This poem was inspired by the idea of unlearning, introduced in 'Beginning' in Habits of the Creative Mind. I looked at the prefix un and really analyzed it in a way I never have before. I rarely think about why words are the way they are unless they are obviously foreign or especially strange. In a way, this poem echoes the unlearning process, calling for humanity to take notice and break free from what is already known or thought possible. The poem really exclaims that life can really be lived if one lets go of what is defined, but if one were to really think, definitions and facts only exist to be disproved. This idea is stolen from a Theory of Knowledge class I took in high school where we watched a video that facts are never proven true, they just have yet to be proven false. This directly applies to life. Very little in the world is defined and everything is constantly waiting to be disproved, changed, improved. Sometimes it is necessary to forget the old entirely and completely reimagine something from the ground up in order to reinvent it.
The idea of unlearning and beginning is relevant this week and onward as we begin to look at our monster essays. This class constantly calls for students to break free from the five paragraph essay, unlearn every convention that defines it. I have had little experience outside of the five paragraph essay, although I enjoy doing things differently so this could really be a place for me to shine. I also hate writing conclusions because I can never get them right without repeating what I have already said. This is an issue because in writing, I say something exactly the way I want to say it and any other iteration simply will not do. Conclusions force me to say what I have already stated in a lesser way than before. I am looking forward to letting go of conclusions in place of more poetic, less repetitive endings.
This week had everything to do with exploring, as research is exploring a new topic in depth. I chose to research Slender Man as my topic and after doing some 'exploring' I have found information that was genuinely interesting and, at times, shocking. This surprised me as I generally associate research with long hours of extreme bordom and frustration.
Research for Slender Man was easier than expected. A good bit has been written about him because he is, in a sense, the first of his kind and therefore an area of focus. Specifically, he relates to human behavior and story telling in the digital age. Slender Man is the first solid case where an entity was created online and erupted into something huge. Slender Man got so well known that people began to believe he truly existed, causing two young girls to stab their friend 19 times in an attempt to kill her.
Ultimately through this exploring process I learned how to skim through sources and find good information. This was something that I've never been any good at, as I generally read every word. I am not a fast reader so long sources can be overwhelming, but now that I've practiced skimming more it is easier to approach.
This week I made the decision to stray from my typical drawing or poem, deciding instead to dive into some modern, new age, meme art. I used a meme generator to create this meme relating to rhetoric. The image is a snapshot of the famous Star Wars line, "These are not the droids you are looking for," said by Obi-Wan Kenobi. This image perfectly embodies Plato's quote on rhetoric, which says, "Rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men." With this quote in my head, I thought to myself, 'What else deals with ruling the minds of men?' A classic Jedi mind trick, of course! This is why overlaying the image of Obi-Wan, are the words, "Rhetoric at its finest." This art of persuasion differs from rhetoric in language in the sense that Obi-Wan is literally and directly influencing the mind of the storm trooper.
Rhetoric is not so different from formulating an argument. In fact, the two go hand in hand. One must use rhetoric to present an argument, thinking about how he should present his information depending on his audience. As said in the Clemson video we were assigned to watch this week, rhetoric is not the art of bullshit. This misconception is tragic, as it leads people to believe that they shouldn't use rhetoric, when, in fact, it's crucial to daily life and getting what one wants and needs. I assume that the idea of rhetoric has been tainted mostly with unfulfilled political claims, followed by the media marking such tactics as rhetoric.
I have never been very good at persuading anybody, which means I must not take the time to evaluate my audience enough to be able to present my desires in such a way that they get on board with me. That being said, I am better at formulating an argument on paper with an ample amount of time than formulating an argument on the spot as words are coming out of my mouth. I will have to test my rhetoric and argumentative abilities in the coming weeks as this monster paper is written and finalized. To present my argument, I will suggest ideas about Slender Man and his social impact and then proceed to back up those claims with actual evidence or proof. Audience matters less with this paper, although it is important that I assume the reader has no knowledge of Slender Man whatsoever.
This week I decided to draw a time machine for my journey Log because I wish I could go back in time. The reason for this being that I did not manage my time at all this past week. I put off doing the rough draft for my research paper and studying for my biology test until yesterday (March 6). Not only that but my brother is visiting to see what college life is like so added distractions didn't help.
I am using the habit of mind 'planning and replanning' this week for obvious reasons. I should have made a plan for my research paper so that I could get a little done each day instead of letting it hang over me until the day before it was due. Planning and replanning would have allowed me to have more time to study for biology and more time to sleep, because 2 hours doesn't cut it for a good night's rest. When the final paper is due I plan on making a plan and replanning if that fails me. The quick thinking, no time planning may or may not have worked for me but only time will tell.
Diverging is a sort of pivot. It's when you try something one way, fail, and then take another path.
Diverging is to keep moving forward, but in a different direction. It's not stopping. It's not moving backwards.
Diverging is taking a leap of faith, risking everything to be different.
Diverging is making the best of failure. It's not wallowing in pride.
Companies diverge to save themselves.
Comedians diverge to turn boos into laughs.
Politicians diverge to appeal to the public and avoid embarrassment.
Writers diverge to break free from the chains of conventions.
Diverging is doing something unexpected. The results could lead to more diverging, but if they succeed, unimaginable spoils.
I wrote Diverging Is with no real direction so I guess you could say I, myself was diverging at every word, every line. It was going to be a short story but then somehow became a sort of free form poem. Diverging reminded me of the classic business pivot where when one way isn't working, a company will do a complete 180 into something completely different, yet still slightly related. The show Silicon Valley comes to mind when I think of this.
I am going to pivot or diverge from the way that I approach large assignments this week. Instead of taking them all at once and facing them like a mountain, I am going to try to do a little each day so that overall, it seems like less. Specifically I am talking about the research paper. Half of it is technically written (needs to be revised, of course) so there is less already. If I take it a little at a time I think my head will be more clear and less anxious. I will be able to produce better writing as a result. If this divergence fails me then I must diverge again.
For this week's Journey Log I decided to draw a picture related to Minecraft since the rest of the semester essentially takes place there. I couldn't figure out what to draw so I thought about my experiences with Minecraft and how I could put that on paper. Finally, I came up with a sort of parody of the Minecraft logo. It says 'Mindlesscraft' because when I was playing Minecraft this weekend to work on Raid 7, it just felt so mindless laying block after block after block. This does not mean I didn't enjoy it, there were just times where it felt that any other program could do exactly the same thing that is taking me hours in mere seconds.
Minecraft is completely new to me. I didn't even play it during my childhood as much of my generation did. This perfectly parallels the habit of mind, Beginning. When learning how to play Minecraft, the controls are quite simple and one can pick it up almost instantly. Sure, the wrong button is pressed every so often, causing hesitation and ultimately slowing down the speed of the game, but this in no way hinders gameplay. Beginning is about learning. For Minecraft, I have been learning as I go. I learned through the frustration of incorrect taps on a trackpad that I really needed a mouse to simplify the game, so I got one. Once I had a mouse, things went a lot smoother. I could build more quickly and was generally less frustrated. I would move back, click frantically to place blocks and move back again and click again and so on. Eventually I learned, adapted really, and realized that I could press and hold S to move backwards and press and hold right click on the mouse to place blocks. Constant movement and constant placing proved to be the fastest way to build.
This is where the mindlessness comes in. I laid down stone slabs in a 100x100 sheet. It legitimately took me about 2 hours to lay these slabs down. Every endless rainstorm and every damn pig in my way really started to piss me off. I got to the point where I went on a killing spree to get rid of those damn animals but they kept respawning in the middle of my 100x100 stone area I was trying to build. At that point I just said screw it and let them be, killing each one that got in my way. I was also frustrated with the fact that it had to be block by block. The fact that there was no fill tool to rapidly fill a space with blocks or command-Z to undo in case I made a mistake (like there is in the Adobe programs I'm used to using) aggravated me. This was all part of Beginning something new, learning the rules and what does and doesn't apply. As I continue to play the game I am sure I will learn and adapt further, but for now, I'll slowly manipulate my structure into being in ways that are probably unconventional. But that's the best I can do for now.
Note: I know that the drawing doesn't look like much, but I promise you it took me a long time as there was so much detail to add.
For my last journey Log I decided to do a concrete poem of me in two weeks. It didn't end up looking very proportions or accurate at all but it's a concrete poem so I guess it can be whatever it wants to be. My habit of mind this week is planning and replanning (or lack thereof) because in the summer you plan and replanning every day on a small scale. You can plan to do nothing and then replan it the next day too. It's really quite wonderful. You don't have to do any work other than your job which never has homework so it's no big deal. Plus you get paid for it. The words I used in this poem are tan when drawing my skin, Hawaiian shirt when drawing my shirt, bathing suit when drawing my bathing suit, and sunglasses, flip flops, buttons, drawstring, and smile. I haven't done a concrete poem since maybe 6th grade so I thought that it would be a nice blast from the past as well as a good way to express summer. I also used my OG (original) nameplate because I thought it would be "poetic" to use something from the beginning of the semester in an assignment for the end of the semester.
In all seriousness I will be doing a lot of planning and replanning this summer as my brothers and I start to figure out what we are going to be doing on our two week brother bonding Europe trip. We are trying not to break our wallets in the process so constantly checking prices and buying at the right time is our best way to go about things. It's exhausting but works to some end. We have our plane tickets but still have a lot of planning to do before we get there.