The Listener Lyric

One of the 2 big projects we had in English during the Narrative unit was the Listener Lyric, also known as a lyrical essay. Prior to working on this essay, we read a book called “Citizen,” which is a book that provides a lot of personal stories, mainly having to do with race, in a unique blend of prose and poetic writing. This is when we started to learn about Second-person writing. This was a new format for us since every other essay we’ve written throughout our academic careers has been either First-person or Third-person. Second-person writing utilizes pronouns like you, your, and yourself, effectively making you the main character of the story. The Listener Lyric aims to tell a story and put you in the shoes of the character as if you actually experienced this story, which is enhanced by poetic language.

For our essay, the way we got our story was through an interview. Interviews were something we did back when we did out documentaries, so it wasn’t anything new, but we didn’t need multiple interviews, just one. The way we interviewed our person of choice was by thinking of a topic or story that your interviewee has experienced, and ask questions about what they did, and get some details to put into the story. My story was about immigrating, so I asked my interviewee questions about his experience immigrating to the United States after spending a lot of time living in Eastern Europe when the USSR was still a dominant force. Along with the written portion, we would add an image at the end of the essay to enhance the poetic language more. Here is the full essay:


Fight for Freedom


You wake up on a drab day. You eat breakfast, take a shower, brush your teeth, greet your family members, tell them to have a nice day, and make your way to the ring. You prepare amongst your colleagues and start punching letters and numbers. You know that you hit hard, possibly harder than anyone else around you, and you tend to see those that don’t hit very hard at all. You punch and punch and punch, trying to get through the day hoping that you will actually be paid this month, even if that amount isn’t any more than the amount the people around you get. You go home after work, try to get some food with the little money you have, take care of your family, and go to sleep.


If you had to describe your life to someone in a brief moment, just tell them that one day, and you just gave them the whole picture. No 2 days are different in your life. You just go fight and try to make some money. You are not motivated, you are not challenged, but you just have to punch the letters and the numbers. You feel the same as everyone else, and you know that you just have to hit and keep your head down, because you don’t want to get in trouble with the authorities, or God forbid, the General Secretary.


With your newly received Ph.D., your kind and caring supervisor assigns you an entire lab to lead your research team into, but with little to no support or funding from the government, it makes the job much more difficult. Still, you stick with your team, support each other, and punch the letters and numbers as hard as you can to make something out of your life.


The year is 1990. You wake up one day to receive a message from the other side of the planet. You have just been offered a job as a research scientist at UC Davis, and you are ecstatic. One of your best friends who fought there had recommended you as a valuable asset, and they had 1 opening left, so you gladly accept. You go through several interviews and get your exchange fees, and you go through a long waiting process so you can immigrate to the land of the free, home of the brave.


You finish the immigration process, and arrive at your new lab to have your friends waiting there for you. You exchange sentimental words as you are extremely grateful to have been given such a grand opportunity. Still, it’s a new place, and you are simply blown away by it. Living your entire life on the eastern hemisphere, you were used to being told that the filthy Americans were terrible, and that they would never be as great as us. You come to find that all of that was a lie, and you love that it was a lie.


As time goes on, you start to miss your old colleagues. All of the well educated friends you grew up with and worked with are still at your old home while you are elsewhere, but you take it in stride to go back as much as you can to see them. You try your best to take some time to see your family and your friends as much as you can. While you are sad that you can’t see them whenever you want, you are forever grateful for your new friends and the family you started here. You have settled in this fantastic country, you fought your way to a better life, and you couldn’t ask for more.

Image of man preforming science.

This is the image that was paired with our essay.

This was definitely an interesting writing style that we learned for this essay. I never saw full stories or books written in Second-person before this project, so it was nice to write something new. Here is a link to the transcript of the full interview I had before writing the essay.


Touchstone Artist Assignment

The other big project we worked on was the Touchstone Artist statement, where we took a piece of art, which could come from a multitude of mediums, and shine it under a spotlight. The goal was to help people understand the significance of a certain piece of art, whether it had a message to say, or it represented something bigger than itself. The assignment was split into two parts: a formal analysis of the artwork, where you wrote an analysis of the art using only your views and understanding of the art and medium, and a focused critical research essay, where you brought in outside sources and viewpoints into your writing to further help explain the importance of the artwork.

The artwork we were tasked to select was a piece of art that had to relate to our elective class, so I did an Animation art piece. This assignment would double as a way for us to think about what we want to do for our Zenith, and since I want to do SFM for my Zenith, I chose a piece of art that came from something made using SFM, that being the short “Live and Let Spy.” With this video, I selected a scene from the video that represented the video well and started from there. The formal analysis talked about that scene, and how it fits into the video as well as the aesthetic of TF2, eventually leading to how these videos showed off TF2 and it’s unique… everything. The research analysis talked about how SFM, in general, is important to TF2, and how it’s important to the video game community, using “Live and Let Spy” as a big example of how influential SFM can be.

Along with the topic, we also learned a new format of writing. Prior to this project, we wrote mainly in the MLA format, which was a more common form of writing essays. This time, we had to learn how to write using the Chicago-style, which had its own format for notations and a bibliography. This writing style was certainly different, and confusing to understand, but it does give the essay as a whole a pretty professional look. I will be leaving a link to the document as a whole here:

NikoJ – Touchstone Essay

Image from "Live and Let Spy"

This is the image I used as the main artwork for this essay.