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Seeming Formlessness

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Amanda Taylor

on 3 March 2016

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Transcript of Seeming Formlessness

Once a Tramp, Always...
Seeming Formlessness
Aspects of Seeming Formlessness
To This Day by Shane Koyczan
Once a Tramp, Always...
Thank you for participating!
Seeming Formlessness
By: Bea Lee, Princess Ibeabuchi, Amanda Taylor
The aspect of a personal essay that makes it feel as though the writing had not been previously planned out, even though it was thoughtfully and carefully done so by the author.
“Their supposed formlessness is more a strategy to disarm the reader with the appearance of
unstudied spontaneity than a reality of composition.”
- Phillip Lopate
Freedom to move anywhere in subject
Illusion of stream-of-consciousness writing
Works alongside contrariety
“There is no guarantee that the personal essay will attain a shapeliness or a sense of aesthetic inevitability.” (Lopate)
"Strategy to disarm the reader"
Looks effortless and unplanned
Allows for freedom in composition of the essay
Builds to a conclusive ending
May work alongside contrariety
Formlessness allowing for freedom in essay composition
"Disarming" the reader
Building to an ending
Things to look out for:
“Such methods [the idea that overdose teaches restraint] are drastic and of dubious worth, I think. People continue to smoke and to drink, and to be excessive or moderate according to their own needs. Their good matters are a matter more of innate taste than of outward training.”

“Craving...is another matter...There is no satisfying it, except temporarily, and that can spell death or ruin.”

Guide Questions post
To this Day
by Shane Koyczan
How is Lopate’s idea of seeming formlessness expressed in this piece?
Do you think Koyczan offers a sufficient solution to the problem he presents? Why or why not?
Does this method of presentation pose any advantages over a traditional personal essay?

Personal Essay Arc
Concept Abstracts
Open ended
Fisher begins by condemning all indulgence
Then digresses formlessness to anecdotes about her cravings, which she claims to have control over, such as:
“There is one concoction, or whatever it should be called, that I was never allowed to eat, and that I dreamed of almost viciously for perhaps seventeen years, until I was about twenty-two and married. I made it then and ate every bit of it and enjoyed it enormously and have never tasted it since, except in the happy reaches of my gastronomical mind.”
Once a Tramp, Always...
The seemingly unrelated food craving anecdotes build to an indulgence of mashed potatoes and catsup at the end.
[On Macadamia nuts]: “Just writing of my small steady passion for them makes my mouth water in a reassuringly controlled way.”
"But I prefer to nourish myself with the knowledge that it is not impossible (potato chips), not too improbable (fresh Beluga caviar)...mashed potatoes with catsup are ready at hand when [Mark Twain] says the word."
By: MFK Fisher
To This Day by Shane Koyczan
Full transcript