A few days ago, I wrote a piece with a completely different style than anything that I’ve ever written before. I wanted to write a piece that was formatted like a dictionary, with words and definitions on the page, and then my story in the footnotes. They way I approached it was I did research; I read a bunch of different pieces that incorporated footnotes into the story. I read stories by David Foster Wallace, chunks of Jenny Boully’s “The Body”, and T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland.” By exposing myself to different ways that the technique could be used, I learned a lot about writing in a way that’s completely foreign that makes it way less scary. I ended up writing something that was completely different stylistically, but I still learned a lot about my writing process. Here are some tips to work on developing your writing style. Has there ever been a times where you’ve tried a new style of writing, and if so, how did you approach it? What do you when you sit down to write; are there any ways that you prepare yourself or do you have a routine?
In my life, I’ve had a desire to learn what life is like outside of the Americas. I haven’t been able to leave the continent, but I’ve searched for the next best thing; and that is reading about experiences people have in different parts of the world. If you’ve ever wanted to read books that have alternative views on life and leave the reader in amazement then I recommend these three influential books as a good place to start.
1. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Shantaram explores and exposes life in an Australian maximum security prison, the slums of Bombay, the rural towns in India, 5 star hotels, and the seedy underbelly of the city. Filled with themes of friendship, escape, love, and agony, Shataram’s 933 pages fly by and leave the reader inspired and dignified. Shantaram is a fiction novel that is currently being worked into a movie.
2. What is the What by Dave Eggers
This novel of fiction follows Valentino Achak Deng’s escape from Sudan on foot, followed by militias and government bombers. The search for freedom is accomplished for Deng and his group, the Lost Boys, and they eventually make it to the United States. The story highlights the challenge, heartache, and promise of living in the United States and Sudan. The mixture of humor and trial throughout the novel lead to a feeling of enlightenment for the reader.
In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar
In the Country of Men follows the life of nine year old Suleiman in Libya during the Qaddafi reign. Suleiman gets caught in the whirlwind of parental issues where his fathers anti-Qaddafi actions lead to terror, while his mothers drug abuse leaves him turning to others. The books depiction of a child caught in a nightmare highlights the anguish of trying to live through political oppression.
If you have any books to add to the list feel free to share in the comments below.
When I was 17, I made my escape from the revolving door of drugs that kept me wandering around in circles. I would push the glass door in front of me, constantly staring at the exit, telling myself I would leave the confined passage I brought myself into. Eventually I did, with a rehabilitation facility guiding me by the hand into the building of adulthood. I had nowhere to start. Throughout the four years of walking in circles, some people stuck by my side, willing to exert more energy into helping me than I was worth, and others vanished. I told myself that there was a way I was going to pay my dues to society. I dedicated my life to a path of helping, and decided to come to school to become a professor.
While on the path to professorship, I entered through the door into the creative writing room. The room started off as being dimly lit; I couldn’t see the sunlight through the windows that would guide me to the gold-tinted world of teaching. Then I wrote my first non-fiction piece. Streaks of light flooded into the room and created steps that ascended closer to the sun than my original goal would’ve taken me. I learned that if I transcribed the experiences that I went through into words that are accessible by any literate person, I could help them learn from my experiences. If I coupled creative writing with the goals that I have already laid out for myself, then the possibility of people who I could possibly help might be endless. I could teach, in the most traditional sense of the word, or I could show the life lessons that I’ve experienced, so if somebody was stuck in a similar circular motion, then they could straighten out and continue forward. But literary citizenship added an entirely different dynamic to the extrinsic value I’ve been searching for.
I view literary citizenship as my ability to both assist other in their goal of becoming writers and introducing stories that could teach into the world of readers who might miss out on the ability to read something influential. My life goal is to help, and literary citizenship allows me to do that.
I’m a flea in the ever-expanding carpet of the internet. A parasite who wonders through the endless threads, seeing some that excite, some that are outrageous, and some that humble, and some that anger the to the point where I want to start a small fire and let it spread and engulf everything that is found in the internet; but throughout all of the emotions caused by the internet, I keep my mouth shut, and continue to wander. My presence is futile to internet, I’m invisible, I have no voice, and there is no interaction between myself and the rest of the individuals who are either fleas or threads. My hopes are that in the future I can ascend to the role of a thread. A thread that adds to the endless size of the internet; a thread that interweaves itself with other threads and creates a community of threads with one interest. I would prefer not to be to vibrant fluorescent green thread that everybody sees, but I want to have some sort of impact on the carpet and myself.
Right now, if you looked at my social media usage, you would think that I don’t use it. I never post anything, and the only usage I find out of it is the send messages to my roommates when they don’t answer their phones or I’m out of town and want to chat. There are no impressions, and there’s nothing that I would be known for. I’m just a voyeur hiding behind my computer screen seeing the exciting parts of everybody else’s life, but never sharing any information about who I am or what I’m up to.
If I wanted to get a galley of a book with limited copies and a gigantic fan base screaming about their insistence of getting a copy and the massive amounts of others that their reviews influence, I’d be last on the list because of my lack of influence. They’d pass over me like I was a moldy sack of potatoes at a grocery store. I have no influence, no readers of my work, and up until this point I was satisfied with being a voyeuristic parasite because it kept me out of trouble and insults from other users of the web. Recently, I found out that when the insults surface on the internet, which stemmed from something that happened in the non-digitalized world, it was appropriate for me to bite my tongue and hold my words back. If the negativity can happen, regardless of what you put out there for others to see, then why not take the risk. The rewards for including myself in the endless depths of the internet will outweigh the consequences, since the consequences will arise no matter what.