Wow these e-portfolios are good

Making my own e-portfolio seems pretty daunting at the moment. Seeing everyone else’s portfolio is reassuring; the ones I looked at at least seemed to have fun with the task, and they really personalized it so that I felt like I could connect with their pieces better.

I randomly clicked on a bunch of the 2014 gateway e-portfolios and the first tab was that of Meghan Brown’s page. I really liked that she added personal touches including her favorite literary quotes (including one at the top of her Project I tab), her own pictures, and a contact me link because it all felt very open and welcoming. I felt like she was trying to get her readers to connect with her which is the point of this I think. I also liked the beach picture on the home page because it is very bright and provides a visually appealing landscape that sets a relaxed tone for the rest of the site.

I also looked at Hannah Schiff’s e-portfolio, and what I liked most about it was the Minor in Writing tab. The titles of the three projects were superimposed onto eye-catching images (like dandelions and lights and fields), and the user just had to click on any of the three buttons to go to the project. I liked that these did not redirect to different tabs but instead remained on the website. It made it a lot easier to navigate, and I liked the clear cut presentation of her entire portfolio. Personally, I also enjoyed the pinkness of it all.

These diverse sites are all excellent models to serve as inspiration for my own e-portfolio. They showed me that I really can make this site anything I want it to be.

 

*tentative* Project III because who knows if I can pull this off

After writing a short CYOA book for Project II, I was sort of at a loss for what else I could do with this material. Some people suggested a comic book or graphic novel, but I think that’s a little out of my range of capabilities drawing-wise. I got this weird idea then, and it seemed so implausible and laughable and just plain not doable, but I kind of liked it. So of course because of its improbability, I fixated on it:

I’m going to burn a CD, the early 2000’s old fashioned way! My plan is to take pick four songs (one for each ambulance call I used in the book), and then rewrite the lyrics so that it still gives a feel for each emergency and what to do in the situation. I’ll have to make sure I can play it on guitar and sing it simultaneously (I wouldn’t say I’m amazing doing both together though which is the reason behind the high improbability of it all). I may end up getting a few of my musical friends to sing instead. Still working out those details. Also it’ll have to be recorded with my phone or something because I don’t have access to a fancy recording studio…

But anyway, I think this little four-song CD will probably be informational but hopefully by picking the right songs I can balance the education of it all with fun sounds. Another venue of publication could be YouTube which I’ve never done so I’ll have to figure that out.

 

At this point I feel the need to rein myself in a little bit and say that I’m not even sure if this can or will happen.

State of the project

So…

I’ve had a change of heart. I was planning on making a handbook for all types of emergency situations and maybe including anecdotes, but when I actually tried writing it out, I kept getting stuck. It didn’t feel like my project; it just felt like a regurgitation of facts I’ve learned. I obviously don’t have particular stories for each and every one of the situations, so it felt like I wasn’t getting out of this project what I wanted to. I wanted this project to allow me to be creative but also to educate on how to handle emergency situations without being overbearing…and that’s exactly what my original plan felt like.

When I realized this, I panicked because I wasn’t sure how to spin the project to this new vision. After sporadic brainstorming throughout the day, I’ve decided to make it more of a creative story with different outcomes depending on what the reader decides to do (like a CYOA book). I think it sort of masks the fact that the book is educational while also being entertaining (if I can execute it properly, of course).

Anyway, I’ve created a new DETAILED outline with all the different options/paths, and I am exciting to begin actually writing it all out. I plan on drawing from actual experiences I had when I was interning in the ambulances.

All that needs to be done is the actual putting-together-writing part…

Project II: Research

Since I’m going to be turning my patient care report into an abridged Field Emergency handbook type thing, I’m going to need to make sure that I have a wide range of possible trauma/illnesses that one may encounter in the world featured in this mini book.

I have my giant textbook from the certification class that is turning out to be a huge help in this process–both by giving me ideas for which emergencies to include and the symptoms, presentation, treatment, etc. of them. The book is insanely detailed and enthralling, so I’m thrilled that I get to pore over it for this project. It separates each body system and their various potential ailments into chapters (the book itself is incredibly organized into the two main types of emergencies and then the different sub-units of each), and this set up will help me determine what is important to feature in my own project.

The book will also include a glossary/terminology page where I’ll go over applicable and crucial vocabulary–the certification class I took gave me access to some excellent virtual tools that will help me immensely in this endeavor.

JCO Interview

I chose Joyce Carol Oates’ interview because we are going to be reading a piece of hers for class this week and because I’ve read some of her works in the past, for class or otherwise. Something about her  words and the topics she chooses to write about are truly haunting, and they stick with a person for a while. I really wanted to hear what the woman behind these chilling stories had to say about who she is. According to the interviewer, JCO “felt that only by writing out her replies could she say precisely what she wished to,” and I can sort of relate to that because I think writing is generally a more eloquent and precise way to express myself.

Anyway, I found the interview extremely fascinating. JCO mentions that the mood she writes in is irrelevant, and that “somehow the activity of writing changes everything.” I have felt this with writing and reading. Regardless of the mindset you are in when you begin either act, if you are paying attention, you become submerged in the mood of the work. I’ve noticed that it doesn’t matter how I feel when I start writing because the act itself and the nature of the piece makes that initial feeling irrelevant. Suddenly, it’s only the writing or the reading that exists.

She mentioned that she forced herself to write novel after novel in high school, and I found that really impressive and surprising. I could barely write those timed, in-class essays and here she was writing full-length books (plural). She claims it’s lucky that she threw those original experiments out, but I think it’s just amazing that she was able to write so much at such a young age. She mentions how short stories are “bliss” compared to novels, and yet, she prefers to write novels. Something about focusing on a project and revising it and immersing herself in it appealed to JCO. I think it’s commendable and inspiring that she has the drive to take on such difficult projects.

And despite the diverse expanse of her work, I thought it was comical that she said she spends an inordinate amount of time doing nothing. In regards to her piano-playing abilities, she called herself an “enthusiastic amateur.” She seems to be pretty self-deprecating and relatable. Also, it’s cool that she’s never done any drugs.

Good Points Were Made

The Minor in Writing seems pretty special compared to all the other majors and minors at the University of Michigan. For one, each incoming class is called a cohort which gives the Minor a close, intellectual community feel. It definitely feels like a place where fresh, green writers are encouraged to plant their cute little writing seeds and watch their pieces grow as the garden of other writers waters and sustains them. This blog is a testament to that drawn out metaphor.

 

I chose to comment on Allison Skaggs’ “Welcome to the Writing Minor!” because she mentions being totally passionate about the topic you write about, and I think it could be a seriously important tip about this project in particular. If you write about something that matters to you, you never have to worry about losing interest in the project before it’s done because you won’t stop until this supremely, personally important thing you are discussing has been discussed to its limit. She also talked about how writing is a very complex topic, and I totally agree. What motivates someone to write? Could it be those four reasons Orwell outlined in his essay “Why I Write”? I am not sure, but I want to have a clearer idea by the end of semester so I appreciate the post mentioning that writing is so much more than what we think it is.

 

I also commented on Emily Post’s post “‘What a long, strange trip it’s been’…is what I’ll say after Capstone” because I thought she made an excellent point about being honest with your professor about how much work you’ve put into a piece and how much more work you plan to put in. Open and honest communication is so important for productive conversation to occur– I promise I did not whip that out of a marriage counseling book or Seventeen magazine. I am not really one for withholding how I feel about something so I definitely plan on being honest about my writing: do I think it sucks? is it incomplete? am I stuck? Answering these questions with T is definitely going to help me build a stronger foundation for my piece.

 

Both posts contained  some great insight that I plan to implement during my time in the Gateway course.

Me (and My Process—Dun Dun Dun)

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Sticking out your tongue works for making humans look cuter too, right?!

 

Hi, my name is Chetali Jain but *almost* no one can say it right so call me Che (rhymes with hey and is fun to say which is something I figured out when I was like ten hence all the “heyche” handles I have on various social media platforms…everyone makes mistakes).

 

Obligatory hobbies/likes/dislikes/quirky fun facts section:

-I play guitar and like to sing, but not really in front of anyone unless I’m comfortable with him or her.

-I’m an EMT which means I’ve seen the aftermath of some really dumb choices that people make (because of HIPAA I have to be vague but let’s just say that getting so hammered that you pick a fight with a COP at a bar in which the CHIEF OF POLICE is celebrating her retirement with her co-workers—AKA HER POSSE OF OTHER EQUALLY COP-LIKE COPS—gets your belligerent butt a two-for-one deal of a night in the ER and jail).

-Also, I have this sort of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants kind of friendship with my best friends except not as nauseatingly gushy and falsely idyllic, more real life. Also instead of pants we rotated around a little stuffed alpaca named Samuel (check him out on Facebook).

-I think scary movies are great; even the ones that are unintentional comedies where you can’t help but burst out into laughter (the original Evil Dead’s, for instance).

-I enjoy the company of puppies and some humans.

-I like the cold and the snow and even the rain (but not feeling damp/having wet socks/messing up my hair).

-I don’t necessarily dislike too many things— school and the word cuddle are pretty low on my list, though.

 

Not so inspired segue:

I enjoy words and writing words! Even serious, school-type writing. Here’s how I write:

My approach to writing is similar to one my life tends to take on much of the time: extreme. For example, when I write something, be it two pages or be it 20, I write it all in one sitting. I also tend to find inspiration (or the resolve to pen that grisly initial draft) really, really late at night, or at a similarly ungodly hour in the AM—though those are both kind of the same thing, right?

Basically the concept of moderation is a hobo in my world.

With writing though, this ill-fated, intrinsic inclination finally feels like it could be of productive use to me; it makes things consistent and layered if I do each part of the process (brainstorm, write, edit, review) in a singular, but individualized-for-each-stage mindset—if that makes any sense.

When I’m ready to revise, I return to the piece and cringe a bit at some of the more idiotic and in-the-moment things I wrote and somberly attack the backspace key while shaking my head and worrying that I am just as generic or nonsensical or irritating as some of the lines in my “shitty first draft.” I jazz up the diction, dial down my writing voice, and trim and augment the draft with equal verve.

Lastly, I like to know how it’s coming off to other readers.

After all, a crazy person doesn’t always know they are crazy until someone else clues them in.