I remember the first time we wrote our own poetry in my middle school class.
The teacher handed out lined paper and we were allowed to develop our own creative poem. In the past, we had been asked to emulate the style of a famous poet as we learned all that poetry could be, but this time it was up to us – completely.
Instead of writing a haiku or a sonnet with strict rules, I decided to write in the style my favorite book Upside down and upside down, a free verse novel by Thanhhà Lại on her childhood as a Vietnamese refugee settling in the United States. She wrote in free verse because it reminded her more of her mother tongue and her poetic flow. I wanted to write like her, to spill the words on the page without stopping for anyone.
It was then that my infatuation with poetry began. You can do anything to indicate the tone. You could spell things on purpose, make up words, and forget about punctuation altogether in the name of sense. You can capitalize any letters you want and change the shape of the text as long as you can justify your choices.
I quickly learned that the form was almost negotiable only in poetry. Otherwise, if you leave an “I” without a capital letter, you get a big red circle on your paper (the capital “I” being something that started in the 13th and 14th centuries with Canterbury Tales). Imagine my disappointment when I got to the next level English class and suddenly I was expected to write in a certain way, tailoring my words and my creative mind only to the teacher who noted my essay.
I understand that some ways of writing are distracting. If I do this, it distracts you from what I’m saying because you worry about the mistakes I make. But, if I define and describe myself as an individual for whom diction and intonation matter deeply and on a large scale, my terminology and pretentious language will likely be distracting as well – and you might be completely lost when it comes to it. It’s about figuring out what, in fact, I never had to say at all.
it’s easier to put words
on the page
if you have freedom
write as you want
Sometimes I like to indicate the tone with my words. I want you to know How? ‘Or’ What I say things as well as What I am saying. We have different ways of indicating intonation throughout text, but not all of these are typical and accepted ways of writing. Although I am free to say things like, “I love this movie ”it is less socially appropriate to say“ I LOVE this movie ”even if they force the little voice in your head to read it the same way.
My question is: which part of socially accepted academic writing is valuable and against which parts would be useful to rebel? Is it really only through poetry that we can challenge the traditional norms conveyed to us in written form?
When I text my friends, one of my favorite things to do is add letters at the end of words. That way, questions like “Hey, are you coming?” »Don’t sound aggressive and confrontational. “Heyyyy are you coming?” sounds less like “I’m tired of waiting for you” and more like “I’m here!” Looking forward to seeing you soon, are you almost there? ”
Here is another example. When writing emails, I often add an excessive amount of exclamation points to each sentence. You can just to feel the difference when you use exclamation points instead of periods in your emails.
Using dots feels formal and confrontational to me while exclamation marks sound like I’m excited, enthusiastic and respectful. My use of punctuation is driven by my desire to appear approachable and friendly and to make a good impression on my teachers. A single punctuation mark can change the tone of my message and my relationship with the recipient.
Check the dots, check the subject-verb agreement, check the oxford commas and go through everything by Grammarly and proofread a thousand times, these are all messages we are told. But, do we need to write in these ways at all?
We have recently created new forms of written media, and while they each choose to ignore some common writing standards, they all come with their own ways of writing that are unique to this format. Instead of controlling punctuation, texting often relies on your knowledge of ttyl, brb, nvm, rn, dw, lmao and MDR.
Twitter relies on your ability to shorten your statement and neatly divide it into segments, but allows more freedom of word choice.
In classrooms, we ask children to learn to write flawlessly, sometimes more than we ask them to focus on the concepts we want them to learn.
As we create new spaces for language, we also show what we value.
can you read this????
CAN YOU READ THIS.
Can you read this better?
Does it make the voice in your head softer?
WHAT I SAY HERE
what am I saying here?
Do I look angry ????
Does it make you cringe when I make tjis?
As an English major, I’m probably in the minority who think a lot of the detailed grammar we focus on is sometimes unnecessary. I want to be able to write the way that best expresses what I want to say, and sometimes it’s long sentences that flow like a language spoken across the keyboard, on the page, and in your mind. I want to be able to write like poetry and feel what I felt the day I discovered the freedom of free verse.
In my future class, I imagine teaching a unit on different forms of writing: texting, handwriting, note taking, summary, analysis, formal writing, grant writing, research report writing, thesis writing, essay writing. ‘announcements, news writing, close reading, five-paragraph essay writing, tweets, Facebook posts, songs, poems, short stories, fiction, non-fiction, slam poetry and much more. I want to be able to name the freedoms of each and address the constraints of each form while asking students to push back and question these constraints.
There are some advantages to being able to use social norms for the written text. Correct spelling of words ensures that the reader is not distracted by the little things they notice on the page and can instead focus on the words as a whole. Proper punctuation ensures that the reader stops at the right places and can change the entire meaning of words on the page. But where is the creativity? Sometimes I want my words to SKIP THE PAGE! When I receive angry, Where passionate I want the little voice in your head to change the way it reads my words and engage differently with what I have to say.
I am not arguing for total and utter literary chaos. I can absolutely see the need for standardization so that we don’t get into a fight with a sentence that sounds like THAT. But I want to take a minute every now and then to see and question these standards and how they were created to prioritize a certain type of narrative: whatever you have to say, you have to say it correctly to be published or respected. Often times we see respected authors publishing something ‘countercultural’, like Toni Morrison’s book Beloved, they already had respect in the literary world. By 1987, when the novel was published, one chapter of which contained no punctuation, Morrison had already been reviewed in the New York Times and nominated for several national awards. A writer’s fame can protect him from some of the criticism he would otherwise have received for such a creative choice.
As a writer for the Hustler there are certain standards that we have in all articles to make our website more consistent. While this comes at the expense of some creative freedom, many of the standards we follow will be things our writers will see if they work professionally in a writing or publishing career. As a reviser, it’s my job to spot those stylistic errors that don’t unite the piece with the rest of what has been posted on the website. One thing we do in the Hustler is offer our changes as “suggested changes” from Google Docs. Framing them this way shows writers that this is exactly how we think it should sound or look like. While there is a reason for many of these styling choices, writers certainly have some freedom to be creative, like this article posted with intentional “mistakes”. Sometimes a writer will try something and that will cause another section of the Hustler to start doing something similar in their section.
In conclusion, (which is something I was taught to say when what I really mean is mic drop) questions everything and accepts nothing. The grammar is wrong (but you have to follow it to be respected). The words are all made up (but your teacher won’t let you say “underestimate” because it’s technically not a word?). Oxford comma rule (but not in the AP style). Have your say (as long as you don’t get points for your choices).