Intro into Elit .. and P!

Greeting fellow ELit scholars! My name is Patricia Dennis and I am a continuing graduate student within the Writing program. This is actually my last semester and I will be done with my MA (jumps up and down like a three year old)! With that being said, I am excited to take this electronic literature journey with you all! This blog (alongside my MA Thesis blog) is a bit better sweet, being that this is my last first blog of my MA studies. 

Quite honestly, I have done so many introductions throughout my course of the MA program that I kind of run out of stuff to say (sorry). The best way I can sum up a “good introduction” is from my Welcome Page on my site, so here you go:

Hi all, and welcome to my blog! 

So a little about me… My name is Patricia Dennis and I am a native of Newark, NJ. I am an aspiring artist, student, traveler, and educator. I use this blog to share my many experiences, thoughts, works of art, and education! 

All my life, my mind and voice has been my sense of power. Being able to express myself through many different forms has gotten me to where I am today. I continue to strive for my own potential of greatness and wish to share my journey with the world, in hopes that I can inspire generations to come.

As for my educational and professional background, I received my B.A. in English with a minor in Studio Art from the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, NJ. After graduating, I began to serve under AmeriCorps as a Reading Coach for 2nd Grade students where I am currently serving my second term. I am also currently pursuing my M.A. in English Writing Studies at Kean University in Union, NJ. As a graduate student at Kean, I work as a Graduate Assistant for The Kean University Writing Project directed by Dr. Maria Zamora.

Another fun fact! I am also a chess instructor for young beginning chess players!

Thank you and I hope you enjoy the journey just as much as I am!

If can not be the best, I will do my best

If I do my best, I will try my best

If I can not try my best, then the best is yet to come

Either way, the best is what I strive for!

Blog Post 1: Introductions

“Why am I at Kean?” An existential question if I ever saw one. But let’s talk rhetorical for now, because that is much more straight forward.

My background is in psychology, but in a BA way, no BS. I went into the field for a number of reasons:

 1) because it seemed the most ‘practical’ subject I could pursue that would satisfy the expectation that I get a degree that would translate practically into a job.

2) because I genuinely wanted to help people struggling with their mental health.

3) because I felt afraid to pursue my creative interests in a serious way, but psychology felt mysterious and creative enough to fill some of that need.

Unfortunately, after a semester in my program I realized being a mental health provider was not a good fit for me. I let things get to me too much, and I didn’t feel I would be able to manage the impact of other’s trauma on me in a sustainable enough way. Thankfully, my education still created a lot of opportunity for me to explore my creative side. In the end, I went through my undergrad experience as a psychology major in name but a writing and philosophy major in spirit.

Since graduating in 2014, I have worked in the ‘real’ world in higher education and, most recently, in mental health. In that time, I confirmed my undergrad concerns about my ability to manage the impact of secondary trauma on my mental health. But I also solidified that I have a desire to combine my passion for helping others with my creative pursuits and interest in the technical side of writing.

So that is why I am here. I love the combination of the creative and technical that the English-Writing Studies program offers, and I hope to refresh and strengthen my skills in writing so I can help others. My time in mental health instilled in me the value of community support from colleagues, so I also look forward to forming relationships and learning from others who are pursuing creative endeavors.

I felt the need to focus this introduction more on why I am here at Kean than on random facts about myself because I have written a little about myself already in the About section of this blog. If you would like to learn more, go check it out. 😊

Pleased to Meet You!

Hello everyone! I am excited to learn with all of you. This is a great, exciting field of literature I have wanted to dip into, as soon as Dr. Zamora spoke about it several months ago!

As far as introductions go, my name is Medea. I am a proud Italian-American and a big aficionada of the arts. I think that they help even people with mathematical or science backgrounds grow and flourish. That being said, my background is in neither of those areas, but in law.

I am a talker and a laugher. I am a Godmother to my sister and brother-in-law’s three children, which has been transformative for me. They will always be the most important people in my life.

Here are a few visual components that tell you a bit more about me:

This cup was given to me by Patricia in February 2020. She didn’t know this, but I have a T-shirt that has exactly the same thing printed on it! Italian espresso is one of my daily joys. Additionally, I am an extrovert and I need to express myself on multiple levels. I have also grown into my own voice. I appreciate my own unique perspectives. Of course, I am very open to others’ experiences and I will always ask questions to learn more.

Struggle, Tears and Triumph

This is one of my favorite plays ever (tied with “Hamilton” and “Fiddler on the Roof”). This playbook was one of the gifts that Nives sent me during the pandemic. I love plays/films where the underdog struggles and hustles to find his or her rightful place in society. As a daughter and granddaughter of immigrants, I feel that this is the story of my family. I will always appreciate grit and determination. I saw a great quote several months ago: “If someone says no, do it twice.” It really resonated with me.

All About that Moxie

Moxie is “force of character, determination, or nerve.” I firmly believe that you need this in order to deal with life. I paired these two portraits together for a reason. Sometimes, life can have a bitter taste, like limes. My solution, put it in a bowl and find the pretty somewhere or try your best to fix things. That’s where the second frame comes in. It is actually an advertisement for a really old soft drink (I’ve never had it by the way). If you don’t have nerve in this life, it may overwhelm you entirely. This is a lesson I have learned the “hardah way,” as my father says.

The above picture is new green growth coming up through concrete. It reminds me of a childhood favorite, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It also reminds me that no matter how hard circumstances are, we can persist and flourish. It may take time, help and immense hardship, but growth comes in the unlikeliest of circumstances.

Cheers to all of you!

Getting Started

I was so happy to welcome all of you to #elitclass last Wednesday evening and take a bit of time to acclimate to our new context of online learning. It was great to see and hear you from you, as we start to get to know each other a little bit. Here are the “Welcome to #Elitclass” slides that I used to guide us through the evening:

A review of some of the things we have accomplished so far:

-We have introduced ourselves in a collaborative and informal way.

-We have talked/walked through the course website and syllabus.

-I have presented an overview of where to find our primary readings: the Electronic Literature Collections (Volumes 1, 2, & 3).

This coming Wednesday evening, I will start our semester-long discussion of electronic literature by sharing an overview of some of the most recognizable genres of electronic literature.  This understanding of the general  #elit “categories” will serve as a foundational vocabulary for our overall exploration of electronic literature throughout the semester.  

-We will look at our Course Calendar together, and we will plan our presentation schedule a bit. And we will discuss the electronic literature review assignment that each of you will share as a presentation in class during the semester.

To do for next Monday when we meet again:

-Please create a free WordPress blog.  Each week, you will be writing a reflective blog post that captures your writing and learning process for the week.  Please send me the URL (web address) for your WordPress blog by filling this form out by Wednesday, Sept 9th.  I will feed your individual blog sites into our course website, so you will all be able to access and read everyone’s weekly blog post on the course website under the tab “Student Blogs”. In addition, please create a twitter account and get ready to tweet!  This account will be used professionally and you are welcome to use an avatar for the purposes of the course.  We will use the hashtag #elitclass to grow our connections and share glimpses into our individual writing processes. 

Looking forward to seeing you all next week,

Dr. Zamora

About: Hugo Gatica

Image (c) Hugo Gatica

Hello there, my name is Hugo Gatica. I’m an artist striving to find the best kind of voice I need to express myself. I’m a recent graduate from Rutgers University, with a concentration in photography/printmaking, and a minor in creative writing. My online portfolio (still a WIP, currently digging through my computer for my other works) can be found here: https://hgatica95.myportfolio.com/

I feel words aren’t enough to personify myself, I’ve always found myself looking at the arts and several forms of writing to find that voice of mine. I joined the Master’s program in Kean University to surround myself with other like-minded people who share an interest in the idea of writing and language as I am.