I have been contemplating adding illustrations to my work, but am still working out the mechanics of formatting, consistency, and continuity. However, here are some VERY rough sketches of what I have (there’s about 30 pages of these but I’ll be reserved with what I include here).
My decision to include visual elements to this project comes from my YA Lit. course, being that a great deal of the stories that are so formative to my professional wrestling journey, that I intend to include here, would be heavily aided by such.
This week has been one most unavoidable, as it just happened, it just went on by. I did a good amount of writing, I know that, but none of it feels like it is on par with my usual (well, I’m starting to doubt what is my usual anymore) status, my usual state of being. I am struggling to write about new ideas, and most of what I am doing seems to circle back to the same exact topics, the same exact stories, and the same exact spiral.
I have been a bit moody, notably. I notice this when other people call me out on it, and it makes me feel like an ass – I do not like to bring a room down. I do not like to know that I am down, and I do not like to be down. Despite my sardonic and harsh nature of speak … I am a bit of a shortened Richard at times, I like to come from a place of love, even if tough, or brutish. I am really struggling to convey new ideas with writing. At least comparatively-so.
I do not feel like I am superbly at the state of consistency that I uphold myself to. If I am being at all honest in the slightest, I cannot point my finger on what a consistent me is anymore. A good chunk of big bursts I have crammed and forced in the name of I have to do the thing, but where is my passion, where is my grit, where is my soul?
I am in some sort of boredom state, I have to be, and that is a wired needle swimming throughout my fleshy brain. I need something new to rejuvenate my spirit. Is it academic? I think no, but perhaps that can guide me there. This is not a situation that I would call dire where I’ll hunt out some therapist for hire – I gack – not will it eviscerate my entire fire.
But I am dimly lit.
There is something that I feel a door of embarrassment around, something that I want to avoid and can’t really let out. Something that I am in doubt that I will catch, something that I doubt is looking hard enough to catch me. I have written and rewritten, and drawn and droned upon recollections of my past, but progress just ain’t coming past in a way that feels fast. Excitement and passion are all aflown – is that even a word, the duck do I care – and I am simply doing by. I am simply being am.
Do I need a clean slate? Do I need to be caught? Is this a guarded battle to be won, or even fought? What do you make of all of this? Because I really don’t know.
This past week was exhausting to manage, as Halloween is the closest to a “big deal” holiday that I celebrate – it is actually the only one that I do, celebrate. The lords of darkness or whatever deserve respect too, y’know. ANYWAY, I went to a New Japan Pro Wrestling show in Time Square this past week, and it was … pretty mid. The card was to be a surprise sorta thing, which I thought was to fit into the Halloweek theme that was advertised for the show, but it was really just an excuse to have a few of their big names on the card, and then just a bunch of American indie guys. It was absolute filler, which is a shame because NJPW is kinda-sorta the big gold standard of the craft, and I didn’t REALLY get the NJPW experience live. That would have been extremely important to me, and to a specific chapter that I want to include in my thesis. Oh well, ya gotta adapt.
I do have second row seats to a massive AEW show this month, so that will probably be the best experience ever, and be one that deepens my appreciation for the physical toll of professional wrestling, and how physical language is such a pivotal part of the conviction of this craft.
I almost finished a chapter, it just needs some tweaking and a revision, but I’m excited to move onto the next one, which I think could either be a breeze or a challenge. I’m debating either writing about the history of the art-sport or a fragment of my journey with it – or maybe even something random from my bullet point list of topics. Just anything to further spark my movement for this project, because a body in motion … may get hit with a dropkick every once in a while but if you’re not willing to keep moving than you’re down for the three count, y’dig?
Aghhh this one was pretty hard for me to get through, I’ve lost a good amount in the past few years, two of which were two of my absolutely favorite people. Neither were soft blows, and both were incredibly brutal to watch – life degraded and decayed these two so suddenly right in front of me, and there was nothing I could do. Or could I? I think so. I don’t know though. Shit is really hard. It was fucking ugly.
Every single time I see a picture I break down a bit inside. I went to the movies and a character had the same name as one of them. This past weekend one of my best friends checked on me after the film to see if I was okay… two hours later and that was the first thing that said friend asked. Said friend didn’t even sit near me, they saw no reaction. But they knew that these wounds still fucking tear. I’m spilled open, defenseless.
I can’t even imagine compiling such an e-lit work for one’s own mother, I don’t know, I suppose that it’s therapeutic. I have pictures of my last moment with one of my two big losses on my phone, and I will never delete them, but I try my best to scroll past and avoid them. I just found an old camera from high school, it’s crazy how much has changed in 6-plus years. Those two are ghosts in that roll.
The pictures here are tender, joyous, and admirable. They represent simple slice-of-life joys and organized social activity based on – the photo. These photos were taken well before the digital camera boom, so I suppose that taking a picture was a cool thing, exciting, lively! An all eyes on us or me or them sorta thing. Now ghosts of a past.
I can’t even finish reading a majority of the text involved here, it pressures me to put my own – their own – horrors into words. That scares me. I still, more than two years later, wake up with a wet pillow whenever I dream about them. Sometimes I can’t see with any clarity when I open my eyes because I guessuppose that I cried too much. There is that search, neverending. Where some have the capability to obtain some sort of closure through creating, I have no idea where to search for mine. Fuck. You’re literally to my right, in my room. I can’t even look at you, guilt is a bundle of hard shit.
I’m going to submit this, roll over in the opposite direction, and go to sleep. If you aren’t in my life when I wake up tomorrow, please don’t visit me in my dreams tonight. I’m not in the mood to run away right now. I just can’t take it.
I really don’t have much to type about for this past week. This blog in particular I’ve waited on just because I really don’t want to think about the past week, I just want to look forward toward the next one. I had a bit of an extended ripple effect related to what happened to me last week, but nothing close to being as intimidating as that, but besides that I’ve been compiling digital resources to coexist with some more personal aspect of my writing. Events that I’ve lived through.
I have almost ten good pages, twice the resources as last week, and about three-plus good note pages (which are more rough draft pages than they are note pages). But yeah, just another week indeed. It went by fast, and it wasn’t uneventful, but I can’t recall much regarding the specifics of it.
One thing that is driving me nuts, actually, is that there are some quotes from professional wrestlers that I remember from certain interviews and/or documentaries that I’ve compiled and filed in my head over the past 17 years. The catch here is that I have to shift through them all to find them! For the most part I’m pretty good at catching them by skimming through them thumbnail-style, but for some I don’t even remember the interview or even doc sometimes. It’s like a Where’s Waldo maze. Kind fun, but that little stripe-fit guy can be a real pain sometimes.
This past week has been my most successful one yet! Not only have I got some writing done, nothing stupendously major in size because a great deal of it consists of blanks that need to be filled in with research, but really the content is worthy of a pretty solid chunk. Like, a really good chunk, and it is the sort of stuff that sparks my energy mucho – so I can type it productively and time-sufficiently … when I get the chance to sometime within the next few days.
I planned on getting this portion done this past weekend to show it to my Independent Study professor ASAP, but a very frustrating circumstance occurred that really fucked me over as much as it fucked over my productivity. Sorry for mixing blunt execution with vague context, but it is one of those kinda situations (I’ll gladly explain in person).
I have acquired and annotated a good number of articles, with great, no … excellent aid of my Independent Study professor. Some really interesting stuff that will aid me certainly with the more beyond, deep in the past, sorta historical stuff that very well influenced the wonderful art sport that my thesis revolves around. Two of them being articles (one quite lengthy) titled “Roman Arena: A Monument to Culture – and to Barbarity” by Stephen Bonnycastle and Whig Kingston, and “Spectator Consumption Practices at the Roman Games” by Yuko Munowa and Terrence H. Witkowski. Oh, and a book (that I have yet to dive into) titled Death and Renewal by Keith Hopkins.
Unfortunately the Kean Library did not have that book, I think it was stolen because it showed up in the system, so I had to snag a used copy off of Amazon. It didn’t break my bank, comparatively. I have also read some of my ideas and bits of writing to my peers, all of which have given it glowing comments that really lifted my mood – and the visual components that I am thinking about adding (despite being kinda primitive and not superb artistically) were awarded praise of personality and relatability, so yay!
Going forward I am a bit distraught by the unfortunate circumstances that occurred over this past weekend. Many bad people exist unseen, and can attack from great distance. Shit sucks. I am still motivated to move forward.
I am typing this blog post a bit earlier than I usually would because I have a few non-academic related appointments coming up over the next few days, so I want to ensure that I don’t wind up having to cram last-minute or anything like that. Usually if I’m on campus I can comfortably do my research and assignments whenever, but off campus I find it tricky. I’m a creature of environment, what can I say?
Over the past week I have done a good chunk of writing. The brief hiatus that I took from obsessing over professional wrestling as much as I usually would seems to be exactly what I needed to rejuice my Juvi-Juice (that’s a very lowbrow professional wrestling reference for all of you, don’t take it literally plz).I was more able to enjoy a few of my other interests and revamp my academic rigor a good deal. A lot of what I’ve been writing still deals with more of my own personal analysis of professional wrestling on top of more memoir-esque puzzle pieces that reflect on my journey as a super fan of it.
On top of that though, I have been reading and annotating one particular text, of which I more skimmed through about a month ago. I am a bit of a toe-dipper when it comes to researching texts that are more lengthy. Once I warm myself up a bit I then dive in head-first, full throttle. At the moment I’m highlighting and marking up as much as I can, and am certain that I’ll finish doing so by the time Wednesday’s class rolls around. This text is really helpful in that it is essentially someone else’s thesis on professional wrestling, and while has strong similarities to mine in base-level intent has a completely different take on things, one that I (albeit) find a bit surface level – you can likely piece that together based on the title alone: A Rhetorical Genre Study of Pro-Wrestling: The Heroes and Villains in Pro-Wrestling and How They Have Been Shaped by Audiences.
Alright, so personally I think that the text is a bit too American-focused in regards to how it ties professional wrestlings extensive history to the present, with very little mention of a lot of great professional wrestling that was happening elsewhere at the time of its writing. It is also a bit dated considering that the most recent resource to be located within it comes from 2008 (the year I turned 10). Still, it provides a decent-enough introduction to other building blocks that I intend to research further in completing my own thesis such as the significance and progression of certain combat sports from Rome, Egypt, Ireland, Japan, etc. over the past few centuries and how they led to the modern day presentations of professional wrestling that I am so impassioned by.
A big problem present here is that I detest the act of annotating relatively long texts (book-sized texts) digitally. If that’s your groove, wonderful! I just prefer holding the text in my hands and marking it up tangibly. I suppose that I;m a bit of a geezer in that sense. But Holy Toledo, these books that I have in my queue are pretty damn pricey. I mean, I used to work in a bookstore years ago and got a 40% discount and all that, but I don’t remember paying more than $20 bucks for a hardcover since then. I managed to find one book under $20, and all of the rest are $35+ … paperback too! What the… ? The one I’m reading now cost me $70+ (I can’t return it post-reading because I accidentally spilled some of my post-workout hydration on it). I suppose that a subject as niche as professional wrestling leads to a lot of hand/limited pressing, which makes sense, but sheesh.
On the bright side, I’m certain that I’ll have the most pricey Lit. Review List in this class because I’m stubborn and hardheaded, and that totally seems like something that KanYe would brag about if he were in my position. So my ego is a tad bit boosted there. Regardless, my passion for this rejuvenated and I am enthused and excited to push forward, even though I might have to tap out and go digital.
The past week has mainly been one of reflection, because for the first time in almost ten years I just wasn’t feeling like thinking alot about professional wrestling. Perhaps this is to do with it being October, so horror soundtracks and films are occupying my mind, but still… weird. Even with something that I adore as much as this art sport, I think that every now and then it is good to take a break from something or someone that you love so much. A moment to decompress and be with oneself. I did have a few discussions here and there, and began coming up with ideas for other classes that can enhance my thesis, one involves how I can tie into a different genre or book medium to signify my evolution with professional wrestling. Something that will serve along the lines of the technicolor birth in The Wizard of Oz (1939).
So being that my main thinking about professional wrestling has come more in the form of what I can do with it academically, rather than marinating on how much it means to me, you can very likely assume that I’ve been focused on my other schoolwork as well. Yes, I am. This does not necessarily relate to the tasks in which I achieve within the classroom, but I tie this into the environment and other notable individuals within it. So I’ve been really just getting into that Fall Semester vibe mindset, where I walk around a good chunk, say hi to people, and marinate within what may very well be my final calendar year as a student. Crazy to think about.
This is a huge part of being an academic that I think goes underappreciated and/or valued. I mean, sure sometimes I just want to get in, go to class, and get out (not really more like once every two years) but there really is such a motivational and mental boost to realizing that you are existing in such a relatively small window of time with some special people. So sink it all in. Drink “a little bit of the [proverbial, no alcohol here] bubbly,” y’all.
Last Wednesday a huge development came in my life as a professional wrestling fan that is sure to be a true gift to the progress of my thesis. I went to Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, NY to see AEW’s Grand Slam show. Now, aside from this being the biggest non-PPV event on AEW’s calendar year, it really shouldn’t seem like anything too special. I went to last year’s event, and it was probably a better show than this year’s, but show quality is not the point of focus here. Last year I was very much in the nosebleeds for Grand Slam, and this year I had floor seats. REALLY good floor seats.
I dreamt of attending a big wrestling show and sitting floor-level since I was at the big-boy age of seven, 17 years of my pretty young-ish life. A huge chunk. And this was not like seeing the old retired wrestlers of yesteryear relive their glory days at the Elk’s Lodge in Union, NJ close (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Rather, I was watching one of the most talented and notable rosters in the world, in their prime, peak legendary status, or come-up all showcase super proficient professional wrestling. Arthur Ashe holds 20,000+ seats, and to look at such a venue from a central floor level… It gave me chills. It felt almost spiritual.
AEW has had a good chunk of inner-turmoil and controversy lately, of which involves a backstage brawl, suspension, and ongoing investigation between who are arguably their four most seminal professional wrestlers (CM Punk, Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson). What is going on now is frustrating for fans and the entire promotion, and a big of a red flag for the foreseeable future. It is also something that will likely be strongly bookmarked in the annals of professional wrestling history. I really hope that it wraps up before I start REALLY laying pen to paper for my thesis, because I think that it could very well be a key component to be presented in relation to the WHOLE thing.
Anyway, what truly made this event special is how it reminded us fans that what really counts is that AEW still serves as the fighting spirit alternative to the more “Disney on Ice ” presentation of professional wrestling that has dominated North America for the past 30-plus years. AEW is only a three-year old promotion, but if the show that I attended last week shows anything, it is that the company will still continue to emit professional wrestling love and craft through its most notable struggles for its fans that have a very legitimate love for the art form sport.
But wow, being that close to names such as Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley, and Bryan Danielson, and Sting was phenomenal. I have been watching these individuals since before I ever knew what boxers were, and it just shone a light on me just how physical this sport is. I can get super specific about that, but I think that this blog post is running its course a bit, and that could get super tedious for the rest of you. Wow though, it really sparked a whole new complementary yet mirrored view into my appreciation and internal understanding for professional wrestling, almost to the point where it feels like a new pair of shoes. There is so much more to bite into than I previously thought about, and it mainly comes from the act of watching the thing.
I have an entire iceberg to pick apart here.
Also, I got to see THE GREAT MUTA in-person!!! So significant.
“I was lookin’ back to see if you were lookin’ back at me To see me lookin’ back at you.” – Massive Attack
Okay, so my goal up to this point in my thesis journey was to at least have the whole thing mapped out, but I don’t even have that done. Haha. That confessed, I’m not really sweating it, and I’m also not claiming that I shouldn’t be sweating it… too much, but my forehead is pretty dry at the moment. I think that the reason why is that I have something even better, in my eyes and mind, a beginning! While I will not SPOIL what that beginning is here through blog format, I am meeting with a professor today to discuss it… in like an hour, so we’ll see what is stated about my starting point idea.
Okay, so also, my beginning “piece” has lore behind it but it actually hasn’t happened yet, it will be happening tomorrow, but I think it’s a good idea! Gosh, I feel like anyone reading this is eye rolling at me. Maybe it’s time for me to buy a map.
Okay, so fortunately for me I have a week left to get this whole “mapping thing” done and completed, which aligns perfectly with my beginning idea (*hint-hint*, All Elite Wrestling… today is Tuesday, tomorrow is Wednesday… ;)). Not that I think I’ll be in hot water if I were to show up to class next week with my goal in an empty-handed state, but I like not to disappoint and I am particularly fond of meeting my own standards.
Okay, okay, so I’m not okay (there ya go Edna!) because this schedule is still not one that I am used to. Kean did/does this really weird thing where the semester started on Thursday. I don’t have a Friday class, and Monday the following week was canceled. So my first real FULL week of school was last week. So I’m not okay but I’m almost decent. I think I got my time around it. I really like to work out too, that keeps me motivated, and a health scare a week or two ago really took my mind away from things (I’m okay in that sense I’m pretty sure). I’ll be going for a follow-up visit either this coming Monday or the next, just for the doctor to check on things, but I’ve been assured that it’s nothing too BAD. Check yourselves.
Okay, so I am a bit, not late on my assignments and other workings, but I’m running hard to catch up. This is not a bad thing, because I’m not too shabby at running and all that. I hit a 6 minute 10 second mile last month, so you know I can speed things up and burn out a little if need be. I’m not even stressed, and am in a good mood, really, but I’m just waiting for that one day where I can play catch-up to get back to being ahead of schedule. Perhaps this Friday will be that day for me. I’m certain!