Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Life isn't fair, but it has its moments.

I concluded that the main theme of The Princess Bride is "life isn't fair, but it has its moments."

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In that vein, this is very much one of those moments.

And life very much isn't fair.

Researching for and writing this paper was a struggle for me, but the end result, surprising myself, I am proud of. Honestly, from the get-go I didn't think I would have written something good enough to be published. Now, I desperately want to share it. Thanks, Professor Burton. Look what you did to me!

It all started down a rabbit hole...

Reading Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, neither of which I had read before, was a great experience for me. I thoroughly enjoyed them. My very first paper about Alice was a few tools short of a shed, if you know what I'm sayin'. It was a good attempt at close reading, but I missed the mark. Thankfully, my second paper was better, and I actually enjoyed writing it! I was getting into an area that was intriguing and encouraging. I looked closer at the relationship between the words on a page and the illustrations that accompany them.

I enjoyed this topic so much that I wanted it to carry over into my final paper, the big shabang. Why not tie in your favorite book in all the world? I thought. It'll be easy, they said.


I struggled to find a connection between the visual aspect of Alice in Wonderland with The Princess Bride film adaptation. Illustrations and films are both visual entities of the written word right?

Well, yes...but...

They don't really match up. Yes, they are both visual. But they are such different visual species that it's like comparing a snail to a cheetah. They are both animals, and they both get places, but that's about it. I was in such a sorry place that I shamelessly begged for help.

I talked to my father several times throughout this process. I expressed our literary connection in this sappy post. Ultimately, no matter how many people I tried to talk to about my paper, whether homies, peers, enthusiasts, or scholars, he was my very best source. We think so similarly, that when my thoughts were a jumbled mess, he would be able to understand what I was trying to say and retell it in a way that actually made sense.

Still, I struggled finding a firm foundation, something good enough to write about for 8+ pages, something I could find good sources for, and something (the real kicker) I could enjoy writing. It wasn't until I talked to Morgan in class, who's insights I greatly admire, about my struggle when I was able to stand on solid ground again. Here, you can see her process. She brought new ideas into the picture that I hadn't thought about before. In this post, you can see my renewed vigor.

Now I had something I was excited about! But the problem was, I was way behind the rest of the class now. They had been perfecting their theses and now were able to start writing their papers. I was barely digging myself out of a hole. Honestly, there were many times I'd avoid looking at the class blog because it reminded me of how far behind I was.

I finally sat down and came up with an outline because I was sick of the stress. This outline, with quotes from my favorites sources that I was planning on using, gave me confidence and peace of mind that I'd been craving. I then began to write.

I wrote about half the paper when I realized it was awful. Boring, disorganized, and quite honestly, just a string of my own rambling, I scrapped it. Asking my father for clarity of my own thoughts once again, I restarted. This time, I put more craft into it. And it became fun again. The pages filled themselves with interesting insights, quoted sources, and literary analysis. Using the same general ideas that I used in my second paper (the one about the relationship between words and images), I took a different approach: the affects the visuals have on the reading experience. I wrote about how a reader changes into a viewer.

It, you know, flowed.

And it was glorious!

Sometimes, when you're really proud of something you've done, you want a parade celebrating with you as you go, little step by elated step, to turn it in. I wanted ten parades.

When a parent watches, with tears in her eyes, her 18 year old child go off to college to fend for himself, she must have been feeling what I felt when I turned in that paper. It's all grown up now. Going places, changing the world. My little paper. So proud.

This post is getting too emotional. Sniff sniff. In closing, this was the most stressful assignment I've ever been given. BUT, it was also the most fulfilling.

That's just it. Life isn't fair, but it has its moments.

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