Topical jungle.

If you can’t tell, I love to use stupid puns in my entry titles.

Yesterday in class was free-form, but I think we got a lot of important work done.  We talked about our blog reviews, and especially what made a blog appealing or effective.  Some of the things we came up with were humor, drama (like he-said-she-said), mystery, and communication.  We talked about the importance of the title, as well, since that can be what draws a reader in.

Most importantly, we talked about “topics.”  We’re writing very personal blogs in this class, so the main topic is of course ourselves.  However, I wanted everyone to think about why they wanted to share themselves with the world.  What was it about their perspective that was unique?  This can be an incredibly difficult thing to think about – imagine if someone came up to you on the street and said “why are you special?” – but everyone rose to the challenge.   The main thing is to recognize your interests, first of all, and then to acknowledge that those interests are special and worth reading about.

One thing that I didn’t mention in class, but that I find interesting is the idea of a narrative arc for a personal blog.  I read an article a long time ago (that I haven’t been able to find again) that argued that blogs should have a beginning, middle, and end, just like a novel.  Unless the author was struggling with something and came to a conclusion, the writer argued, the blog wasn’t interesting.  I don’t think this is true, honestly.  I like to read about people’s personal experiences.  However, I do agree that there has to be a “so what?” to the post.  If a post makes me think about my own life, about the world around me, I am more likely to come back and read that blog again.

I had everyone write a thirty minute personal portrait two days ago, and I read them over last night.  I’m going to give everyone prompts today to work on, based on those personal portraits.  One of the things I’d like to see is more detail from everyone, and working on setting a scene that other people can relate to.  We’re also going to talk about revision a great deal in class, because it’s an important skill to learn and practice.  Hopefully we’ll also have time to read over a few poems.  I like to set my expectations high!

If you click on the “Read More…” link below, you can look at a piece I’m working on right now, which is based on the prompt for the first day.  I told Arisleyda that I would post something of my own efforts, and while I’m nervous about doing so, I think it can also be productive.  Feel free to leave constructive criticism in the comments. 

The prompt was “Make a list of ‘I am…’ statements.”  I decided to go in a different direction with it.

I am your fingers on your pulse
I am the railroad ties tripping under your feet
I am the graffiti blurring beside you

I am the boy beside the train tracks
Who raises his hand, yells
“Where you running to, girl?”

I am your shirt, your shoes, your shorts
I am your orthopedic insoles
rubbing a red mark into your left heel

I am your hair in your mouth
I am the rasp of your breath
I am the doubled thud of your heart

I am the twist in your gut
I am the stitch in your side
I am your hands on your knees
when you’re doubled over
gasping for me.

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