We Made It :)

My final capstone project forced me to think about a future in which I will never live. I decided to craft an online gossip-like, dystopian magazine where I could merge my love for both writing and visual design. Imagining this future world, as it would be depicted in my magazine, was difficult. Unfortunately, my thoughts about the future–especially in the midst of a global pandemic and 4 years of incompetent leadership–were predominately pessimistic.

So much of life’s hardship is unanticipated until it arrives at our feet–so my attempt at depicting a future takes the form of various graphic art projects accompanied by writing. Through my painstaking, but enjoyable exploration of Adobe Creative cloud platforms, I was able to use art to incorporate some humor into my rather cynical project. In the end, I realized that despite the unease I felt towards the future–a perhaps scary future–that I would rather experience that than to sit in the comfort of apathy.  Then, at least, nobody could say they didn’t see it coming.

https://gracekent16.wixsite.com/mysite-2

Advice to Future Gateway Students

Its really hard to give writing advice, because everyone writes differently and for different reasons. I was pretty nervous joining the Minor in Writing family because I didn’t feel like a “writer.” But what I learned through this gateway class is that I am just as much a writer as anyone else. I don’t have my things published and I don’t have to journal frequently or write about everything that comes to mind to be a writer. You can define what it means to be a writer, and that means a lot of different things to different people. But don’t be afraid to take risks. Don’t be afraid to write on subjects/genres you feel weird or uncomfortable writing about. Push yourself not for the grade (well, do that too), but push yourself to write for you and only you. Imagine you are 60 years old and looking back on your writing. How cool would it be to have a collection of funny, silly, smart, academic, and touching prose to read at the end of your life? What will you discover about yourself both now and then? Write like your grade depends on it, yes. But also write because your words truly do matter.

Final Project: Elective Memory

My final project will be an Instagram page with people’s first memories of politics or the first time they became involved in the political sphere. I wanted to prompt people to think deeply about where their political beliefs come from and how their environment may have influenced that in one way or another. The Instagram page will take the form of “Humans of New York”-style-interviews in which each person will have their quotation and pictures that will supplement the text.

This experiment has been the most influential for be because I have gotten to interview so many people–many of whom I do not know super well. I’ve listened to dozens of really cool, funny, and moving stories that I have incorporated into my page thus far, and I hope to continue this project for years to come!

Some questions/concerns I have so far is: how do I reach a wider audience and publicize my page so that more people can contribute their stories and read others? And what can I do to improve the continuity of my page in terms of style and design?

https://www.instagram.com/electivememoryy/

Final Project–Elective Memory

My final project will be an Instagram page with people’s first memories of politics or the first time they became involved in the political sphere. I wanted to prompt people to think deeply about where their political beliefs come from and how their environment may have influenced that in one way or another. The Instagram page will take the form of “Humans of New York”-style-interviews in which each person will have their quotation and pictures that will supplement the text.

This experiment has been the most influential for be because I have gotten to interview so many people–many of whom I do not know super well. I’ve listened to dozens of really cool, funny, and moving stories that I have incorporated into my page thus far, and I hope to continue this project for years to come!

Some questions/concerns I have so far is: how do I reach a wider audience and publicize my page so that more people can contribute their stories and read others? And what can I do to improve the continuity of my page in terms of style and design?

https://www.instagram.com/electivememoryy/

Experiencing the Experiment

I’ve never thought so deeply and multi-dimensionally about one piece of writing, especially writing that I wrote over ten years ago. It seems as though so much and so little has changed since then. It feels funny to be re-working and re-visiting this writing because my 9 year-old self would have never imagined my college-aged self to be reflecting so deeply such a seemingly insignificant piece. These experiments have a new, personalized meaning to me due to the time I have spend preparing and reflection on my work. I am happy with the experiments I have done so far, but I also wish we had a little more time to do them so I could develop more of my ideas into these projects. Nonetheless, I feel fortunate to be in a class where our writing can be transformed into other creative outlets. I wish more classes allowed for this type of creativity.

For experiment three, I’m thinking of writing another open letter, but this time it would be about my feelings and reactions towards Trump’s inauguration several years ago. I know exactly where I was when I found out her got elected, and the negative emotions and genuine fear I felt waking up that morning. It’s a feeling I want to write about because it was so visceral. This experiment would be more “emotional” than my other two experiments and involve more writing.

GraceFace

Hello!  My name is Grace Kent and I am a sophomore studying Public Policy and minoring in writing and digital studies.  I’m from Ann Arbor, Michigan but went to MSU for my first year before transferring to UofM. As an individual, I would consider myself an adventure-seeker.  I love going on spontaneous road trips and exploring places I’ve never visited before. I am a homebody and am very close with my family, but I also love meeting new people and branching out.  I am introverted yet I wear my heart on my sleeve.  As a writer, I am very much the same way. I write to my emotions and I let them flow through my pencil (unless I’m doing academic writing—then it is much different). Ultimately, I write because I want to remember and I want to convey important messages that I might not be able to vocalize eloquently.  

The origin piece I am going to choose is a letter I wrote during Obama’s 2009 inauguration speech when I was about 8 years old.  My parents made me write this letter expressing my feelings about such a historic moment in U.S. history.  When I was 8-9 years old, I did not know hardly anything about politics—mostly, I mirrored the emotion my parents felt regarding the election. I knew from the presidential portraits that surrounded my classroom walls that we had never even had an African American president before—so, for me mind, Barack Obama being elected as present was one of the coolest things I had ever experienced. My parents kept the letters my sister and I wrote stored away in a file cabinet.  The letter is informal, child-like, and funny—but conveys a candid sense of happiness and emotion regarding his inauguration.  

Here are some of the ideas for my experiments!

  1.  A short film/montage of a child writing the same letter that I once wrote in 2008.  The camera will be overhead filming the pen moving across the paper.  Then the shot will cut to a montage of b-roll footage on the 2008-9 inauguration with Obama, his family, the music, etc.  Overlaid on top of that will be audio of me (or the kid) reading from the letter while the footage plays on the screen.  It will cut back-and-forth between the writing shot and the footage of Obama’s inauguration/presidency.  
  2. A giant collage of pictures/mood board (representing the ideas of our current political climate:  Trump tweets, women’s march, BLM, climate change, etc.) and words and phrases used in my 2008 letter, but cut out and enlarged like a giant collage.  
  3. A back-and-forth video of a kid reading my letter from 2008 and me reading a new letter I would write from 2019.  It would be sort of a sentence-by sentence montage cutting back and forth between my sentiment then and now.  Pictures and videos will play in the video of both political climates while the audio plays on top.  

I am excited about getting to experiment with all of the Shapiro tech/design tools!

What do you wonder about the experiments or life itself? I wonder how kids perceive people in high-power position and what influences their mindset.