“The Name Game” -Final Project

The Name Game
“Little Simonetti” is what they called me. I was always the little sister or Katie S. so no one confused me with Katie C. Then I was Kaytren… but only to some. To my mom, dad, older brother, Grandpa, Grandma, childhood friends – you name it, I will be Katie forever. That shy little girl from Mt. Olive had a bob haircut up to my chin with bangs, yeah it was a nineties thing. Yep, that was me. Always bashful but it didn’t stop me from trying new things even if they didn’t last long. Then Kaytren became Kay, and Kay became Kaytch, and of course other people still called me Katie. The transition of my name, like my life, was not always smooth.
In those years I grew up going to the Jersey shore. My first beach trip was when I was six weeks old. I made my debut on the scenic shores of Ocean City, NJ. At the tender age of three my dad towed me around on the boogie board, which, soon led to body surfing, boogie boarding and eventually surfing in Hawaii. A complication arose when I first spotted fish swimming around me in Bermuda. It took major convincing to get me back in the water I loved so much. Typical stubborn me. My dad was always up for an adventure so when I was four we hit the ski slopes. With his instruction I quickly dominated the bunny slope and made my first trip up in the chair lift. I don’t know who was more excited my dad or me. Little did he know this would be one of the only sports I stuck too… well kind of, since I switched to snowboarding in high school.
At the age of five, I played co-ed soccer, quit six weeks later because a boy hit me on the butt with a soccer ball. Yeah, I’m stubborn or maybe soccer really just wasn’t for me. My friend’s mom signed me up for dance that same year. I liked dance, it was a place were being quiet benefitted me because I focused on what was being taught and picked up it much more quickly than the girls who spent the hour talking and fooling around. My liking for dance did not last very long either. After recital I was certain that I did not want to return the next year, but my Grandma went on and on about how beautiful I looked in my costume and on stage. I would love to thank my Grandma now for convincing my five-year-old self to stick to dance; it was the best thing she ever said to me.
So dance it was, for now, but don’t worry my dad wasn’t going to give up on me being athletic even though I was the ultimate girly girl dressed in frilly dresses, ruffled socks, polished nails and bows in my hair. Basketball was next on his agenda and of course he was my assistant coach. I was doing much better at basketball then soccer at least for the first few weeks. I was in third grade at this point and the sport was surprisingly still co-ed… not a good thing for me. Those smelly boys were too competitive for me. But you know how it ends, I got tired of my dad constantly correcting me and soon basketball was a kick in the butt just like soccer. So once again, maybe I’m stubborn or maybe basketball just wasn’t my thing…
On to tennis, I’ll be brief about that… FAIL. Back to dance, I think I finally found my calling at the age of eight; coincidentally in an area that my dad did not have expertise in. I found my passion and was soon invited to join the Shooting Stars Competition Dance Team and the dance journey began in earnest. There were of course a few bumps in the road, mainly costume malfunctions when I was at my most awkward and lankiest stage. Imagine dancing in front of an audience when your parachute pants come untied and fall down to your ankles during a hip-hop performance to “It’s Tricky” by Run DMC. It was a fitting song since it was tricky to dance while trying to hold my pants up. Unfortunately for me my dance teacher did not see the humor in it like the audience did. There was also an incident with an uncooperative top that popped open causing me to once again flash the audience. There was a shoe that flew off and hair disasters including a wig falling half off hanging across my face blinding me. Along with the disastrous moments was a lot of fun and hard work that has served me well to this day.
So now a days, if somebody calls Katie, Kaytren, Kay, Kaytch, or anything close to Kaytren (because we all know that’s easily mispronounced) my head will whip around and my older and not so shy self will respond. But if you dare call me Kate… Just remember I’m stubborn.
Now a days my stubbornness is attribute that has helped me excel in dance, my life’s passion. Thanks dad for bringing it out in me, and thanks mom for telling him it was ok to focus just on dance.


Literary Review: Stephanie Strickland and Alexandra Chasin

I was unable to attend any literary readings outside of class due to other obligations. However, Last Monday, November 25, 2013 our class at Rutgers University had a guest visit by critic and fiction writer, Alexandra Chasin and digital poet, Stephanie Strickland whom discussed the cutting edge of electronic literature. The event took place in the Plangere writing Annex. The reading was very intimate with approximately twenty audience members in attendance. I was able to sit quite closely to Srickland and Chasin, which I do not believe I would have been able to do with the other readings on campus. Michal Leong, our creative writing teacher introduced both of the writers. He spoke of the writer’s accomplishments, both being a well-established writer.

Stephanie Strickland presented her work first. She read her poetry with deep meaning. I could tell how much each word meant to her, she was very passionate. A few of the works she discussed were Dragon Logic and Slipping Glympse, and others. Strickland belongs to the electronic literature corporation. She explained how writing does not happen in books, so why is it less acceptable for writing to be electronic versus in a book? “Globalization allows us to show more about language”, she said. When working electronically she works closely with the whole production. She does not just work on the written sections but helps to layout the visual component as well. This makes for a more cohesive piece of electronic literature because she is not just cutting and pasting her work together with somebody else’s visual component.  She is fully collaborating with whomever is helping her create the visual component she wants. She mentioned in the Q&A if you are unable to do something using technology, find somebody who can. In other words, do not limit yourselfbecause there is nothing wrong with collaborating with somebody else. I found this to be extremely helpful because for my final product I planned on collaborating with my brother. It makes sense to me especially coming from her, why not use somebody else’s strengths to strengthen your own writing. My favorite piece of work by Strictland was Slipping Glympse. It was simply beautiful, I love the way she used the ocean as her animation but it moved in a way that exemplify the motion of her text. The ocean as we all know is not constant, and it does not flow exactly the same each time. But what I thought was interesting was the Strictland described that she found the images she used by how fast the color stream changed. Which, is another reason why Slipping Glympse was so pleasing to the eye, it was so colorful. Since it is a little difficult to read her poem in its entirally with the animation, she gave the reader a few ways to view the text, which I appreciated because I did struggle to read it in motion. The text personally reflected how outside influences push you in new directions in which a person would get a different outcome out of. I think most people can relate to this.

                  I would explain Alexandra Chasin as being high- spirited, she brought so much energy into the room. Chasin like Strickland was also very passionate when she spoke about her work.  Chasin read segments of her monologue titled Brief. She read her work with an abundance of confidence; I could tell she has read it aloud many times because she projected the emotions of the character onto the audience. My favorite piece from Chasin was titled Writing On It All. This took place on Governor’s Island, New York in an old military base. In the time period of 1961 the house held many political and social meanings. The house was a very interactive space. By bringing in several authors of different cultures/backgrounds to produce their work on the walls of the house was very creative. It was almost like the walls of the house became framed artwork. It created a site-specific site that dramatized writing. The house was filled with writing and each, writing on the wall looked different from the next, it allowed for a very unique experience. The house was very colorful and filled with artwork that exemplified the text more. This was Chasin own way of playing with the relationship of text and image. She spoke of in a previous work of hers how the relationship of text and image should be thought about in terms of books. However, images can be super-imposed, a collage of image,and even fragmented images. Chasin did not think in terms of technology when writing but she did use technical effects when relating images and text. She thought of the existence of technology similar to the thoughts about gay marriage, what’s the big deal! Both are going to happen regardless of your thoughts and what is so bad about it anyways? However, Strictland and Chasin did not agree on very much during the Q&A after both of their readings. It was nice though because it gave the audience the ability to see both sides of each argument because both arguments were valid. I really enjoyed the readings by both women. Both really inspired me while I am trying to finish my final project for this class!ImageImage

“Poidog” by Dan Waber

creative writing picI chose the first poem titled “Poidog” that I read, it made me think and focus closely while reading. I found the poem to be very creative and Dan Waber found a new way to present his work. The simple poem read:

“Words are like strings that pull out of my mouth” .

His poem had movement, it starts with a squiggle that represents the string and then one by one each word would appear and disappear quickly. The pace was almost too fast, that it made me have to watch a few times through to read the poem thoroughly. However, he fully captivated my attention so I feel he was successful. Dan Waber describes this as the Flash Project; now you see it, now you don’t. I feel like he uses the graphics, as a tease to the reader’s eye and it is a very interesting approach.

I wonder why he titled his poem “Poidog”. After looking up the word poi, I came to the conclusion (I could be wrong) that poi is a performance art. Poi performance art involves a lot of swinging of weights forming a lot of shapes and rhythms. I believe that Dan Waber did just that through the words on the screen and how each word was connected. I then wondered why he used the word dog in his title as well. I think of a dog as always being a loyal pet. An animal that loves you unconditionally no matter what you say or how you act. After reading his poem several times in a row it made me think that we should always think before we speak. We cannot redo life, therefore everything a person says can come back to them at some point in their life. Our life experiences are all linked together like a string and we carry each experience with us forever. Words should be chosen carefully and therefore should be pulled out of everyone’s mouths because nothing should be said without thought being put in it first.