Thank you for visiting my WordPress site- since you’re here, I’ll just take this opportunity to tell you about myself and what you can expect to find on my blog:
In middle school, I was in love with writing. Being able to take 26 letters and formulate them into endless stories and literary pieces was something that fascinated and entertained me- both in and out of class. If I wasn’t writing a paper for my favorite class, creative writing, I was jotting down my own short stories in marble notebook for fun at home. The reason that I loved writing in middle school so much, specifically, was that it all was considered creative writing. Our minds as adolescents were still young and innocent enough that we were not only allow to, but also encouraged to indulge in our fantastical side and create these elaborate stories into which we could pour our personalities. Quite honestly, as a naïve 6th- 8th grader, I thought that all writing was creative writing- that that was the only way in which to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.
As one could imagine, when I got to high school, I was sorely disappointed. My writing pieces changed from vivid ideas and creative storytelling, to rigid rubrics and an expertise in MLA format. Research paper after research paper, I found myself writing not because I loved to write, but because I loved the idea of an A grade. I just wanted to chuck away at each paper and get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible, but in a fashion that would ensure a good grade. I stopped writing for me, and started writing for teachers and the sake of writing. The far- fetched ideas that the whole world would someday see my stories dissipated into thin air as I accepted that the only people who would ever see my writing were teachers- I tailored my writing style to suit their preferences, not concerned in the least about whether or not anybody else would ever read my work. Academic writing became the center of my scholarly life, and for all of high school, I couldn’t stand doing it anymore. It felt so monotonous and pointless- by the time high school was said and done, I was thoroughly convinced that from there on out, my entire writing career would be cited source after cited source, concrete and immutable.
Coming to Saint John’s University as a freshman, I was pretty sure that I knew how to write for a collegiate audience- years of 6+ page bland papers under my belt was enough to convince me. But, taking my first English class at SJU, I discovered that I had to completely re- wire my already altered writing style. My Writing for Social Justice class confronted me with questions like “What do you think about this topic, and “How do you intend to utilize your own personal writing style in this piece?” For years I had avoided “I’s and “me”s, “I feel” and “I think”, to the point that I wasn’t really too sure how to go about personalizing my academic writing. Our first assignment of the semester, a narrative, reminded me more of my middle school days of creative writing. I had the opportunity to tap into my more creative and personal side in order to craft an engaging, interesting, and altogether informative piece that my audience would enjoy.
Through the process of gathering information for my writing, I became a better researcher. I wasn’t using Google because I didn’t know where to look for sources, or filling my works cited page with citations for sources I never even mentioned in my writing in order to “fluff” up my paper as I had in high school. Apparently, a book isn’t the only source you can use in writing- graphs, photos, interviews, videos, songs- you name it, chances are you can use it as a source if you have enough reason to. By the end I was pretty pleased with myself- I had managed to put together an essay that I actually liked, and managed to do so without feeling like I had sold my soul to every MLA format citation maker known to the cyber world.
This first English composition assignment was not only my introduction to Writing for Social Justice and English classes at Saint John’s University, but also serves as my re- introduction to my love of writing. After combining the “exciting” parts of writing with what is, at least for me, the really boring part of getting together all of your information, I have to admit that it wasn’t as painful as I thought it was going to be. The more assignments we did for class, the easier it was for me to create this melonge of writing styles. I’ve learned through this class that I have a distinct writing voice- something I was never informed of in high school, being that my writing read just like everyone else’s since I always followed guidelines to a T.
Being able to re- establish myself as passionate writer last semester as a freshman, made me realize this academic year, as a sophomore, that I had my major all wrong. As a first- year French/ Business Administration major in the new 5- year program on campus, I was missing out on the chance to take this renewed love of the English language and fully immerse myself in it. I needed more- more books, reading, writing and analysis… more situations in which what I’m writing and reading makes me question the conventions of our society, and in turn makes me question myself. And so, because in some cases, more really is “more”, I decided to change my major and instead become an English/ French double major. Which then lead me to the reason I’m starting this blog: American Women Writers.
I really find it only fitting that a self- written narrative is what re- introduced me to writing, and now another narrative, a slave narrative to be exact- The Bondwoman’s Narrative by Hannah Crafts, is bringing me back into the world of close- reading and literary analysis in my first year as an English major. In the class of American Women Writers, we are going to be looking at lesser known works written by American Women, and I hope that through this class, we can answer important questions like:
Who are or who were these women?
Why are we only finding out about them now?
Why is it that men, in comparison to these women in particular time periods, were accredited with writing “important” works of literature?
What is is that these females wrote about- what does their writing say about the evolution of our society, and how does the way we interpret and analyze it today say about how we as a people have also changed, or remained stagnant?
What does it mean to be a “woman”? And by whose standards is this womanhood determined?
I hope that as we continue reading throughout the semester, that in addition to getting some answers, I’ll also learn a little bit about myself as a writer, as a reader, as a woman, and as an American woman, at that.
Here, you’ll find posted my responses to various prompts throughout our months of class, please feel free to follow, repost, reblog, respond- avail yourselves and others with the knowledge that great writers in America exist, and they are women!