Pixar and the Spiral

I am thinking about the capstone project and what I can do. I have been leaning heavily towards an analysis of Inside Out alongside other Pixar movies. I want to analyze the movies and give a commentary about the way emotion and memory interact and play into growing up.

I have this idea of a spiral of interaction between emotion and memory. Think of it in terms of some significant event happens. At the time of this event the memory is formed, and along with it an emotional attachment to the memory. This is probably sounding a bit like Inside out, but bare with me. At another time, let’s say a week later, you think of the event again. This reflection looks back at the memory and the feeling, and inevitably it will be a small bit different, but maybe not too different at only a week. Now go a year later, and this event will be viewed much differently than it was before. Some parts of the memory might be gone, or changed, and the emotion surrounding it will likely be different as well. Now, five years, ten years later and so on, this even continues to transform and have new meaning and different impact. The spiral is a metaphor for the way the memories and emotions  change and build on each other to help define who you are as a person.

Now memory and emotion don’t define a person, but I think they say a lot about how a person sees themselves. Do you agree? What are other aspects that are relevant and should be considered for an idea like this?

I want to talk about this interaction of emotion and memory, and specifically I want to explore nostalgia. I also want to analyze the Pixar movies to find what they say about emotion and memory, and also about growing up. Finally it is my ultimate goal to weave the spiral, the analysis, and some personal experience into a cohesive story about growing up. More than just a story about growing up, I want to comment on how we learn about growing up, and how that impacts the way it happens.

If this sounds like a cool idea let me know! If you have any ideas for me to consider, or comments on what I’m doing let me know! Anything helps!



Hey You! Listen! – My advice for incoming students

Did that get your attention?

Good. It’s the final day of this class, and I wanted to give you some advice for the minor.

So I’ll start off by saying I came in to the minor having somewhat of an idea what to expect. I knew, probably just like you, that I liked writing, and that this would be a chance to improve my skills. Then I got thrown a curve ball. We were asked to put down what we think as writing, and comment on them. When we did this, I realized I posted several links to blogs, books and other things that use words for writing. But when I examined others peoples posts, I saw things like calligraphy, artwork, and videos. This is something that I never considered. Writing could essentially be anything you want it to be. But in order to think that way, you have to open up your mind.


If you open up your mind, you'll be surprised at what you might find
If you open up your mind, you’ll be surprised at what you might find

Once you open up, you might find that you want to do a style of writing that’s different than what you have done throughout your collegiate career. Having an open mind will help you get a better idea of what to do so that you don’t have to worry about the fact that the class itself is not as structured and rigid as other.

But that’s not to say it wouldn’t hurt to have a few ideas in mind before you start the repurposing or remediation assignment. For example, although I didn’t know my what my source was going to be when I started the class, I did know that I wanted to write about sports and I was going to base most of if not all of my writing about that topic. It made making decisions early on a tad bit easier.

Finally, I will say keep track of the schedule (especially the blog posts), keep track of when things are coming up and make time for them. I will fully admit I underestimated the amount of time it would take to finish the assignments, as I would be up late into the night trying to finish assignments because I didn’t realize they were due, or that the process of actually doing them would take so much time.  Then of course, when your stressed for time, your 4 year old laptop starts having processing issues. Both of these lead to a ton of stress, so try to give yourself enough time.

Panda destroying computers from pandawhale.com
What I wanted to do to my computer after it froze or was moving slowly while working on my remediation project.

However, I will fully admit that this was still one of the most enjoyable classes I have taken during my time here at Michigan. I was able to focus on what I liked to write about, and I developed skills that will make the writing process easier. I really hope you enjoy your time in the next class. It’s a great chance to become better at something you already like doing, and if you simply open your mind and give yourself ample time to work, you will be able to enjoy this class to its fullest.

An Open Letter to Future Cohorts: Welcome to the CHAOS

Dear Writing Cohort-folk,

First of all, congratulations!  Getting admitted to this program is easily one of the coolest things that’s happened to me since coming to U of M.  The projects in the gateway course are really fun, and, if you play your cards right, they’ll  really push you to grow and develop as a writer.

This brings me the main point of this blog post: “playing your cards right”; what exactly does that mean, and how do you go about doing it?

The answer is simple, but much easier said than done: You need to constantly revisit the chaos.

There’s this article I read for Writing 300 (Seminar in Peer Tutoring) called “Responding to Student Writing” by the very smart, scholarly Nancy Sommers, where she discuses the notion of “revisiting the chaos” in writing, meaning re-entering the place in your writing process where you feel lost, overwhelmed, or just plain old unhappy because you’ve cut too much, rearranged things in a weird way, or have done something else to really mess up whatever balance you had in the previous draft.  For her, revising is built on this notion, and I couldn’t agree with her more.

The truth is, I don’t think you’re really a writer until you reach a point in your work where you think you’ve completely destroyed everything and have no hope of recovery, only to find a few minutes later that you’ve made the piece waaay stronger than it was before.  And I think you need to do this at least 3 times.

For me, this is what the gateway course has been all about.  I have been revisiting the chaos so much that I practically live there.  Is this terrifying, stressful, and at times awful?  YES!  But DAMN have you read my essay for Project 2???  That stress and terror are worth creating art I feel proud of.

My point in telling you this, future writing minors, is not to scare you off, or give you any sort of tough love.  I just want you to know that if you find yourself feeling freaked out, lost, or overwhelmed in your revising process, it’s okay.

This is a good time and place to be lost.

Comparing Classes

Right now I’m in the process of writing a 15 page paper on a topic that I have no understanding of and now will never receive that understanding. I’m super happy I took this 18th century literature class. While it is a requirement for my English major, I hold the opinion that required classes should therefore be the best classes, as everyone has to take them.

While taking this class and writing this dreadful paper, I have begun to appreciate my other classes much more. Especially my writing minor. If you see a girl mercilessly yammering on to some freshman or other easily influenced person about the minor, that’ll be me. It just can’t get much better than writing all the time and writing about things that you care about.

So go writing minors, am I right? Okay I guess I can get back to my paper now…