What happens when we COMBINE genres into ONE PROJECT?
It becomes its VERY OWN GENRE! So cool!
This chapter shows off one multi-genre project. There are so many possibilities to these sorts of projects; a multi-genre project could be personal or it could be about a research topic.
Sybil’s Definition: This genre uses many genres to display research or to answer a question or to do just about anything; you could create the genres or find them. These genres can range from visual to technical: images, posters, reports, memos, email messages, Facebook posts, “To Do” Lists, notes, book snippets, articles, horoscopes, conversations, receipts, letters, ... basically anything that has text in it or communicates something to someone.
This example answers the question “Who am I?” with multiple genres.
I am a Teacher; I am a Creative Person.
To the People Who Care to Read this,
Maybe I should start with this: I have always liked school. I have always liked learning, sitting and taking in whatever knowledge my teachers could plop into my head, and I have loved creating. I live in my head - letting my thoughts grow into creative, crazy ideas. And as Steve Ward, one of my undergraduate professors, said: “It is in the process of creating where we learn the most. Not in the product.”
my whole being is a dark chant
which will carry you
to the dawn of eternal growths and blossomings
in this chant i sighed you sighed
in the chant
i grafted you to the tree to the water to the fire.
My process, as he mentioned, began as a junior in high school. That is where my need, my desire, to compose started really. I had a small book I’d been writing, and maybe there is a distinct moment in English class where “it all started.”
10 Nov 93
Trudy is telling me about her boyfriend AGAIN (sheesh) and sex… blahblahblah who knows. I’m trying to pay attention as geeky as that f##king is. Morris just said something about Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson and transcendentalism. I am super curious. Who are these guys anyhow? What is this all about?
I would sit hunched over in class and highlight their words.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Oddly, at that time, I put my passion with words on the back burner. That same year, I took drafting technology classes at NDSCS and fell in love with the designs of floor plans. I urged my parents to allow me to go to North Dakota State University, but not because I wanted to be a writer - because I thought I wanted to be an architect. I thought I wanted to design houses, not sentences or lessons. I wanted to mimic my dad, with his career in construction.
life is perhaps
a long street through which a woman holding a basket
life is perhaps
a rope with which a man hangs himself from a branch
Then, during my freshmen year of college, depression hit once again just like it had my freshman year of high school. Suddenly, I questioned everything. I went on a bagel-a-day diet. I napped with a growling stomach and skipped classes.
But, slowly, I met people, fell for boy, and tried with all my might to reach out of a hole that I had jumped into.
life is perhaps a child returning from school.
life is perhaps lighting up a cigarette
in the narcotic repose between two love-makings
or the absent gaze of a passerby
who takes off his hat to another passerby
with meaningless smile and a good morning.
"They" say if you want to see change in yourself, fall in love. Love is insane that way, I guess. So, in Mason, I found parts of myself that I seemed to have lost after high school. My goofiness and my femininity.
Unfortunately, he gave me a false sense of security. I started to depend on him. My studies started to lack, and even though I changed my major to English Education, I still felt unsure about my future. My mother couldn't understand why I wanted to be a teacher rather than an architect, and Mason looked at my writings and wondered why I didn't sound more mature. The only people, at that time, that seemed to have faith in me and my abilities were me, my siblings, and my father.
life is perhaps that enclosed moment
when my gaze destroys itself in the pupil of your eyes.
and it is in the feeling
which i will put into the Moons impression
and the Nights perception
in a room as big as loneliness
which is as big as love
looks at the simple pretexts of it happiness
at the beautiful decay of flowers in the vase
at the sapling you planted in our garden
and the songs of canaries
which sing to the size of the window.
this is my lot
Teaching was and is still my religion (“something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience”). I told this to the people in Battle Lake, MN as they interviewed me a day in May of 1999, weeks after graduation. All I know is that they liked me enough to hire me on the spot.
my lot is
a sky which is taken away at the drop of a curtain
my lot is going down a flight of disused stairs
to regain something amid putrefaction and nostalgia
my lot is sad promenade in the garden of memories
and dying in the grief of a voice which tells me
I really, truly started to find myself in Battle Lake. Mason had ditched me, yet I found myself alone in a new world - in a relatively new job, with new students, and a new found freedom. Lots of soul-searching occurred that summer before I began teaching. Slowly, he left my mind, and peace entered. But being alone has always been easy for me. I could do the Walden thing.
“Many go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”
– Henry David Thoreau
I could live alone on a lake without much contact with people and be OKAY. So, in my happy solitude, I threw my passions and energy into my teaching, into getting to know my students.
your hands. i will plant my hands in the garden
i will grow i know i know i know
and swallows will lay eggs
in the hollows of my ink-stained hands.
I struggled. I went home at 4:30 most afternoons and would sleep until the next morning. My efforts seemed to be defeating me. And besides all that, my social life was lacking. The school wanted X; the students needed Y. My life yearned for Z. I kept trying to keep me above water.
i shall wear
a pair of twin cherries as earrings
and i shall put dahlia petals on my fingernails
But I couldn't keep up the facade for long. I had to defend myself to many people yet wanted to teach with my liberal ways. Well, life doesn't work out that way – a person doesn’t always get her way. Suddenly, in March, I got the letter from the superintendent asking me to meet with him and the principal. Female intuition kicked in. I was about to get canned.
In pure shock, I sat there as he told me that I, Sybil Priebe, someone who ALWAYS reached her goals, always had done everything RIGHT in her whole life, had, in fact, not added up to "district standards" as a teacher.
But I knew who I was, and I was not about to be defeated. So that same day, after writing an email to all my family and friends, I took out the Graduate School application that I had hidden in my desk. I filled out the missing parts, found some sample writings in my file cabinet, and used the postage from the school that was about to screw me over to mail it up to North Dakota State University. I would return to the campus that challenged me in the first place.
there is an alley
where the boys who were in love with me
still loiter with the same unkempt hair
thin necks and bony legs
and think of the innocent smiles of a girl
who was blown away by the wind one night.
there is an alley
which my heart stolen
from the streets of my childhood.
the journey of a form along the line of time
inseminating the line of time with the form
a form conscious of an image
coming back from a feast in a mirror.
In graduate school, I found my path, my lot. I wanted to teach college freshmen – fresh meat – fresh minds. Others thought I should go on to get my Ph.D., but I knew that wasn’t what was next. I also didn’t think returning to my hometown was next for me, but it worked. And it worked well.
I am lucky enough to know that teaching and writing is where I want to be. I foresee many more struggles, but I am willing to not let them get me down. I will not let people make me question who I am. I know. And only I know.
and it is in this way
that someone dies
and someone lives on.
no fisherman shall ever find a pearl in a small brook
which empties into a pool.
i know a sad little fairy
who lives in an ocean
and ever so softly plays her heart into a magic flute
a sad little fairy
who dies with one kiss each night
and is reborn with one kiss each dawn.
Genres used: Letter, Poem, Journal Entry, Quotes, and a Definition
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Emerson: Quotes.” Transcendentalists.com. Accessed 11 Apr
Farrokhazad, Forugh. “Another Birth.” Poem. ForughFarrokhazad.org. Last updated 30
March 07. Accessed 11 Apr 07.
Priebe, Sybil. Journal Entry. 23 March 94.
“Religion.” Dictionary.com. 13 Nov 07. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion.
Thoreau, Henry David. “Thoreau: Quotes.” Transcendentalists.com. Accessed 11 Apr
Ward, Steve. Lecture. World Literature Class. North Dakota State University, Fargo,
ND. 10 Dec 97.