The Creator’s Subject Part 1: Observation
What to Do
Like the Alien Anthropology assignment, this section of The Creator’s Subject assignment will ask you to record field notes—raw, detailed, nonfictional descriptions of physical, tangible people, places, or things.
• Open a new .doc/.docx file and name it “Yourlastname_Creator’s Subject1”
• Add your MLA-formatted heading and your last name with the page numbers to the top right corners of every page. (See “formatting assignments” for help if needed.)
• Add a title for your essay. “Creator’s Subject 1” is fine.
• Double space your essay, and use 12 pt Times New Roman font, please.
• Use subheadings to help separate each of the prompts below. Label each with the location, the “something” being observed, and the date of the observation, just like you were to do with the Alien Anthropology assignment.
The following prompts require you to identify, closely observe and write about FIVE different “somethings”.
Adhering to the prompts, fully describe each “something” using your senses. Think of these like metaphors–the “somethings” you identify, observe, and write about represent a facet of your personality or life’s experience. Allow the descriptions you write of the “somethings” to reveal that facet of your personality or experience without having to explicitly name it.
Keep anecdotes or memories to a minimum. Focus on using sense-based descriptions of each “something” to relay those thoughts for you. For best results, observe in real time–write while you observe–because memory is fickle.
Write at least 200 highly-descriptive words for each. As with the Alien Anthropology assignment, less than that is likely too short to really encompass all of the senses.
The “somethings” you choose to observe and describe should be tangible and real. Objects will work better than concepts or ideas. For example, the concept of “cheerleading” isn’t something you can observe with your senses, but you can observe a cheerleading uniform that is hanging in your closet. You can’t observe the internet or concept of social media with your senses, but you could observe and describe your own Instagram profile in the moment that you open it.
Locate a “something” (an object, perhaps) that represents something about your personal history, or about a cultural history of which you are a part. Look for an object or a “something” that acts as a stand in or metaphor for something about your history or culture. Don’t explain the full background story of the object. Simply observe that “something”, and write field notes: raw, detailed notes that describe this object or “something” with your senses. Be as detailed as possible in your descriptions. Allow the descriptions to give your reader a sense of connection to your history/culture.
The Borders of Your Identity
Locate a “something” that connects to your identity, but that you don’t particularly identify with. Maybe this “something” is an object that makes others think of you, but that you don’t think represents you very much, or very well. It exists on the fringe of your identity, and represents a gray area of yourself that is/is not who you are, or perhaps was who you are in the past, but aren’t anymore. Observe and describe the “something”, focusing on the sense-based descriptive details of a “something” that illustrates this liminal space, that border between who you are and who you were, or who you think you are versus who others think you are. Remember: describe the “something” (object, person, etc.) that represents the liminal space.
This time, your “something” is a place, rather than an object or a person. Think of a place that you know very well. Visit the place and write your descriptions of it in real time if possible. If you can’t visit in person, sites like Google Earth, using Google Map’s “street view”, or YouTube videos may allow you to revisit this place virtually. I encourage you to get out of your own bedroom or kitchen, and go to another place that’s important to you. Be sure to describe it twice, from two different points of view. Separate the descriptions with numbering, subheadings, etc. so that your reader can easily distinguish between the two different views.
1. Describe this place through the eyes of someone who has never been there. What would they see, smell, touch, hear, and possible taste in that place? How would they interpret the significance of this place?
2. In your second description of this same place, describe what you see that others would be unable to see. In other words, describe the place from your own, unique perspective. As you write, think about how two different versions of the same place emerge, how we define “place,” and how places define us. Be sure to write with your senses!
A Personal Obstacle
Find a “something” (an object or other tangible thing) that represents a personal obstacle you have coped with, or are currently coping with. Describe it in great detail, being careful to avoid describing the obstacle itself, how it felt, what you learned, etc. Just describe the “something” (the object that represents the obstacle to you), and nothing more. Be as detailed as possible, using sense-based writing to describe the object or “something” that represents your obstacle.
A Personal Passion
Before you begin to write, think: What do you care about? What gets your heart beating, your mind racing? What matters in your life? What is one of your favorite interests, social justice causes, or activities that consumes you when you’re engaged in it? Now, locate a physical, tangible “something” (an object or other tangible thing) that can symbolize this personal passion of yours. Observe and describe this “something” that represents your passion, using strong sense-based details. Remember to focus your writing on the the physical “something” that represents that passion itself; don’t get into explanations, anecdotes, etc. regarding your passion. The entire entry should only be sense-based description of the “something”.
Click here for an example essay written by a former student. Please note that example papers are offered so that you know what style, formatting, etc., is expected for your own Creator’s Subject essays. The details may or may not perfectly represent the assignment as it is currently written.
How The Creator’s Subject is Graded
The entire Creator’s Subject assignment is worth a total of 60 points.
• 20 points for the Observation section (Part 1)
o All five prompts completed
• 20 points for the Reflection section (you’ll do this in Part 2)
• 20 points for the Finding Your Work section (this is Part 3)
In grading this assignment, I’ll check to be sure that you’ve followed through on all of the guidelines and requirements described above, and have proofread your writing to clean up errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, assignment formatting, etc. I’ll look for reflective writing that is engaged and thoughtful. I’ll look for writing that is detailed and informative, showing me that you worked through the assignment carefully. I expect to see strong evidence that you are applying the course concepts, skills, and vocabulary that you’ve learned so far this semester. Show me what you have been learning so far in our class!
Important: you will NOT need any outside resources for this assignment, so you will not need to do any citations or Works Cited. All writing for this assignment is expected to be your own original work written specifically for this assignment and class. Do not copy or “borrow” from any sources; doing so is considered academic dishonesty and will result in being given a 0 on the assignment, and very possibly being reported to the LLW department chair and/or university.