winter break travel vibes

just in time for break, check out my final project to get some travel vibes:

I created a zine that takes you on a journey through my travels last summer. There’s a haiku on each page, for each city, along with photos and other artifacts from my trip. I wanted to keep the website simple to let the zine speak for itself, I’ve enjoyed the challenge of condensing huge experiences into simple, short haikus, trying to still convey the feeling and most important details of each city. So, take a glimpse into some places across the world and get a little taste of my travel experience.

Thanks everyone for such a great semester!

Final blog post!!

This semester has been a struggle for me and i’m sure it has been the same way for everyone else. One thing that made this semester a little less of a struggle was having the privilege to be around wonderful and creative thinkers.

I’ve always appreciated how much writing has influenced me. I’ve always appreciated the many mediums one can use to create something special. Writing for me was something that started in my high school. Beginning with making up inspirational quotes, to poetry, and then to short stories, it’s safe to say that writing has always and will always have a place in my heart. It’s also safe to say that deciding that I was going to minor in writing was something that was easy for me, but i still wasn’t sure of what to expect. Being in T’s class last year was great but opening up about myself in my writing was something I really wasn’t expecting to do. I think in some ways my decision to write about myself in the way that I did last year influenced a lot of what I decided to do in this project.

And I want to end this blog post with a thank you to T for always pushing me to think more of what to do with my ideas and how to make them grow in to something worth sharing.

Link to my project:


At the end of the semester, I can finally look back on the work I’ve done and comment on it. Briefly, I’ve grown as a reader and writer this semester. After dabbling in a variety of genres and learning more about the term genre itself and its allowances and constrictions, I feel a little bit more liberated in terms of my writing. Standard, traditional definitions of specific genres do not dictate my writing — I can take them as guidelines and help in formatting, but ultimately, what matters is my purpose. Genre is simply an outline, a platform from which to enunciate a message. If the message isn’t thought out, then it doesn’t matter what genre is used. 

I’m going to continue to build on this by practicing new genres in my writing. I would like to go further out my comfort zone from now until the capstone by trying out genres I’ve never tried writing in before. 

Anyways, here’s the link to my ePort!

goodbye for now!

Usually at the end of a class, specifically writing or English ones, I don’t tend to actually see my growth. This class was SO different. I think the greatest way that I grew was in my creativity. With each experiment, I got more and more creative and challenged myself to really go outside of my comfort zone. I think that this really paid off in terms of the quality of my work. Looking back at my first experiment, there is not much there that is much different from my origin piece. Now, I am working with a completely different medium and addressing a completely different point. This is something that I’m super proud of, as I feel like I’ve started to lose my creative side a bit in college. I’m really happy that this class has given me an outlet to channel that side of myself.

I think that the biggest way in which I’ve grown is in regards to the revision process. Although this isn’t a totally new strength of mine, I have found revision to be especially important in this writing process. Building off of my last paragraph, I have found revision (as well as FEEDBACK from my peers) to be essential in helping me create my best, most creative work. I’m really excited to keep growing and seeing how revision can impact my work. 

Overall, this class has been an absolute pleasure to take part in. If you’d like to check out my zine, here’s the link:

Have a great winter break!!!!

words for days.

in the end, i feel like i’ve found my voice–expanding on the prose is something i am realizing i seem to enjoy. up until this course, i have been insecure, almost ashamed, of sharing my writing. perhaps it was the content i always immersed myself in. looking back now, it baffles me how i have never done any creative writing. ever. i would only bury myself in the comfort of academic essays–research, research, and more research. to me, i could research and write, without ever exposing what i actually thought or felt. i guess this was why i was so insecure. i realize that my minimal exposure to creative writing, and vast, endless writing of only academic essays has taken a toll–i seem to have lost my voice amidst reiterating research, regurgitation of facts to support an idea etc. sometimes i would read past essays and not recognize that it was my own writing. but this course, the creative route i chose to take in my experiments and project, has allowed me to find my own voice. i now recognize my thoughts and can almost hear me reading aloud. currently, i feel as if i am blossoming out of the fear of not being able to write. writing is fun. and i am most proud of my newly discovered love and confidence in writing.  

because there may be some goodbyes to the wonderful people i met in my gateway class, i would like to say that i am quite grateful for everyone’s guidance and encouragement for what may be one of the more important things i do in life. i have been stretched during my final project, and have grown towards a niche i’d love to explore in writing about: human conditions, emotions, relationships, etc.

check it out here:

in my time before the capstone, i hope to continue down this path, open to whatever comes my way. taking an idea, and running with it to see where i end up!

A break from turtles

I was so sad to say goodbye to everyone over the past week; I’ve loved learning more about everyone in our class and growing our projects together. 

However, one thing I am happy about it the short break I will have from Mia the turtle. I have spent hours drawing her and her friends perfectly in many different poses, only to have her file crash my computer. And reading through her dialogue dozens of times, I think I might start speaking like her. 

While as of now I believe the book is done, I think if I read it again in two weeks, I might think differently. So, while I’ve posted it on my site for now, I will wait to try to publish it until after break. 

My other reason for doing this is the Kindle updates. Right now, Kindle doesn’t offer any fun fonts, which are necessary to making Mia kid-friendly. Kindle should be updating their software soon, and I hope that with this update they will include more fonts so Mia can be properly portrayed on their platform. 

I’m also still hoping to create a print form. However, I will need to add a few more drawings for this (most importantly a title page). 

Either way, I’m so thankful for everyone in this class who have kind but meaningful critiques of my work throughout the process. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday, and shows off their new creations to family and friends, (or maybe just your dog… that’s where I’m going to start). 

It doesn’t end here

Not the project, not the friendships. None of it ends here.

This is my last blog post, and I can’t say I’m sad about that (sorry T). I have a love-hate relationship with blogging; on the one hand, it helps me vent and clear my thoughts. On the other hand, it’s a pain. I think I complain about blogging in each of my blog posts, so here’s to keeping the tradition alive.

As for my project, I’m really excited about its future direction. Ray and I talked at length about what the project would look like if it were a novel – I didn’t misspell novella there – and I’m really excited about the results. The novella itself, Death narrates the story of Amir, the son of a grave robber. In the novel, Death simultaneously narrates the stories of Amir and a younger Baba (his father) side-by-side, showing the progression into adulthood and the different choices each take to end up where they are at the beginning of the novel, and where they will be by the end.

As for the friendships I’ve formed through this class, they’re unforgettable. I know sometimes gateway students read these posts, and if they happen to read this, I’d like them to know that the depth with which you get to know and care for your classmates and their projects is one of my favorite things about the capstone class. You become so invested in realizing your classmates’ visions that you the class seems less like a class and more like a bi-weekly meeting between friends. And not that I’m biased, but definitely take capstone in the Fall. You’ll thank me later.

Alright, I’ve reached my word count so it seems (darn). This is goodbye, for now. Maybe I’ll come back for another blog post after I’ve finished the novel, many MANY (emphasis on MANY) years from now ;P Hopefully by then, I’ll dislike blogging a little less.

Thank you for everything, T, Ray, and the 420 F18 squad.

Until then,


All good things must come to an end

In all honesty, nothing is coming to an end in terms of the work I have done in this class. What is coming to an end though is this semester and my time in Writing 220 with Shelley and the rest of my class. It was a really challenging semester for me in all my classes, but I have thoroughly enjoyed all my time in North Quad on Monday and Wednesdays. And while I am not sad to say goodbye to the long walk from my house at 9 am, I am sad to say goodbye to this course.

I had so much fun in this class. I really truly enjoyed the experimentation process and feel content as can be with my final project (if you want to skip to it, click here.) I can’t say how happy I am that I chose my common application essay. It allowed me a lot of flexibility in terms of focus and I also was able to write about something personal, which I don’t get to do enough in college. Personal writing is something I’ve, well, always kept personal. So it was difficult to sit through peer review sessions with brand new faces while they read about some of my lowest points. That being said I can’t say enough how much I appreciated the peer review session. I am so grateful to all of my groups for their honesty and sensitivity during the process. My portfolio would be nowhere without you all, so thank you!

As a sophomore, I have a lot of time until the capstone class. I want to have something I am ready to point my finger to and say “that is what I want to do!” However, I don’t have that. At least not right now. It’s on my mind though and I can’t wait till I have that aha moment when I know I see what I want to work on. I also fully acknowledge that may not happen until I am sitting in the Capstone class with a new group of friends.

Going back to the personal writing, I think I have realized a strength of mine is writing about powerful moments. This is a little random, but I realized intense writing is something I have fun doing and get really push myself in. I also really enjoyed scripting my podcast episode. Maybe I should dabble in screenwriting. These are all just some fun ideas. If I’m being honest, I am brain dead from this past week and can’t wait till I wake up tomorrow morning knowing that everything is calm in my brain until January 8th.

I hope you enjoy my final product 🙂 I plan on showing my grandparents tomorrow when they come over for dinner. Stay tuned if you would like to hear what they think.

Sincerely, Maddie 


Goodbye until Winter 2021. Let’s hope senior year takes its time getting here.

How I Learned to Write Like Myself

Let me start out by stating the obvious: I had so much fun writing this semester! Although my writing was pretty personal and often serious in tone, I had a blast experimenting with genre, audience, and voice. That’s probably the biggest way I’ve grown this semester: I’ve learned to embrace my writing style. Instead of conforming to a tone I thought the audience (i.e. the professor grading the paper) would appreciate, I was able to make choices about how I wanted it to sound and what would work best for my project. I have these blog posts to thank for that, at least in part: blogging has allowed me to write in a loose, informal way, which has really helped me learn to love the sound of my own (writing) voice. This is what has made my experiments and final project so fun to create: I’m able to put so much of myself into them.

That thought connects nicely to the advice I have for new Gateway students: pick an origin piece that you love, something that means a lot to you. You might find it easier to transform that research paper on polluted waterways, but is that really where your interests lie? Picking a subject you’re passionate about is gonna make writing so much more fun and fulfilling, and it will allow you not only to grow as a writer, but as a person, too.

Without further ado, some information about my e-portfolio. My origin piece is a transcript of an interview I conducted with my grandmother about her early married life, in which she learned that my grandfather had Hodgkin’s lymphoma (practically a death sentence in 1959) and had to keep it a secret from him for many years. This semester, I have made exploring her emotional experience of this period my main objective. My final project is an artist writing that explores a fiber arts piece I created to compliment my origin piece. The writing connects “women’s work” like weaving to societal expectations for women, as well as to themes of grief, monotony, and perfection. (This all makes much more sense when you actually see the artwork, which is why I’ve included images of it in my final project.) Along with my artist writing, my e-portfolio includes all three of my experiments in their entirety, along with a comprehensive introduction of my origin piece and why the topic of my grandfather’s disease matters to me.

You can find it here:

It’s not goodbye… it’s see you later!!

You all know how much I’ve struggled to blog this semester and since I haven’t really been in the headspace to think about schoolwork I thought I’d use this last blog post to thank all of you!

Each of you brought something very special to the class and helped to make it a semester that I’ll never forget! So, as a token of my appreciation and it hopes that it’ll make you feel a little better about finals I would like to thank each of you personally!!

Zach: Thank you for pushing us all. Your project and the passion behind it truly inspired me to reach higher. I truly admire your constant desire to become a better “YOU”!

Jude: Thank you for being a good listener and for always having positive to say. I grew to appreciate your chill personality and the fact that you always had great things to say about everyone else’s projects.

Fatima: Thank you for always thinking out of the box. Whenever we workshopped I knew that I could always count on you to throw out some bangin’ ideas and get our juices flowing!

Brynn: Thank you for your transparency! You were always very open about your points of struggle in regards to the project and it helped me to remember that I wasn’t alone!! PS: your project was so unique and I can’t get enough of the cute pics of baby Brynn!!

Eva: Thanks for exposing me to different forms of our art! I really appreciated your project and the personal things that both you and Hannah share in the podcasts. If it weren’t for your project I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to hear about all of the foreign artists with cool names or how you got into painting or Hannah’s painting series!

Natalie: Thank you for making such cool characters! No matter the type of day that I was having your cool and spunky drawings always made me smile. PS: can’t wait to see your project in print!! *wink wink*

Last, but NOT least…

T: Thank you for pushing us all to take our projects one step further and produce things that will exist outside of this class!! You were such a good motivator and just a great person to bounce ideas off of!

Welp, since this is a writing class and all… I feel like I have to say something about my project so here it goes…

I’m so happy I did this project and I hope that the mini-me’s that come to U of M use it and love it as much as I do. If it weren’t for this class I don’t think I would’ve ever done this and I think it is sooooo important for fostering a more inclusive environment on my campus!

Until next time,