Making Sense of the Shadows: An Allegory of Modern Day Slavery.

“Race”, a tightly weaved fabrication that has been adeptly warped and knitted into the tapestry of time finds a way to spin and roll itself into every social justice conversation and debate in modern day America. With each passing generation, the hot topic on race refuses to fizzle out. Yet, race does not exist, scientists have maintained constantly. Then, why do we still believe it does? Let’s look at the early origins of slavery.  The documentary, “Race: the power of an illusion” narrates how in Early America there was no division along color lines, rather the obvious division was class. In other words, “Race is a modern idea – it hasn’t always been with us. In ancient times, language, religion, status, and class distinctions were more important than physical appearance” ( ). Basically, the main question at the time was not about who was coloured or white but who had more wealth, influence and lands than the other. The advent of the transatlantic slave trade business and forceful capture of Africans into the Americas introduced a deceptive division. Chain business transactions (pun intended) would create a division so wide, false ideology and pseudoscience could only account for it. In simplistic terms, the historical buying and selling of human beings breathed life to the lie called “race”  Albeit, modern scientists maintain that if race actually exists then there is only the human race.  Continue reading “Making Sense of the Shadows: An Allegory of Modern Day Slavery.”

Emotions, Growth, and Writing?

I remembered our “Bloodchild”-spawned conversation about inoculating ourselves in the face of fear, worry, and anxiety when I came across this Scientific American article titled “Negative Emotions are Key to Well-Being.”

Eudaemonic approaches, on the other hand, emphasize a sense of meaning, personal growth and understanding of the self—goals that require confronting life’s adversities. Unpleasant feelings are just as crucial as the enjoyable ones in helping you make sense of life’s ups and downs. “Remember, one of the primary reasons we have emotions in the first place is to help us evaluate our experiences,” Adler says.

Read the article–is there anything you draw from it that you can apply to your writing, thinking, growing experience in this course?



Look Outside And Then Within: Reflection For Fledgling Writers.

Reflective writing is a novel concept to me and one, that I find quite deep and interesting. However, I have been able to understand from the writing workshops I attended during my gap year that, reflection is needed to create a strong and well-written piece. For me, reflection occurs when a writer is able to look within his/her self after observing (looking outside) texts, people, scenery among others,  in order to review, revise and restructure a draft until it becomes a strong and complete work. In academic writing, observing texts is instrumental  in acquiring strong textual evidences needed to write essays and articles.  Textual evidence is so important, it appears everywhere both on evaluated papers, in  classroom conversations and even Writing textbooks.  Continue reading “Look Outside And Then Within: Reflection For Fledgling Writers.”

Writers As Collocutors.

A laptop, a power outlet, a strawberry milk shake, some peace and quiet and Me. This is my all-in-one kit needed for a powerful writing session. Indeed, my perfect scenario includes no one distracting or disturbing me or trying to give me opinions on what and what I should not write. I could receive and accept criticisms and correct my mistakes but my idea would still remain. Writing for me is what I have always considered as a “selfish” activity much like taking a Selfie or something. My writing should zero in on my ideas, my thoughts, experiences, style and mode of thinking. However, before I enrolled in INTD 105, writing collaboratively was a notion I had not yet come to terms with. In other words, writing as part of a team is still a fairly new concept for me and one, I would want to explore further.  Although, I can say I have experienced working with a team outside of the academic environment but it was mostly centred on leadership and accountability. I would never be able to fathom the ineffable feelings attached with working with a team, brainstorming ideas, sharing laughter, learning new ways of doing the same things, experiencing the power of many and achieving great results. Deep inside me,  I still yearn to know, what does “writing together” really mean?

The notion of writing with a team paints a different picture entirely. Now I know a writer should not need to be a hermit to produce a good piece of writing. To illustrate further, I understand that its like people coming together like pieces on a mosaic to form a total picture; nevertheless, each one is a unique, distinct and special entity that together they all form a masterpiece. The editor, the reviewer and the writer, all come together to make a masterpiece.

Nevertheless, I must say a writer is a highly social creature whose life depends on expressively communicating with peers, mentors and people alike. A writer is a collocutor who must learn to converse actively in his or her group and inspire greatness within it. The writer is also a learner and like most learners thrive better around people than in isolation and up until now I still do not fully understand the total concept.
Writing with people is in itself both exciting and intimidating and much, like taking a roller coaster ride. It’s scary and fun at the same time. There is a fear of losing your identity and not “shining” well enough.  It is also important to note that in every group, no mind works the same as the others do.  In the effort to paint a scenario, in a group there can be a person who always get the best votes by other members of the group on lots of ideas while another person’s ideas get relegated to the back ground. Furthermore, a person who is more creative than you will always get all the work pushed on to him or her while you, who is just not as creative,  always end up with a more technical role. Although,  this is no one’s fault as everyone wants the best results for the team so individual members are better off sticking to their areas of expertise. This leaves little or no room for flexibility and experimentation.  This makes me a little cautious and wary.
Nevertheless, I still maintain that collaborating with others helps a person view life from a different perspective, help an individual step out of their comfort zones zone for a while and enables them to walk in other people’s shoes as well so that they end up becoming more sensitive and conscious individuals.  For me, writing with people would help me tap into my nether creative side, learn tolerance for the sometimes encumbering writing process and develop respect for other people’s intellectual products.  I see myself  becoming  unstuck from my very linear world and becoming exposed to a multi-dimensional world which exists from working and sharing with others.

Summary: Conciseness and Brevity


The art of Summarising in chapter two of  Graff-Birkenstein (They say/I say)exposed my ignorance of summary.  Before I read the above  chapter on summary, I always believed summary was only about shortening what the piece of work or article was saying. In other words, be concise and apply brevity. What I believed I knew about summarising was a mish mash of what I had been taught over the years. For example, I was taught that if one is able to make the assigned piece shorter, then it could be considered a summary. Clearly not.

Summary, in fact proves to be an essential and critical tool to successful writing because according to the they say/I say model, writing is a dialogue.

When in a conversation, one does not merely repeat everything the other person said because that in itself might be considered plagiarism. Paraphrasing comes in handy when attempting  to bounce off what has been said earlier in order to make opinions. Although, I know the trouble of going back through texts, scanning through long lines of words and spaces; I  still try to get a feel of what the author is saying so I can say what he/she says in my own words.

Finding the balance is not easy if I might say. It is far too tempting to repeat what the author is saying  in my own  words and leave it at that. However, this  is not enough. I have to be able to paraphrase what has been said, cut out the fluff, be concise and say it in words focused in my direction of thought.

Continue reading “Summary: Conciseness and Brevity”

Graff and Birkenstein-Good Summarizing

A summary is putting somebody else’s literature into your own words. You put the main idea, a few key details, and anything important from the text into the summary. Although we all know just what a summary is, not everybody can summarize so well. A high quality summary takes what you are restating from the literature, and then it adds a slight hint towards what you are trying to argue. Continue reading “Graff and Birkenstein-Good Summarizing”