I like direction. Well, I am most comfortable when I know which direction I am headed towards. I write essays and complete projects in this frame of mind, tracking my steps and pacing my way to the finish. I feel comfortable.
The capstone project has challenged me to create my own purpose. For the first time, I am not asked to follow traditional rubric oriented academic procedures. I have been trying to brainstorm ideas for the past week, however, I always refer back to a great worry. I ask myself, “What if I pick a topic that I end up not enjoying to research? This will make my semester much less enjoyable.” I was afraid to pick a topic that I could grow disinterested with – until I heard P Carl and Claudia Rankine speak.
Carl and Rankine addressed transforming Rankine’s book “Citizen” into a theatrical performance. I expected a discussion about the difficulty of bringing words to life. However, the conversation shifted to address Rankine’s process, similar to my capstone brainstorming sessions.
Rankine specifically spoke about how some of her best ideas occurred when she was writing to some other end, completely shifting her ideas in an instant. In fact, this sequence was so common that her original intention of bringing “Citizen” to life completely shifted to developing a completely separate theatrical performance.
Upon hearing how such an established and seasoned author/playwright goes through this process, I immediately became less worried about this happening to me. I examined the worst-case scenario being shifting my project to some other topic that I could be even more excited about.
I very much appreciate P Carl and Claudia Rankine visiting the University of Michigan. While I went in to the discussion thinking that I would take away ideas about expressing individualism and the importance of collective communities, I took away a very needed assertion: To not be afraid to shift directions in my own work.
Now, I am even more excited to begin my capstone project. The open-ended nature doesn’t intimidate me. I will take the weekend to continue to brainstorm potential ideas. When this list is compiled, I will move ahead with the option I am most excited about. I will also hold on to my brainstorming list in case I would like to add to or completely shift from my original idea. I thank P Carl and Claudia Rankine for showing me that this is not only okay, but beneficial.