I believe, in fact, that academics have a place, and that place is in the classroom [Wednesday, Feb. 09, 2005, 9:28 am]
I have better things to be doing. I should be re-writing a paper, and writing another one, and stuff like that. I tend to stress out over things that really aren't stress-worthy. To me it's not about passing, it's about doing as well as possible. And perhaps sometimes I get carried away in my own perfectionism. Two weeks from now this paper will be old news and stuffed inside my notebook - hopefully with an "A" on it, but if not, well, that's life. So why do I worry about it?
Because writing literature papers is hard. English 101 was a piece of cake compared to 102. I sometimes wish writing didn't have to be so "academic." I mean, yeah, we need rules, but if you misspell something you can always look it up in the dictionary. It's the unwritten rules that I don't like. Such as, I can't use the word "I" in literature papers. I have to say things like, "In fact," or "It seems as though," rather than "I think," or "I believe." I don't like that. It makes my writing seem less personal and more "processed."
Well, I'll stick with the formal academic requirements in school, but outside of school my writing is my own, and no one's going to tell me how to phrase things. Although I do try hard to stick with the correct uses of grammar and punctuation.
I don't mind changing my writing structure around to fit the English grammatical requirements - for example, I've just realized that I don't usually put periods and commas inside of quotation marks like I'm supposed to, so I changed that bad habit right away. And even if they decide to change the number of spaces after a period from two to one, like my professor said they might (just who is "they" anyway??), I'll go along with that too. But don't try to mess with my style. Style is something that grammar is meant to enhance, not control, and this business of not being allowed to use "I" is really irritating me. But I'll go along with it in school for the sake of grades.
It's odd how something like art can have "rules." One of my biggest problems in PHO 101 was putting my subjects in the center of the frame. My professor told me that that's a photography no-no. The main reason it's done is because so many people use automatic, auto-focusing cameras, which always focus at what's in the center of the frame. And so we just get trained to center things - it's like a formula. And I suppose art is all about creating your own formula, which is why it becomes necessary to do away with the old formulas that were simply done for convenience.
Even though my attempts to stop centering things felt like I was following a formula, in reality it was helping me shed myself of a bad habit, and learn to produce photos that didn't look like they'd been shot with an el cheapo camera.
And when you think about it, how many artists and writers got famous simply by following the "rules" of their art?
So maybe this "I" business is just another learned formula that I need to learn to let go of. I don't know. But this entry is overlong already, so I suppose I should stop analyzing it now. Besides, I have an "academic" paper to be working on.
Ravelli: "Well look, all you gotta do is open the door, step outside, and there you are."
Vitality - Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009