Marissa K. Landrigan

Marissa K. Landrigan, Writing for Digital Media, Fall 2017

Course Description:

Our goal will be to learn how digital tools & technologies are influencing writing, how they are creating genres and shaping modes of readership and participation. To explore what it means to read and write in the digital age.

Required Texts:

The Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media, ed. Marie-Laure Ryan, Lori Emerson, & Benjamin J. Robertson
Steal Like an Artist Journal by Austin Kleon

Marissa K. Landrigan, Creative Nonfiction Writing, Fall 2017

Course Description:

Creative nonfiction is a shape-shifter of a genre, an inherently hybrid form whose lofty goal is to weave truth with beauty. We will soon discover that creative nonfiction is a strange and wild beast, more like an amoeba than a cube, expanding and contracting, slipping out of your grasp. That's what makes the genre wonderful: it can hold almost anything you try to put inside.

Required Texts:

My Body is a Book of Rules by Elissa Washuta
How to Be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith

Marissa K. Landrigan, Introduction to Creative Writing, Fall 2017

Course Description:

This course offers students an introductory study of the written arts. Through the close reading of modern and contemporary texts and guided experimentation in a variety of genres (e.g. Poetry, fiction, drama, and creative nonfiction), students will examine, explore, and discuss the creative process.

What You’ll Need   

● What It Is by Lynda Barry 
● Lost Cat by Caroline Paul
● A composition notebook (I got you)
● Various arts + crafts + school supplies: crayons, colored pencils, drawing pens, coloring books,  glue sticks, tape, scissors, construction paper, yarn, post-­it notes, and whatever else you need to  feel crafty and creative like you did in elementary school.  

Marissa K. Landrigan, Narrative Nonfiction, Fall 2017

Course Description:

We are living in a time of great upheaval. Wherever we sit on the political spectrum, however safe and secure our daily lives seem to be, the ground shifts beneath our feet. We live in a country that is deeply divided, and yet, we occupy a global citizenship that is closer together and more connected than ever before. We are both very near and very far from each other.

I can’t think of a time when writers have been more important.

The beauty and power of narrative is that it can close the widest gaps, bridge the greatest distances. Stories bring us together across race, gender, geography, and politics, across age, landscape, and ideology. Words wield enormous power. That power can be manipulated and misused to produce fear, anger, and resentment, or it can be applied to the act of humanity itself. Our mission in this class will be to explore the connective power of stories, to use our voices to affect the change we wish to see in our world. To bring light to the shadows, to ask the hard questions, to call our readers to action.

In this course, we’ll examine nonfiction from times of conflict and crisis to help us write essays and critiques in which we witness, report, advocate, question, and desire change in our own era. To provide inspiration, we’ll read essays on the Standing Rock protests, gender identity, Black Lives Matter, and other issues. We'll read authors such as Ta-Nehesi Coates, Edwidge Danticat, Claudia Rankine, Anna Holmes, and Luis Alberto Urrea to study their use of formal tools such as narration, observation, analysis, reflection, and argument in exploring avenues of change in the world around them. What stories do we have a right to tell? What stories do we have an obligation to tell? How do writers bring a personal voice to writing a political essay? How do reporters balance opinion and research to show the need for change? We will discuss the role of the narrator and the ideology of objectivity. We will learn and practice the imaginative writing techniques of the novelist alongside the research strategies of any good journalist.

And hopefully, we’ll change the world.

What You'll Need:

- The Fire This Time ed. by Jesmyn Ward (FTT)
- The Devil’s Highway: A True Story by Luis Alberto Urrea
- A traditional composition notebook for your research journal.
- Cloud storage (if you save your work in only one place, you are courting disaster).
- Access to a reliable printer for other reading materials and your own work.
- Caffeine, paper, passion.

Syllabus: 

Marissa K. Landrigan, Writing for Digital Media, Spring 2017

Course Description:

Writing for Digital Media is designed to introduce you to the world of digital composition. But, of course, we already know that world intimately.

We’ve been emailing or IMing since we were tweens. Our blogs, Twitter or Instagram feeds, Facebook profiles, and reddit forums have been a part of our social lives for years, shaping and reflecting real-life identity to a digital world. Wikipedia and Google are our default research sources. Video games and smartphones are among our closest friends – or, at the very least, a primary form of interaction between friends. At any rate, the vast majority of the words or texts we encounter are digital. This is our world.

So we don’t so much need an introduction as we need a framework—a method for critically thinking about digital forms of composition. Thing is, composing has the potential to include so many other methods – beyond just words-on-page – of creating meaning for an audience. Putting musical notation on paper, for example, or arranging the elements of a photograph to achieve a certain effect are also acts of composition. And the digital world has added even more possible methods for composition. We need to learn how these digital tools and technologies are influencing writing, how they are creating new genres and new modes of readership and participation.

This course is designed to challenge you to push beyond what we understand composition and writing to be today. This will require you to experiment, to use technology in ways and for purposes that may be unfamiliar to you. It will require you to engage your creativity, to begin to think and act beyond the structures created by common practice or software. Above all, this course will require you to play—to be unafraid of imagining, trying, and even failing, in order to explore the new spaces that digital tools and technology have opened up for us as writers.

What You'll Need:

- A copy of The Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media, edited by Marie-Laure Ryan, Lori Emerson, and Benjamin J. Robertson. Either the print or ebook version is fine. (JHG)
- The Steal Like an Artist Journal by Austin Kleon. This needs to be the print version, and should not be purchased used. (Second-hand is fine, but the journal needs to be blank.) (SLAJ)
- A method of reading/viewing digital objects for homework. Sometimes this may mean viewing, playing, or listening to something in a file format that may or may not be compatible with your own machine, so please take the time to learn where the computer labs are and when they’re open. The particulars of your own machine can’t be an excuse for incomplete reading.
- Regular, reliable internet access and access to software to create your own digital work. All of our projects can be created using free, open-source software (and a list of these examples is provided on our website) but you are welcome to use any software you choose. If you feel most comfortable working with a certain platform, please do so.
- A method of storing/transporting your own digital works-in-progress (a USB flash drive, and/or cloud storage such as Dropbox, Box, or SugarSync). You’ll sometimes need to be able to access these in class, and sometimes on your own. Plan accordingly. And for the love of Anonymous, don’t store your stuff in only one place. Backup backup backup.
- A website for handing in all of your assignments online. Don’t worry – we’ll build one together if you don’t already have one.

Syllabus: 

Marissa K. Landrigan, Creative Nonfiction Writing, Spring 2017

Course Description:

Creative nonfiction is a shape-shifter of a genre, an inherently hybrid form whose lofty goal is to weave truth with beauty. Our focus in this class will be on one form of this genre, a wild and strange beast known as the essay -- the micro-essay, to be specific. You will soon discover that both creative nonfiction and the essay are nearly boundless forms, more like amoebas than cubes, expanding and contracting, slipping out of your grasp. That’s ok. That’s what makes the genre wonderful: it can hold almost anything you try to put inside.

The course will function partly as a seminar in creative nonfiction and partly as a workshop. This means we will read a lot, and we will write a lot. We will study craft intensely: shaping metaphor from literal scenes and settings and images; developing our subjective identities into compelling, honest writer-voices. We will ask difficult questions about the ethics of truth-telling in public, and the nature of fact and memory. But we will also plumb emotional depths, laughing and crying and struggling and surviving.

Our class discussions will spring from assigned readings on topics as wide-ranging as insomnia, chess, light pollution, and coal mining. We will doodle and wander in the classroom often. Every few weeks, you will bring in a micro-essay of your own and ask your peers to read the wriggling little thing and offer suggestions on its care and feeding. After extensive practice in giving and receiving such response, the semester will culminate in revision, expansion, and development of those micro-essays into a collection of full-grown essays (of varied lengths) capable of driving cars, paying bills, and moving out of their parents’ basements.

Think of yourself as the Cheshire cat, grinning and mysterious, approaching every subject with your own strange wonder, trying to figure out what it means to tell the truth, but tell it slant.

What You'll Need:

- How to Be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith (for journal fodder and essay ideas)
- Winter: Notes from Montana by Rick Bass
- Brief Encounters, ed. by Judith Kitchen and Dinah Lenney (BE on the calendar below)
- An additional essay collection of your choosing, from this list, ordered by Week 3.
- A traditional composition notebook for your journal.
- Cloud storage is always a good idea (if you save your work in only one place, you are courting disaster).
- Access to a reliable printer for other reading materials and your own work.
- Caffeine, paper, curiosity

Marissa K. Landrigan, Digital Storytelling, Fall 2016

Course Description:

An advanced creative and professional writing course on the nature and value of storytelling and the ways in which storytelling is changing in the digital era. Students compose narratives in a variety of multimedia formats, including digital images, audio and video recording, and hypermedia.

What You'll Need:

● The Pocket Scavenger by Keri Smith: ​We’ll talk more in the first week about why we’re using  such an analog resource (a ​paper activity book for real-­world scavenging?!) in a digital  storytelling class. I promise it’ll be really fun.  

● The Internet:​ Individual “readings” for this class will be assigned often, and will usually exist in  many multimedia formats. Being successful in this class is dependent on a reliable, fast internet  connection, and ability to access all course materials, despite the particulars of your own machine. 

● A computer:​ Though our class meets in a computer lab, you will need regular access to a  computer to work on web­-based activities and assignments outside of class time. There are  several computer labs on campus available for this purpose, if you don’t have your own machine.
 
● Online storage​: Since you will be working on your own and in-­class on digital projects, and  since all of your work in this class will be handed in electronically, you must find a reliable  method to store and backup your digital work. You may use USB drives, or an online storage  cloud such as SugarSync, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. If you keep your digital work on only one  hard drive (or only online), you are courting disaster, and computer mishaps of any kind will not  be an excuse for missing or late work. You will also need accounts on photo­-sharing, 
audio-­sharing, and video-­sharing sites (such as Flickr / Instagram, SoundCloud, and YouTube /  Vimeo). You can use existing accounts or create new ones specific to this class.  

● Multimedia technologies:​ We will work with a variety of web-­based platforms for the  construction and composition of your digital stories.  

○ Specifically, you will need access to a digital camera, image-­editing software, a sound  recorder, a sound editor, a digital video recorder, and a video editor. If you have a  smartphone or tablet, you have (or can get for free) apps that do all those things. If you  have a computer, you’ve got them all, though they may not be as portable as you’d like. 
○ The campus computer labs, including the one we meet in, all have the full Adobe  Creative Suite, which includes software that can do all of the above. 
○ The Humanities Division MMDC program also has technology available for checking out  (most helpfully, a variety of Apple and Android tablets), for class purposes and 24-­hour  periods only. 

Syllabus: 

Marissa K. Landrigan, Creative Nonfiction Writing, Fall 2016

Course Description:

Creative nonfiction is a shape­shifter of a genre, an inherently hybrid form whose lofty goal is to  weave truth with beauty. Our focus in this class will be on one form of this genre, a wild and  strange beast known as the essay ­­ the micro­essay, to be specific. You will soon discover that  both creative nonfiction and the essay are nearly boundless forms, more like amoebas than cubes,  expanding and contracting, slipping out of your grasp. That’s ok. That’s what makes the genre  wonderful: it can hold almost anything you try to put inside.    

The course will function partly as a seminar in creative nonfiction and partly as a workshop. This  means we will read a lot, and we will write a lot. We will study craft intensely: shaping metaphor  from literal scenes and settings and images; developing our subjective identities into compelling,  honest writer­voices. We will ask difficult questions about the ethics of truth­telling in public,  and the nature of truth and memory. But we will also plumb emotional depths, laughing and  crying and hurting and surviving.   

Our class discussions will spring from assigned readings on topics as wide­ranging as Easter,  tinnitus, parenthood, and coal mining. We will doodle and wander in the classroom often. Every  few weeks, you will bring in a micro­essay of your own and ask your peers to read the wriggling  little thing and offer suggestions on its care and feeding. After extensive practice in giving and  receiving such response, the semester will culminate in revision, expansion, and development of  those micro­essays into a collection of full­grown essays (of varied lengths) capable of driving  cars, paying bills, and moving out of their parents’ basements.   

Think of yourself as the Cheshire cat, grinning and mysterious, approaching every subject with  your own strange wonder, trying to figure out what it means to tell the truth, but tell it slant. 

What You’ll Need:    

● How to Be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith (for journal fodder and essay ideas) 
● Winter: Notes from Montana by Rick Bass  
● Brief Encounters, ed. by Judith Kitchen and Dinah Lenney (BE on the calendar below) 
● An additional essay collection of your choosing, ​from this list​​, chosen and ordered by  Week 3. You will give a brief presentation on this author and their work to the class near  the end of the semester, and your final portfolio will include a 3­5 page critical response  focused on this book. 
● A traditional composition notebook for your journal. 
● Cloud storage is always a good idea (if you save your work in only one place, you are  courting disaster). 
● Access to a reliable printer for other reading materials and your own work.  
● Caffeine, paper, curiosity 

Marissa K. Landrigan, Introduction to Creative Writing, Fall 2016

Course Description:

This course offers students an introductory study of the written arts. Through the close reading of modern and contemporary texts and guided experimentation in a variety of genres (e.g. Poetry, fiction, drama, and creative nonfiction), students will examine, explore, and discuss the creative process.

What You’ll Need   

● Syllabus by Lynda Barry (LBS) 
● The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2013, ed. Dave Eggers (BANR) 
● Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosch (H.5) 
● A composition notebook waiting to be filled 
● Various arts + crafts + school supplies: crayons, colored pencils, drawing pens, coloring books,  glue sticks, tape, scissors, construction paper, yarn, post-­it notes, and whatever else you need to  feel crafty and creative like you did in elementary school.  

Marissa K. Landrigan, Introduction to Creative Writing, Summer 2016

Course Description

This course offers students an introductory study of the written arts. Through the close reading of modern and contemporary texts and guided experimentation in a variety of genres (e.g., poetry, fiction, drama, and creative nonfiction), students will examine, explore, and discuss the creative process. Class may be taken by freshman English writing majors. Prerequisite: ENGCMP 0004 or 0006.

Required Texts:

-Syllabus by Lynda Barry (LBS)
-The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2013, ed. Dave Eggers (BANR)
-Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosch (H.5)

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