My Relationship with Writing: Part One of a Writing Log Series. (For ENGL 2060)

Bethany Herold

Professor Egger

ENGL 2060 E01

28 August 2015

Writing Log #1: My Relationship with Writing

“Go to your room!” my dad shouted. My ten year old arms crossed in defiance as I stomped off towards my bedroom, head held high. “You are not to come out until you have written me a paper explaining what you have done wrong, why it is wrong, and what you can do better next time,” he added. I slammed the door in response, and proceed to sit proudly on the foot of my bed for at least fifteen minutes. It didn’t take long for my protest to wear on me, and I reluctantly let my eyes settle on the imitation hickory writing desk angled beside the bedroom window. Various pens and pencils were placed intentionally in their holders, and a spiral bound notebook clad with a Garfield cover was laid directly in the center. I sighed as I sunk into the chair. My dad was not one to make idle threats, and expository writing assignments in lieu of conventional punishments were a favorite of his. At the time I loathed it, but looking back nearly fifteen years later, I see how moments like these planted seeds of intrigue in my life for the artistry of writing.

Exercises like these-and I use that term lightly-became vessels through which I could articulate difficult thoughts and emotions. It provided me with an awareness of focus, a sense of clarity, and ultimately, this feeling of being heard. After I spent my allotted time for resistance, I was forced to stare at the empty spaces between the light-blue lines until I picked up my writing utensil of choice and poured my thoughts onto paper. Even at that age, I knew writing required far more awareness and reflection than speaking. Like a window into my soul, all my thoughts were neatly organized and placed into a precise order, making even my irrational sentiments perpetuate some form of meaning. By the time I turned in my punishment papers, I not only had time to reflect properly on my wrongdoings, I also had also grown as a both a creative writer and critical thinker.

Throughout the rest of my primary education, I reveled in writing and the humanities. I wrote creatively on the side, and often found myself conjuring up stories in my head. The Lord alone knows how many hours I passed reading, and I will never regret a minute of my life spent nose deep in a novel of quality. I was below par in math, and mediocre when it came to the sciences, but massive reading and writing assignments were sources of pure joy. After graduation, I was hesitant about college primarily due to the fear of choosing the wrong major. Every decision seemed so finite then. I raced towards the arts, something I have always enjoyed, and tried my hand at studying acting and theater. Unfortunately, my stay in Los Angeles came to an abrupt end, brought upon by personal and financial afflictions, and so did my blossoming acting career. Defeated, I threw myself into a college education with hopes of gaining an elementary teaching degree. My heart wasn’t in it though, and that flame was quick to fizzle out. I felt hopeless for quite some time, distracting myself through other means and refusing to associate with any of my passions. Music, acting, and writing all became sources of shame. The things I once loved laid broken at my feet with my dreams.

The following January brought about some personal awakenings, and without going into much detail-for that is entirely an anecdote of it’s own-I realized all of my passions centered around this concept of self-expression and discovery. I loved acting for its ability to tell stories, and music for its manifestation of feelings. Writing, something I had loved all along, was able to encompass both of these qualities, and then some. Even if it didn’t make me rich or famous, I wanted further education as a writer. Words are a mere embodiment of a life, and I adore the follow quote by Mark Twain from his beloved A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court: “Words are only painted fire, a look is the fire itself. She gave that look, and carried it away to the treasury of heaven, where all things that are divine belong.” I adore it so much, in fact, it’s the title of this blog. How powerful it is to craft something that can accurately represent that fire, and carry on its meaning for generations to come. I don’t know where this adventure will take me in the end, but what I gain along the way will only help me grow as an individual. If I can benefit anyone through my writing, no matter how small, it will have done its purpose. So thank you for your inventive punishments, Dad. May their lessons impact me forever.

Constructions of Deviance: Reading Paper #1

Reading Paper #1

Bethany Herold

SOCY 2440 E01

Dr. Maren T. Scull

August 27, 2015

Constructions of Deviance: Social Power, Context, and Interaction breaks down actions and reactions related to norms and deviance into four possible scenarios: negative deviance, deviance admiration, rate busting, and positive deviance (Heckert and Heckert, 2016, pg. 27). The deviant acts can be ways of thinking, actions, or outward appearances. They can also be ascribed or attained. Not all are viewed in a negative light, but all either under-conform, over-conform, or simply refuse to conform to the standards decided upon by the given society. The norm faithfulness with be used to describe and relate to the aforementioned terms.

Negative deviance pertains to either nonconformity or underconformity (Heckert and Heckert, 2016, pg. 32). Essentially, it’s not successfully in meeting the standards, or refuses to even try to meet the standards, of a given norm. It is looked down upon by the members of society that have agreed upon the norm that is being disobeyed or failed. Negative deviance often includes many activities and behaviors that are considered criminal, although that is not a requirement. This could include rape, theft, murder, and embezzling. In regards to the norm of faithfulness, examples of negative deviance would be infidelity, betraying a friend, leader or loved one, and inconsistency.

Deviance admiration pertains to nonconformity or underconformity as well, only it is seen in a positive light (Heckert and Heckert, 2016, pg. 33). Essentially, it hasn’t met the standards of a given norm, and may even be defying those standards, but something about the situation caused onlookers to applaud the offence. Many revolutions-American, French, etc.- have begun because of deviance admiration. On a smaller scale, many movements have begun and ideologies spread because of the unwillingness of certain individuals to conform. In regards to the norm of faithfulness, examples of deviance admiration would include cheating on or leaving an abusive spouse, or abandoning a bad leader or company.

Rate busting pertains to overconforming that is looked down upon, also known as the “geek phenomenon” (Heckert and Heckert, 2016, pg. 34). Essentially, people with intentions of meeting the perfect criteria of a given norm overachieve to reach the goal, and are left with thoughts, behaviors, and/or actions that others deem excessive. Sometimes rate busting is ascribed, and being labeled as such can vary depending on social groups. Certain religious sects, physical traits such as being short, and intelligence, can all be placed in the rate busting category. In regards to the norm of faithfulness, examples of rate busting could include being so blinded by commitment to one persona that other relationships are neglected, not leaving a job because of over-commitment to a coworker, and being too faithful to one’s spouse (not watching movies that show naked members of the other sex, etc.).

Positive deviance pertains to overconforming or hyperconformity to norms that are viewed positively by society (Heckert and Heckert, 2016, pg. 36). Essentially, this includes people that have gone above and beyond the requirements of a norm, but unlike rate busting, others generally approve of it. Norm violations may be regarded as rate busting and positive deviance depending on the group that is associated. For example, never calling in sick may be viewed as brown-nosing by coworkers, but to a supervisor, that is a positive trait. In regards to faithfulness, examples of positive deviance can include a spouse who is consistently faithful to their partner through the course of several military deployments, a spouse that refuses to remarry after their partner has died, and an employee that stands by their company through a financial fallout.

According to Chapter 11, the concept of socially constructed deviance emerged after the labeling theory lost credibility because it was considered too absolutist in its approach when applied to areas like homosexuality, disabilities, and gender rights (Best, 2016, pg. 106). The constructionist approach was flexible, and a more reasonable way of viewing deviance. It helped to lessen the absolutist approach, and tone down contorted claims. Social constructionism essentially focuses on how groups create and classify deviance, and what causes the varying levels of severity dependent on the norm being violated. It focuses both on acts as well as people, as deviance can both both ascribed and attained. Much care is given to how various groups interpret deviance, and why specific norm violations trigger a more volatile reaction than others. Finally, specific areas of study are also dedicated to influential groups and individuals, and the importance they play in categorizing deviance. The reality of deviance is in constant motion, and varies from culture to culture and year to year.

References

Adler, P., & Adler, P. (2016). Constructions of Deviance: Social Power, Context, and Interaction (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Malicious Intent (Villanelle for Creative writing class)

Bethany Herold

29 July 2015

ENG 221 1N1

194 Word Count

Malicious Intent

Are you happy with the malicious path you have chosen?
Your rumor spreads like wildfire, engulfing everything pure and whole.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words are truly poison.

You claim you speak truth, but only cause confusion.
Hostile whispers in the dark send shivers through my soul.
Are you happy with the malicious path you have chosen?

These accusations are unwarranted and unproven.
Does not your hatred take its toll?
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words are truly poison.

From some misguided mindset you seek out restitution.
Brazen actions allude that you are vying for control.
Are you happy with the malicious path you have chosen?

Careless onlookers sneer and seek my social execution.
Tears well up in my eyes as I resist the urge to crawl into a hole.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words are truly poison.

It may appear your vindictive ways have won.
But in reality, you have inspired me to achieve a goal.
Are you happy with the malicious path you have chosen?
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words are truly poison.

Sunset Beach (Poem assignment for Creative writing class)

Bethany Herold

22 July 2015

ENG 221 1N1

128 Word Count

Sunset Beach

The water is pulled gently away from the shoreline.

Sea-foam left behind mirrors the remnants of a bubble bath.

The kelp is now alone, its emerald green strands

tangled up like a spinach salad.

A cry echoes from above, and a seagull dives down and glides

just above the waves. Her feathers ruffle in the salty wind

as she disappears where the sky meets the sea.

The sun is just above the horizon, and for a

moment, everything becomes one.

The sky is yellow, then orange, then red, pink, and purple.

Darkness sets in,

creating perfect silhouettes of the pine trees atop the rocky cliff ledge.

But the moon shines on brightly still,

its luminescent being a lighthouse for all creatures,

creating a path from land to eternity.