Writing for the Beach

Dr. Stacey Anderson

Assistant Professor of English

Composition Director

CSU Channel Islands

Five Minute Freewrite

Without stopping, take five minutes to write in response to the one or more of the passages below. You should explore how these words resonate with what you have learned and written about in ESRM 335 so far and the lenses through which you have been viewing the coast.

It remains a challenge even to express what it is that links the innovative, entrepreneurial, and risk-taking spirit of Californians who’ve built the seventh largest economy on earth to the ocean that borders their state and state of consciousness, infusing both with a tidal flux, a belief that change is the only constant and if you can just catch that next wave you’ll be on top of the world. Today about half the world's population lives within about 150 miles of a coastline. In California that figure is closer to 90 percent within 50 miles. Seventy percent live in its twenty coastal counties. Most of the state's gross domestic product of over $2 trillion is generated in this coastal zone that accounts for fourteen of the state's 19 million jobs. Though mostly unstated, it's understood that California, stretched between arid Southern deserts and dense Northern forests, would, without the Pacific Ocean, be little more than a long skinny clone of Nevada.

- David Helvarg, The Golden Shore: California’s Love Affair with the Sea (2016)

To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.

–Rachel Carson, The Edge of the Sea (1955)

I turned on my back and floated, looking up at the sky, nothing around me but cool clear Pacific, nothing in my eyes but long blue space. It was as close as I ever got to cleanliness and freedom, as far as I ever got from all the people. They had jerrybuilt the beaches from San Diego to the Golden Gate, bulldozed super-highways through the mountains, cut down a thousand years of redwood growth, and built an urban wilderness in the desert. They couldn’t touch the ocean. They poured their sewage into it, but it couldn’t be tainted.

There was nothing wrong with southern California that a rise in the ocean level wouldn’t cure.

–Ross Macdonald, The Drowning Pool (1950)

Viewing the Coast Through a Rhetorical Lens

Analyzing an Image in Context

What is being valued in this image?

The Power of Clear Communication

Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times columnist and a voice for the coast

"Everything's an Argument."

- Andrea Lunsford

Who is the speaker in this text?

Who is the intended audience?

What is the explicit message?

What is the implicit message?

Your Voices Matter

Who is the intended audience for your blog posts?

What message are you trying to communicate to them?

What persona do you craft to deliver that message?

ESRM Writing Resources

Open the page below to view resources to help you write ESRM papers.

An Invitation to the Writing Lounge

Writing Lounge.pdf