Here at the Writing Center, we consultants have the pleasure of working with writers on many academic assignments throughout the year. We are always ready to welcome any kind of academic paper and collaborate with writers, whether that is because a professor has required a consultation, a student feels in need of guidance, or a client wants a listening ear for their ideas. Perhaps you have brought a research paper or two to the Writing Center before.
We’ve all been there. The essay has been on the syllabus since day one. Ten days before it’s due, the professor starts sneaking in comments every few classes about the turn-in date. We tell ourselves, “Oh, there’s still time.” Why is it so hard to get started?
If you have ever been in a literature or writing class at Wheaton, you may have heard the term “creative nonfiction” thrown around by one of your professors or classmates. Perhaps you have encountered the phrase in Kodon or The Pub and are interested in knowing more about what this genre is. Or you are unfamiliar with the term, you may even find it paradoxical. You are not alone in this either.
The first time I met Professor Drew Bratcher, I walked out on him. It was my first year as an editor for Kodon, Wheaton’s literary and art journal. He was the faculty advisor for The Record, our campus newspaper, so he had been invited to a Kodon meeting to share his experience of the writing life. He ended up talking about everything from working as a journalist on Capitol Hill to the impact of the 2008 recession on the writing industry. As an impressionable college student barely starting my sophomore year, I was intimidated and enthralled in equal parts.
I remember sitting in front of my laptop, searching, “How to be a good manager.” Not only was the title of “manager” itself contributing to my fear of the role, but self-doubts began to rise in my mind. Would I be able to live up to our staff members’ expectations? Would my lack of experience in such a position decrease the Writing Center’s professionalism? Despite the weeks of training I received, these thoughts lingered as I walked into my first day as the Student Manager. Yet now, as I sit reminiscing over the past year that I have spent working in this role, I can see only blessings and lessons to share.
If you’ve ever taken a literature class at Wheaton, chances are you’ve been asked to interpret a novel or a poem through a religious lens. Or maybe you’re in a BITH class and your professor has assigned you a non-theological text to analyze in light of your theological studies, perhaps a work of fiction. If you’ve never written something in the genre of Religion and Literature Studies, it can be confusing to understand what to write about, especially because this discipline has some similarities and differences with other genres.
In this post, I’ll break down what writing in Religion and Literature Studies looks like. What does a literary analysis look like when it considers a religious focus? And how does this genre differ from others?
First Year Seminar (CORE 101), First Year Writing, and AIS professors often include Writing Center appointments as a portion of their course. You might meet this with a feeling of dread or stress; life is hectic and having yet another required meeting or appointment can feel like an added weight. You may feel like you don’t “need” to go to the Writing Center or the idea of sharing your work with an unfamiliar face may feel daunting. So, how do you make the best of it?
I have an adage in my life: when one has an excuse to chat with Dr. Alison Gibson, one should not pass on the opportunity! Thankfully, I recently had the wonderful chance to interview Dr. Gibson, Director of the Writing Center, about her history with writing centers, her experiences expanding the one at Wheaton, and her vision moving forward.
Think of your favorite song—what do you like most about it? The lyrics? The melody? The baseline hidden beneath the final mix?
A song is much like a poem written to the movement of a melody—imagery, harmony, and simile merge to relate creator to consumer in a way that transcends the use of words alone.
Simply put, a song is a combination of thoughtfully constructed parts that, once put together, amplify one another.
Let us begin with the cornerstone.
If we are being completely honest, as students, we tend to write papers for classes with no intention of ever opening the document after we hit the “Submit Assignment” button. We set it aside in our pile of completed tasks and just move on to the next one. For me, there’s the added difficulty that nearly every time I look back on my old writing, I can’t help but think to myself, “I can’t believe I wrote that!”