Experience As a Tool

When I originally sat down to map out my thinking for our class’s essay regarding Toni Morrison’s A Mercy, I really struggled. To pull some vocabulary from the prompt, I felt as if I wasn’t noticing anything closely enough to construct a strong essay, so I decided to wait, give myself some time, and read what other classmates were thinking in their essays. Thankfully, the decision to see what my peers were writing about proved successful, as my classmates are truly brilliant and were able to offer avenues I hadn’t yet considered.  

As I was scrolling through my peers’ work, a specific quote caught my attention. In the beginning of Emily Tsoi’s essay, she used the following Dionne Brand quote: “My job is to notice, and to notice that you can notice.” Using this quote was an inventive idea and ultimately led me to my own essay topic. (Thank you Emily!) I noticed Emily’s use of the Brand quote because it had been an epigraph to Dr. McCoy’s African American Literature class that we both happened to take last year. Emily’s choice to use this quote showed just how recursive things can be in our day to day, semester to semester, and year to year lives.

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Understanding the Root and Understanding Each Other

Given the recent reactions to the spread of Coronavirus in the state, the schools, and sports, it has been increasingly hard to concentrate on one specific thing, unless that thing is Coronavirus. To have to swap so much of my routine lifestyle for a completely new way of life is going to be difficult. Yet, even with such difficulties, this class has allowed me to think through a lot. Today’s issues and the 2008 market crash are more connected than a person may originally think! 

The Coronavirus, like the stock market crash of 2008, felt like a rumor until it’s affects reached me and my friends. Although the virus came up sporadically on the news, it seemed too far out of reach to impact my own life. I admit that I was foolish to assume the virus’s power. In Michael Lewis’s The Big Short, Lewis conveys how unaware people were of the stock market crash and its impacts on the streets of New York City. Lewis explains, “The monster was exploding. Yet on the streets of Manhattan there was no sign anything important had just happened. The force that would affect their lives was hidden from their view” (251). Just like the market crash, the virus was out of my view until recently. Now that its impact is in full swing, it is all I can think about.  

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Swapping Praise for Truth

During the first day of class, Dr. McCoy gave the students of English 431 the chance to define and think about some of the course’s main vocabulary terms to begin familiarizing ourselves with the financial world. Looking back, I’m thankful for this exercise because the terms we reviewed the first day of class are already proving their importance as they continue to circulate throughout class discussion. Although many words have been highlighted in class, two words that have proved their importance early on are liquidity and swap. I knew both of these words were terms used in economics, but in all honesty, I didn’t fully comprehend their meanings prior to class discussion.  

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Looking Back to Notice More: Part 2

When I was first asked to consider the main epigraphs for this course, one quote quickly stood out to me due to its repetitive nature. Dionne Brand’s quote, “My job is to notice…and to notice that you can notice” repeats the word “notice” three times in order to emphasize its main message. The repetition of the word “notice” creates a small-scale recursion, or as author Ron Eglash would explain in his book African Fractals, “a sort of feedback loop, with the end result of one stage brought back as the starting point for the next” (Eglash, 8). Through repeating the word “notice,” Brand conveys that human beings are capable of understanding so much, but in order to understand, we must be more aware of our surroundings.    Continue reading “Looking Back to Notice More: Part 2”

The Interdependence of Form and Content

In her work “Elements of Style,” writer Suzan-Lori Parks discusses the intricate relationship between form and content both in writing and in life. Parks states that “content determines form and form determines content; that form and content are interdependent.” (Parks, 7) This chiasmus creatively asserts that form and content are dependent on each other. This complex concept is difficult to comprehend at first, however, Parks relates this concept to entities outside of writing. Interestingly, Parks uses her physical body as an example of a form and how the content of her life is dependent on her physical form. She writes, “It’s like this: I am an African-American woman – this is the form I take, my content predicates this form, and this form is inseparable from my content. No way I could be me otherwise.” (Parks, 8) By explaining the relationship between form and content in this way, Parks allows her audience to connect this idea to their own lives.     Continue reading “The Interdependence of Form and Content”

The Silent Viewer

This semester in Dr. Fallon’s English class, I’ve read multiple pieces of literature involved with the concept on worldmaking. For instance, our class read works on early European exploration and famous tales of utopias. Every reading the class has encountered plays with the notion of a new or different world. In addition to these stories of exploration and utopias, we read William Shakespeare’s famous play, The Tempest. The Tempest applies to this worldmaking context due to the formation of a new society on an isolated island after a shipwreck. I enjoyed engaging in Shakespeare’s work in Dr. Fallon’s class. Little did I know I would be looking back at The Tempest as parts of it apply to Dr. McCoy’s class as well.   Continue reading “The Silent Viewer”

Deconstructing Mac and Cheese

Over Thanksgiving break this year, I went home to visit my family, relax, and celebrate the holiday. While I was sitting on the couch lazily watching television, my mother called out to me to come help in the kitchen and  make her family-famous mac and cheese. Now, while this may seem like a simple task, it was an incredibly intimidating feat at the time. What if I messed it up and everyone at the Thanksgiving table disliked it? This wasn’t normal mac and cheese! This wasn’t the simple task of boiling water and adding macaroni! My mom’s recipe was both a long and complicated process. When mac and cheese has bread crumbs, you know it’s serious.    Continue reading “Deconstructing Mac and Cheese”

Flying Back to Cornelius Eady

During class this past week, we were provided with a packet of some of Dr. McCoy’s favorite poems. As a class, we took the time to read the poems aloud and internally reflect on each of them. While all the compiled poems appealed to me, one in specific caught my attention. A certain rawness and vulnerability surrounded Cornelius Eady’s poem, “Crows in a Strong Wind.” The poem offers a duality by evoking both simplicity in its subject, but complexity with its underlying message. I believe this duality and the poem’s connections to class resulted in it being my favorite among the others.   Continue reading “Flying Back to Cornelius Eady”

Providence and the Unlikely Scholars

While scrolling through the (Im)Possibilities blog this past week, I came across a blog written for the Steve Prince class that had underlying connections to our course. In Claire Corbeaux’s recent blog post, “Providence and the Baby Dolls,” she discusses the concept of providence and how it relates to Kim Vaz-Deville’s book, Walking Raddy and society at large. While this post doesn’t directly relate to our class, I found that the central theme of “providence” connects to the material we’ve been working with, especially in terms of Victor La Valle’s novel, The Big Machine.   

As Claire begins to write, she notes that her class’s guest speaker, Dr. Cope, explained providence in relation to the Puritans. According to Claire’s post, the Puritans defined providence as “God’s control over the universe and its happenings as well as the lives of individual beings.” After reading this sentence, I realized that providence has developed as a theme in LaValle’s novel.   Continue reading “Providence and the Unlikely Scholars”

“Healing is not linear.”

Walking into the library this morning, I decided to start crafting a new blog post. Unlike last semester, I’ve noticed that ideas for blogs haven’t been popping into my mind as easily for posts, yet I’ve remained calm and hopeful that I will find my groove soon enough. Walking past the CIT desk, I noticed a new table on the main floor of the library. The table was covered with markers, small pieces of printer paper, and pieces of card stock with pre-printed positive quotes on them. One of these quotes specifically caught my attention. The quote read, “Healing is not linear.”   Continue reading ““Healing is not linear.””