Considering our own humanness, through grief, love, and loss: the ineffable muse.

I think Brandon’s wrap-up of our pathfinding sessions was truly a “synthetic” moment, as we apprehended (in part) our experiences of grief and loss, as well as the source(s) of things that spark our creative impulse from within. The time spent in this final conversation became a re-visioning of “the old-world muse”, and it was an appropriate way to wrap up our semester-long contemplation of “the human nature of writing”.

In mythology, the Muses were nine goddesses who symbolized the arts and sciences. In a “traditional” formulation of the muse, a “muse” is a person — especially a woman — who is the source of artistic inspiration. Even today, the muse is commonly seen as a person who serves the artist’s inspiration. Thankfully, we dismissed the gendered association early on, and took up the concept more broadly – updating our own way of seeing the concept.

Think of it. As an action verb, “to muse” is to think about something carefully, thoroughly, deeply, in a dream like abstraction. When Brandon prompted (forced us) to write a brief letter to our own muse, we each grappled with personal considerations – our experiences of what we have felt and known – about life, and love, and time, and legacy too. This act, in-and-of-itself, was a sincere and human place to reference. We know there is no machine or algorithm that can account for our human histories, our human encounters – all our accrued feelings and the meaning behind those experiences.

Our brief apprehension of our own “musings” was just enough to help us tap into the essence of our unique humanity, and its inherent worth. I could see more in each of you, and the trust we have developed together. We started out the course intending to center humanism, as we set out to consider the “assertion-of-the-machine” in our lives. We end the course in mini-celebration of that ineffable aspect of our own humanness. Full circle, in writing.

Our final class period

I look forward to our final class next Thursday (5/4).

Please remember class is planned as a pot-luck style party, so bring along something good to eat or drink. I look forward to hearing your microfictions about the near future and the impact of artificial intelligence on our lives.

When you submit your final microfiction by publishing in your last blog post, you will also submit at the same time a final reflection which considers what you experienced when writing with the AI tool.  What worked, what didn’t, and why? In your reflective companion post, you will “drill down” on the synergy/friction/conflict/benefits you might have experienced when brainstorming with a machine.  In that final blog post, you must also clarify where in your process (exactly) you used AI and which platform(s) you used. And if you include any material generated by the AI program, it should be cited like any other reference material. 

In summary, your last blog post for class has two components – your microfiction story, and the reflection on the process. You can separate the two texts with a line in between, using italics font for your own reflection.

One final step due by Friday May 5th

Please remember to submit (BY EMAIL to me directly) your final portfolio for our class. Here is the link to the instructions on how to complete your final portfolio submission. **Please remember to give me “shared access” to your portfolio google doc.

Thank you

Thank you for a wonderful co-learning journey this semester. This class has certainly been inspiration to me. Each of you has contributed certain understanding and heartfelt insight. I hope it has been meaningful for you as well. xo MZ

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