On the Project Proposal

Today we were asked to blog about how our Capstone projects and proposals have changed over the last two+ weeks. Today I am here to report that I am still the girl writing about boob jobs. Which is a good thing, I suppose, because it was the first (okay, second) idea I brainstormed for the project and because we have been warned that we should be excited about a topic that will stick with us through the entire semester.

In terms of evolution, I feel like I have come a ways in terms of envisioning what this final product will look like, how I will in fact write 30+ pages about boob jobs. I feel confident that I will have enough anecdotal and scholarly material, though I will constantly need to keep in mind that there will need to be balance kept throughout.

That said, I do need to work on my articulations of this project, to be more clear about my intention for final product and its execution. And because I am better at writing than speaking those articulations, I think it is time for me to start writing, specifically the personal elements. There are moments during the day where I think “this is good stuff for my project,” but I haven’t taken the time to journal those moments. Because I anticipate the narrative aspect of this piece to be woven throughout, chronicling my observations, memories and experiences first will allow me to later pick and choose what is and is not included, and where.

Finally, I think my original idea for this piece was entertaining in nature. I realize that I have moved away from that a bit, considering some of the heavier implications for this topic, but it is still a spirit I hope to capture in balance throughout my paper. I doubt I will be able to write something without sarcasm, anyway, but I want to remind myself to refer back to my original inspiration, which is a creative nonfiction piece about a woman who eats dog food for weeks. (“No wonder they call me a bitch” by Ann Hogdman, for those wondering).

Ruminations on Work and Stress

Do any of you ever feel overwhelmed, even when you have plenty of time to do everything that you need to do?

Do any of you ever feel overwhelmed, even when you have plenty of time to do everything that you want to do?

I am currently feeling overwhelmed, even though I have plenty of time to do everything I need and want to do.

Maybe this blog isn’t the right place to post about something like this. Whatever. I’m not here to complain; I’m here to see if I can find an answer to why I feel this way. It’s influencing my approach to writing, too, so that’s why I’m plopping all of this here.

Here’s what I’ve got going on:

I had my first grad school audition on Friday, here at Michigan. I wasn’t terribly nervous because it was for my current professor and the doctoral students that I have already played for/with for the last 3-4 years.

Earlier last week, though, I began to have a lot of issues with my playing. I began to regain many of the tension patterns that I worked very hard to eliminate during my freshman and sophomore years. I began to practice too often and my facial muscles actually began feeling sore during my daily activities outside of music. I had never experienced this to the degree that it was happening.

I also juggled three different performing ensembles and running a fraternity as President.

I basically got so stressed out about my abilities and about my chances of making it into the grad programs that I am auditioning for over the next few weeks that I overworked myself. I’m sure you all know the feeling quite well. It’s easy, as college students, to want to max out on everything when we have something to prove.

Add to these musical/physical woes an extensive amount of deep thinking and writing in Writing 420, and you’ve got a recipe for mental disaster. It was everything I could do to keep myself focused. The only things I looked forward to were drinking with my friends and eating absurd amounts of food.

Over the last couple of weeks, as this stress and over-thinking began to set in, I began to also dread sitting down to write anything. I finished the book I had begun before winter break ended as quickly as I could so that I wouldn’t have to read (even though it was voluntary reading). I stopped writing poems on a regular basis. I stopped enjoying playing video games as much, and got increasingly angrier when I didn’t have good matches on Star Wars: Battlefront or Call of Duty: Black Ops III. I even stopped enjoying listening to music.

I suppose that what I’m getting at is that stress is bad, and it can creep up on anyone unexpectedly. I didn’t even realize that what I was feeling was stress.

So, over this past weekend, I took an entire to not practice or write or anything. I played video games, I went to Sam’s Club and bought a bunch of coffee, and I sat around ― a lot. I ate a lot of food and drank a lot of beer at Buffalo Wild Wings.

And today I feel better than I have all month. All it takes sometimes is the realization of the fact that one can’t fix everything in a day. Working on writing projects and practicing music are gradual processes, and I have to remind myself that I am not bad at either one.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my rant if you made it this far. Remember: be happy! 🙂

― Evan

What Creative Frontiers Are Left?

I’m sure everyone has been contemplating their capstone project goals, trying to find a medium or style that is semi-revolutionary. I, too, am struggling with finding a novel way to embrace this project. This has led me to consider if there really is any creative “frontier” that has yet to be explored or discovered. Music, artwork, film, dance – what else exists beyond these mediums?

Part of me believes there’s nothing left to be discovered. There are technological advancements that allow us to experience existing creative forms in new ways, like virtual reality and 3D movies. There are even new ways to experience your favorite vices (there’s a bar in London that emits an alcohol mist which is absorbed through your pores). However, none of these methods are creating a definitively new medium.

I’d like to know what others think. Are the only new combinations of mediums, or do some think that we have yet to experience the full spectrum of creative expression?