What’s the Plan?

           

            Sorry to be so late with my post. I moved buildings this year, have a new principal, and have 3-5 new initiatives starting all at once. Once everything settles over the next few weeks I hope to find a steadier rhythm.

            I’m still very strong on the idea of writing about fear and how people respond to it. After discussions with Dr. Zamora, it appears to be headed in the direction of documenting myself in scary, allegedly haunted locations. I had all summer to plan it out and to start visiting places, but failed to take advantage of the time. My wife is incredibly excited about the project. She bought me a GoPro for Father’s Day in anticipation of our visits to these places.

            Some of the activities that I have lined up are the engagements I briefly mentioned last week. The talks will examine Jersey legends with a strong emphasis on the Jersey Devil. In October, I’m even taking Maddy on “Jersey Devil Hunt”. That will incorporate how people of all ages respond to terrifying situations. Burlington County Prison Museum offers tours and is supposedly haunted, so that will be a stop. Eastern State Penitentiary has been a dream of ours since many of the shows we watch feature it heavily. 

To continue using my kids as material, I’ve been documenting our frequent trips to Spirit Halloween since they popped up last month. We’re talking three to four times a week. We have four different Halloween stores in our area and my kids absolutely love them; but they are terrified once they get there and want to leave. What is it that calls them back?

Weird NJ offers so many ideas and places that are off the beaten path. This past Friday, a 20-year-old woman fell off a catwalk while exploring the Curtis Specialty Paper Superfund Site. The EPA goes around and cleans up sites that could potentially pose a risk to public health. Unfortunately, many of these same places draw people in who are looking to explore. So many people ignore the fences and warning signs, unaware of or ignoring the fact that these abandoned sites are decaying and seriously dangerous. I won’t be doing that. As a grown man with a family and a career, I think I’ll be staying away from trespassing and any other activities that could prove dangerous.


I’m anxious to see how it will eventually pan out. This is already a different idea from what I started with, but I’m happier with what it has morphed into. I am extremely excited for this project and can’t wait to see how it will turn out. If anything, my family will get to create a lot of memories and fun experiences together.

Starting Early

I'll be taking a 6 credit IS in the spring to write my thesis. But let's not wait until the last minute! I plan to follow along, invisible, with the regular thesis class that's meeting this semester.  I'll do this for two reasons. First, I can't go out at night to another class this semester, and second, because with the new idea I'm planning for my thesis, I think one semester might not be enough time. So I'll keep up on my own, and take the 6 credit IS next semester, with the intention of sitting in on the second half of the full-year thesis class. Sounds like a doable plan.

The regular class is doing an early proposal, lit review, and methodology. Also, they are going to be writing a reflective blog post weekly about their progress (hence this blog post). My progress so far...I'm just starting!

I completed an early proposal, lit review, and methodology in the last class with Dr. Zamora. Too bad I'm not sticking with my first thesis idea. I'll have to start over from the beginning, but that's not too taxing. A weekly progress report won't be a problem, either.

The only thing I won't be doing with the regular class is group work. That's ok, I want to work alone this semester, anyhow.

So here's my new plan for the thesis. I'd like to write a creative non-fiction novel. I'm not ready to explain it yet. I'll do that in my proposal.

 

Starting Early

I'll be taking a 6 credit IS in the spring to write my thesis. But let's not wait until the last minute! I plan to follow along, invisible, with the regular thesis class that's meeting this semester.  I'll do this for two reasons. First, I can't go out at night to another class this semester, and second, because with the new idea I'm planning for my thesis, I think one semester might not be enough time. So I'll keep up on my own, and take the 6 credit IS next semester, with the intention of sitting in on the second half of the full-year thesis class. Sounds like a doable plan.

The regular class is doing an early proposal, lit review, and methodology. Also, they are going to be writing a reflective blog post weekly about their progress (hence this blog post). My progress so far...I'm just starting!

I completed an early proposal, lit review, and methodology in the last class with Dr. Zamora. Too bad I'm not sticking with my first thesis idea. I'll have to start over from the beginning, but that's not too taxing. A weekly progress report won't be a problem, either.

The only thing I won't be doing with the regular class is group work. That's ok, I want to work alone this semester, anyhow.

So here's my new plan for the thesis. I'd like to write a creative non-fiction novel. I'm not ready to explain it yet. I'll do that in my proposal.

 

As I Start Creating

I'm in the middle of writing my first piece right now and needed to take a break because I'm being very hard on myself. I am using this blog to refocus myself and remind myself that this is a work in progress and I am creating drafts at the moment. There will be time for revision and adjusting later. This does not need to be perfect and probably will never be perfect. It's not coming out exactly as I want, but that's ok for now. I need to start and get it going. I love revision and when the time comes I will strengthen all of my pieces.

I decided to keep a list of concerns or thoughts that are bothering me about each piece while I write or after I read it over, so I know my focus areas later. I also know that I need to get more specific information from my dad about a few of these tales of his. I should be happy to have a focus for now. OK- a walk outside to see my pups and then back at it.

As I Start Creating

I'm in the middle of writing my first piece right now and needed to take a break because I'm being very hard on myself. I am using this blog to refocus myself and remind myself that this is a work in progress and I am creating drafts at the moment. There will be time for revision and adjusting later. This does not need to be perfect and probably will never be perfect. It's not coming out exactly as I want, but that's ok for now. I need to start and get it going. I love revision and when the time comes I will strengthen all of my pieces.

I decided to keep a list of concerns or thoughts that are bothering me about each piece while I write or after I read it over, so I know my focus areas later. I also know that I need to get more specific information from my dad about a few of these tales of his. I should be happy to have a focus for now. OK- a walk outside to see my pups and then back at it.

Get ready, set, go!

ok_to_move_forwardYou are on your way now.

We have mapped a plan for the semester which includes round-robin style small-group conferencing.  These conferencing moments will be key to your continued progress.  With that support in place, what is most crucial is your own dedication to your work in a steady committed fashion.  Map out your own timeline, and  schedule your “thesis work” time into your weekly schedule.

Each oimages-28f you will write a WEEKLY reflection blog which will serve as a record of your process throughout.  The blog will be syndicated here.  Please send me your thesis blog URL by next week.

Major benchmarks to complete this semester: -Early Proposal, -Lit Review, -Methodology.  Please remember that the writing and research process for a project like this is inherently more intuitive and unscripted than the mere adherence to such benchmarks, but they are in place (for now) in order to GENERATE the foundation for the work.

Here is a link to the peer review protocol for the Early Proposal.  Please use it to review your group’s work on “off weeks”.  Coordinate via email with your group to complete this work as you continue to revise your work together with the benefit of peer feedback.  Please respond as a fellow writer and as a reader, in a spirit of helpfulness and respect.  Share observations of what you notice in your colleagues early proposal, but also share observations of what you notice occurs inside of you as you read the writer’s text.  What questions emerge? What connections do you make as a result of the writer’s inquiry? I believe this approach to feedback will be helpful to each of you.

Your early proposals should be sent to me the night before or scheduled conference day, so that I may consider your work before seeing you and we can have a rich conversation.

Looking forward to working with each of you.

Sincerely,

Dr. Zamora

 

 

Masters Thesis (take one) by Debbie Bagnato

A most enjoyable class tonight as always with Dr. Zamora and my wonderful classmates! Finally, after many failed attempts, succeeded in creating a new blog--blogger did not approve of any of my url suggestions--until the very last one,,,grrrr. But now I am ready, or at least ready to blog. This will be the easier part of the process ahead, I'm afraid, but I have some terrific company to share my miseries and my victories--oh I hope there are some victories--as we move along. My potential storyline is written down, based loosely on Aristophanes original but applied/ adapted--made to fit-- with the characters representative of my production concept. The next test or rather the real proof of its ability to be recreated onstage (as an adaptation of something very dynamic) will be the deciding factor for  keeping this carefully thought out "thesis proposal." If it falls flat and I can see no chance of it ever being what I had intended, it is off to a different creative project that I am more comfortable with. The writing shall begin and I hope the creative ideas are a-plenty; I need to run with this a little and then see if it is what I envisioned.  I truly hope it is, as I have spent some hefty amounts of time already, re-writing Aristophanes to fit a version more appropriate to a setting very far removed from ancient Greece and with  no bearing on a war with Persia, Sparta or anywhere. Instead, I will create a war in my workplace--a supermarket--that involves business, money, prestige, and the ever popular, coveted prize--power. Of course, all of those elements were attributes of the men who decided on involvement in the Pelopponesian War and kept it going until Athens (and its elegant citizens) became a mere shell of their former self, subject to takeover and destruction. Sadly enough, I see elements of corrupt, misguided individuals in the business where I work, becoming ever so much more pronounced. On that note, what began as a fun re-creation of one of my favorite ancient comedies has taken on more serious connotations. Hopefully, I can retain the comic element while I make a point--very strongly--about the unimportance of the competition within and the greater value of "family business" being a true "partner in caring" and actually being of real service to the community--all of the bylines this company falsely projects which used to be essential to them. Perhaps through humor, this old play, with a new slant, can make people recognize the real importance in life, in business and actually appreciate what is important at the end of the day. I don't know if I can tie it all in but I would love to give it a try! And do not worry, I will keep you posted for better or worse. If the laughs are not in the script, they may be AT the writing, but then hopefully, we can laugh together! But please, do be gentle...


Masters Thesis (take one) by Debbie Bagnato

A most enjoyable class tonight as always with Dr. Zamora and my wonderful classmates! Finally, after many failed attempts, succeeded in creating a new blog--blogger did not approve of any of my url suggestions--until the very last one,,,grrrr. But now I am ready, or at least ready to blog. This will be the easier part of the process ahead, I'm afraid, but I have some terrific company to share my miseries and my victories--oh I hope there are some victories--as we move along. My potential storyline is written down, based loosely on Aristophanes original but applied/ adapted--made to fit-- with the characters representative of my production concept. The next test or rather the real proof of its ability to be recreated onstage (as an adaptation of something very dynamic) will be the deciding factor for  keeping this carefully thought out "thesis proposal." If it falls flat and I can see no chance of it ever being what I had intended, it is off to a different creative project that I am more comfortable with. The writing shall begin and I hope the creative ideas are a-plenty; I need to run with this a little and then see if it is what I envisioned.  I truly hope it is, as I have spent some hefty amounts of time already, re-writing Aristophanes to fit a version more appropriate to a setting very far removed from ancient Greece and with  no bearing on a war with Persia, Sparta or anywhere. Instead, I will create a war in my workplace--a supermarket--that involves business, money, prestige, and the ever popular, coveted prize--power. Of course, all of those elements were attributes of the men who decided on involvement in the Pelopponesian War and kept it going until Athens (and its elegant citizens) became a mere shell of their former self, subject to takeover and destruction. Sadly enough, I see elements of corrupt, misguided individuals in the business where I work, becoming ever so much more pronounced. On that note, what began as a fun re-creation of one of my favorite ancient comedies has taken on more serious connotations. Hopefully, I can retain the comic element while I make a point--very strongly--about the unimportance of the competition within and the greater value of "family business" being a true "partner in caring" and actually being of real service to the community--all of the bylines this company falsely projects which used to be essential to them. Perhaps through humor, this old play, with a new slant, can make people recognize the real importance in life, in business and actually appreciate what is important at the end of the day. I don't know if I can tie it all in but I would love to give it a try! And do not worry, I will keep you posted for better or worse. If the laughs are not in the script, they may be AT the writing, but then hopefully, we can laugh together! But please, do be gentle...


What Will It Look Like?

I've been thinking about what my creative take on my dad's interviews will look like. His interviews became a looking glass into his life as a child growing in Newark during the Depression and WW II. The interviews were rich with stories of family, neighborhood, sibling bonding, and friendship. His life was very different than mine as a child, but I couldn't help thinking about common threads that came up. I mentioned one in my last block about being that neighborhood kid. I also could connect when he talked about the bond he felt with his brother. Growing up, I definitely had a similar bond with one of my brothers and my sister. I think that although my dad and his friends got into a lot more mischief than I did, they still had a lot of regular kid moments.

All of these thoughts lead me to what I would like to create for my writing project. I would like to capture many of my father's stories through my writing and then create a parallel story of my own that connects to his. It would be a kind of parallel memoir?? with first a written interpretation of one of my dad's moments, then I would create a piece about a memory of my own that came back to me when he shared. For example the topic could be a moment he felt really scared or how the movies played an important role in his life as a child. I know that both of our mini-memoirs need to be more than just a retelling, so I feel that more interview work needs to be completed to get to the heart of why these moments were important.

 I would like to show how the power of oral history can bring about familial connections and make family members reflect on their own lives in new ways.

What Will It Look Like?

I've been thinking about what my creative take on my dad's interviews will look like. His interviews became a looking glass into his life as a child growing in Newark during the Depression and WW II. The interviews were rich with stories of family, neighborhood, sibling bonding, and friendship. His life was very different than mine as a child, but I couldn't help thinking about common threads that came up. I mentioned one in my last block about being that neighborhood kid. I also could connect when he talked about the bond he felt with his brother. Growing up, I definitely had a similar bond with one of my brothers and my sister. I think that although my dad and his friends got into a lot more mischief than I did, they still had a lot of regular kid moments.

All of these thoughts lead me to what I would like to create for my writing project. I would like to capture many of my father's stories through my writing and then create a parallel story of my own that connects to his. It would be a kind of parallel memoir?? with first a written interpretation of one of my dad's moments, then I would create a piece about a memory of my own that came back to me when he shared. For example the topic could be a moment he felt really scared or how the movies played an important role in his life as a child. I know that both of our mini-memoirs need to be more than just a retelling, so I feel that more interview work needs to be completed to get to the heart of why these moments were important.

 I would like to show how the power of oral history can bring about familial connections and make family members reflect on their own lives in new ways.