All Things Must Pass, George Harrison

“All things must pass
None of life’s strings can last
So I must be on my way
And face another day

Now the darkness only stays at night time
In the morning it will fade away
Daylight is good
At arriving at the right time
But it’s not always going
To be this grey”

Well, George Harrison, the most underrated of the Beatles (IMO) did it again. He somehow managed to capture a feeling and put it into words and match it with a beautiful melody.

The end of my time at the University of Michigan is so close. In fact, it has already started happening. I have silent goodbyes daily in my head, “goodbye 4am walk home from the library with my friend Matt, this won’t happen again, ever.” “goodbye bouncer at Mash, I don’t know if you will be working next time I am here so I am saying goodbye in my head right now.” “goodbye Fleetwood Diner at 1am on a Thursday, I probably won’t be here again, with this group of people, so farewell.”

There is no word to describe how saying goodbye to four years of your life—a place, being a student, working a job on campus, people, first apartments, dorm life, everything—feels. I thought I would be so happy to say goodbye. At least 2 years of my time at U of M were spent in an extremely depressed state, with me being on the verge of a breakdown 24/7. I remember almost dropping out many times. Calling my dad and saying, “I can’t do it anymore. I can’t be here. I don’t feel happy here, I want to just disappear and leave all this pain behind.” He would encourage me to come home, but something inside me told me to stick it out. To finish one more semester. And so I did.

I did, however, take one semester off. The fall semester of my senior year I spent in Norway. When I returned to campus in the winter, I was ready to face extreme anxiety and depression again, but something was different. I had randomly chosen to move into a student co-operative house on campus called “Vail”. This co-op I remembered from Sophomore year, I had come to Vail really drunk one night for a party and had a blackout breakdown in the laundry room on the dryer. I remember one of the house members finding me and calming me down. She was saying, “It’s ok. It’ll be ok. I feel very depressed sometimes too. You aren’t alone. Please, drink this water. Honey, it’ll be ok.” I had been to the co-op before, and at that time I was not aware of how much the co-op Vail would change my life for the better.

Moving in in January was the best choice I ever made at U of M. I was so ready to hate it, I prepared myself for the worst, for being isolated, for hating the messes, for hating my chores, etc. But my depressive expectations were not realized. Instead, I was greeted by 23 warm and welcoming housemates. I was invited to go dumpster diving. I was encouraged to play music by my new roommate. I found myself baking with my housemates at 2am, making art in the living room on Sunday nights, learning about new music genres, having South American dance parties, and more. My housemates told me that I made the house a happier place, and those words seemed to change how I viewed myself. Instead of viewing myself as a draining, sad, anxious person, I started to view myself as a creative, warm and loving person. Moving into Vail changed how I viewed myself and in turn changed how I affected people around me.

This story of the transformation my co-op ignited in me is the reason why I did my final project on Vail co-op. Yes, goodbyes are hard and parting with the house that changed me more than anything else at U of M will be really emotional. However, this project will allow me to reminisce on my house for years to come. I thank the writing minor for teaching me how to turn my emotions and opinions and memories into tangible projects and writing. I hope this project does my co-op justice.

All things must pass.

Making a Website, Yikes.

Well there are 7 weeks, or if you want to get technical 47 days, until graduation. I honestly could not tell you the sequence of events that has gotten us this far into the semester. We already had MLK day? We had the polar vortex over a month ago? Spring break is something that happened?

Seriously, this semester has been flying by and I can’t believe we are about to graduate. However, coming close to the end of my final semester at U of M is not as exiting as I expected it to be… With graduation comes finishing up the capstone. With finishing up the capstone comes making a website. With making a website comes an overwhelming amount of decisions related to format, color scheme, content, layout, etc.

I just made a rough draft of my website for the storyboard workshop that will be taking place regarding my storyboard tomorrow. It took a lot more work than I expected. I tried to make my website look like other podcast websites, with a more simplistic design, an easy to navigate layout of episodes, and some brief information about myself. The design looks more juvenile than I expected. I tried making it look similar to this: https://www.imafraidthat.com or this https://www.thisamericanlife.org but as of now it looks like this: https://lindquin.wixsite.com/unveiling-vail

Yeah, it has a long way to go. I realize the link you are clicking on (if you are clicking on this in the future) is not the same as the one I am referring to now. It might look a lot better by the time you get around to reading this post. But as of now it is a little unorganized, a bit incongruent, etc. I encourage any of you who have not started making your website to get on that soon, or to at least brainstorm what it will look like. Bon chance, good luck!

Recording a Podcast… I didn’t see that coming. Blog post #2

Speaking is something we do every day, every hour of the day normally. Previous research by Louann Brizendine at the University of California found that women speak an average of 20,000 words daily compared to only 7,000 words for men. This means that on average, women talk nearly three times as much as men. Speaking, then should be an easy thing to do for a project, right? WRONG. Recording a podcast is much different than having a casual conversation in the living room of your house, it isn’t like talking with a group of people in a class room, and it definitely isn’t like what you imagined it would be like prior to recording your first podcast episode.

So… Yeah I recorded the first episode of my podcast series. I had my introduction all laid out, my guest made it to the recording studio on time, I knew how to use all the recording equipment, everything was right on track. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, talking, getting into the natural flow of a podcast, that is what. The first podcast is on the history of the co-operative movement at the University of Michigan. There was a lot of information we had to talk about, but no real structure that I had planned out. I thought it would be easier to just let the conversation flow, and the let my guest talk about what they found interesting from the research they had done. However, it is really important to plan out what specific talking points you will be using in your podcast and the order they will be in, prior to recording your podcast. Make sure you have some sort of starting question for your guest, something to get them thinking and talking in a natural way.

My first podcast recording experience definitely did not go as planned, but it will still make up an entire episode in my project. I will be able to edit it and make it more cohesive and naturally flowing with some time, and it was definitely a great learning experience that no amount of research could have replaced. Now that I have that first episode under my belt, I know that I have to research more podcasts tips and tricks, which I have already begun doing. Googling “How to record a good podcast” and “Tips for podcast conversations” has been helpful already.

I look forward to my next recording experience. I hope this post can be helpful to anyone working on a project, be ready to be caught off guard at some stage in your project, and try make the best of it!

Write for yourself and nobody else.

That man outside Espresso Royale sitting, staring, having a conversation with himself or possibly someone he once knew who he hasn’t seen in years. I could write about him, but how? What do I want to say, why is it that he catches my attention? Next… Oh wow, that couple I just had to ring up at work had an interesting dynamic. The girl bossed her boyfriend around after buying a $140 sweatshirt. “Don’t pull of that tag, it will rip a hole in the shirt?! I told you not to do that.” These small occurrences throughout my day add up, I want to write about them all. There are so many ideas, so many thoughts, so many details that would make a beautiful story. But who would that story reach? Why would I take the time to write it if it’s just for me? 

From all of this, I would say that a difficulty I am having when approaching this project is writing. I haven’t always has this problem, but lately I am so overwhelmed with second guessing my writing that I don’t even write. Writing is not the problem though. As is normally the case with minds, my mind is creating a problem out of nothing. In order to solve this problem, I tried to recall the last time I found peace in writing. 

When I travel I find writing enjoyable and inspiring, as writing should be. Being in a new place makes writing enchanting and important again. When traveling, I am motivated and inspired to write because I always think to myself, “what if I never come back here? How will I remember all the incredible people I met if I don’t write about them?” My most recent trip to Scandinavia left me with a journal full of lifelike descriptions of people. Rolf, the rotund Norwegian sailor who loved Elton John and whose eyes disappeared when he laughed. Martin, the petite French man who loved singing songs off the Juno soundtrack and who referred to himself as the “little chief”.

The writing I do while traveling is special to me because it allows me to go back in time and relive my international experiences. By reflecting on how much I enjoy writing when I travel, I realized that I don’t have to be overseas to write in a similar way. The man outside Espresso Royale is just as interesting to me as my French friend Martin. The couples I ring up at my job have just as much to offer to my writing as any couple I have seen or overheard walking in Norway. There is a story in everything, as cheesy as that sounds, and my travel journals are proof to me that my writing does matter to someone, even if that someone is myself.  

This realization has given me more confidence moving forward with my project. I plan to making reminding myself how much I enjoy writing when I travel part of my writing ritual. When I start questioning why I write, or who I am writing for, I will pause and remind myself that I don’t have to be out of the country for my writing to be interesting.

MiW #words #of #wisdom!

Welcome to the Minor in Writing! You are in for quite the ride, don’t worry I mean that in a fun way. Throughout this semester under the instruction of T in the gateway to the MiW, I have definitely grow as a writer. I have been exposed to genres of writing that I originally did not even think were genres—photoessays, songs, zines, children’s books, etc. I have met countless incredible writers and have written in my journal more than I have ever in my life. This semester may have been tough at times, but it was well worth the struggles. Here are a few tips and tricks to making your own gateway semester incredible!

  1. Try new things, go out of your creative comfort zone.
  2. Keep a journal, it’ll be fun to look back on one day and it helps you grow as a writer.
  3. Talk to your instructor about your life outside of class. Talk to them about your writing and new things you are reading.
  4. Get to know yourself and others through this class.
  5. Know your work will change and things won’t go as expected. It is all part of the fun!
  6. Talk to your classmates! Get to know them! Make a group chat to ask questions in.
  7. Enjoy yourself!

 

I would be nothing without writing <3

Writing is part of life.

Writing is channeling everything inside of US to communicate what it is to be human, t h o u g h t s, emotions, and memories. In the face of adversity, writing helps create change. In the darkness of a depression, writing provides solace, relief from pain. In books, writing tells stories that may otherwise be lost. Writing is music, papers, advertisements, diaries from middle school. Without writing, I would be nothing, and my writing would be nothing without me. Writing is my minor, writing is my passion. I have writing to thank for getting me through the hardest of times, and allowing me to reflect on the best of times. Writing is part of who I am. It is part of who we all are.

Being Vulnerable

A short story, a photo essay, and an acoustic song walk into a bar…

“Hey! I know them!” Ingrid says.

“Yeah yeah, we get it. You technically own us. You created us, quit talking and writing about it all the time.” Says the short story.


 

Anyway, for my three experiment I did in fact create a short story, a photo essay, and an acoustic song. These experiments have expanded my idea of what writing can be used for. They push me out of my go-to writing styles and introduced me to genres. I first wrote a short story, and this incentives me to read a beautiful short called “Cat Person”.

This short showed me how writing can be whatever you want it to be. It can be relatable, it can bring the ordinary to life, it can be about the life of an everyday college girl and still be beautifully written and life changing.

 

Doing the photo essay taught me about candidness, how to take photos that are organic, that speak for themselves. I learned about how the order of a photo essay means so much for how it is viewed by people. Through these experiments I now understand that I like to try new things. I always knew this as a general fact about me, but I didn’t think it applied to me as a writer/artist. But every time I was confronted with a new experiment I chose to try something I had never tried before. I am so happy I used this class as a change to get out of my comfort zone. Academia can really confine students to do what will ensure them a “good grade” which often means sticking to what has already been proven affective. But in this class, we are pushed to try things that might fail, to scare ourselves with our experiments, and to be vulnerable.

I just want to thank T for always encouraging me throughout this process! Thank you thank you!

Me, a musician? Hah, what no.

Photo credit: Hannah Milkie my childhood friend

A one, two, one two three! My plan is to record a song I wrote for the final project… Saying that makes me feel like an imposter, but I really want to bring this plan to fruition. I have always wanted to record and fully edit a song. It has been hard to find the time, the motivation and the resources necessary for recording. However, I have one close friend who is in the music school here at U of M who is willing to help me record and edit! Yikes!

I have already written the song, and feel totally comfortable singing it when hidden in my own room, completely alone without an ear to judge how I sound for what feels like miles and miles. The next steps, though, are a little harder than simply sitting on my floor and strumming my guitar while singing. I need to rent a recording room in the Dude, I need to coordinate recording times with my buddy, and most importantly I need to channel my inner musical-confidence so that I can make the recording process as easy as possible.

Photo credit: My childhood friend Hannah Milkie

My sketch will help because it contains the lyrics to my song. I look forward to finally having a hard copy of some of my music, and I hope to potentially also have a video that the music plays along with but that will not be possible for this final project. I would need more time for that. I’m concerned that my recording won’t go well and that no amount of takes will make it sound better. But I hope that if I am confident enough going into the studio that I will be ok!

Tired of living in the shadow of a creative sibling? I feel you.

Ever since I was a little girl I have always compared myself to “better” artists/writers. The main person I had to compare myself to while growing up was my older brother, Nels. Nels was always creating things spontaneously. He was selling books at our local “Snowbound Books” in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan by the age of 6. He was writing screenplays and filming them with my cousin by the age of 8. And by the time Nels was 17, he was being accepted into Columbia University in NYC…

Yes, I was always so proud and happy of, and for, him! But it was hard not to feel like I was living in his shadow all those years. I found my own ways to cope with being the youngest: I played music, sang obnoxiously, and enjoyed athletics and friendship. After some time though, I started realizing that just because someone else might be good at something, doesn’t mean you can’t be too.

After having been accepted to U of M, I tried to let my coat of self doubt melt off like a layer of wax. It wasn’t that easy though. Years of living in my brother’s shadow really took their toll on my confidence. Although I allowed myself to enjoy writing in privacy or for small, non-graded experiments, it was hard to expose myself as a writer at such a large and prestigious university. To make things worse, my freshmen roommate was an incredible pre-determined English major who had a blog and everything going into undergrad. Once again I felt like I was nothing of a writer compared to someone else.

Since freshmen year, however, I have found my voice as a writer. I have learned that I can be multiples types of a writer on different days: some days I write short stories, some days poetry,  others academic essays, while sometimes I don’t write at all. If being at U of M has taught me anything, it is that I am valid and that I am enough. I don’t have to be the best at something to enjoy it. I don’t have to win awards to have confidence. Writing and enjoying it is enough for me. Yes, getting praise from T (my MiW Prof currently) is always an incredible feeling; however, I will write regardless of if someone is praising me or not. Writing makes me feel present, it makes me happy. I thank Nels, now, for having been such a good role model for me during my childhood. Who knows, maybe one day we can collaborate on one of his, or my, writing projects.

Shoutout to Nels during his last semester at Columbia!