“At the Family Reunion! Who We Introducin’? Who We Introducin’?”

*This is the second attempt to write this blog since all of my work was erased.*

Click to view slideshow.

Over the past week, I was given prompts and questions to sort out the next steps for my thesis. The first one was:

-How does family plays a part in language and the politics that comes with it?

A family is something that not everybody has. I think about this a lot. I come from a huge family. By being the youngest, I was always around adults. I never understood what they were talking about when it came to sports, politics, or relationships. However, it wasn’t about understanding the meaning behind it, but it was the language that surrounded me.

Besides my parents, brothers, and other extended family members, I grew up with Southern grandparents. Hearing words such as, “ain’t” and “y’all” was normal. Pronouncing “remember” as “member” or “because” as “cause.” Even the use of my grammar and sentence structure when I would say phrases like, “I been seen that,” was deemed acceptable in my household. It was not until I stepped out of my home and away from my family that I realized I spoke differently from others; or as people would say, “speaking wrong.”

Despite the negative feedback and negligence of teaching, the beauty of my family was that when we spoke in our own language amongst ourselves, it was a safe place. It didn’t matter what degrees people had in the room or if someone didn’t finish high school, we all spoke the same language.

Reflecting back on how I grew up and the type of education I received, my grammar was never corrected. For the benefit of learning and being the best students I could be, I believe that opportunity was never given to me. It was not until my first year of undergraduate school that I had an instructor who was honest but passionate and cared. I think when it comes to the educational system, many holes need fixing. Instead of trying to teach me, I was automatically considered “dumb and black” just because of the way I spoke. When in reality, there was nothing “wrong” with the way I spoke or what my language was. I was unaware that not only me but my entire family has been speaking African American Vernacular English so eloquently. It almost feels like someone, in a higher power position, has been withholding important information from us that’s about us to keep us in the same status that we’re currently in. (Boy…sounds familiar?)

Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe when it comes to “rules” in writing in a classroom setting is good. It creates structure and a foundation for the subjects being learned. However, what I don’t think is a good thing is how we go about teaching kids who use Standard English as their second language. The reason why this topic of language in the black community and family has struck a nerve is because of what I see every day. Specifically my grandparents. I have realized that when they are around people who “speak properly,” have more education, or are a different race, they become ashamed of their language. It hurts my heart because of three things:

  1. Their race and the era they grew up in, they were denied access to education. Not because they weren’t smart but because of various laws in the U.S.
  2. It’s not their fault that ignorance goes beyond skin tone but even how they speak.
  3. No one taught them (or any of us) to be proud of their language. They are the roots of how I speak every day, and that is something I am proud of.

The second prompt was:

-Describe my books/story ideas. Is it worth telling?

There are two book/story ideas that I cherish but have been waiting for the right time to pursue it. The first one does not have a title yet. All the characters are fleshed out and what the focus is. The story is about a group of friends who went to college together who are now working in their fields. A new woman who starts working at their job catches the eye of our main character, Nathaniel Lee. However, she is also hiding a secret that puts her, Nathaniel, and Nathaniel’s friends in danger with the FBI. I did a lot of research with biology and science to come up with the main plot of this story. Since this story has more dialogue than prose writing, I would probably want to format this story has a screenplay.

The second story is called, “The Girl with the Red Timberlands”; a realistic fiction story about various stories and events that happens to the main character, Peak. Chapters such as “Little White Casket,” “Virgin Night,” and “The Ibis Hotel” would be in it. It’s the story of childhood, high school years, and college life tying into what the future holds for Peak. The unique twist to this book is that the story is told backward, which means her college life would be told first, then high school, and then childhood.

The reason why I think both of these stories are worth telling is because they will represent not only people who look like my family and me but other races as well. Diversity is a great reason to tell these stories. Both of these stories have been in the works for several years now. I am confident that an overwhelming amount of joy and accomplishment will come from finishing them.

The last prompt was:

-Develop one idea that we didn’t talk about.

Over the past week, I thought about maybe making a documentary for my thesis. I’ll have a write-up and a video as well. It’s not an idea that is set in stone in my heart, but it is something new that I thought about. My goal for next week is to have an even more detailed thought out idea to start writing my Early Proposal.

Until Next Time!

Thesis and a Whole Lot of Coffee!

 

Gaining Momentum~

“Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he [she] is.” ~ Jackson Pollock

No More Just Grinding Gears

So, this has been a productive week for me.

After many weeks of stagnating on my thesis and being unable to bring myself to really write much of anything, I flew through writing almost 20 pages of content. I’ve now got several sections done and only a few more to go. That’s not to say those remaining sections will be a breeze but I’m proud of what I managed to accomplish this week. I hope this momentum continues.

This week, I focused mainly on finishing the section of my paper exploring inspirational Elit pieces for my own work and on starting and completing the digital art section. As of this morning, both can be checked off my to-do list. It’s funny. Once I re-framed what I wanted to focus on–my inspirations rather than trying to make some grand statement–the words came easily. It was like everything I had been thinking about over these past few months was finally given the go-ahead. More, I feel like I’ve got my groove back.

I feel revitalized and a bit rejuvenated. Now that some burdens are no longer weighing me down, I feel like I can finally focus on what’s important to me again. Which, right now, is my writing. It’s my project, my thesis. This subject is something I’ve been thinking about for a few years now and it’s something that genuinely interests me, makes me curious, and motivates me to what to discover and explore. It’s so frustrating that my curiosity and my motivation was tampered down for as long as it was.

wack

It’s even more frustrating that my voice at all was silenced. Like, I believe my work is important and fascinating and that it speaks to a sociocultural shift that is occurring right now and that should be documented. Even if that weren’t true, this tome is important to me. That should be enough.

I’m hoping to move forward at a steady pace from here on out. My goal is to complete the written part of my thesis by spring break, which is the second week of March. That’s about five weeks away. I have about five remaining sections to write. If I complete a section a week, I should meet my goal. I’m pretty confident that this is a goal I can meet barring any unforeseen circumstances. It would remove a lot of stress from my life as well if I did complete this part of my thesis by then. I could focus on proofreading and on the installation aspect of my thesis.

It took until now, but I’m finally feeling like I have enough content to constitute a thesis. or most of this process, I have felt like my work has been fairly inadequate. Like, I’m never doing as much as I should be. Or, I’m not finding what I should be when I should be. It’s like I’ve been experiencing a grad-school-length-lag. I’m still concerned about finding and combing through more research to support my points. Also, I’m concerned, to an extent, about my thesis being too opinionated. But, these concerns are lee pressing to me than they have been. I feel like I can see the end result and it’s enough–for me, at least. I hope that’s enough for everyone else.

This is not an easy or straightforward process and it has been very hard to get even this far. There have been so many doubts, so many that have not made it to the blog. But, I feel like I have the momentum, no, to not only see the end but get to the end. I have a plan and a schedule I feel confident I can stick to. I have a renewed sense of direction. And, I have so much support from so many amazing, wonderful people who want to see me succeed. If anything, that’s the fuel that will keep this momentum going.

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Thanks for everything always.

~Till next time~