by Julianna Holshue
Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to write, but never had the focus for a novel. I could write poetry, short stories, jokes, and rhymes, but my heart was never set on in-depth world-building, drawn out character development, or well-planned plot arcs. No, my mind thrives better when I create the transient, even the changeable, as I am prone to distraction and grow restless from dealing with the same pieces of a story for too long. This same approach applies to my illustrations, which I have recently taken up. I sketch what I write about, which includes anthropomorphized creatures, ill-proportioned characters, untamed fauna, and bubble lettered dialogue. My illustration style lends itself more to the pages of a choose-your-own-adventure book rather than the deliberate order of the adorned walls of an art gallery, which works for me, since I do not plan on making a living as a novelist or classically trained artist.
I have always wondered what would happen if I combined my impromptu writings and drawings, or what genre or medium this amalgamation of creations from a dreamy, largely unorganized mind would fit into. I found my answer when I was introduced to the zine and its scatterbrained community of zinesters in a class called Self-Publishing taught by Dr. Jason Luther. I felt I belonged in this community as someone who indulges in the unexpected, random, and fluid process of creation. Zinesters, like me, are scatterbrains, and perhaps to your surprise, this method of creative functioning works to our advantage because of how experimental and open the zine medium is.
by Aleksandr Chebotarev
by Connor Buckmaster
For decades now, the study and practice of writing has been on a revolutionary roller coaster. Leaps in pedagogy surrounding college composition classes, translanguaging, and collaborative learning have changed the way college students today learn and produce writing. At the same time, the (dated) values of Standard American English, the five paragraph essay, and the thesis statement are still upheld in many pockets of American public schools. We wonder why Americans struggle to write, and there seems to be a host of answers: an inability to construct sentences, a fundamentally bad approach in teaching how to read, and a school culture which rewards surface learning and quick responses, viewing texts as inert information rather than an argument. The more and more we look, America seems to be in a literacy crisis.
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