For the Meaningful Writing Project survey, I responded that the most meaningful writing project that I had done in college was a self-directed poetry portfolio for my Poetry I class with Professor Carol-Ann Davis. At the time, this project was really eye opening for me, as I was forced to deal with the baggage of my first home in respect to my father and my now mixed-feelings that I have towards the place. I has to draft many poems, and create new ones, all based around a theme I chose, which is the island. I felt like I grew a lot doing this project, even though it was frustrating and confusing at times. It was hard to get a good handle on it.
During my semester in France, I took a class in creative nonfiction. Here, we wrote many essays in response to prompts, and one happened to be on my father and his family. My professor asked me to draft this essay multiple times, and eventually turn it in as my final. What started as just about my absent father transformed into a story about Block Island as well, as it seems like these are parts of my life that coincide and need to be told together. This project was much more healing to me. I realized that I really made way, not only in my writing but emotionally, because the genre of the work was clearer. I didn’t need to worry about the poetics of it; I could say what I wanted to.
Here’s a video of Block Island: