I feel so relieved. I’m happy that I know what to expect, and that the instructional design of this class is familiar. Being in a comfortable, supportive routine is something I think I really need right now, because the last month has been a roller-coaster! Personally, emotionally, professionally, and academically, I really crave the comfort of a routine that feels “normal.”
I also know that a solid routine is what I need in order to pick up that fishing pole again, and get back at it. (The image gallery really spoke to me, and I know I have to return to the dock and get back to fishing, so to speak.) So, to do that, I need a solid roadmap.
Here’s what I’m thinking: The main focus of my work this semester, early on, needs to be developing my Literature Review further. I have a few, good sources which have informed my creative work so far, but there are now more I need to incorporate. Specifically, I want to tweak my focus to include traditional Alzheimer’s, as well as whatever specific disease my father will be diagnosed with. I’ve been doing a ton of the research as I navigate through the personal part of this process, and there are lots of terms that I’d never heard of just a few short weeks ago, but that have rocked my life in so many ways. The doctors are leaning towards corticobasal syndrome, which explains many of his symptoms, such as ideomotor apraxia. So, jargon and terms such as these, I think, are important to include in the research end of this project, both for the authenticity that they’ll lend to the writing, as well as to inform my own personal journey, and how I am using this story as an exercise in “speculative fiction” as a genre, for emotional support and exploration.
This leads me to my second focus, which is to really create a solid Research Proposal. I don’t want my project to just be a purely creative one. I’m very much interested in balancing the creative work with more traditional aspects of a Master’s Thesis, and I want to feel like I’ve done the work and really “earned” this degree. I want to make a contribution to the academic discussion on writing, and what it can do, and really try to forge some new ground with regards to speculative memoir genre development for therapeutic benefits, even if they are “just autoethnographic.” (No shade to auto ethnography, but it always felt like the least “research-y” of the methods, to me!) Still in all, I think this aspect of the Research Proposal is critical to this project.
And lastly, and certainly most obviously, the creative work. I think this part of my roadmap will naturally flow, but I want to make a conscientious effort to resist falling into this part of the project, since it’s already the most developed. However, I have some existing concerns, which my group was really great at helping me navigate in the Troika protocol. I am struggling to introduce levity to the writing, and frankly, into my life lately. Sun and Susan gave great advice, which I recorded in my notes as: “Suggestions from Susan and Sun: objects introducing funny/lighter anecdotes. No to the sarcasm. Does humor have to be the only vehicle of levity? No, literary devices like simile, or imagery. Good idea, Susan!” So there’s already a solid direction for improvement there.
With these three foci (I love Latin plurals!), and of course, the supportive advice, well of talent, and physical time and space to write built into this course, I’m feeling pretty optimistic about where this roadmap will take me!