ENG 162 Fall 2013

ENG 162 at Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor ME, taught by John A. (Don't ever, ever ask!) Goldfine johngoldfine@gmail.com

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Week 15--many choices, no prompt--choose ONE

Choice #1 Week 15.
If I tell you to do this assignment without checking back to your first week's journal, what will happen? Probably the same thing that would happen if I told you not to think of peanut butter in the next five seconds....

Still, this will work better if you avoid looking back, if you can resist that temptation.You're going to keep a journal on your own blog again, for a few days.

This time I want to do it a little differently. Instead of a journal where you allow in whatever strikes your fancy, I want you to focus on one thing and write a daily journal dealing only with that one thing. My school blog, for example, is mostly about school or writing or education related stuff.So, a journal about housework or your S.O. or your vehicle or the weather or a bad cut on your hand or summer preparation or keeping cool or your writing or your dog or your bad mood or whatever.

The goal of the first journal was to loosen you up, to let you write without much structure, thought, or anxiety. I certainly don't want you to be anxious, but this assignment demands, not looseness, but focus and discipline.

Choice #2 Week 15.
Revisions are tough. Either one resists the idea that one is less than perfect--so why change a comma in something that's already so very fine? Or one slags oneself mercilessly, throws out the good with the bad, and starts all over (and that is not revising!)

And yet, writing is always rewriting. Writers always stutter on the page and need to rethink, clean up, add new good stuff and subtract the tired and stale. Always, always.

There are a few tricks--sleep on something. Read it aloud. Have someone else read it to you.

Always save the first version and work with a copy. See if it works better without the first graf or the first page with a long piece. Throw out the ending and try a different one. Take out the jokes that make only you laugh.

Another option this week is to revise something from the semester--either prompt or theme and post it on your blog.

Choice #3 Week 15.
You have a bigger topic in you than anything you've touched on this year so far. A big project you dream writing when you have even two free moments to rub together. But you don't have those moments and, honestly, you're not sure if you have the courage to start it.

Well, give the first few paragraphs of the big project a whirl. Write them down (don't keep deleting!) right there on your blog. Then, write a further graf to the reader explaining what you want to do, why you don't think you can do it, why you can't stop thinking about it anyway, etc etc.

Choice #4 Week 15.
Write about yourself as a writer--hopes and dreams, strengths and weaknesses, ambitions and failures; reactions to the semester, what changed for better or worse in your writing; course experiences, problems, positives.

Choice # 5 Week 15.

Try one of these.

Sometimes elements of writing can be juxtaposed for effect (mentioned this a few weeks ago) and sometimes those juxtapositions can be segmented (separated from each other with a space, row of three asterisks, and another space--or just spaces.)

The elements can be similar in nature or very unalike. Depends

This is called an assemblage or collage, just like in art. It can create weird, surreal, frightening, surprising, emotional, etc effects.

Your assignment is this week is to create a collage using any materials you can find in your own blog, on the web, wherever.

Here's a sample collage off the internet, a poem made up entirely of actual quotations from George W. Bush, arranged by Washington Post writer Richard Thompson.

I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.It's a world of madmen and uncertaintyAnd potential mental losses.
Rarely is the question askedIs our children learning?
Will the highways of the Internet
Become more few?
How many hands have I shaked?
They misunderestimate me.I am a pitbull on the pant leg of opportunity.
I know that the human being
And the fish can coexist.
Families is where our nation finds hope,Where our wings take dream.Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!Vulcanize society!
Make the pie higher!Make the pie higher!

Here's a sample from a Fall 2005 162 student (these are all things she found in my comments or course writing over the semester):

Theme Week 15: Jux Suppose
This time I want to do it a little differently
Speculate, imaginea quick in-and-out
Mysteries can still be written pearls of beauty
Turns and curves and rabbit prints in the snow
A lot of quiet
The little girl dreaming
Imagine being the girl laughing
A little short of breath
It’s inevitable
Everything you want me to see
Smoky, sad, boozy
Aapproach it with dread, run right past it without hesitation, resign ourselves to the inevitable, peek at the weaknesses all those thorns
Inimitably me, simmering rage directed inward
The inner trash
Thoughts curl back on each other
With a stranger, someone who had no face
Unusual circumstance, peculiar feeling
Check your horrors against our own....
Beat the poet out of you
Hit me that way a little.
Drunk on those tequila shots enough to find some calm
Something magic about that
A rush of pleasure bits and pieces of secrets
It came out of your mouth too
Something new: in the past he would probably have been safe
Find a new place to be gone to....
Something pleasant to think about
Temptation to be wrestled with pretty much says it all.

Or this from Meghan R:
Caring is the essence of nursing.It is one of the Fine Arts:I had almost said,the finest of Fine Arts....the character is as important as the knowledge she possessesPays better than McDonald´s (though the hours aren´t as good.)The average annual earnings for registered nurses was $44,840 in 2000
Needles: ´tis better to give than to receiveNurses have a lot of patientsBlessed are the nurses, for they help us heal through love and care.You know you are a nurse when you baste your Thanksgiving turkey with a Toomey syringe
There are more nurses than any other workers in the health professionYou know you are a nurse when you find yourself complimenting a complete stranger on his veinsConstant attention by a good nurse may be just as important as a major operation by a surgeon.Whether a person is a male or female, a nurse is a nurse.No man, not even a doctor, ever gives any other definition of what a nurse should be than this - 'devoted and obedient.' This definition would do just as well for a porter. It might even do for a horse.

So, choose one.


Anonymous reetplus3 said...

John, the end is finally near. It has been (a little) stressful for me, but I am happy with what I have done for this class.

Do we do one of the five for wk 15 on our blogs? Just want to make sure. the journaling for a few days about one subject is peeking my interest.

Thanks for all your feedback this semester.

Friday, April 29, 2011 9:20:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

Just one of the five is the deal, reta, except I will make an exception for you and you can do all five (5) if you are hot to trot.

Saturday, April 30, 2011 1:04:00 PM  
Blogger Kara said...

I don't know which to choose. I think I am going to do the journal. This will be cool to focus on one thing!

Saturday, April 30, 2011 5:11:00 PM  
Anonymous reetplus3 said...

Gee, thanks, John.
Let me think about that.....ummmm

No thanks.One will be just fine for me. Besides, if I do all five you just have to read more!

Saturday, April 30, 2011 5:23:00 PM  
Blogger Rebecca C. said...

I can't believe that the semester is almost over and this is our last week assignment. So, for choice number two we can go back to a week's theme or prompt that we have already completed and do a rewrite of it? That would be great because my writing can use lots of improvement and patching up.

Saturday, April 30, 2011 6:31:00 PM  
Blogger darci said...

so exciting and unreal at the same time that the semester is almost done.

This is to go on our blog?

Saturday, April 30, 2011 6:54:00 PM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...

rebecca--yep! A rewrite not in the sense that I asked you for one, but in the sense that you want to expand and improve something I have already accepted

Sunday, May 01, 2011 8:58:00 AM  
Blogger johngoldfine said...


Sunday, May 01, 2011 8:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Morgan said...

A few looked too good not to do.

Thursday, May 05, 2011 8:47:00 AM  
Blogger emily said...

The journal works for me! I love writing about my dog, so that's my topic! He has so much spunk to him, it shouldn't be hard. :)

Thursday, May 05, 2011 10:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Melissa said...

I really enjoyed writing the journal in the beginning of the semester, I'm glad this is an option and we can do it again!

Sunday, May 08, 2011 6:26:00 PM  
Blogger emily said...

Changed my mind, did #4 instead! I wanted to tell you what I thought of this course. :)

Monday, May 09, 2011 8:01:00 PM  
Blogger Ryan G said...

I would have loved to do the journal, but I had to catch up. I liked the review piece too, I felt good to get writing goals down on my blog.

Monday, May 09, 2011 10:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Zoe Little said...

i like this.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 9:05:00 PM  
Blogger RJ Perry said...

I think I'll choose to write about me the writer again. I started the course off with a similar topic and I want to see how I've changed!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 9:47:00 PM  
Blogger Tara said...


Wednesday, May 11, 2011 7:27:00 AM  
Blogger HillNicole said...

I am just now getting to this assignment(yes on the last day of school) better late than never right? In my opinion it will be the most difficult.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Derek P said...

As always, waiting until the last minute. I like the no prompts and all in one deal. Way to close out the semester.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 6:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Derek P said...

I think I'm going to tackle the revising idea. I've never really done that with any of my writing. I've always just written something, quickly proof read and then pass it in and forget about it. I think this will be interesting.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 6:45:00 PM  
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