Reshaping

Smacholdt's picture

Original Paragraph from my Thoreauvian web paper: (Already written in the Maoof style of “telling a story and putting yourself in it”)

To find the boundaries of the campus I walked around it in a circle starting and ending in the same spot. I didn’t begin to ruminate on the subject of circles, however, until I reached “The Labyrinth,” which is what I would consider the center of the campus. I have always felt that there is a definite power in circular shapes. Traditionally, circles have been used to symbolize everything from wholeness and completion to life, eternity, and even the void. Circles occur naturally- you only need to look at an orb web or the ripple a rock makes when thrown into a pond to confirm this. But to me they have the spiritual meaning of the beauty of imperfection, the fact that we often “walk around in circles” in our lives, and the fact that all of us will, ultimately, circle around to death.

The Labyrinth at Bryn Mawr College is a mud track carved into the grass, which, judging from the pack on the ground was a gift from the graduating class of 1999. I once directed a group of local, middle-aged women to its location at the back of Rhodes Dorm and was given the explanation that they had “come searching for inner peace.” At the time, I had hoped that they were joking, but on this cool September morning I decided to see if there was any validity to their claim. I entered at one end of the labyrinth and kept walking around and around and around and around…. not reaching the center nearly as quickly as I had wanted and crossing back over ways I had already walked in the process. It was annoying and it was frustrating. But it was also, as the English nerd in me snidely pointed out, a good metaphor for my life. I am in a rut, to be sure, and I feel as though I am passing the same way again and again, repeatedly making the same mistakes. But I wonder, does metaphorically (or literally), passing the same spots again mean that you’ve regressed? Or, if life really is like a labyrinth, does experiencing certain things many times mean that you are making progress? Does this mean that you are having “the normal human experience?” (If there even is such a thing.) I don’t have the answers to any of these questions, but I do know that my Sunday morning walk made me think about a lot more than I had bargained for.

Here I’ve tried to represent the same ideas in a rhemodic way:

Finding and circling I tried to establish boundaries of the campus. Ruminating and considering; watching, looking, waiting. Feelings of innate power of circles. Symbolizing completion, wholeness, eternity,  the void. Occurring naturally and discovering themselves in orb webs, and rock ripples. Beautiful imperfections. Circling around, in time, to death.

Carved into rippling grasses, open to those searching inner peace and calm. Winding labyrinth. Walking, walking, circling and circling. Round and round and round and round. Frustrated movements and fluid feel of muscles moving. Moving only forward and onward. Knowing not any answers, only flooded with eternal questions.

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The first difference that I noticed between my original paragraph and its re-written version is the extreme difference in length. The second paragraph was significantly shorter than the first because many of the ideas I talked about were not as significant to the rheomode. I felt that I had to take myself out of the paragraph in order to focus on the connectedness and motion of all life, but in the process, the story lost its meaning as an experience in my life.

I also found that the rheomode is not descriptive in the way that I want it to be. It really is a different language that highlights much different parts of life than our traditional English does. I felt that I was able to writing in a flowing, almost poetic style, but can’t imagine my psychology professor, for instance, being too happy with a research paper written exclusively in rhemodic style. 

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ekthorp's picture

Your revisioning really read

Your revisioning really read like poetry to me, and that made me think a lot about the use of poetic form as a way of natural expression. I am fortunate enough to be dealing with a lot of poetry this semester, and a lot of what I have been learning from it has helped me undestand our conversations about linguistic structuring and representation. I've found some quotes that were personally reallly relevant that I hope you don't mind me sharing.

In "Confessions of a Postmodern Poetess, Annie Finch outlines her reasons for reclaiming the title 'poetess,' basically saying that the reason poetesses wrote the way they did is because they tended not to separate themselves from nature. "For many postmodern writers and theorists, there is no distinction between fractured poetic subjectivity and a corresponding fractured or, to use the postmodern term, "constructed" quality in the way the subject perceives and aethetically recreates the outer world. For the poetesses, however, a fluid self is not linked to outer chaos; in fact, self-diffusion may only be possibly insofar as the outter world is perceived as a stable place linked by natural cycles and the ties of a community." (which, for many poetesses, it isn't).

Finch argues that poetesses were undervalued for not having a solid sense of self, but this was merely because they experienced "a fluid and boundaryless self experiencing a solid, shared version of natural experience." 

Finally,the following quote really helped just sum up everything I had been thinking about how adequately (and inadequtely) language represents our environment. The quote is from an article by Eleanor Johnson called "The Poetics of Waste: Medieval English Ecocriticism" : "Understanding not only the history of the ecocriticam of waste but also that history's reliance on literary form as a key analytical tool may help us think in new ways about how we, in turn, represent ecological crises and about the insearability of form from a histricized ecocritical ethos."

Personaly, it's been great for me to get to explore lots of poetry, a form both Bohm and Goatley praisefor its fluidity, while taking this class as well. 

Srucara's picture

I agree with emily in that

I agree with emily in that your revision is like-note taking. I find that your original is sort of a linear, storyline which touches on the past, present, and future, but your revision - noting all of the verbs and (ings) you are using. It really brings a touch of the present into it. It seems as though it is happening, right now, in this instant - showing an interconnectedness and not a separated reality (by any dimension including time).

et502's picture

framing

I like that your revision is more like note-taking - taking note of the environment, feelings that exist within it, events that are happening. I don't think this totally removes you - you are still the speaker, so you can't be totally removed; you are an implied presence, and I think that this frames the statements. Maybe this is a way that rheomodic languages fails - since there is always someone who is speaking/writing it, there is no way that actors/subjects can be absent from the narrative. 

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