Jump-starting the process by thinking about proposals

If you haven’t already, please send me your thesis blog url and be sure to post about how it is going thus far.  I will be syndicating your blogs in to this site shortly.

Some of you are just starting the process of discovery and invention for this thesis project. And some of you are well on your way, and have various elements “in the can.” At this stage, you can all take a look at the “Early MA Proposal” document shared on this site.  I will speak with each of you individually about your project ideas, and that should serve as the basis for the formal articulation of your project.  If you are well down the road with the project, this will be a good “check back in” kind of exercise to think about where you started and where you are going. For some of you, this will be the motivation to get some early ideas down more formally. Please follow the guidelines posted in the Early MA Thesis Proposal Document in order to get the most out of this exercise.

images-22

Thesis proposal documents should be sent to Dr. Zamora and fellow MA thesis colleagues by Feb. 14th. When we meet that night, we will conduct an informal peer review. We will consider each of your proposals (in whatever state it is in at the time). Since you are at various stages in this process, this will be a good time to touch base with all three projects and learn from each other as each project takes shape or (shapes up with more nuance and specificity) in a unique way. Each of you can learn something from considering each other’s proposal approach, no matter how “early” or “late” in the process your proposal might be.

Sincerely,

Dr. Zamora

Taking The Time

“When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.’ I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.” – George Orwell

This is it. What I’ve been working towards for the last two to six years, depending on who you asked. And if you asked me, I’d say that for the most part, I still don’t know how I got here.

Well, I mean I KNOW how I got here. I persisted through 4 years of undergraduate college and a year and a half of graduate college, that much is clear to me. But there’s always that lingering question, that ultimate million dollar answer. Is what I’m doing, my Master degree in Writing Studies, what I feel is worth striving for? Was it worth picking over the other things that I could have possibly went in, such as Communications?

My first love for literature and writing came in the second grade, shout out to Ms. Lisa. Hope you’re still around sharing the same love for literature as you did before, but even if you aren’t, I take comfort in the fact that her influence was enough for me to pursue this as far as I have. Reading the supposedly taboo Captain Underpants books at the time. It was this type of reading that influenced my initial thoughts, that chapter books didn’t have to be walls of text that couldn’t be deciphered, that books are for entertaining as much as they are informing. It should be no surprise now that I try to carry a Captain Underpants book in my school bag at all times. I’d get the Kindle versions but they don’t really translate too well that way. Especially since they’re now in full color. Maybe some day.

The point I think I’m trying to make is that while I admittedly don’t do nearly enough of it as I should, writing has changed my life for the better and perhaps that is my biggest catalyst for why I push so hard to try to “give back” in a way through my Master’s degree. So to answer my earlier question, I may have had given it a second thought if I could restart my undergrad degree again (only because I have just as much love for Communications, but that’s another blog), but ultimately I went with English and writing studies because I feel that helps me help define myself, and if I can remember that throughout the writing of my thesis and first novel: Godreign: Grand Contingency, I hope my fascination and admiration for my chosen field of study shines through. And while my writing time is a bit relaxed compared to my contemporaries, I’m going to double down on the amount I do in order to finish what I started years ago.

And that’s why I’ve decided to call this blog “The Space Between It All”, because in a schedule that feels absolutely packed at times (even if some of that schedule is occupied by my mandatory video gaming sessions), I can still find a time and a space to write what I think and what I feel. Although I suspect I’ll be ranting mostly.

More people don’t rant enough. If more people ranted I suspect their emotions would be more balanced overall. It would certainly make them feel better, at least. Or maybe there would at least be some sort of semblance of the “raging against the heavens” concept that I kinda admire to an extent. Not the actual “raging” part, that seems like a waste of energy. But rather the type of attitude that leaves someone questioning anything and everything that happens to them. I’m not saying it’s always the work of a higher power, that’s what Jehovah’s Witnesses are for. But rather, if more people took the time to question the concept of fate and the control their have on their daily lives instead of just leaving it all up to chance, I feel it would help people manufacture a more balanced thought process than the ones that are currently plaguing people my age. Depression is terrible. Life has too many good things in it to be worried about one particular thing for too long. To paraphrase Abe Lincoln, if you can picture yourself in the future where you are smiling or at least happy, then you can deal with anything that comes your way in the meantime”. Ah, Honest Abe. A five dollar bill is perhaps the most versatile when it comes to paper money. Maybe that’s why he’s on it. Or something. Was that a rant? Probably. Still felt great however. I’m ready to wrap this up! Put me in, coach! Er, Dr. Zamora!

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”- Sylvia Plath

Thesis and a Whole Lot of Coffee!

 

 

29064282_264017600835844_5303843083322758205_o
Kandid Shots Productions-Photography

Greetings from a January day! I am excited to be starting my first step towards my Thesis. I must admit, the first class I felt as if this was my first time taking a class, ever! I was nervous beyond reason (and I still kinda am). However, the warm inclusion and intimacy of the class allowed my jitterbugs to settle down for now. So far what I have realized is how different of a journey this is going to be compared to the process I went through with my undergraduate thesis. The name of my work was called “To Be Continued,” which was a collection of short stories telling the tale of certain aspects of my life that made who I am today. Writing about myself was a difficult task because it was something I was not used to doing. I had to reflect and dig into feelings that I had kept in a safe in my mind. I believe the outcome was something to be proud of. However, for two semesters I must say, I was stressed. I was taking 18 credits and working multiple jobs for the last two semesters of college. With thesis included, I felt like I was thrown into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to even kick my feet.

But after class, there was a sense of hope and freshness that came over me when I left. As my professor said, “We will take this slow.” I am my harshest critique so I know I will be hard on myself on this journey. However, there was a pressure that was released. I believe because of that, I will be able to focus on my thesis and writing in a way that I have never done before, which makes me pretty excited. 

adult african american people black women business
Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

Last week, I was given the task of writing a list of ten things that are important to me. I am proud to say I have more than ten but taking the time to write that list brought out some true colors of mine. I was really able to pinpoint what I could possibly write my thesis on. I also noticed that things that I thought would make my list of what’s important to me did not make a list. What I found interesting is that this list was, truthfully, not just a list. Expanding on each point opened my mind to ideas on what to possibly write about. For this week, I’m hoping to elaborate on certain aspects and make my “list” shorter to really see what’s behind each point. 

I’m determined. I’m eager. I’m ready. Let’s do this! 

art business close up decor
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
 

 

Making A Comeback

So….

I’m back.

jokerclap

And, I’m not going to lie, I took a major break from working on my thesis over our winter recess. Some things in my personal life were really affecting me deeply and keeping me from feeling inspired or motivated to work–despite loving my subject matter. I’m not trying to make any excuses, just state reality. I was unable to find the inspiration to work for most of my break. There were many late nights spent up trying so hard to work and finding nothing but frustration and, I’ll admit, some tears. It’s not that I didn’t want to work; I couldn’t.

Towards the end of winter recess, I did begin writing some more and completing two additional sections of my thesis. I think they could be “bulked up” some but, overall, they have thoughtful ideas in them and a focus. Thinking about my thesis as more of a map of my own thinking and mapping for this project has helped me generate content. I’m less worried about making some grand statement or about impressing anyone and more concerned with making my project make sense to others. I want my own thinking to be center stage. I believe it is my perspective that makes this work compelling. More, I want to write my thesis in my own voice and with my own words. I don’t want to use recycled, academic jargon. I don’t want to be a part of some academic circle-jerk.

In this process, I’ve been really thinking about Hugo Ball’s quote, “This humiliating age has not succeeded in winning our respect” and how I want to convey that kind of tenacity and courageous belligerence through my work. Ultimately, I think it is the courageous and rebellious spirit of Dadaism and new forms of digital content creation that resonates with me and, I believe, with others. That’s a large part of where the connection lies. These emergent, digital expressions like Eliterature, memes, shitposting, etc. are our responses to the utter bullshit the world has become in so many ways. This is how we sass the powers that be. This is how we snark. How we rebel. How we drag the powers that be back down into the dirt and dust they left us in and remind them that we are still here and those powers that be have NOT earned a speck of our respect. Perhaps its pathological but it’s definitely ideological.

The more I read and the more I think about this subject matter the more compelled I am to believe that this is a revolutionary shift in thinking and in creating. Online spaces and the digital realm have provided us with so much opportunity and resource to unionize. Ideas are powerful in these spaces. They can have real world impact. I think it is so important now more than ever to understand that and to want to understand how. That’s what I feel like I am doing with my work. More, it feels like I’m trying to develop this new analytical lens to look at content like this because, quite frankly, I think our traditional lenses are antiquated and not super suited to do this job. I hope that by combining a literary lens with an art historical one, there can be new understanding. There can be a new recognition and appreciation of meaning.

So often, new forms of creating are dismissed for not being “meaningful” enough. Especially content like memes and gifs and shitposting–they’re all discounted and dismissed as being another meaningless aspect of Millennial culture. It’s insulting. Also, it’s ignorant and negligent and seems to be the powers that be trying desperately to neutralize a challenge to their power. Trying to stave off a challenge to the establishment.

But, I don’t think it’s working. And, I think those powers know that.

New forms of content creation are how we communicate with each other now. They are how we express our feelings of pride and contempt. They have become conduits , deeply embedded with rich and diverse meaning. If they seem like challenges to the powers that be, that’s because they are. These symbols say “we know what’s going on”. They say “we know and f*ck you for thinking we wouldn’t”.

Maybe I’m projecting some of my own feelings onto this medium but I think that, if even half of what I’m saying applies to this subject, then that is noteworthy and it is sure as hell meaningful.

I was beaten down at the beginning of this break but, after everything and remembering Hugo Ball’s words, I’m back up on my feet and ready to take some swings at the establishment. I’m ready to fight back. Bite back. I’m pissed that I let anything stop me from doing what I love to do–writing and calling out assh*les for being assh*les. For only seeing garbage where’s there’s solid gold.

Best believe I’m making a comeback and coming for the crown.

This humiliating age has not succeeded in winning my respect. That’s for damn sure.

****

Down nine times but I get up ten.

~Till next time~