Narrative Perspective & Voice

This blog post is about a task I decided to take on about narrative perspective and voice. Originally, I was doing this because I wanted to complete some of the extra assignments in the class, but I actually was able to learn a lot about writing from it. I never thought about putting on paper the comparison between describing something in the moment and describing it later, but the results left me very surprised and intrigued about this way of approaching writing! Here is what I did:

1) Narrate an important moment from the past:

All I see is the ball and out of the corner of my eye comes her. Before I know it I’m on the ground and screaming in pain. What happened? The girl smashed into my body leaving me on the floor and the ball somewhere far away. There’s no blood but there is definitely pain and I begin to scream. The louder I am the more worried everyone around me becomes and I start to hear the whispers of my knee being torn. My only though is that this is my worst nightmare, the words no female athlete wants to hear- you’ve tour your ACL. When I’m finally able to open my eyes that are closed to hide the pain, I noticed the ambulance pulling up on the field. They ask to cut off my cleats but I beg them not too, thinking that maybe just one thing could still go in my favor and I could keep my favorite shoes. They strap me onto the stretcher and my mom comes inside the ambulance as I see my team wave goodbye to me.

2) Reflect on the experience now

The moment changed more than I thought it ever could. It changed the way my leg would look forever, slighting disfigured, a bit wider than its once identical partner and a fresh 5-inch scar. It changed the way I viewed the game I loved, from being something I thought I’d play in college and past that to something I’d reminisce about, when I would play “back in the day”. It changed the way I’d appreciate being able to run and cut and jump and even just walk. I used to think about that hit and day and game as a moment in time that stole something from me. It stole dreams I had and tainted good memories and took away something I loved to do, but I can’t live that way. You can’t live feeling sorry for the fact that something happened to you, that a twist and a turn and a wrong hit at the wrong time and constantly repeating if only, you need to accept it. You need to find the silver lining and enjoy the other moments that are important too.

What do you notice about the difference in voice between these two paragraphs? Imagine them sequentially- do they work together?

I notice definitely that the first one is supposed to be in the mind of someone injured, expressing hurt and confusion and describing the situation at the same time. Similarly, the reflection voice is also inside the mind but sounds more sophisticated, less frustrated and more accepting, poised and under control. The main difference is that narrating a moment as if you’re in the moment and then reflecting on it shows different perspectives that can be expressed through the voice. While one allows for raw emotion to come out, the reflection comes off as my reserved and understanding. I think it would be possible, with some adjustment, for these two paragraphs to work together, as long as their was some kind of bridge or transition expressing how you feel then and now.

Capstone Project & Accountability

October is coming and going before we know it and I have a feeling that the end of the semester might creep up on us. So with that line of thinking, it should be natural that I’m a bit concerned that with other midterms and assignments both in and out of the minor, I haven’t had a chance to make any progress with my Capstone project. I mean any progress. Not even research. When I decided to check in with my production plan deadline I originally created, to say I was behind would be an understatement. While, nobody should ever doubt the amount of work a college student can catch up on when a deadline is near- I definitely don’t want to let this project get away from me.

First, we are all excited about our capstones and when we share ideas we are obviously passionate about learning something about ourselves and the topic we have chosen. It would be so frustrating to me if I handed this in at the end of the semester and it didn’t represent the best I could’ve done. I have to try.

So, I decided- what is the best way to make sure that I actually get the ball rolling on this project? I decided to create a new “production plan” in the form of a to-do list, where the deadlines aren’t as overwhelming to look at when I haven’t done them yet, but better lays out more specific tasks for me to slowly check off and accomplish.

Why should you care that I’m writing any of this? Part of this post is for me. If I say that I’m thinking and trying to work on my capstone and it is October 22, then it better not be November 22 by the next time I work on it. This post is holding me accountable to start checking things off my list- publicly. This idea is also one I wanted to share so that if anyone else needed a little boost, a way to hold themselves accountable towards getting the project done then they can feel free to do the same!

Photo-Capstone Project To Do List

Pitch Letter

Dear Prospective Publisher,

Everyone has a dream, a passion, an ambition they want to be their career and center of their life, but not everyone goes after it. Some people settle, for less glamorous or more accommodating jobs and lifestyles, and some people push off going after their dreams until it is too late for them but some people go for it. Some people find or know what their “thing” is and make it their world. It’s not easy on either end, to not pursue your thing or to go for it, but the stories can be amazing and it can be inspirational and motivational.

Over the next few weeks I will be interviewing a range of people, from entrepreneurs to store owners to University faculty, and asking “what’s your thing”. What are they passionate about and what makes them get out of bed in the morning everyday excited and most importantly, is that what they are doing? Some answers will be that they aren’t doing it yet and some will be that they gave up a different future for their thing, but every answer will be honest and reflective and make any audience member think about what they are doing now and in their future. This project will come together in the form of a 15-minute podcast, including an introduction, clips of interviews and a reflective passage at the end. In addition to being posted in a podcast form, I will transcribe the interviews and have them available for reading on my website.

The audience of this work will be predominately college seniors, like myself. While the audience is not limited to that group, the project goal is to help seniors think about their future, what they want to do and serve as a reminder to not let their “thing” sit in the backseat for too long. This should be published because the message is important and worth sharing to inspire and motivate others. While it may seem anyone can conduct these interviews or pick people to talk to, this podcast will be special and unique. As a current college senior trying to not only explore job opportunities but also try to find out what my “thing” is, the questions asked and reflection portion will be real and true. Where I am in life not only makes my interest in the project significant, but also the reflective piece can be a real representation of how someone else listening to the podcast will feel. How they would think to interpret the answers in the interview and connect it back to their own life, own passions and picking the career or path that would allow them to go after their “thing”.

This project deserves to be published for others to hear. Too many people get caught up in money or the easy way that they forget their way and what it is that makes them excited to get out of bed in the morning and live their life. This podcast won’t be a motivational speech to tell people to change their life, it will be reflections on how people have or are or want to change theirs and give advice to those who might. The opportunity to hear those experiences and hear me ask the questions that people are sometimes too afraid to ask should not be deprived to anyone because it just might change their outlook on what to do tomorrow.

Attached to this letter is a sample of my project.

Sincerely,

Jessica Golden

Sample:

(a piece of where my inspirational ideas and research will be coming from for the podcast)

Other places I have on my list to be inspired by and conduct my research from are listening to various NPR podcasts, especially popular ones because I want to know what has appealed to the most people. I also plan on looking over my copy of The Outliers, a great book about people who have done things, in my eyes, to the beat of their own drum and become very successful. I think re-reading over those stories will really inspire me with ideas of people to ask to be a part of my project. I also think that TED Talks and Mark & Angel Hack Life (that Shelley recommended) will serve as both inspiration and research for me. I also think that I will be doing some Google searches just on interviews people have done with people like Mark Zuckerburg or other entrepreneurs and see if I can find any college newspapers where students might have interviewed their president or favorite teachers to see what kinds of questions people asked and how direct they were. I hope through these models and additional research that I’ll figure out what questions I want to ask and to who.

 

Making Another Writer’s Decisions

I think this activity was pretty difficult for me, but out of that difficulty actually came an idea. At first, I gave my partner a suggestion of doing a reflection project on seniors in college. I proposed doing some sort of interview with current seniors, some who have their job offer letters signed or grad school plans made and others who are stressed with applications or without a future path. We brainstormed about expanding the project to non-seniors, like business owners and professors and having it be reflective about what you think the future could be like for you and having some people say how accurate what they thought then was now.

The idea was good, but my partner pushed me to think further. Anyone could do this project- what made it unique to me? Naturally, that question is scary. Of course I have interests, I like sports and traveling and anything color-coded, but no major passions at the moment. I think my difficulty in answering her questions of what do I like and what do I care about helped come to a topic idea for my project. I told her that if someone asked me what my greatest strength was and I could answer honestly, I would say being average. I have no “major” flaws in which I am terrible at something, but I also have no thing I am the best or perfect at. I can do almost anything with pretty middle of the road results, so we brainstormed ideas such as a resume within a paper or unique examples and really using witt and humor were really interesting and helpful. I think having such a hard time explaining myself to my partner helped her better come up with suggestions when I mentioned the average comment, who knew!

I think that this is a good idea to do and write about, but also feel nervous that the topic wouldn’t let me live up to my potential both as a writer and in general, so I am working on other ideas as well to explore.

Golden Girl Makes It

I used to be super sentimental about things ending- particularly school. I have this tendency to make emotional connections to ANYTHING- even like, a notebook. But, with a 15 page paper and 3 finals to end my semester this upcoming week, I can’t feel sentimental, I’m pretty excited to be done. But, writing has been my favorite class. No doubt. THANKS JULIE!

So it is pretty awesome that we all have something to take from it, and I have a feeling my portfolio is going to be one of those things I keep changing as my mind changes. But for now, it is complete.

I am pretty excited about submitting it, since I think that it is in a good place. I went back and forth about where to do my context introduction and a small about me. I thought my context write up was more engaging than any “hi this if fun facts” so I made that first and changed about me to directions to give the audience some help.

Finally, I was really looking for a way to make this personally professional- but not like my Linkedin on paper. So, in my resume section the light bulb went off- I linked the websites to the stuff I talk about in my resume! I really think that this takes the resume up a step, since instead of saying I planned a program, they can actually click it and see I am not lying and the flyer and everything. I wish I could physically link all my hard work and excel sheets that went behind the planning, but wordpress hasn’t gotten that far yet- so this will do for now.

Here is my portfolio: http://jessgolden.wordpress.com

Best of luck to everyone with their finals and future endeavors- we should all be so proud of what we made and accomplished this semester!

 

xoxo Golden Girl <– get it LOL kk

For Minors: Great & Cool Writing Opportunity, Life in Letters

Hi!!!!

For those of you not in my writing section, I work for the Center for Campus Involvement and one of my co-workers is putting on a really awesome event called Life in Letters.

It is a great chance to write something different and that you can be creative with and have them read out loud at the event. Here are all the details and feel free to contact Jasmine with any questions!!

 

Topics:

  • Love letter to a significant other
  • Warm letter to a family member
  • Description of an dramatic event in your life
  • Description of an important memory from childhood

 

Prompt :

Use these various topics and extensive detail to write a letter! These letters will be read and if chosen will be re-enacted by UofM Theater Majors at an event in January. There may be a brief discussion after each letter on the emotions expressed in writing and captured during re-enactment. This discussion may be in a comparison and contrast format.

Please keep the letters at a PG-13 please! So this means no extreme explicit content.

 

Due Date :

Please email me your letter by Friday December 13, 2013 by 6:00pm.

Email address is jasmjohn@umich.edu

 

The start of this portfolio…

I’m super excited about this portfolio. Not in the lame kind of way, but as in this is really an assignment where you don’t have to work hard on it and then have it just be for this class and feel like it was a waste. I really do intend on using it beyond what is in this class and required. My portfolio is going to highlight a piece I wrote last year about walking in a fashion show, I having photos from it so I think that can be a really cool page. My portfolio will obviously feature my remediation project which is a website but I am really excited about attempting to insert a section in my portfolio for kind of mini viewpoint section where I can share ideas for things that I would submit to websites or the Daily at some point. Kind of like a “blog” but I’m not into having a real one of those.

I think that the viewpoint portion is what I am most excited about, because it will make my portfolio something beyond just my academic work. Something I am still trying to figure out is how I want to establish this balance of work and actually organize the tabs.

We shall see how it goes!!

Getting to Know Me?

What would one of my readers not know about me yet? Well that is a loaded question. Actually- I feel like my answer is kind of backwards.

My writing this semester has revealed more about myself that I ever expected it would. My Why I Write piece touched on personal experiences I don’t bring up unless necessary and my remediation project brought out my commentary on University teaching I didn’t know I even had strong feelings about. I think the biggest struggle for me is the opposite of what I thought the answer to this question should be. It seems like I should be responding saying that my reader doesn’t know I actually had this traumatic experience that is underlying each word I choose and that I’m keeping secrets- but that isn’t true.

My writing may as well be the only thing I am ever straightforward in. My work is honest and has found the space within me where I’m actually willing to say how I feel and describe it. I don’t even enjoy talking about that out loud actually (as I’m sure people could tell when we did that videotaping in class), my writing is personal in that it says what I sometimes struggle to say out loud.

I think my MIW work is awesome. Not in that I think my paper’s need blue ribbons on them, although that could be cool) but in that it is expanding these doors I didn’t know needed to be opened. I think that I can take a reader on a ride throughout my portfolio of seeing a completely different angle of myself that they may never meet. It is scary and a little weird to think about- but something I didn’t see coming and sometimes that can be the best types of things in all.

My Roomie the Blogger

http://thelindycity.wordpress.com

 

The blog that I am interested one is one that I’m basically forced to look at– that of my roommate!! She is also a Minor in Writing Student but this blog is one she does for fun. Most of her writing is done at like 3 AM when she feels quickly inspired after several hours of Netflix.

 

The purpose of the blog in one word would be expression. While her blog posts do go under categories like lessons or humor, they are mostly just her funny stories summarized up for entertainment for others. it is super aesthetically pleasing because every post includes pictures and is well formatted. The article titles are catchy and engaging and everything about this blog from its ridiculous stories to the fact that it actually exists makes it one that really interests me because it is so unique.

 

In terms of an organizational strategy, I think the broader the categories the better for blogs that are expressive. Just like on our MIW blog, where we can make it into gateway and our cohort, her blog has those kind of hashtag sort of things to file the articles in. The top even have a slideshow of some popular articles which is a great way to begin scanning through categories as you click through!

This Project Looks Like it’s Gunna Take a While…

UY. New Media- like what?

So, I unfortunately cannot blog about the new media I have learned- since it is still a process (all great things take time). But I can tell you about the excellent plan I have devised.

I’m creating a website, possibly from scratch but possibly from google- really whatever my techdesk appointment at 6 pm today tells me is best. But the point of the website has transitioned from being a platform of information for people to access, but instead a platform for communication.

The website is going to have information, and naturally hyperlinks for people to learn even more- but the interactive component is going to be special. I have several teachers at the University that have taught me about gender differences in sports, society, economics etc and they are all excited to help give their viewpoint on how the university is teaching these differences and hearing my perspective about the impact this is having. After sharing these professor’s thoughts on essentially what was my paper topic, I am going to share the website with all of my friends to post their own thoughts on this potential imbalance and it’s implications.

I’m sure creating the website won’t be too bad, especially with some help from google experts but the perspective aspect will definitely take me a while. Especially because between explaining the project and hearing his input, I just met with my professor for an hour. But this is definitely going to be something worthwhile to create because it could really open doors to communication between students!!