hugely helpful. When I start to picture how I want a scene to go, I visualize these people and know the reactions I will have. Sometimes I even hear their voices-in my head--in response to the questions posed to them .
 Usually these are funny lines even if the people in question are angry.  I have learned over the thirty nine years of working in this environment that most of us will respond more quickly with humor or sarcasm than outright bitterness. Once someone is finished venting, they go back to work--until somebody else brings up the very thing they are complaining about. I guess the luxury of knowing the "characters" in my story as real people who do find themselves being repressed, disrespected, and underestimated by a group of misogynistic men in power, is a gift that enables me to write some funny things that would undoubtedly happen if this fiction became fact. Those characterizations include the men I work with as well as the big cheeses I work for. This play does not require any true anger; only a sense of "right is might" and "power to the people" (right on)...Enough of my cliches for now. On a brighter note, as far as my bibliography goes, I had found about three more pieces that I liked very much and then the trail went cold. Until I ordered a book for my other class on Creative Nonfiction; its called Writing True by Perl and Schwartz, and as I read through the chapter headings I would be visiting, the realization came to me (finally) that although I am adapting Aristophanes classic piece, I am doing it in a very realistic setting. The facts are fictional but the people I am using as my models--who are very flattered to be included and have all given their consent to borrow their names and/ or personalities---those folks are very real. The setting is also real so my Lysistrata becomes a story filled with a nonfictional group of characters in a nonfictional grocery store. Even my customers--who will pop in during the next scene (I hope) are the real deal. So, after reading through a large portion of the Perl and Schwartz book, I recognize the potential it has for my writing of this tale. As for this Thursday, I cannot wait to try the cold reading of one of my scenes with my group and Dr. Z. Now I have to decide which one I want (or dare) to hear out loud.

Week 6 – 8

My next conference is in 2 weeks, and I have a goal of 10+ pages. I am a bit nervous about this, as life has yet to settle down, and I have been taking more and more shifts at work. I also have a presentation in my other class on Tuesday that, shockingly, I have procrastinated on. However, I am almost done with it, and hope that once Tuesday passes, I can resume working on my thesis and can meet the 10 page goal. It shouldn't be too bad since I am dividing that 10 into 2 sections, so realistically 5-ish pages per section. That should not be too hard once I get the chance to sit down and really focus (though it feels like I have wasted the past week).

Thoughts on a Thesis

A thesis as to why this is necessary:

More than print or television, digital media is the future platform for the news. However, digital culture is more than just a platform. It is changing the way journalism takes shape, inviting masses of people who've never considered journalistic ethics or the consequences of distributing information to thousands of people, to become a part of the formerly small pool of gatekeeping journalists who bring the "news" to the rest of the world. The result is that the pool of those that can be counted among the "media" or "journalists" has grown dramatically. The amount of information out there has exploded. And yet, at the end of the day, people want to be able to trust that what is being purported to be news, whether it comes so-called "traditional" journalists or "citizen journalists" who are distributing their information online or through social media. Multiple cultural and technological changes have made that increasingly difficult. The rise of right wing and left wing media as well as polarizing politics has cast doubt on all forms of "mainstream media". That doubt is compounded by the ability for people to bypass any kind of "mainstream" media and go right to sources online that support their views, regardless of whether the news being distributed by that source meets even the most basic thresholds for fact. In some cases, the manipulation is subtle (like news "spin). In other cases, it is dramatic (manipulating or omitting facts to deliberately support a political or cultural agenda). Either way, it puts the onus on the journalists to fact-check their own work. For traditional journalists, the burden is heavier and more complicated. The speed of the news cycle and the sheer amount of information available to inform your reporting can overwhelm someone trying to verify the truth of the matter. It is increasingly difficult to find those who don't spin their side of the story. On the other side of the coin, many so-called "citizen journalists" may not even realize their level of responsibility to the discourse happening around the country, They can bypass traditional media and potentially reach thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people. What's more, many enjoy the ability to remain anonymous no matter what they post and thereby often avoid any kind of legal or ethical consequence for their information. As people who put information into cyberspace, we must reassess our responsibilities in doing so and as news consumers we must approach all information like this with eyes open. We, as journalists, can not pretend that the dramatic cultural and technological changes are happening outside of the sphere of what we do. The news is no longer confined to the traditional gatekeepers. The digital media has torn those gates down. Access once enjoyed by media conglomerates is now open to anyone with a twitter handle and online access. So how do we as journalists adapt to the new landscape? How do we retain our integrity? How do we use the information out there to aid in our efforts to inform our audience instead of confuse them? And how do we uphold traditional ethical and journalistic goals when they are openly flaunted by others who share our medium and threaten to denigrate what we do?

As a secondary point, we need to look at the implications of digital media when it comes to how news is distributed. This is particularly important now because even leading journalism programs tend to treat digital media as a sidebar to journalism, focusing on reporting and fact-checking and discussing blogging only in passing. All too often, the news is treated as a TV or print enterprise with a digital component. It must be re-imagined as a digital entity with text, audio and visual components. That is true both for the way we create news and how it is distributed. Educators say that the technology is changing so quickly, in fact, that they can barely keep up - that lessons developed one year may be outdated a year later. A recent study found that more than a quarter of 18 to 24 year old's use social media as their primary source for news - more than television for the first time. We must meet these viewers where they live in terms of how to deliver them accurate information quickly and in the medium they prefer. This has implications for "traditional media" because it requires us to rethink how to provide facts and contexts in a different medium than has been traditionally used, as well as how to meet ethical and legal requirements for distributing information when the speed of the news cycle and the sheer amount of information available means it may not be possible to accurately check facts or verify sources.

All of this will provide the backdrop for a comprehensive college-level course that looks at the changing landscape of "traditional journalism". It will also look at how journalism itself is transitioning to a new age in which digital media is transforming both the content and the medium by which it is provided, As it does, we must also reassess the responsibilities that lay with traditional journalists, citizen journalists and the audience they are trying to reach. Areas of interest include traditional journalistic pedagogy, evolving pedagogy, the clash between traditional & citizen journalists (including sometimes competing goals and motivations) and how the two entities can work together (including how information is co-opted through phenomena like crowdsourcing), as well as assessing ethical and legal responsibilities moving forward.

English and Writing Studies Thesis 2016-10-27 14:50:00

          This week I worked on revising my literature review and adding the parts that were still missing. I also had to go back and look at my introduction and revise that as well. To be completely honest, I do not know what to expect tonight. By grouping my sources, I can clearly see the areas that I have a lot of information, and the areas I probably will have to do more research on at another time. I know I made a lot of improvement as far as my sources since the last time we met. I just hope the sources I have are good enough.
Upon reviewing my own work/sources harder, I think I want to go back to what I originally said in terms of my written prayers beginning in 2015. Looking at my 2014 entry harder, I am definitely reflecting/having a conversation. I just do not think I am communicating to God. Rather I am reflecting and talking about God, which leads me to think I was either writing it to get my emotions out, encouraging myself, or contemplating posting it on social media. I am still thinking about including it though because it might be interesting to kind of look at that entry in 2014 and compare it to where I am now. I will just put it under a separate heading.
Moreover, I personally remember writing poems in notebooks, and I have a poem in one of my journals. I always wanted to write in a journal in the past, but I could never really keep up with it. I think when I was younger I would try and write about my day, but eventually I just stopped altogether. Writing to God, just completely transformed how much I write. As I learn I try to get better, but I am human so it is still a process. I am thinking about including some entries that discuss things that are really personal, but only including certain sections.


So, I don't have much to report.

I haven't been doing any writing towards my thesis, but I have been doing a lot of reading, thinking, and planning. After our last thesis meeting, because I was going through some personal issues, Dr. Zamora advised me to take a break from trying to produce and simply read and take notes. Now that some time has passed, I feel that I am ready to start putting more work into my thesis project.

On my agenda for the upcoming weeks:
1. Start compiling all of my sources into a Lit Review.
2. Begin to consider how my thesis will be take shape (I am thinking that I should come up with some sections/ chapters so that I can organize my thoughts and look for holes in my research).

Weekly update

This week I don’t have much to write for my weekly blog but I didn’t want to just skip a week without giving some info. I didn’t do any research reading this week. Rather, I focused on my novel and reading creative fiction work. The week went by really fast which made me extremely nervous because I feel like I didn’t do a whole lot of writing. I don’t think I was as disciplined this week as I have been on others so I scheduled blocks of time in my planner to get back on track. Hopefully I can get more work done without feeling that time it’s just flying by. 

On With the Plan

     One of my directives was to create a list of critical lenses with which I'll examine how fear plays a role in our lives. Each lens will be paired with an experience of my own. These are still tentatively titled, but it looks like the lenses will be: the thin divide between fear and pleasure, the social aspects of fear/role of the media, the body's role in how we experience fear, the catharsis we feel in being scared, the uncanny, and the visualization of fear versus the narrative of fear. These were all developed by Dr. Zamora and seem to cover all of the major areas I would like to address. Some may be excised depending on whether or not I'm happy with how that section turns out.

     I wanted to try to develop an idea I had. I'm thinking I'll combine the uncanny with the catharsis of being scared. An experience I'll attempt to pair this with is when my best friend Anthony and I would sneak out of his house and one o'clock in the morning. I would sleep over his house every weekend, normally going to bed extremely late if at all. One night we got the idea to sneak out and explore the town.

     The first step in beginning our journey was getting past the gatekeeper, which took the form of a large cowbell that hung from the breezeway door. This was easily remedied by placing a piece of tape inside the bell to prevent it from waking up the whole house. Eventually our early morning jaunts were ended when we forgot to remove the tape one time. Anthony's grandmother wondered why her bell wasn't working and quickly discovered the cause. To save his own skin, Anthony ratted me out as the culprit who liked to sneak out after he had fallen asleep to meet up with my girlfriend. Some best friend.

     The reason our excursions felt uncanny was because of how still everything was. Normally busy roads were deserted. Sidewalks were devoid of people. What normally bustled with life was now completely still. It seemed odd that traffic lights still worked, even though there wasn't anyone there to wait. The world was carrying on even though no one (but us) was there to see it. It isn't often that you find yourself the only person around, witness to the world moving on.

     Every once in a while we'd see headlights. Eventually we turned it into a game of running from the car for as long as possible, diving for cover at the last minute. We'd try to outdo each other with the method with which we hid; one time I almost jumped over the railing of a small bridge, chickening out at the last second. In our minds, any car we saw out belonged to an authority figure who could get us trouble. It never occurred to us that only weirdos were out that late.

     We ventured into the woods, completely unaware of how pitch black it would be, the moonlight unable to pierce the canopy of trees. On one of these trips I saw a chair in the pathway. It still bothers me to this day. The best way I can describe it to people is that a chair is for people to sit in, so someone must have been there to sit in it. Someone in the woods at the same time as us. I know that isn't logically sound, but it fits the definition of uncanny. Something normal (a chair) in an abnormal setting (the woods at 1 AM).

     This was all done to create excitement for us. Maybe we were in danger, maybe we weren't. The thrill of potentially having something bad happen was appealing to us. It's what made us sneak out time after time. Until that damn piece of tape.

Creating a New Environment 2016-10-24 19:56:00

Eng. 5020
Dr. Zamora
Writing Theory & Practice
Blog 4
“Pass and Future Writing Processes.”
New century progresses to new lessons to learn.  Scholars are weighing in on suggested changes on the teachings of writing.  They have engaged in a " suggestive picture of large- scale changes on the discipline by looking at two volumes published twenty years apart, each designed to introduce novices to alternate ways to teach college writing" attempting to improve student's writing skills. It is totally clear that the “paradigm shift “is increasing the evaluation of the process. Most of the “scholarly bibliography surveys” can improve some students writing. Cultural studies is being promoted by many scholars. Although " most scholars who examine a CCS course ethnographically or narrate such a course of their own go out of their way to say the teachers are careful not to indoctrinate students. Students are "free" to write their papers from any perspective they choose. They have only to make a thoughtful case for their position" to earn passing grade. (Fulkerson)
I am a huge fan of expressionism it "places writers in the center, articulates it's theory, and develops its pedagogical by assigning highest value to the writer and her imaginative,  psychological, social, and spiritual development and how that development influences individual consciousness and social behavior. Expressivist pedagogy employs freewriting, journal keeping, reflective writing, and small group dialogic collaborative response to foster a writer's aesthetic, cognitive, and moral development. Expressivist pedagogy encourages, even insist upon, a sense of writer presence even in research-based writing. This presence-"voice" or ethos whether explicit, implicit, or absent, function as a key evaluation criterion when Expressivist examine writing" I totally agree with Faulkner. Expressionism also engages the passion in the writer allowing them to reflect on their “greater self-awareness greater insight, increased creativity, or therapeutic clarification of some sort" resulting in great writing.
Great writers also need to consider their readers it “compels readers to listen seriously" encouraging them to read more of their writings.
The teachings of writing according to the teacher’s accumulative learnings. Student’s takeaways will be what they are comfortable with and agree will engage their students and freewriting skills. Although teachers will always encourage their process. All learnings has some benefits to some students.

Creating a New Environment 2016-10-24 19:50:00

Eng. 5020

Dr. Zamora

Writing Theory & Practice 

Blog 3

                                                   "Writing Comments on Students' Paper"

I am not a teacher. I have yet to experience the teachings of writing or having to comment on

student's paper. Although I have experience the feelings of being "apologetic and vulnerable" when

handing in my paper to a teacher to be graded. I totally agree with the students' reactions to their

teachers " necessary short" comments on their papers.


I agree with Bean's when he writes "to improve our techniques for commenting on our students'

papers then, we need to remember our purpose, which is to not point out everything wrong with the

paper but to facilitate improvement" when encouraging students. That purpose is not always

expressed by some educators.  I also agree with his writing regarding "to point out what the writer is

doing well. Positive comments build confidence and make the writer want to try again" which will be

 part of my teaching process. (Bean)

                                                              "Response to Writing"

A tracher's  response is essential to the structure of most students final draft.  Comments that "

suggest ways of making improvements ( Ferris, 2003). Second, they prefer comments that explain

why something is good or bad about their writing" to direct students in a   comfortable direction. (Beach, 1989)

From a students point of view structure and direction encourages creativity. 

To be given a writing assignment without any corrective comments on the first draft from the

educator leaves very little room for improvement and direction . I  agree that some " students often

simply comply with what they perceive their teacher wants them to do in order to obtain a good

grade, although the teacher's suggestions may  not help them improve their writing"  suggesting their

 lack of interest in being a writer. Fortunately peer review assist in correcting some concerns. Without

 the educator's collaborative agreement on the first draft a student may become unsure of their final


Creating a New Environment 2016-10-24 18:28:00

Eng. 5020

Dr. Zamora

Writing Theory & Practice 

Blog 5



“Evaluating Future Writers”

Did I get it right? Is one of the questions most students ask when they request someone to review their writings?  When we, the reviewers, review someone's paper " We do not know of any definitive way what constitutes thoughtful commentary or what effect, if any, our comments have on helping our students become more effective writers"  as we evaluate what may be their best work. The first draft definitely needs commenting on because it gives assurance to directions and structure. Without it a student may not be sure if he comprehended the directions correctly. So they rely on comments to “create the motive for doing something different in the next draft" with permission.  It also gives the student a choice of “which of these comments the students choose to use or to ignore when revising" their second draft or final paper.  Encouraged comments are is important   ”Without comments from readers, students assume that their writing has communicated their meaning and perceived no need for revising the substance of their text” and will turn in their paper with anxiety. Not confident of earning a good grade. I agree with Nancy Sommers when she writes " There seems to be among teachers an accepted, albeit unwritten canon for commenting on student texts. This uniform code of commands, requests, and pleadings demonstrates that the teacher holds a license for vagueness while the student is commanded to be specific" regarding their instructions.


Passion is our voice! I agree with Peter Elbow when he writes “Voice is an important dimension of text and we should pay lots of attention to it. Everybody has a real voice and can write with power. Writing with a strong voice is good writing. Sincere writing is good writing. My voice is my true self and my rhetorical power" and I will always write my truth. Part of my truth is "The goal of teaching writing is to develop the self" by increasing my personal growth. Common knowledge is “To learn to speak or write better, we need also to work on being a better person" as we increase our writing skills.  Writing gives me a window to my soul and allows me to express myself. When I write I go on a journey to a peace place in my mind. I speak naturally which is why I think Peter makes a great point when writes “We can now see that a writer must disguise his art and give the impression of speaking naturally and not artificially. Naturalness is persuasive, artificially is the contrary; for our hearers are prejudiced and think we have some design against them" when we are only speaking our truth.

My idea for the group project is for everyone to write about a funny experience they had in college. I suggest that we post it on Facebook or twitter so other students can get a laugh when they are having a bad day. I think it will be great to lift someone's spirit when they are trying to increase their personal growth.