The Student will write short reflective pieces that explore intriguing ideas by connected quotations from the texts or other sources and synthesizing insights into human nature (propositions).
Open Prompt Artifact: A short piece based off of a quote from Douglas Adams’ Is There An Artificial God? (held in 1998) exploring the human tendency to ‘turn a blind eye’.
Douglas Adams is my absolute hero and so, of course, I couldn’t wait for an opportunity allowing me to pay him more tribute (I had already done so in this blog’s title) and it arrived in the assignment of this open prompt. Amazingly, while trying to think of a suitable prompt for such a piece—which turned out to be the most difficult part of the assignment for me, I did not immediately think of Douglas Adams. Instead, I turned to another of my favorite sources: Harry Potter. I thought that I would be able to find something that jumped out at me in all my lists of “quotable quotes” from the seven bibles—excuse me—books; however, this was not the case. After pages of fruitless searching, I gave it up and turned to another list of quotes: those of the celebrated English author, dramatist, and musician (as well as staunch atheist), Douglas Adams.
Immediately, one of his most famous speeches leapt out at me: his Is There an Artificial God?, delivered at Magdalene College, Cambridge in 1998. In this speech, Adams famously imagined a puddle one day waking up and thinking that “‘This is an interesting world I find myself in—an interesting hole I find myself in—fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’” (Adams, Is There An Artificial God?). I thought this a brilliant prompt and began to write at once.
I soon found that I was taking such a concept in a completely different direction than Adams originally had—managing to tie it into the ever-growing issue of Global Warming. However, my ideas proved quite imaginative and I think I backed them up well. My proposition for this Open Prompt was quite insightful and really showed development from my first Quick Responses and Open Prompt. Those first three pieces were the bare bones of what my IRJ’s developed into. There was scanty evidence, the propositions were flimsy and not very arguable, and they lacked the conviction this one had.
However much I adore this piece, I do admit that it has one major flaw: it rambles. I knew what I wanted to write, but I didn’t have much clear flow through it. Of course, the progression made sense to me when I wrote it, but now as I go back and analyze it, I feel that I could have organized my argument better. I am happy (and rather proud) to say that I can’t find any other major issues with this piece, barring an occasional wordiness.
Writing this Open Prompt was actually enjoyable—and I say ‘actually’ because the previous two were rather grueling. Part of this, I think, stemmed from my love for the topic and conviction in my proposition. In other words, I think I cared more about what I was writing, so I wrote better and faster. This is something I’ve begun to notice about my writing—when I believe in what I’m saying and am passionate about the subject, my writing is much more fluid and expressive.
Image Source: http://egotron.com/infocom/images/dadams3.jpg