Fresh Voices: Composition at Cal Poly


Editor’s Note

In “Red Marks Don’t Always Bleed,” Ashley Heidbrink recalls the woman who taught her how to craft an essay through numerous revisions. Her casual tone and light humor belie the complexity of the writing. Look at the dashes and semi-colons in the first sentence: “I looked down at the paper in front of me—it was covered in red ink—words were crossed out; grammar was corrected;

no white remained on the paper.” What does punctuation like this tell you about the author? Heidbrink also uses a variety of sentence styles and lengths in her writing. For example, she asks, “Was my paper really that horrible?” and later, “. . . what would I write about?” What effects do the questions create in this essay?

Heidbrink describes the process of revising in great detail. She most likely revised the essay that follows more than once before she turned it in. How does she feel about the revision process? How do you feel about revising?