So Amaze. Such Magic. Much Adventure.

I wasn’t too sure about Concept 2: “Writing Speaks to Situations through Recognizable Forms”, until I got to 2.1 “Writing Represents the World, Events, Ideas, and Feelings”. I’m going to do a lot of quoting so bear with me. Charles Bazerman says,

“… grappling with words is hard and frustrating work, and we may feel that our words are always a reduction, always lose something … But because words are such thin and frail communicators, writers must work hard to make them do the best they can do … writing is limited by our ability to represent the world through language and the ability of our readers to make sense of our representations in ways congruent to our intentions … writers often have great ambitions about the effects and power of what they write and their ability to capture the truth of realities or conjure imagined realities, but they are constantly caught up short by what they can bring into shared reality through words” (38).

You know what this IMMEDIATELY reminded me of? This beautiful meme:

This is absolutely one of my favourite memes of all time. Who hasn’t felt like this when you try to explain your ideas out loud?

I almost screamed when I was reading that part of the book and thought about this meme. I remember when I first came across this meme and again almost screamed (you know actually I might have screamed) because of just how relatable it was. How many times have I been through this in my life when I’ve had an amazing dream or come up with an amazing story (usually from the dream) and then tried to explain it to someone and they just look at me like I’ve lost my mind. “I wish you could see what’s inside my head!” I always seem to be yelling, and I know I’m not the only one. I too have been on the receiving end of someone trying to explain it to me. I tell them to write it down, and more often than not it’s communicated well. Only a few times does it just fall flat. I found this great article titled “How To Turn Complicated Ideas Into Simple Concepts”. Though the advice isn’t exactly for pitching your story idea there is a lot of useful information in it.

It’s so frustrating, and often even more frustrating trying to portray what I see in my head to paper or a screen in front of me. “Grappling with words is hard” (38) just like Bazerman said, and worrying that these little words we write or type aren’t going to properly convey just how FANTASTIC what we have in our head is absolutely a genuine concern. Words are thin and fragile, and it seems just beyond crazy how they will ever be able to convey the magic that you see in your head. But they do, and they do it well. I know I get “caught up short” sometimes trying to get the words out, and it’s incredibly hard to push through.

Bazerman made a small little note in his piece that caught my eye. He mentions that “most of what we consider knowledge comes from the representation of the world and events in texts” (38). And “if people don’t share those texts … they don’t share the knowledge” (38). This made me think about fake news, and how prolific it has become. Not only that but how it seems more common for people to truly be confused on what is “true” and what is “fake”. Christiane Amanpour talks about fake news in her Ted Talk. Amanpour mentions that “when you can’t distinguish between the truth and fake news, you have a very much more difficult time trying to solve some of the great issues that we face” (“How to seek truth” 00:17-01:16). Bazerman says at the end of his piece, “recognition of this concept provides a path to a more detailed understanding of how things reach the status of truth within different communities and the criteria by which truth is held” (39). Hopefully soon we can move beyond this “fake news”, but addressing what is and what isn’t will always be an issue.

Finally one last (quick) thing I want to address is in 2.5 “Writing is Performative”. Andrea A. Lunsford explains that “language and writing have the capacity to act, to do things in the world … “performatives,” by which they mean spoken phrases or sentences that constitute an action” (44). She gives a variety of examples such as a judge marrying someone or sentencing them to someone on a Kickstarter site asking for you to support their product. While an odd thing to be reminded of, it reminded me none the less of Bioshock the video game. A game where you spend the majority of it being asked “Would you kindly?” do a certain thing. Lunsford says “writing is performative means that writing acts, that it can make things happen” (44), and that’s exactly what the character Atlas does by asking you “Would you kindly?” You don’t even realise what is happening as you’re being coerced to do actions that you don’t even know you don’t want to do. And while it’s not strictly “writing” as he’s asking you to do these things, one could argue that it is because did not the dialogue come from a script?

Would you kindly watch this video please? 🙂

Hopefully all these ramblings are making sense, and aren’t too disjointed. And, finally, would you kindly think about everything I’ve written about today 🙂

Works Cited

Bazerman, Charles. “Concept 2 Writing Speaks to Situations through Recognizable Forms.” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, Classroom Edition. Ed. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, Utah State University Press, 2016. 37-39. Print.

Bazerman, Charles. “Concept 2 Writing Speaks to Situations through Recognizable Forms.” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, Classroom Edition. Ed. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, Utah State University Press, 2016. 37-39. Print.

Catfi5hB1lly. Story Idea In Your Head. 2017. Reddit. Reddit, https://i.redd.it/8p3fscvp0tiz.jpg. Accessed 8 September 2019.

Eventoff, Matt. “How To Turn Complicated Ideas Into Simple Concepts”. FastCompany.com. Fast Company. 18 December 2017. https://www.fastcompany.com/40508554/how-to-turn-complicated-ideas-into-simple-concepts

Gamer’s Little Playground. “Would You Kindly? (Bioshock Remastered).” Youtube, 13 September 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtoPBHhYLMw&t=24s

“How to seek truth in the era of fake news.” Ted.com, created by TEDGlobal>NYC, September 2017. https://www.ted.com/talks/christiane_amanpour_how_to_seek_truth_in_the_era_of_fake_news

Lunsford, Andrea A. “Concept 2 Writing Speaks to Situations through Recognizable Forms.” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, Classroom Edition. Ed. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, Utah State University Press, 2016. 43-44. Print.

Featured Image can be found here.

Comments

Nikki
September 10, 2019 at 6:46 pm

Hi Miro,

That meme really got me. I actually had a series of nightmares last night (yeah, it wasn’t great) that would make a great film. However, trying to convey the emotion and terror brought on my these dreams, either out loud or on paper, would be very difficult. I’m not sure what it is, but it seems like, sometimes, only snippets of things are in my head for a story, and I have to find a way to flesh them out. Maybe more accurately, I think that I feel the emotions connected with a story first, and I have to work hard to figure out how to express them on paper without being cheesy (yay being emotionally stunted!)



Melinda Grant
September 10, 2019 at 7:54 pm

Hi Miro. I really relate to this posting and love the Van Gogh Starry Night example! So relatable! Sometimes, when I am conversing with others or when I sit down to write, I have all of these eloquent and “great” ideas in my head. Then, the pen touches the paper, or the finger touches the keyboard, and what comes out isn’t nearly as organized and extravagant as what I had in mind. Hence, I also love the other meme you chose as it describes my experiences perfectly. The masterpiece in my mind comes out a distorted re-arranged canvas, nothing like what I intended.

When I read the threshold concepts, at first, they don’t always click. But, the more I re-read and study them, the more sense they make. Communication really is limited to the ability to express ourselves through language. Our minds may interpret something, and it seems to make complete sense to us. Then, when we try to share the information it becomes so much more complicated to explain our thoughts as we are limited through the framework of language. Thanks for the post!



September 11, 2019 at 4:04 pm

Miro,

I’ve never seen that meme before but wow I don’t think I have seen a more relatable one in my life. I constantly struggle with this. Especially when strangers inquire about what I’m studying and proceed to ask me questions like “what do you like to write?” or “what are you working?” and I begin to ramble and try my best to explain the ideas I have in my head, and this rambling is usually met by a blank stare. So often I wish I could simply translate what ideas I have in my head into the perfect words to describe them. Sometimes I think this many not even be possible and I will always be trying to find better ways to tell my stories. But that meme is a great example of how so many writers feel and I really enjoyed all the examples you used throughout your blog.



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