Medium Post 5: Place as Genre

Certain places definitely give off different vibes from others. Such as, a small local coffee naturally has a different vibe than a big chain coffee shop, such as Starbucks. Different settings have different atmospheres, which is part of what makes that place unique and the way it is. Places have these different atmospheres because it requires a certain way of being. This concept is exactly what Paul Heilker dives into in his essay “On Genres as Ways of Being.” By looking at his views on genre, we can then see how place itself is a genre, specifically Boulevard Park as it’s own genre.

Heilker explains how genres are a way of being in this world when he states “ If rhetoric is a way of being in the world through language, then discourses are ways of being in the world through language, through invention, structure, and style. And if discourses are ways of being in the world through language, then their constituent genres are ways of being in the through language… I believe genres are ways of being, ways of emerging into the world” (Heilker 19). Meaning discourses, the “so what” or big picture can have multiple genres. If one would to consider parks and recreation as the discourse, Boulevard Park would be it’s own genre. And the genres differentiate from each other because what they value or require. Boulevard Park values certain things.

Heilker then makes the point that people are required to be also be a certain way in genres by asking what people go through when writing in different genres. “How does the assign genre require them to emerge into the world? How does it require them to exist in the world? For instance, what psychological states must they inhabit to complete the assignment? What emotions does the assignment require them to embody and enact? Conversely, what do they have to give up to write in a particular genre? How can the no longer be? How does a genre you assign invite students to be in the world? How does the genre dare them to be in the world? How does this genre insist that they inhabit the world?” (Heilker 30). Even though Heilker is asking what people go through when writing in a genre, his questions are still valid when looking at place. Because place itself is a genre. How does being at Boulevard require a person to exist? What emotions do they go through when at Boulevard? The line “How does the genre you assign invite students to be in the world?” is very important. How does Boulevard Park invite people to be? When analyzing these questions, it becomes clear some aspects Boulevard Park values. It values peacefulness, calmness, happiness because all of these can be found while at Boulevard. It also values a healthy lifestyle since most the people there are participating in some form of leading a healthy lifestyle, such as running, biking or walking. And Boulevard’s atmosphere invites people this way, supporting its genre and a way of being.

Observations:

  • At most times of day, Boulevard Park has lots of people there. I have to be okay with that and interact with them sometimes. Which leads to a friendly atmosphere.
  • As walking down the park towards Woods, the smell of coffee becomes very strong. Almost overwhelming. For the genre of the park, the very convenient and noticeable location of Woods coffee draws people in. Which leads to a very busy coffee shop, however it brings people together over a good cup of coffee.
  • Inside Woods is very crowded, at this time of day, standing in line, I am very close to a lot of people I don’t know. The line is almost going out the door. We are all crammed in here together waiting for coffee. This atmosphere makes it very hard to have a personal conversation with anyone.
  • The outside seating is much more comfortable and spacious. Sitting outside allows for more personal space, making it easier to talk and connect with people, while also enjoying the beautiful scenery.
  • Lots of people stand off to the side in hopes to capture in the beauty of the sunset with taking many pictures. Even though lots of people are doing it, it is still a very peaceful, personal moment. Some just stand to appreciate it while others continue to walk with a smile on their face. This shows how the beauty of the park is a big factor and value of it.
  • Every once in awhile, people wander to the side of the trail to allow for the multiple runners and bikers to pass with ease. This act of courtesy shows a very strong value of the park, While the abundance of people walking, running, biking shows another important value of the park, healthy lifestyles.
  • Benches are conveniently located along the trail allowing for lots of rest stops. People sit and stare out into the bay and just enjoy themselves. Adding to the overall peaceful atmosphere of the park.
  • Little kids stray from their parents to go throw rocks in the water. I think this observation is very important because it emphasizes the friendly atmosphere because little kids can wander without a worry.
  • Almost every dog is on leash. There are a lot of dog owners here, and almost every dog is on it’s leash. I think this is important because it shows that a lot of people respect the rules of the rules of the park. Which can also be seen with how clean the park is.