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Final Project Poem

Hi Everyone,

We are so close to the end!

For my final project piece, I wrote a choose your own adventure poem.

The poem starts with you as a baby in the womb. You make choices throughout the poem that lead you down different paths. You go from being a baby to growing up and living vastly different lives through the choices you make.

There are opportunities for growth as well as opportunities for regression. Just like life, the poem forces the reader to make tough choices. There are 8 different endings to the poem. Some endings are good endings, some are bad endings, and some are in between.

The poem aims to show how we all start out the same and through the choices we make or the circumstances that are dealt to us, life can change drastically. But since you get to make all the choices in the poem, you are in control of your fate.

Yet you don’t know where those choices will take you, so you have to have faith that if you make choices that lead to growth, you will have a happy ending.

But life is complex, so you won’t know until you make the choice. And since its a poem and not real life, you can go back and make different choices to see how your fictional life turns out.

The Anthology of Us

I will start with a brief overview of my piece.
I’ve decided to make a fictional journal entry from the perspective of a young adult. I intend to make it completely gender-neutral so readers, male, female and nonbinary, could relate to it. The main theme of it will be the struggle of a young adult going through paradoxical time in their life. A time where their family wants them to be prim, proper and perfect, while they yearn to be messy, loud, and “flawed”. I want to disclose that its semi-autobiographical but everything will be exaggerated a bit.

All of my ideas for the anthology are in the Docs that the class made but I’ll reiterate them here. I’ve got two titles in mind for the anthology: Growth and The Anthology of Us. The second one arose when I started writing this blog post and it was just too good to ignore and let it just be a blog post title. As for the format I believe it should be digital. A digital format allows this project to be attached to CV and resumes as a quick hyperlink. (if you don’t know what a hyper link is, click here) It also allows this project to be revisited by the authors to edit or add more stories if they so choose. In a digital format it has the potential to reach a far wider audience than a physical copy could.

As for the job I could take responsibility for…if we as a class decide to have a dedication page I’d like to take responsibility for it. Before I start creating one I’d like to know the general theme of everyone short piece.

Messy Feelings and thoughts

So my draft for this next workshop is messy. Very messy actually. As in “I started out writing about my feelings and then went on a tangent” type of messy. I honestly have a lot of feelings. Since my presentation topic was about writing as a form of emotional upheavals and processing stress, trauma, and pain, I just started writing some of the things that have been weighing on my heart for a long time now.

Notable, one of the things I wrote about has to do with Covid-19. Another thing I wrote about has to do with Palestine and Israel, specifically the massacre Israel has been committing against Palestinians in Gaza and the propaganda they, the United States and other imperialist nations have been using to justify the genocide in Gaza. I also bring up Congo and how slavery is being perpetuated in Congo.

Honestly, my draft is a very unhappy rant. I’d write lol if this was on social media, but it’s very very angry. But that’s not a bad thing. I’m not yelling at anyone or cursing in my draft. Anger is a valid emotion. Being angry but itself isn’t an evil or threatening thing. I am angry. I am sad and heartbroken. I am frustrated and disillusioned and distress and terrified for what might come next. So my draft is messy and unprofessional. And I’m honestly ready to start letting all of my anger, fear, sadness, and anxiety out. Because, just like what I showed in my presentation, writing down your feelings and thoughts helps soothe your mind and helps to process everything.

For the title: Messy Psyche. I wrote a non-fiction, personal venting type of draft, so the title is only fitting. I’ll also do prose. I’m in the stage of Anger, Anxiety, and Fear. The stage of being stuck, disillusioned with life, and being angry with myself and also other people for their selfishness, inaction, and prejudices.

I’d be able to do table of contents and set up the layout of any documents or powerpoint presentations if needed.

Prose and Pragmatism

The stage of growth I focused on in my writing is the transition out of an unfulfilling stage of life into one that is fulfilling. I wrote a fictional story about a person seeking a new direction in life after leaving a job where she was stagnating. Although I identify the main character with a pronoun, I left her unnamed to suggest that this stage of life is universal. The story is still in a rough draft stage and a tad too long.

Aside from contributing a story, I don’t think that I am particularly well-suited to any of the jobs involved with this project. I am hoping that our discussions in tomorrow’s meeting will reveal some way that I can contribute without feeling out of my depth. As for an idea for the title, I’m finding it difficult to think of a title without knowing what the exact content of the anthology is. That being said, the title of Cindy’s piece, “Growing Pains,” did jump out at me as a possibility.

In addition to my concerns about how I can contribute to the administrative side of the project, I am very concerned about us taking on too much with this project. Most of us will have to revise our writing, read nine classmates’ submissions, offer thoughtful critiques, write our individual self-assessment for the class, write a response poem for the anthology, and contribute to the project by taking on a role. I think we need to remain mindful of how little time we have and how busy we all are at the end of a semester when making choices about the project. For this reason, I think that choosing a website or blog for the format of the anthology would make the most sense. The templates available in tools like WordPress provide an existing framework so that we can just drop things in rather than spending lots of time on layout. 

I hope everyone understands that I’m sharing my concerns about time and workloads in the interest of easing the burden on all of us and producing a project we can be proud of.  I look forward to a productive meeting tomorrow and reading everyone’s work.

Final Project

I have to say that I was initially bummed out when I found out that each of us had to write about the topic we presented on. Writing about A.I., voice, or the banking system would have been easy for me, especially since I consider science fiction as my strong suit and those topics would lend well to sci-fi. With that said, I found writing a story about revision to be a nice challenge. Going into this topic I considered a number of ideas, most of them being wacky sci-fi or fantasy nonsense, but none seemed to stick. The next day I got the simple image of a father and son spending the day at a pond stuck in my head and so I decided to write a story about that. Basically, the protagonist is painting a picture of the pond while his son is throwing stones into the water. He reflects on how different his son’s childhood is from his own and eventually makes a minor revision to his painting that changes the theme of the entire work. I’m not sure if it fits the idea of revision with total clarity, but I entitled the story “Revision” to cover my back.

Moving on to the important stuff, I have somewhat of a knack for planning and organization. I could put together a table of contents and figure out a good order for our stories to be presented in (although that may be more of a group decision). Otherwise, I must admit that I don’t have many relevant talents outside of revision which I am guessing will be a group effort.

In any case, I’m sure we will work out most of the finer details tomorrow in class. I look forward to reading what everyone else has written and putting this whole thing together.

Growing Pains

Howdy, I’m really excited about our anthology on the stages of life. When I was reading Dr. Zamora’s notes I saw that we are able to write a poem. I just finished writing my stages of life poem and boy was that triggering. I decided to write about certain ages and points of my life that I struggled mentally. Which is the majority of my life. But there was a single point where I have attempted to end it completely and in the poem I discuss how it came to that decision, and why I decided not to make that decision.  I named the poem “ Growing Pains”, as I have suffered from severe knee pains since I was around 5 and it continues till this day. It is also the name of my unfinished poetry book that I started in 2020. Growing pains ecompasses all of the pain I have gone through in my life physically and mentally and how I have become the woman I am today. 

I start off every stanza with…

“Her knees are always aching,

Perhaps from age,

But also the constant torment 

of her consciousness.

She grows in pain,

To one day be without this aching

In her mind, in her heart, and most importantly

Her knees”


to distinguish what stage of life it is. 

Anyways…….you’ll see when you read it.

Where Do I Go?

I wish we had gone with somebody else’s project idea… not because I don’t like doing this one, but because I guess I feel an added weight with this given that it stemmed from some of my usual dissociative nonsense. I don’t want my classmates to be let down if they don’t find joy in this project, and while I know everybody was invited to speak up… I think back to my time as a subject matter expert in a fertility pharmacy, I was one of 3 people in my position, with 40-60 below us at any given time, and one direct supervisor above us. She would always end meetings with something along the lines of “Does anybody have any questions? I take silence as you all know what’s going on.” A couple of months into my role, I finally had to tell her “Taking silence as a good thing in this situation is an absolute mistake, everything is changing around our techs, and none of them have a clue. I don’t have a clue. I just don’t even know what to ask. I don’t think they do either.” This went over so well that I’d almost set the world record for the quickest demotion in history until she realized I was right. So, I guess I just hope everyone is on board with this for real…

I’m struggling to come up with a piece, because, well, I don’t know what it means to grow. I think growth is only recognized in hindsight and it’s easy to mistake with plain old change. Because change can be lateral or regressive, it’s hard for me to separate what fits in my eyes and what doesn’t. Man, I hate me right now haha. 

Alright, alright, no more self-depreciation for a minute. I want to answer some of the other questions for the week and see if maybe that will help me come up with something to write about.  Title… I think the title has to happen organically, the same way that the idea did. I like the idea of a title that reflects growth in it, growth, or time. One can’t exist without the other. I’d love for the title to just come from somebody’s piece, a line that sticks out to all of us, that reflects the collective. I know that some people would probably be quick to want to go the Amazon/ebook route with this or something, and I’ll do it if that’s what the group wants, but I’d almost rather it just be its own website or something. Selfishly, I can’t help but feel that this wouldn’t be a “right fit.” for my first publication credit, but I’ll do it if that’s what the group wants. I’m only hard on myself when it comes to that sort of thing and can be persuaded to shift formats easily enough. 

I think that the jobs I’m probably the most equipped to handle are the authors/bio page and or the editorial statement for the anthology. I know that these are probably the jobs that everyone wants, but I’ve taken enough art classes to know I’m better at writing than I am at working with visual mediums. Based on this blog, I imagine a few of you annoyed, because I’d certainly be saying “He can’t even come up with an idea for a story for the concept birthed from his bullshit and he wants to be in control of the editorial statement.” (Birthed from my Bullshit will now be the name of my memoir). While I understand that sentiment, the wavering I display comes from the fact that I tend to walk a mental tightrope. I try to negotiate my way to a balance that I can accept and live with while always poised to fall. If there is one thing I’m certain of though, it’s that I can negotiate an editorial statement that adequately reflects us. 

With that, I know I need to write something on “growing through displacement.” By my definition, I am homeless. I have a roof, a room, an excellent roommate, and now my roommate’s ridiculous dog. But, I don’t belong here, or anywhere else, and I’ve spent years searching for what that missing piece is that would make me stay or make me fit. One of my best friends, Little Michelle, is much younger than me, but also much wiser. She found her home in a husband and 3 beautiful children, where they live doesn’t matter, that bond matters, and I don’t allow myself anywhere close to that. Even acknowledging that clown as my friend feels weird. She tells me I need to settle down, I tell her I hate the idea of doing anything with the word settle in it. She tells me she wants me to be here next summer for her son’s birthday. I tell her I’ll try.

And I want to run. I walk into a room looking for an exit door. Hell, I leave the room almost every class without ever climbing out of my seat. I turn escape artistry into an art form, it’s such a good magicians trick that I’m not even sure where I go. So, I think the piece I need to work on for this project is one where I decide to stay, a piece blurring the line between fiction and reality, another negotiated tightrope walk.


Hey classmates,

Below is a description of my contribution to our anthology booklet: 

For the final project theme, stages of growth mixed with the messy humanness of life, I decided to write a short vignette that captures a loving moment between a great grandfather figure, who happens to be a WW2 veteran, and his silly, tomboy-ish, great granddaughter. There are multiple hidden life lessons found within this short vignette, without being explicitly forward about them. You have to read between the lines, noticing the small details of movement, thinking patterns, and physical gestures that ultimately link the hidden similarities between these two different generations. Curiosity and kindness wins above all else. As you read you will notice multiple lessons or themes found between the lines. 

So far, the story embodies these life lessons: growing through two different stages of life, and grieving the younger version of yourself, especially for those with a youthful, open mindset. The story also emphasizes, from the great grandpa’s point of view, the willingness to learn from those younger than you and how the body ages but the mind doesn’t. The mind continues to grow, if you let it. I also might write and add some poems at the end of the vignette from different perspectives, elucidating feelings and making life connections from these two characters, but from the lens of both of them in a different stage of life. Perhaps, the great granddaughter, Brooklyn, is a mature woman, with her own children, reflecting back on the life lessons her great grandfather taught her well after his passing. And for Captain Great Gramps, his perspective poem can take place amidst war, facing something beyond cruel and inhumane, and how he was able to emotionally digest and deal with it at that very moment in time. The short vignette is also open to edits and revision. I’m still thinking about if anything else should be added or if I should leave it be. We will see where the creative process takes this piece ~~ sometimes, things are best left as is. 

I hope at our next class meeting, we can take the time to share and read one another’s contribution pieces, offer feedback and/or advice, and assign roles to each other on how to specifically move forward with this project, without assigning ourselves too much work as there literally is a week left in the semester. But, I am beyond excited to see our work comes together as one piece! Hehehehe 🙂


Francesca Di Fabio

Ty Guy's Space 2023-12-04 14:09:27

Hello everyone!

It seems like during our discussion, the most important points for the project were: Empower people to use their voice through writing, something to put on a CV, and something that adds value to the world.

My idea would be to do a board game. Since we have limited time, I think the rules would combine different board game rules to make a unique game. The game would include writing. It could have parts of Chutes and Ladders. For example, you land on a space that has a chute, you can choose to do a writing activity or fall down the chute which moves you back. The writing activity can be written on a set of cards that have different prompts and you pick a card randomly. The writing activity could be something like “write about a traumatic time in your life for 1 min”.

I think we could include many different writing prompts that focus on healing through writing, using different voices, social justice etc. The game could be kept in the Graduate Lounge for anyone to play.

The theme of the game could be that you are an alien who comes to Earth. The object of the game is to get to the end and you reach your spaceship and return home. During the game we learn about social justice issues, multiculturalism, and trauma through the lens of an alien experiencing human culture for the first time.

Ideas for Final Group Project

First and foremost, Id like to mention that I was never a fan of group work. Maybe it relates back to my desire to handle everything on my own, or my lack of trust in others. Personally, I’m not sure but what I am sure about is that ill most likely figure that out at the end of my thesis project. (all are welcomed to read it when it’s completed)

That being said I went back and reread the initial notes that the class did last time, and recorded everyone notes.(I took some liberties and summarized everyone’s ideas. Apologies if I did not capture your message)

What ideas are exciting to you
Me: Identity, Multiculturalism & Multilingualism, AI
Val: Voice, Healing, Multiculturalism & Multilingualism
Max: Voice, Identity, AI
Tyler: Healing, Pedagogy of the oppressed
Fran: Healing, Identity
John: Healing, Revision
Mike: Diversity, the Power of Writing, voice.
Rachel: Multiculturalism
Cindy: Trauma & Writing, Healing

What learning outcomes matter more to you
Me: Growth
Val: Trust
Max: New perspective and ideas
Tyler: Application
Fran: Finding voice in writing.
John: Application
Mike: The significance of the story.
Rachel: New perspectives
Cindy: awareness of trauma

How can you make this class project count in a way that is truly meaningful to you
Me: Creative freedom & application
Val: Participating/Teamwork
Max: Creating something I am proud of
Tyler: Application
Fran: Application to life and daily living habits
John: Personal growth, gaining insight
Mike: Expanding our horizons, growth
Rachel:  Adding value to the world
Cindy: Connecting trauma to pedagogy

As I’m writing this only Cindy, Rachel, Fran, and Mike have posted their blogs so I only have their ideas to build upon, so bare with me if it doesn’t have the range of everyone’s ideas in mind. That being said, the ideas I’ve read so far have been wonderful. I’m leaning towards Fran’s idea of writing short fiction pieces about struggles. Creating a short anthology about our struggles could: 1) be applicable to our professional futures. 2) relates to trauma AND healing 3) expands our insights and perspectives 4) has the potential to become an anthology magazine 5) has the potential to become a source of solace for readers. This anthology would have a limit of 1000-1500 words, could cover Fiction, Nonfiction and poetry and a variety of topics. Topics such as: trauma, healing, pedagogy, growth, voice, etc. It could also be open for submission by readers, but at that point it would be a full-fledged magazine. Though, I could see it being adopted by the English department.

However, I’m at an impasse between this and Mikes idea of creating a curriculum that works within the constraint of “standards set forth by the state of New Jersey” (O’hara). I think it is a very realistic idea to work within the systems we have installed currently. Though I do not relish the thought of working within the choking grasps of secondary education, its still a wonderful idea.

Regardless of what we choose, I’m eager to see everyone ideas.