Capstone Introduction: A Maximalist Essay on Minimalism

I am very tired.

And so are you, probably. Tired of school, tired of the pandemic, tired of the chaos and stress of everything.

My capstone did not turn out as I expected. I went in thinking I was going to write a creative immersion journalism piece on the pitfalls of a modern fad, but the pandemic struck me in a very interesting way. This essay shows that very clearly.

When the pandemic struck, I thought I would never finish my capstone. So many things got upended, and I was too stressed to focus on anything. I wanted to quit. But thank you to Shelley for being the most amazing capstone instructor ever, accommodating me and guiding me through everything, and we touched on the idea of featuring the pandemic in my essay. I first brainstormed this capstone before COVID-19 was even known to the world, but now it is an integral part of my final capstone project. It just happened that way, and I think it is very reflective of this moment in life we are all enduring.

So! Welcome to my capstone! It has been quite a journey, and I am very tired but very proud. It is a piece of long-form creative non-fiction, and it touches on the fad of modern minimalism as a lifestyle and aesthetic. I question the ways in which it has grown from its countercultural art roots, explore the entanglements of class privilege, environmental impact, spirituality and most importantly (to me), reflect on how minimalism’s popularity is the reflection of something much deeper, much more raw, and common to the human experience. The pandemic showed me that.

It’s a long piece, and I hope you enjoy. I didn’t think I’d make it, but here I am. This is In Search of Shadows.

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