Arts in the Gap: Playwriting

arts in the gapMy summer at LMU so far has been full of new opportunities. I have now settled into my summer job as an Arts in the Gap intern and have been working hard these past few weeks. I have had a busy summer so far, but I have enjoyed every single moment of it. I have been busy with cleaning, check-ins, art gallery shifts, and AitG workshops. I have had my hands full, but I have learned so much from all of our workshop instructors and participants. One of my favorite workshops was the play writing workshop hosted by Lisa Soland. In this workshop, I wrote plays and even performed in a few. Playwriting was a new experience for me, and I am so glad I had the chance to take this class. In today’s post, I will share everything I learned during Lisa Soland’s Plawright Intensive!


I liked Lisa Soland’s playwriting workshop because I enjoy writing dialogue. In short stories, you usually have to build up to the dialogue, and I find that can be overwhelming at times. When I am writing, I usually write the dialogue first and then write the rest of the story around it. There is probably a better way to do it, but that’s what I do! I love writing short Playwritingstories, but I enjoy writing plays because I can focus on character interaction. When you write a play, the dialogue is the main focus. I like that because I can focus on that interaction and focus the situation on what the characters are saying. However, it is not always best to rely on dialogue alone. Stage directions are also a vital part of the play because they instruct how the dialogue should be delivered. I discovered that simple stage directions, such as directing the actor to smile, can impact the play and the audience and can help better express the author’s meaning. It is the small yet noticeable details that captures the audience’s attention and gets the writers ideas across. This workshop was a new experience for me. I am used to writing poetry and short stories, but I have now found a new interest in playwriting!

Improvising and Acting.

During the playwriting workshop, we spent a lot of time reading and performing each other’s plays. This helped the writers because they had a chance to see their plays performed. This also gave us the actingchance to try out acting. I had never tried to act before, but I found that I enjoyed it. I do not think I am going to be in any movies anytime soon, but I still had fun. I enjoyed improvisation the most because it gave me the chance to do what came most naturally to me while expressing myself creatively. This also helped the writers come up with realistic dialogue. Improvisation helped me to see how others reacted to my scripts and what they would say in certain situations. I got some great ideas from watching my classmates improvise! It was also fun to watch, especially since the actors were hilarious!

Lisa Soland was a great teacher, and I learned so much from her during the playwriting workshop. She is a terrific actor and a wonderful person. I am glad that I have had the chance to learn from her, and I am glad to know her because she is a very sweet person. Playwriting had never crossed my mind before I took her workshop, but now I think I might give it a go and write a play! I certainly enjoy playwriting enough to at least try to write a ten minute play. This summer has been full of so many new experiences, and so far, playwriting has been one of my favorites. I have had a lot of fun and am glad that I have had the chance to learn so much. I am not done yet though! My AitG internship is far from over, and I still have a lot to do. I still have a ton of workshops left, and I can’t wait to tell my readers all about them.

Do you have any experience with playwriting or acting? I only have five days of experience, but if there is anyone who would like to share their own expertise in this field, I would love to hear from you. Just leave me a comment, and I will get back to you as soon as I can! Thank you for reading my blog. Remember to like this post and make sure to check back every other Wednesday for a new one!

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Arts in the Gap: Paper Piecing

I am now officially back at LMU as an Arts in the Gap (AitG) intern. I have not been back on campus for too long, but I have had a great time the few days I have been here. The first week, all the interns moved in and got everything in order for the first workshop, the paper piecing workshop. Our guest artist, Marie Isles, exhibited her paper piecing art in Cumberland Gap at the Lincoln Memorial University Center for the Arts and hosted two paper piecing workshops. I had a wonderful time at her workshop and the art exhibit. Marie Isles is a talented artist, and it is reflected in her work, which I will share with you today. I am so glad to be back here at LMU! For the short time I have been back, I have learned a new craft and have viewed some wonderful art. In this post, I will share my experience during my first week as an AitG intern and what I learned in Marie Isles’s paper piecing workshop.


Marie Isles had some beautiful pieces in her exhibit, and she even framed each piece herself. Her art is the product of her own passion and many hours of hard work. The process is very tedious, and after I attempted to make a few, I have a deep, new founded appreciation for her art. Below is a picture of my favorite piece.

Paper Piecing

My favorite piece by Marie Isles

I was particularly drawn to the colors of this piece. I think the orange and red contrasts with the browns and green in a very beautiful way. I am not an art critic by any means, but I think this is a great piece. Her work is so unique in the way she brings different pattern together to create a picture. This piece in particular has an earthy and fiery feel to it which I really like. Isles, of course, had several other great pieces that could fill several art galleries, and I am glad I had a chance to not only see her art but to also learn how she makes them.


My first piece

My first piece

Marie Isles taught the AitG interns how to paper piece as well. I made two pieces, and it took me a day to finish each piece. I am not really good at sewing, even with a machine! I had to redo the stitching several times before it was somewhat even. We were provided with a pattern block which made the process a little easier. A pattern block is a piece of paper with the design on it so you can stitch on the lines provided. Though the pattern block did make it easier, it still required a whole lot of effort. It took me two days just to complete two single pieces. The interns decided to combine our efforts to make an entire quilt, and I think they turned out wonderful. It took us two days to complete our quilts, but the finished product was worth it! I am proud of myself and of my fellow interns!

My second piece

My second piece

I enjoyed my first week as an AitG intern. I was surprised at how much I learned in my first workshop, and I am glad to have had a chance to participate. The pieces the interns made are beautiful, and I am proud of how hard we all worked to make them. These first few days have been insightful to say the least. I not only had the chance to look at some beautiful art, but I also had a chance to learn a new craft. Marie Isles

was very patient with all her students and proved to be a great instructor. I doubt I will ever be as great as an artist

The Interns' combined efforts

The interns’ combined efforts

as Isles is, but I now have the resources to at least try to make a complete quilt! Overall, my first week working with Arts in the Gap was fun and informative. Everyone involved made it a great experience, and I am excited for everything that will follow. I will make sure to keep all of my readers posted on everything that happens over the entirety of my summer!

Do you have any experiences paper piecing? I have had only one lesson, so if you have any experience with this I would love to hear about it! Thank you for reading my blog. Make sure you hit the like button and check back every other Wednesday for a new post!

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Summer 2015!

This summer will be my last summer before I graduate from LMU! I am so excited that I am graduating from college. I have worked hard these past four and a half years, and I am glad to know that I will finally have a degree that will show just how hard I have worked. I am especially excited for this summer. I have a lot planned, and I have not been this excited to be on summer break since I was in grade school. This is my last summer as a college student, and I intend to make the most of it. Continue reading

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Summer Before Graduation: GRE Preparation

It is summer and I am glad to be out of school. I am looking forward to relaxing and getting to my summer reading list that seems to grow every day, but I also have to start preparing for the GRE. Next semester is my last semester of my undergraduate courses at LMU, and I need a good GRE score to get into grad school. This summer I will definitely be lying on the GREbeach and working on my tan while reading Lee Smith’s Cake Walk, but I will also have to spend a lot of my summer studying. I am nervous about taking the GRE because I do not test well, especially on longer tests. I am going to borrow study materials from a friend who has already taken the test, and I know that there are online practice resources out there, but I cannot help but think that I feel a bit unprepared for this test. To help ebb my rising anxiety, I will use this post to give myself, and hopefully my readers, direction in studying for the GRE. Continue reading

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Finding Motivation During Finals Week

It is everyone’s least favorite part of the school year. Finals week is here whether we are ready for it or not. I am burnt out, overwhelmed, and just done with school. It always seems that I have way more to do the last two weeks of school than I have any other time during the semester. If I am not studying for a test, I am writing a paper. If I am not writing a paper, I am working on a project. I feel

Sounds like finals week!

Sounds like finals week!

like I cram an entire month into two weeks! Some people take finals week in stride. I am not one of those people. I am the type of person who manages to survive finals week, but I am extremely stressed the whole time. So if you are already ready for finals week, all the power to you! If you are more like me, you might want to continue to read because in today’s post, I will share a few things I do to keep myself motivated during finals week.



Basic finals week to do list

I am not one of those super organized people who keep a planner and have every second of their life plan. My life would probably be a lot easier if I did that, but that is just not who I am. However, I have so much to do during the last two weeks of school that I will forget to do some things if I do not write them down. For the last bit of the semester, I type out a list of everything I have to do and print it off. I hang it up on my door and cross things off as I do them. It is not a very structured list; I just list things in order of importance. It is not much, but it helps me from forgetting some important dates and from feeling overwhelmed.

Study Parties

My friends and I plan study parties throughout the last week or so of school. We get together in the library or one of our apartments, get some food, put on some music, and study together. We do not talk much because we all have different work, but it is still reassuring to be near one another while we study. There are times I need to study alone, but sometimes I

Watch out! We can get a little crazy ;)

Watch out! We can get a little crazy ;)

tend to freak out if I feel over stressed. Believe it or not, I tend to get over stressed during finals. When this happens it is especially good to have someone there to encourage. It is also much more fun to study with your friends than it is to study alone.


When I have been studying for several hours, I just have to take a break or I will completely lose my mind. I will do laundry, go for a walk, watch some TV, or even take a nap. As long as I can take a small break every few hours, I am able to study more and retain twice as much. Sitting over a book for hours on end gives me a headache and stresses me

I think it might be time for a break.

I think it might be time for a break.

out to the point that I fret over what I have to do more than I actually it. But if I am not careful I will get caught up in what I am doing and not study anymore. I have started setting alarms so that I know when my breaks are over.

Don’t Give Up

I know that most of you are as tired and as burnt out as I am. Sometimes I see my books piled up on my desk and just want to crawl under my covers and hide from my homework. The last few weeks are the hardest, but if we just do this last  bit of work it will be over

This seemed appropriate.

This seemed appropriate.

until next semester. Then we can go to the beach and hide out for the summer! We have worked hard all semester so it would not make sense to quit now. Don’t give up! It will be worth it in the end.

Do you have any advice for finals weeks? If you do leave me a comment! I would like to wish all my readers the best of luck on their finals and a fantastic summer vacation! Thank you for reading my blog! Like my post and make sure you check back every other Wednesday for a new one!

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Steps to Becoming an English Major: Stepping Towards Success

Today’s post ends my English major series. I have had a great time sharing all I have learned in the past four years. I can speak from experience that the English program helps shape each student for success during their academic career. I am a different person now than I was when I first came to LMU in 2011. In my final post, I would like to share how the English program has helped me step outside my comfort zone and become a more confident student.

Freshman Year

I didn’t take many English classes my freshman year as I do now. The majority of freshman classes consist of general education classes, but I

Freshman Year! I'm in there somewhere.

Freshman Year! I’m in there somewhere.

learned a lot from the English courses I took. These classes encouraged me to engage more in discussions and helped me become more outspoken. When I first came to LMU, I was very shy and was reluctant to share my ideas or anything I wrote. A few weeks into my first literature course, I spoke up more. The advice I give freshmen is not to be nervous to share their opinions or their work. Sharing in college is a lot different than it is in high school. Here you are surrounded by people who have the same interests you do and actually care about what you have to say.

Sophomore Year

I took on more literature classes my sophomore year. By now, I was more confident in my writing as well, so I decided to start taking creative writing courses. Though I did manage to get out of my comfort zone my freshman year, I challenged myself more my sophomore year. I was required to read out loud in my fiction class so my instructor and classmates could give me constructive criticism. I learned to take this criticism to make my stories better, and I learned to give it to other students. My sophomore year was a sort of in-between phase for me, as it is for many students. I was more confident and challenged myself more, but I never shared anything outside the class room.

Junior Year

writingbettercandyJunior year is when I really flourished. I spoke out in class more, and I started venturing outside of the class room to share my ideas. I joined Wolfpen Writers, which required me to write and share my work more. I also started reading at the student center when Wolfpen hosted “Open Mic Night.” I ventured further from my comfort zone than I ever had before when I started blogging for the LMU Student Bloggers. It was one thing for me to share my work within the student body, but anyone in the world can read my blog. For me, that was a huge milestone.

Senior Year

Now, I actively share my work and I seek out learning opportunities. This year I have been to two conferences. From March 27th to the 29th, I attended the Appalachian Studies Association Conference at ETSU. There I attended panels on literature, women’s studies, appstudieswriting, geography, Appalachian studies, and other topics. I also went to Oak Ridge, from April 9th to the 11th, for the Tennessee Mountain Writers Conference. During this time I went to several writing workshops and got feedback for some of my work.

I have grown as a student and as a writer over these past four years. I know more now than I had ever dreamed of when I first came to freshmen registration. Like many other students, I have discovered that college is not easy, but it is worth it. English has pushed me in ways I never imagined it would, but if I went back I would do it all again. For me, English was the right choice and it always will be. In this program, I have constantly been pushed forward in my academics, and I have always been successful.

Thank you for reading my English major series! If you have any questions about the English program leave me a comment. As always, like my post and check every other Wednesday for a new one!

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Steps to Becoming an English Major: The Different Classes

I have been a student at Lincoln Memorial University for four years, and I have been an English major for three years. After my freshman year, I decided I did not like what I was doing so I decided to change my major. I took a few different classes before I settled on English. I picked English because I was more engaged in those courses than I was any others. I soon discovered that not all English courses were the same. There are a variety of classes within this program for students to choose from. Let’s go over the differences I discovered in these classes. Continue reading

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