I had another week of heavy reading and taking notes for my lit review. Some nights I also worked on my actual novel. I didn’t do much of new writing but I did revise a good amount of the draft I have. I rearranged the order in which some events are happening in the novel. I also revised some of the dialogue in the novel where I felt needed improvement. I am working on a loose outline so that I can have a map of where my novel will be going.
As for the readings for my lit review, I’ve really enjoyed the readings so far because I was able to find studies that talked about divorce effects on children of all ages. I found some studies that focused on younger children, like preschoolers, while other focused on teenagers and young adults. I think this is so far very helpful because the characters in my novel get older as the story progresses.
There were a couple of nights this week where I didn’t work on my project as much as I would’ve liked but I think that I was still able to get enough work done so that I wouldn’t feel like I needed to panic. I’m not sure if it’s safe to say that this was okay since we are still early in the process. I feel like there is a lot to still do but hopefully working on my novel along with the lit review will work out well. I feel like I have to take advantage of the moments where I feel inspired because I never know when there will be nights where I won’t be able to work on my project.
There is still much more to do but one of the things I need to do within the next week is find existing YA novels that talk about divorce effects on children and young adults. While I’ve read some stories that touch upon that, I feel like I need to do more research on this.
After writing for a while, I've come to realize that what hinders my writing process and the progression of the story is that I tend to diverge from the present writing. I push myself off the present project when ideas hit me when I am writing the current story. And I find myself focusing on writing the idea and about the idea which has just struck me. Instead of finishing the thought or story on which I am currently working.
I ended up using a technique which I previously developed through my writing. Not only do I take the post-its and write ideas or thoughts about identity or the current story or them. But now I have taken to writing the ideas that jump out of me on them too. When I do this process; it allows me to jot down the come to mind ideas without disturbing the present writing. And I place the post-its on my wall of writing and come back to them later when I need further inspiration or information for my current writing project.
Afterwards, I've found that the information I wrote down through the days, weeks, and moments have given rise to a plethora of great ideas or scenes which I can use in the current writing project. I just have to format them to the current idea. It takes a bit of editing. I take out what has nothing to do with the current idea. But I don't throw anything away. I simply put it aside because it may be useful or needed in another way or for later inspiration and rewritten to work or fit in the current story.
Amazingly, I've found myself developing strategies to facilitate my writing and story ideas like I never thought possible. It's because now I've started to realize what I want to do and what I should not do in order to keep myself on track. Therefore, I've developed techniques to keep those bad habits in check and improve my idea construction and story progression.
Lately, I've found myself struggling with my writing process. I've found that I spend more time fixing and correcting errors in the writing than I do writing itself. I guess spending time making sure everything reads well is important. But at times I feel I am losing the story itself in the technical process. I've been trying to identify the other aspects of identity which can make my story more appealing and working on building forward the idea instead of just doing grammatical fixes.
But as time goes on; I find that more and more I feel detached from the very idea I'm trying to explore. I've had to take a step back these past few days and take a look at what I'm trying to do in order to develop a well written story and express the theme of identity without losing reality and creativity in the story; so that the story does not become stagnant.
I have actually taken to setting up a wall in my room with plot ideas, character design, and story twists to keep myself on track with what I want to do with my work. I've also taken to writing out on paper with pencil instead of on computer. I've found that using a pencil and paper allows my mind to free itself more for writing then with a computer. I don't know. The feel of the pencil and writing on paper just makes the process comfortable and easier for me.
I now find my self jotting down notes for the story on post-its and pieces of paper on my free time. On these notes I write ways to better the story and place more emphasis on the idea of identity for my character(s) and the book itself.
My task for this week was to begin thinking about how to frame the subject of 21st century journalism with an eye towards possibly formulating a new language and thinking about different themes I could use for classes in the college course I'm putting together. Some of my initial thoughts are as follows: as a professional, i am worried that the critical thinking and judgment used in putting together the old school news is lost when citizen journalists diisseminate news - in fact, it is in many ways fundamentally different from old school news. the context is often lost - old school news attempts to give you a fleshed out snapshot of what occured - what, when, where, why, how - relying on added content - spoken or otherwise to provide context. CJ is often provided without context - and is provided with haste as foremost concern - the desire to provide people with a realtime experience being the top priority (it reflects out current culture where much of what we do is predicated on fast content or an experience can be provided) i will say that i believe the quality of the content still matters - the way something is shot, the esthetic, but it is less of a concern than the immediacy to those trying to get it out to the masses. that said, as this morning's video of the train crash in Hoboken proves, often times the pictures themselves tell a good portion of the story. I thought also about the fact that many old-school journalists have to consider the risk of putting out bad or misleading information. Their jobs, livlihoods and reputations are at stake. But mass narrators (a term im playing with as a description of citizen journalists on digital media) don't have the same kinds of concerns. They often have anonymity and face no consequences if the information they put out is false or misleading. Because of that, there is concern that their personal agendas are what is driving their decision-making, as opposed to the good of the masses they are trying to communicate with. I believe an example of that is the Arab Spring when people used social media to spur protests and then others used social media to instill doubt about the rebel leaders, spread dissention and ultimately help put the military in power.
"(what we are witnessing is) changing the landscape of documentary filmmaking. This has been made possible by the technology they use, the distribution platforms that are now available and the passion of ordinary men and women to tell the kinds of extraordinary stories that were once the domain of professional documentary makers.
Factual filmmaking has in some senses become hostage to these new, "immediate" technologies. But many working in the genre praise the developments for adding a richer dimension to current affairs and factual documentaries and everyone seems to agree that the genre will never be the same again."
So in terms of language, we are looking at two different things:
traditional journalism - key is context
What if i called citizen journalism a kind of synchronicitous narration or synchro-narration??? although it can be argued that there is a causal link - the event causes the narration...so maybe this doesnt work) Synchronicity is the occurrence of two or more events that appear to be meaningfully related but not causally related. Narration is telling a story as it happens. So this definition is meant to reflect the telling of a story while that story is going on, with the two events being related although not casually (meaning one does not cause the other to occur)
Perhaps "mass narrative" - A narrative or story is any report of connected events, actual or imaginary, presented in a sequence of written or spoken words, or still or moving images.
A mass narrative (in my thinking) would be characterized by the characterization of what would typically be thought of as a news or current event but presented through the lens of social or mass digital media and not through the more narrow, filtered lens of the traditional media. A mass narrative can be the cause or the effect of current events - sometimes playing both sides of the same story (Black Lives Matter, flash mobs, etc)
We should be careful to point out that these mass narratives are not always organic and can be hijacked by corporate or political power structures (i.e. Obama email lists / social media outreach ahead of the 2008 election). This raises the question of how, without traditional power brokers, the phenomenon of the mass narrative can remain an entity that can retain at least the quality of relative independence (the web allowing everyone to express themselves equally).
That said, digital media has its own way of policing itself and prevents certain themes or memes of grabbing hold. For instance. public shaming is a form of self-policing (that is also at risk of being grabbed by power brokers - i think of the way people were shamed who used water on their california lawns while the rest of the state was under a drought emergency a few years back). But other people who use certain types of language that is considered hateful or prejudice can be "shamed" right out of the public sphere - stores that wouldn't serve cakes to gay wedding couples for example were publicly shamed - a store that used mattresses in the shape of the twin towers to mark 9/11 was so publicly shamed that it had to close its doors. This wasnt just an example of mass narration - there was no story really until the masses made it into one. The event wasn't purely manufactured, but the media buzz surrounding it was generated purely online without the help of the mainstream or traditional media (can we call it "manufactured media?")
In some ways, mass narration and citizen journalism has its roots in what they called "stringers" - funny that now they are saying news organizations are employing these kinds of people for the first time. Not true. People have been listening to police scanners, running to fires with the cameras, taking pictures and selling them to newspapers and tv stations for decades.
(here is a story from nypost that makes it sound otherwise)
But technology has given us far more immediate access to imagery of events as they happen. Everyone has a camera. Here are examples of civilians taking famous news pics (janis krum http://twitpic.com/135xa). Even back in the 70's, it was a student photographer John Filo who captured the picture of the girl standing over the body of a student shot at Kent State.
Next up, I'm going to look more closely at university journalism programs
College factual rates journalism colleges this way:
#1 Emerson College. Boston, Massachusetts. ...
#2 The University of Texas at Austin. Austin, Texas. ...
Emersonhas courses that touch on the growing field of digital media and its impact on journalism but its as much about getting the students to participate in that world than it is about understanding its impact. JR103 Digital Journalism - "Examines modern media....best web practices...students learn how to use videography, audio to tell stories." JR220 Interactive News - "students analyze best practices of online news publications and write their own blogs...(also) design a multimedia website." JR485 includes a topic on blogging, conceiving and writing blogs along with legal and ethical issues. But all of this seems to be a little behind the times. I find it hard to believe college students don't know how to blog or maintain a digital/online presence and personality. My sense is that these courses would need to be advanced to the point where you are taking into account the tools that students already know how to use and structure it to use =those= tools in any journalistic exercises. Also, ethical and legal issues are mention in looking at blogging, but what about other digital media elements? And there seems to be no indication that any of these courses are rethinking journalism itself - just talking about digital media as an element of the medium as opposed to reconsidering how digital media is transforming the way we think about, create and consume the news.
But it sounds like they are still treating social media as an aspect, almost a featury element of a newsroom (it says "Students will use various channels to become highly skilled, engaged social media journalists who could step into any social media role in a newsroom). But it does mention that students will "learn how to cover breaking news using social media and crowdsourcing" which could be informative for this thesis....
Also a fascinating Univ. of Texas story - Explanatory Journalism: Storytelling in a Digital Age. It says it does not explore new digital tools but tries to make best use of "our collective toolkit" to use the best tools to tell stories. A lot of it is about reporting, although they include one class late in the semester titled "Virtual Reality: The "New New" Thing and mentions that The School of Journalism is working with Computer Science and the Washington Post to develop cutting-edge storytelling using virtual reality. Wow. I haven't heard of that at all. Something interesting to look into.
That's all for now.
Please forgive the choppy way this is written. If I need to do a better job of smoothing it out, please let me know. This is just the way I think :)
As I struggle to write the "lines" in my head quickly so as not to lose something good, I think, "Maybe I should just go on the computer?" Which sounds logical, rational, and a means to more speedy results. BUT, the rule of writing for me,always begins on paper. When I was a child learning to write, there really was no alternative so when I established my personal writing habits (a very long time ago) this was the routine. To abruptly change the process now is not only a sacrilege of sorts but has also proven to be unproductive. Whenever I try to tackle a new project this way, I end up back on the paper, scribbling notes, scratching out lines and feeling my confidence return. In the case of Lysistrata (rewrite) I seem to be making so little progress, mainly because the book is large and the print is rather small, but this is the translation I prefer to work from. The feeling of "Oh God, I'll never finish" is simply because the opening section of my intended Scene I is taking forever to adapt in the fashion I have planned. There are many different "voices" in his opening scene and I want to make them all real and also saying something worth hearing. The outcome is that I seem to move forward ever so slowly, that the possibility of finishing by May 2017 seems unlikely--and I am being gentle... In truth, I know it will happen, and I am almost to the place I set as my initial goal for putting the paper aside, moving to the computer and typing it all up neatly. I know this is the place where massive editing, line changes, and assorted other sundries can be as simple as the touch of my delete key. The only problem is that now, because it has taken this long to arrive here, I am nervous to take the plunge. Perhaps I know that this step up to writing on the computer will pull me in to the story I am creating from his great piece, even further than I am already and I will need to edit almost all of what I have written thus far. More importantly...drumroll, please...I will have to move forward with the writing and completion of this iinsanity. Then will begin the true editing process, and all the bigger changes, additions, and stage business needed to make my humble, though overreaching attempt at transposing Aristophanes seminal piece of humor from 411 B.C.E. Athens to a downtown Jersey City Shoprite circa 2016. And make that transposition something worth reading and hopefully seeing onstage.. It is intimidating--daunting actually--so it's no wonder I have cold feet. BUT, I promise you all, the numerous pages of handwritten "stuff" will be getting an upgrade to the bright screen of my desktop as I have only a small piece of opening"rewrite" to finish and I will then be at that goal I set. I have decided the balance of the small changes, additions of lines, voices, and stage notes will be more easily accomplished on the computer so, after that part gets finished--this evening for certain--we are moivng on up to the shiny screen. Please say a prayer, I really need it.
My wife and I absolutely loved going to Six Flags when we were younger. We would get season passes and, due to the fact that we lived so close, go a few times a week. Most times we went in the late afternoon or on rainy days since the crowds would be small. As great as it was to ride Medusa several times in a row, it paled in comparison to the park's annual Halloween celebration Fright Fest.
The amount of work that must go into transforming the park into one big haunted attraction is mind-blowing. The level of detail is actually quite amazing. Caskets, tombstones, and pumpkins litter the park. Workers dress in costume, ranging from gory to nightmare-inducing. Even the old Warner Bros. characters like Porky Pig get in on the action, dressing in robes to shock the younger crowd. It was really quite amusing to see the people who scare easily freak out over what I considered to be little things.
Until it happened to me. One particular night, my wife and I were there with my brother and his girlfriend. It was getting dark out, usually when the kids started to leave and the adults had dominion over the park. As we made our way over to the part of the park that housed Runaway Train, a favorite of ours since childhood, I noticed what looked to be the detailed dummy of a clown hanging from a post.
I approached this mannequin to get a closer look at the level of design, completely oblivious to the fact that I was in a place designed to try and scare everyone. Looking back at the level of naivete that I exhibited, I'm a little embarrassed that I approached the dummy as calmly as I did. I began to reach out to touch it, all too curious to see what could be stuffing this garment in such a lifelike fashion.
When I was within reaching distance, it happened. The employee who had been lying in wait for some schmuck to get close enough sprang into action. He made as if to grab at me, hoping I would shriek, followed a few laughs at how ridiculous I had been. That's not at all what he got.
Unfortunately for him, the arm I had been extending to touch his costume reacted quite violently to his sudden jumpscare. I connected with a clean rabbit punch that would have made Rocky proud. Equally unfortunate for this guy was the fact that he was standing on a pedestal so that he would appear to be hanging from the post. This was enough to put him crotch height with my fist of fury.
As he groaned in pain mixed with shock he crumpled to the ground. I found myself twenty feet away, seemingly teleporting myself away from further danger while proving my autonomic nervous system capable of fight-and-flight. The rest of my party remained at the scene of the crime, laughing uncontrollably.
After this incident, which my wife still reminds of occasionally, I don't ridicule people who freak out over seemingly safe scares. Everyone has a different threshold, some just take longer to reach.Thinking about this incident brings to mind images of the people who get scared easily, and how they are generally able to laugh it off afterwards. They seem to seek that feeling of knowing they are safe after this potential threat. This realization is the high they are looking for.
The other thing this brings to mind is how ridiculously dangerous this whole idea is. Put a large group of strangers together, under the anonymity of costumes that are inherently gory. This seems like an invitation to do bodily harm to someone unnoticed. It's almost as ridiculous as telling kids they should never take candy from strangers and then sending them out on Halloween to do just that.
I AM SO EXCITED I JUST FOUND A PAPER RELATED TO BOOK BANNING THAT DISCUSSES NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF IT.
This is so exciting. This is so great. I made a second blog post about it because that's how excited I am. I am a little nervous, because it is a paper done by a fellow student (SNHU) but I am still going to use it. I can't wait to see what a peer of mine has to say about the same topic! Maybe this will even lead me to some studies I can look up myself and use. Wowowow. Super lucky.
A concern I've had in the past is prior research done in the field. Initially, I thought this meant in the literary field exclusively and frankly, I don't think there is any research on my topic done in this field. However, as I've been working, I have found studies done in other fields that support my thesis (kind of by proxy). Although I am still a bit concerned this is not enough, and I need to bring in some literary research, I am moderately confident the research I have already acquired will do (not to mention research I have not yet done).
I have one psychological study that tests psychological reactance and the forbidden fruit theory (which are two theories that explain why people tend to want things they can't have) that state restricting access to things makes them seem more valuable, and are therefore, more sought after. While this isn't in direct support of my thesis, it does support parts of my thesis. This is the kind of luck I'm having with finding research. However, I think if I find enough studies that support enough aspects of my argument, I can connect the remaining dots myself and come to a conclusion.
I am mostly done with discussing (what I've been referring to as) the psychology of no. Next I am planning on tackling why banning things is detrimental to psychological growth. This, I believe, is the main portion of my work. If I recall correctly, my paper is entitled "The effects book banning has on children and young adults." So this next section will be really important.
Following this section, just as a note to myself, are (1) other fields affected, (2) counter arguments and (3) [currently unsure].
Also, I have done some research on creative commons licensing, and have a tentative license on my website already. I do not know if I have picked the correct one for my intentions, but it is very easy to obtain the code to create the license so I know I can change it at any time.
I have taken the past few days off from writing, as I have 8 moderate pages worth of material and, as I said in my last post, I feel I am moving along at a fine pace.
The only struggle I have encountered recently is not knowing how many tabs/ what format I want to present the sections in on my website. Otherwise things are going well. I will resume writing (most likely) on Thursday.
To say that it has been a difficult week would be an understatement. I feel like I keep being hit with one thing after another, and I can't seem to move forward or get anything done.
I would like to share that last Monday my father passed away. We did not have a typical relationship, and have been estranged for many years, so I have been sorting through some difficult emotions. I haven't been sleeping well; but for the past few days, I have been better about not thinking about it all the time.
When I met with Dr. Zamora about my thesis project last week, she advised that I concentrate on gathering information and reading, and to save the writing/ proposal development for later. I agree. So I spent some time this past week looking into possible sources, printing articles, and highlighting.
I was feeling more optimistic about making progress, but yesterday I was hit with more bad news (not nearly as bad, but still.. at this point, I really can't take anymore stress). The Independent Study that I needed this semester in order to meet the credit requirement for my Grad Assistantship was denied. Twice.
I don't really know what my options are at this point... It's almost October. And I already denied my student loan at the beginning of the semester. Can you even get a student loan with only 6 credits?
Anyway, I'm going to end my despair blog. I need to think about what I can do to possibly resolve this situation. And then hopefully I can get back to thinking about research.