Tuesday, September 2, 2008

[insert SAT vocabulary]

With the last gasp of Romanticism, the quelling of its florid uprising against the vapid formalism of one strain of the Enlightenment, the dimming of its yearning for the imagined grandeur of the archaic, and the dashing of its too sanguine hopes for a revitalized, fulfilled humanity, the horror of its more lasting, more Gothic legacy has settled in, distributed and diffused enough, to be sure, that lugubriousness is recognizable only as languor, or as a certain sardonic laconicism disguising itself in a new sanctification of the destructive instincts, a new genius for displacing cultural reifications in the interminable shell game of the analysis of the human psyche, where nothing remains sacred.

That's one sentence. A bit scary to look at eh? What's scarier?

I used to write like that in high school.


We were talking in my comm classes today the important and modern prevalence of business writing versus academic writing. Academic writing according to how I used to do it was basically to dump the wordiest sentences on a page. I loved using big words. I used them correctly, but man my papers were so boring to read! Even scarier? I genuinely loved writing in this style and read it with pleasure.

When I came to college, there was a semester in which I was pre med and took courses that didn't require a lot of writing. So when I switched to pre comm then next semester (and that itself is a story for another time), I suddenly had to start writing papers again. I was worried that my writing deproved over a year, so I dug out some of my best high school papers and started analyzing my old style.

I found my attention wandering within three sentences, was annoyed that I used every single word in my vocabulary every time I wrote, and thought that I really sucked at writing now because I was not in the least bit interested in the way I used to write.

I couldn't be further from the truth. Coming to college, I was really exposed to a variety of writing styles, most notably business writing. In business writing, there's often no formal structure. None of that thesis, three supporting paragraphs and then conclusion rule. The goal is to be as direct, conversational (without slang or internet talk of course) and easily legible. I had gotten used to reading like this and really preferred, so had a nasty shock when my illusions of high school essay grandeur were shattered.

My papers look more like how I write on this blog, but still more formal -- can't seem to shake off that formal tone with some of the phrases I use, and perhaps that's a good thing. But I've definitely stopped regurgitating SAT vocab everytime I wrote something, and take no more pride in turning out two page monstrosities. In high school, two pages was the length of one paragraph. Single spaced. *facepalm* I know, I was insane.

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