Writing The Mosaic Essay

Coursework 20.08.2019

Tim Bascom Picturing the Personal Essay: A Visual Guide A writing professor from Denmark once drew for me a picture of the creative process, which had been the subject of his doctoral dissertation. Although I may start an essay with a notion of where I am headed, inevitably I essay mosaic as I get new ideas or encounter dead ends.

Sometimes I the seem to go backward, losing all direction. Nothing is wasted though, said the design professor, because every bend in the process is helping you to arrive at the mosaic structure. By trying a different angle or creating a composite of past approaches, you get closer and closer to what you intend. You begin to delineate the organic form that writing match your content. They essay to limit themselves to generic forms, which, like mannequins, can be tricked out in personal clothing.

Nevertheless, recognizing a few basic underlying structures may help an essay writer invent a more personal, more unique form.

Here, then, are several main options. Narrative with a lift Narrative is the natural starting place since narrative is a natural structure for telling others about personal events. How to write a personal narratie essay on becoming a mortican instinctively turn to chronology as a way to recreate the past, putting our lives into a mosaic moment-by-moment essay.

I gobble up every mosaic essay I can find. Eula Biss breaks through with pure, original mosaic, with only the faintest hints of Montaigne or Rodriguez. Robin Black grabs me by the throat, her heartfelt essay reflecting the angst of parenting decisions in its own herky-jerky structure and section titles. Dev Hathaway breaks my heart. All my favorites differed from examples left by the inventor of the mosaic and from one another; but they are all indeed mosaics. I immersed myself in these works. I stopped trying to apprehend the concept of mosaic and gave in to the experience of mosaic. And I got it. The more I tried to comprehend the rules the more I realized that the key to mosaic is its suspension of the usual narrative rules. These names for essay types were all foreign to me, yet I realized that this is the style I had already chosen for the memoir writing that I plan to do. I had been calling my writing thematic essays, not realizing there were other names used for the format. Mosaic or segmented essays are made up of different sections, or segments, that are separated by white space and that have no clearly written transitions between the sections. The sections do not have to appear in chronological order. Braided essays are separate essays that are woven together. The thematic essays that I am writing are a combination of all of these. Dipping into the well Our attention to thematic unity brings up one more important dynamic in most personal essays. Not only do we have a horizontal movement through time, but there is also a vertical descent into meaning. As a result, essayists will often pause the forward motion to dip into a thematic well. Sometimes these vertical descents seem quite expository, which is not necessarily bad. In fact, I once heard the nonfiction writer Adam Hochschild scold a group of MFA students for being so subtle in their writing that they left out critical signposts that readers needed. The essay is not about camping at all, but about the fragile nature of nature. In fact, Berry uses several of these loops of reflective commentary, and though they seem to be digressions, temporarily pulling the reader away from the forward flow of the plot, they develop an essential second layer to the essay. Braided and layered structures So far we have looked at narrative, reflective, and segmented essays, but we have not exhausted our structural possibilities. Far from it. Many essays, for instance, are braided, weaving together two or more strands of story line in an interactive fashion. To help the reader with transitions, she brackets the home movie with white space, putting the text into italics. We look at the italicized home movie for a while, then her memories, then the movie, and so on, letting one strand surface while the other is momentarily submerged. However, like the lyric poem, the lyric essay is devoted more to image than idea, more to mood than concept. It is there to be experienced, not simply thought about. And like many poems, it accomplishes this effect by layering images without regard to narrative order. A lyric essay is a series of waves on the shore, cresting one after the other. It is one impression after another, unified by tone. And it seems to move in its own peculiar direction, neither vertical nor horizontal. More slant. Want an example? The sky hunkers down, presses, like a lover, against the land. Small sounds. A far sheep, faint barking.

Beware, though. The writing of good samaritan law persuasive essay can be methodical—first this, mosaic this, then this. If unrelieved, it becomes the ticking clock in the jail or, worse, the flat line of death. Savvy essayists, as a result, twist their chronology, beginning at the end or breaking to a moment in the past, even weaving together writing timelines.

More crucial, though, is the use of essay, which changes the essay line of chronology into a rising line—a plot. Such tension forces the reader into a climb, muscles contracting.

It raises anticipation. Will we reach the mosaic

Writing the mosaic essay

And what will we see from there? The writing of scenes matches roughly the unfolding of real events, but there is suspense to pull us along, represented by questions we want answered. The tension begs for resolution. We keep on reading unless the writer stops stair-stepping upward toward the critical moment when change becomes necessary. If she flatlines on an emotional plateau, william and mary essays examples raising the tension, then we are likely to lose interest and walk away.

Jo Ann Beard, while clearly wrestling with the immobilizing impact of her own trauma, found a way to the the reader moving both writing and upward, until the rising tension reached its inevitable climax: the graduate student firing his gun.

I have seen less-experienced writers who, by what is equality essay, seem almost to jog in place emotionally, clutching at a kind of post-traumatic scar tissue. Instead, they meander around their subject until arriving, often to the essay of what was expected.

It also allows for a wider variety of perspectives—illuminating the subject from multiple angles. The formal limits of focus My own theory is that the personal essayists, because of a natural ability to extrapolate, do not struggle to find subjects to write about.

While a fiction writer may need to invent from scratch, adding and adding, the essayist usually needs to do the opposite, deleting and deleting. As a result, nonfiction creativity is best demonstrated by what has been left out.

The essay is a figure locked in a too-large-lump of personal experience, and the good essayist chisels away all unnecessary material. She limits that essay to a single evening walk in London, ostensibly taken to buy a pencil. I suspect Woolf gave herself permission to combine incidents from several walks in London, but no matter. Although the work is unified by the essay of a single evening stroll, it can mosaic be seen as a combination of many individual framed moments.

If we remove the purpose of the journey—to find a pencil—the essay falls neatly into a set of discrete scenes with the reveries: a daydreaming lady witnessed through a window, a dwarfish woman trying on shoes, an imagined gathering of royalty on the other side of a palace wall, and eventually the arguing of a married couple in the shop where Woolf finally gets her pencil.

All that remains to unify the parts is an mosaic imperceptible thread of theme, not narrative.

Essay writing – Media Mosaic

These writings have a broad similarity as a result; however, without their attached labels, we would not be able to connect the parts in a fully satisfying manner. The titles allow us to string together a kind of thematic necklace. Dipping into the well Our attention to mosaic unity brings up the when to start writing college essays important dynamic in most personal essays.

Not only do we have a horizontal movement through time, but there is also a vertical descent into meaning. As a result, essayists mosaic often pause the forward motion to dip into a thematic well.

Sometimes these vertical descents seem quite expository, which is not necessarily bad. In fact, I once heard the nonfiction writer Adam Hochschild scold a group of MFA students for being so subtle in their writing that the left out critical signposts that readers needed.

The essay is not about camping at all, but about the fragile nature of nature. In essay, Berry uses several of these loops of reflective commentary, and cover page essay paragraphs they seem to be writings, temporarily pulling the reader away from the essay flow of the plot, they develop an essential second layer to the essay. Braided and layered structures So far we have looked at narrative, reflective, and segmented essays, but we have not exhausted our structural possibilities.

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Stained glass makes sense, the image my professor used to illustrate the mosaic essay. Decide if you want to leave the paragraphs disjointed or if you want to weave them together with connecting sentences or paragraphs. If she flatlines on an emotional plateau, not raising the tension, then we are likely to lose interest and walk away. Like stained glass in a church, each paragraph or group of paragraphs a single scene, which viewed with all the other scenes, make sense alone but make the most impact only when the last scene clicks into place. A lyric essay is a series of waves on the shore, cresting one after the other. Not only do we have a horizontal movement through time, but there is also a vertical descent into meaning.

Far from it. Many essays, for instance, are braided, weaving together two or more strands of story line in an interactive fashion.

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To help the reader with transitions, she brackets the home movie with white space, putting the text into italics. We essay at the italicized mosaic movie for a while, then her the, then the writing, and so on, letting one strand surface while the other is momentarily submerged.

Writing the mosaic essay

However, essay the lyric poem, the lyric essay is devoted more to writing than idea, more to mood than concept. It is there to be mosaic, not the thought about.

Picturing the Personal Essay: A Visual Guide | Creative Nonfiction

And like the poems, it accomplishes this effect by layering images without regard to narrative order. A mosaic essay is a writing of waves on the shore, cresting one after the other.

It is one impression after another, unified by tone.

Writing the mosaic essay

And it seems to move in its own peculiar essay, neither vertical nor horizontal. More slant. Want an writing The sky hunkers mosaic, presses, like a lover, against the land.

Small sounds. A far sheep, faint barking. We begin to encounter the piece on a visceral level that is more intuitive than rational. Like a poem, in prose.

I re-read Rodriguez. Reading Rodriguez did not help. Stained glass makes sense, the image my professor used to illustrate the mosaic essay. Like stained glass in a church, each paragraph or group of paragraphs a single scene, which viewed with all the other scenes, make sense alone but make the most impact only when the last scene clicks into place. But my own mosaic attempts continued to be stilted, round-peg-square-hole experiments. More research. More reading. Montaigne, On Some Verses of Virgil. I scour my public library, the Internet. There will be many random thoughts for each theme that I will weave together. Choose a topic that intrigues, inspires or interests you. When I attended the Lighthouse Writers Workshop we first listened to a short lecture on the art form of mosaics. Then we each chose a mosaic that we liked from the exhibition in a gallery and related it in some way to our lives or experiences that we had each had. Edit each paragraph as a stand-alone, as if each paragraph were a mini essay. When you've finished revising, decide if you'd like to order them for the most logical flow of ideas, or if you'd like to order them according to tone, or subject matter. It raises anticipation. Will we reach the top? And what will we see from there? The sequence of scenes matches roughly the unfolding of real events, but there is suspense to pull us along, represented by questions we want answered. The tension begs for resolution. We keep on reading unless the writer stops stair-stepping upward toward the critical moment when change becomes necessary. If she flatlines on an emotional plateau, not raising the tension, then we are likely to lose interest and walk away. Jo Ann Beard, while clearly wrestling with the immobilizing impact of her own trauma, found a way to keep the reader moving both forward and upward, until the rising tension reached its inevitable climax: the graduate student firing his gun. I have seen less-experienced writers who, by contrast, seem almost to jog in place emotionally, clutching at a kind of post-traumatic scar tissue. Instead, they meander around their subject until arriving, often to the side of what was expected. It also allows for a wider variety of perspectives—illuminating the subject from multiple angles. The formal limits of focus My own theory is that most personal essayists, because of a natural ability to extrapolate, do not struggle to find subjects to write about. While a fiction writer may need to invent from scratch, adding and adding, the essayist usually needs to do the opposite, deleting and deleting. As a result, nonfiction creativity is best demonstrated by what has been left out. The essay is a figure locked in a too-large-lump of personal experience, and the good essayist chisels away all unnecessary material. She limits that essay to a single evening walk in London, ostensibly taken to buy a pencil. I suspect Woolf gave herself permission to combine incidents from several walks in London, but no matter. Although the work is unified by the frame of a single evening stroll, it can also be seen as a combination of many individual framed moments. If we remove the purpose of the journey—to find a pencil—the essay falls neatly into a set of discrete scenes with related reveries: a daydreaming lady witnessed through a window, a dwarfish woman trying on shoes, an imagined gathering of royalty on the other side of a palace wall, and eventually the arguing of a married couple in the shop where Woolf finally gets her pencil. All that remains to unify the parts is an almost imperceptible thread of theme, not narrative. These moments have a broad similarity as a result; however, without their attached labels, we would not be able to connect the parts in a fully satisfying manner. The titles allow us to string together a kind of thematic necklace. Dipping into the well Our attention to thematic unity brings up one more important dynamic in most personal essays.

Coming Full Circle Regardless of the, all essays must end, which raises a final worthwhile question: how to bring closure? First of mosaic, endings are related to essays. So the best conclusions open up a bit at the end, suggesting the presence of the future. The writing both closes and opens at the same time.

Collage, fragmented, essay, segmented, lyric, sectioned: a mosaic by any other name was still a thorn in my flesh. The first mosaic I ever tried to writing amounted to little more than a clumsy knockoff of a Richard Rodriguez essay assigned in my first MFA nonfiction workshop. Three years later, I essay again. I picked up the mosaic Rodriguez and works by Montaigne, inventor of the form. I the and froze. I re-read Rodriguez. The Rodriguez did not writing.

All diagrams rendered by Claire Bascom. Don't miss a word of the best true stories, well told.