by Marissa Stanko
Trying to find your identity as a writer is nerve-wracking. There’s pressure on all sides to do certain things or be a certain way or write at certain times and so on and so on. It took me a long time to feel like I was a writer, and even now I struggle with feeling like I don’t write “the right way.” One of the things I always felt forced to justify as a writer, even to myself, is that I like to listen to music while I write, and it isn’t instrumental. Studies, blog posts, and articles galore tell me that I shouldn’t listen to music while I write, or that if I do, it should be classical, instrumental, or a playlist designed to fit the piece I’m working on. Lyrics distract from writing, they say. Music puts your focus somewhere else. And I know for many people, that must be true.
by Aleksandr Chebotarev
by Dominick Marconi
There was this popular meme that recirculated in 2020 which featured a still frame from the Dreamworks animated film Madagascar. It showed the four main characters, Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, Marty the Zebra, and Melman the Giraffe with puzzled expressions on their faces and overlaid text that read, simply: “Why are you black?”
Everytime I see it I laugh. Everytime I think about it I laugh. I cannot speak as to why anybody else might find it funny, but to me, the comedy not only stems from the absurdity of the question's nature, but in its truth.
I’ve taught freshman composition courses for almost two years now, expecting my diverse body of students from multicultural backgrounds to all coalesce and perform to one standard above all others: White Vernacular English (WVE) or White American Vernacular English (WAVE). As writers, we pride ourselves on being open-minded yet authentic, and we hope our students do the same—as long as they adhere to what we consider valid style of writing. Why have the rigid, outdated principles the foundation of college composition was built on not shifted to accept other vernaculars?
by Sarah Knapp
The above videos contain clips from two very different, but two very popular TV shows: RuPaul’s Drag Race and Steven Universe. What do all of these seemingly unrelated scenarios have in common? In each clip, there are quite a few different uses of pronouns, some of which seem confusing or don’t exactly fit our expectations. There is a powerful force at work here: gender is being redefined. Subtly, and sometimes very overtly, the language used to talk about gender is being changed and shaped by the media that surrounds us.