Carnegie Mellon University

Jordan Cox

Jordan CoxMajors: Creative Writing and Professional Writing
Adviser: Gerald Costanzo
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A Creative Proposal for the Exploration of Human Separation

The overall question of my project is: "How do separation and visibility affect human beings?" I hope to address some of the ways in which humans are affected by separation and how modern technology has changed interactions. I think that it’s important to understand how our society has changed and how these changes may impact us individually. The project will use different genres to show that separation does not affect people in one way. My project will encourage other creative works to reflect their content with the medium. As Marshall McLuhan said, “The medium is the message.”

The final project will be a manuscript arranged so that the writing pieces have smooth transitions and are separated by sections. Currently, there are no existing works that place different types of writing within one manuscript and discuss one idea. My project begins a consideration of a new genre. My thesis is to use three writing genres to explore the idea of separation. My thesis fills a gap because poetry, fiction and essays have not been placed in one manuscript before.


The main activity that has defined my life since sixth grade is water polo. I didn’t start playing because I wanted to. I started playing because my mother had a disagreement with my ballet instructor about what little girls should and should not be doing. I had loved ballet. It made me feel like a rainbow butterfly, sparkling and glittering as I fluttered my arms up and down.

I loved gliding underwater with my eyes closed, imagining that there was nothing around me but darkness and the sound of sloshing. But I hated going to a two-hour practice every weekday. I hated that when I included changing and driving time, water polo took three hours out of my day.

In high school, I hated that my lunch consisted of a chocolate milk carton, a sandwich or wrap, a bag of chips, two clementines, a bag of nuts, fruit snacks and a bottle of water. It was twice what other girls had for lunch and I ate all of it each day. I hated that I ate two dinners. I hated that I had little time to read. But I loved how the water flushed all the thoughts out of my head until I thought of a word: Hush. The word would bob and float, and the sound of it would be slight even though it was alone.

Reading is the second defining characteristic of my life. You might think that you understand what it means to be a reader, but I read the way I eat when it’s water polo season. I slurp down stories and books as if they’re pasta and my stomach is bottomless. I read around 200 books a year.

There are so many books out there – and I won’t be able to read all of them! This thought panicked me when I played water polo. All I did was read and play. The rest of my life was forced into the cracks between the two of these activities, one willing and the other forced. I probably could have stopped water polo but years of playing made it my commitment and I felt as if I needed my family’s permission to stop.

When I came to college, I said to myself, “No more. It’s enough. You don’t have to play anymore.” And I didn’t – until sophomore year, when I sought out the girls’ club team. I felt giddy as I jumped in the pool and screamed underwater. Pure delight rose to the surface with my air bubbles.