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Brian Doyle’s essay, “Joyas Volardores,” moves differently from how many of us e
Brian Doyle's essay, "Joyas Volardores," moves differently from how many of us expect a more traditional essay to move. The paragraphs don't necessarily move from step to step in a straightforward logical or linear manner; instead, the effects of the essay build in subtle ways to allow individual readers to draw connections between ideas at their own pace. Reflect on your experience reading through this essay. How/when in the essay do you begin to understand the connections Doyle is making between his different topics? What helps you to see these connections? Keep in mind that it's okay if this feels difficult; process as best you can. Think about the structure or overall feeling of the piece. Next, consider what specific strategies Doyle uses to play with language at a paragraph or sentence level. For example, he loves making lists. There's that wildly long list of hummingbird species names. Write about the strategies that feel most effective or interesting to you. Remember that identifying these strategies will help you come up with options to try out in the first major assignment that asks you to write your own version of a Doyle-style essay. Lastly, be thinking about what topic or topics you might like to write about in the style of Doyle's essay. There can be many right ways to go about this. Maybe you want to start with a larger theme like "love" or "loss" or "combat," and then think of separate but inter-related topics you could fit into that category. Or, maybe you pick three or four different topics that feel disconnected and take on the challenge of finding a theme that brings them all together. You don't need to commit to anything now. This is your chance to brainstorm and see what others might be thinking.

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