Capstone Challenge Journal 3: Coming to Conclusions

I’ve finished (if not polished) the main body of content for my capstone, leaving me with what is probably the more challenging task: developing a conclusion to cap-off the piece and justify all the work I’ve done so far.

I went into this project with an idea for what my conclusion would look like based on how I originally framed my argument, which was to use my analyses of video games to justify that the medium has artistic potential. What became apparent as I continued to develop my ideas, however, was that there wasn’t actually a need to make this argument, as at this point in the discussion surrounding games, anyone who still insists that video games are incapable of being art clearly isn’t informed enough on the medium to be making that call. So I ditched this foregrounding and focused on developing my analyses, knowing a proper conclusion would make itself clear once that was satisfactorily explored…

…well, it hasn’t turned out that easy, actually, and now I’m confronted with the need to have some larger purpose or context to encase my work without a perfect sense of what that might be. That could certainly prove fatal to the integrity of the project should I fail to come up with a substantial enough stance, but I take some comfort in having tackled similar problems in my writing before.

The specific instance I’m thinking of comes from an assignment I had in English 325 last fall, which tasked me with recording ten minutes of dialogue and to somehow find an interesting enough topic for a paper out of it. We were instructed not to deliberately aim the conversation in any particular way, but to try and have as naturalistic a dialogue as possible, only to find its greater purpose in the act of recreating that naturalism in our writing.

It was a formidable task, certainly, but it really tested an essential skill of any writer: the ability to find the deeper meaning in any given circumstance, be it the underlying gravity of a casual conversation or the grander implications of a collection of video game analyses. Before that assignment, I’m not sure I was confident in my ability to accomplish this, but by thinking outside the box (and, arguably, outside the parameters of the assignment, but the professor didn’t seem to mind) I was able to produce something that actually felt substantial. That assignment – and 325 as a whole, really – was hugely productive in how it developed my eye as both a reader and a writer in this regard, which, given the situation I now find myself in with my capstone, is going to prove invaluable over these final desperate days of work.

One thought to “Capstone Challenge Journal 3: Coming to Conclusions”

  1. I think that the point you are at now is the reason I’ve been struggling to produce content these past couple of weeks. Now, of course, I don’t really have a choice. I’ll have to finish up my thoughts and somehow extrapolate some type of conclusion or meaning out of them. But the act of doing that – of creating something that is meaningful to more people than just myself (and my mom) – is extremely daunting for me. Like you, Henry, I’m not sure what that ending is. I can’t really be sure because I’m still in the middle of living it and thinking about it. The ends aren’t so easy to tie up.

    In a similar way to you, English 325 was also an instrumental class for me as I’ve shaped this project. It really solidified my love of narrative writing, and pushed me to develop a more adult version of the written voice I had held since high school. However, I think that the thing it always eluded teaching me was how to create meaning. Narratively, I could always construct something that was “fun to read.” Or as Ray has called it: “very readable.” But I have kind of felt that my “readability” may also be a curse. I can pontificate endlessly about my thoughts and memories and describe scenes and people until the cows come home. But for whatever reason, if you ask me to explain to you why it’s relevant, why it makes sense – well my brain just seems to draw a big fat blank.

    I’m hoping to wrap up writing the body in the next couple days and devote the next (almost) week to wrestling out some conclusions. Luckily, Ray and my group have been extremely helpful in violently shoving me in the right direction so maybe for once I’ll be able to create a whole narrative driven argument that actually has some type of point. At the very least, I will finish. And at this point, that is all I can look forward to.

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