Tag Archives: writing

Excerpt on Benjamin Franklin’s Writing Technologies

This excerpt talks about Ben Franklin and his innovations in writing technologies. I had to read this passage more than once to understand the older English language. After the second time I was taken back by the simplicity of his writing invention. He was simply trying to invent an erasing tablet so he could change his thoughts after they were put on paper. Franklin goes onto say that he tried to arrive at “moral perfection” by marking down his “vices” or mistakes in his weekly notebook. This paragraph really caught my interest because he then goes onto say how each week he would have to blot out the marks from previous weeks. His paper started to develop holes and was rendered useless. Ben Franklin was a writer, printer, scientist and innovator. He realized that his pursuit of moral perfection could not be achieved without making mistakes. He had to develop some way to erase his previous thoughts that he had written down. He transferred his writings to the ivory leaves of a memorandum book, which allowed his markings to be erased. This seems so simple to me because I take manual writing for granted. I use a computer for just about everything I do. In that day that was a tremendous accomplishment. The pictures of his Ivory Book look like a 17th century form of an assignment notebook. I was extremely interested at the first part of this excerpt and then became peculiar as why he would write his own epitaph at the age of 22. Ben Franklin seems like a very unique individual to me. I would love to hear some comments about Ben Franklin and his other scientific and writing inventions.

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Time and space for writing and speaking

I think that the discussion today regarding time and space when it comes to writing and speaking was rather interesting. It raised a great deal of questions and debate. When speaking to another person, everything that is said happens at that time. There is no way to replay it at another point in time, unless it is recorded by another means of communication. Also, there is feedback in the conversation. If something is said that raises a question to you, you can immediately ask a question. When it comes to writing, what is being said does not happen instantly. For example, if I were to write a letter to a friend, what I say would freeze in time until a later time when they read it. The conversation is spread out. Assuming we were to mail back and forth, our conversation could potentially stretch out days or even weeks, covering only one topic. As I stated before, with writing there is no immediate feedback. It is also hard to tell a persons reaction. When speaking face to face there is more body language that can allow you to tell how a person is reacting to what you are saying. You can give more meaning to your words by changing your tone and emphasizing certain words. An advantage to writing compared to speaking is when something is written it becomes recorded. People have real evidence of what you said. This could be very useful not only in the court room but also in business.

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Cave Paintings and Sculptures of Women

While reading “The Mysterious Birth of Art and Design” by Nancy R. Mayer I found the images of people section extremely interesting specifically the way women were depicted.  The sculptures of women were just partial or headless bodies.  In some cases women were represented just as a vulva.  I wondered if this could be seen as oversexualization of women, something that is still an issue in today’s world.  The partial or headless bodies could be seen as objectifying the female body and somewhat implies that only certain parts of the female body are important.  Our media is often criticized for its depiction of women and these images were a form of media in that time period.  It seems whenever something is considered artistic it isn’t considered as pornographic but in a different context it could be.  The nude images could just be part of their culture as nudity was probably very common.  There was even an image of a man with an erection so maybe I am reading a little too far into this.


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Beneath the Lines

I found today’s discussion about “The Suitable Surroundings” by Ambrose Bierce especially intriguing. The uncut version of the title was especially enlightening. What was Bierce thinking by adding that his publication was an instruction of reading a ghost story by example? By adding this extra line to the title it adds a different dimension to the whole story. Maybe Bierce was trying to imprint the impression into people’s minds (who read the story) that because Marsh died reading this story on July 15, that anyone who chances to read this story in the EXACT surroundings he depicts, will die as well. So, if you look at it that way, in a sense, Bierce has not made an instruction manual in reading a ghost story but a guide to suicide. I realize this is an abstract way to look at the story and recreating the exact atmosphere is next to impossible, but it could be done….

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