A True You.

For some writers, writing just happens. We exhale and words seep unto blank pages. To some, this may sound like a poetic process to some but many writers grapple with making sense of what has been produced.

I spent much of the last week diving into pre-existing research on the process of memoir writing and issues of identity. Two books I found especially informative were:

Neither Settler Nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities. By Mahmood Mamdani

The Art of Memoir by Marry Karr

In The Art of Memoir, Marry Karr states “The author of a lasting memoir manages to power past the initial defenses, digging part the false self to where the truer one waits to the more complicated story” (Karr, 38) This is something I struggle with deeply; Freeing myself of a presumed burden I carry.

Similarly, Mamdani presents many provoking arguments on issues of identify. He identifies key political eras that directly contribute not only to the displacement of so many, but their permanent minority status all over the world. The constant ” reimaging and redefining of the political community ” that occurs throughout the decolonization process but fails to address “the ideology of political modernity internalized under colonialism.” (Mamdani 34)

Mamdani addresses deep seeded issues of “citizenship” and “rights for whom” as a means of recognizing the political identity assumed under colonization as “not natural”. He invokes the readers mind to critically reflect on the invention of political identities as a tool to stratify and divide.

While Mamdani’s work seems unrelated to the work of memoir, it in fact helps clarify ” the truer self” mentioned in Karr’s work.

The process of memoir is deeply rooted in revealing what hides beneath the lived experience: The real you. As George Saunders beautifully writes,” We apply certain kinds of pressure to you, under which you are forced to flee to your highest ground…but hopefully, under that pressure, you leave behind all the false you’s- the imitative You, the too clever You, the Avoiding You- and settle into that ( sometimes, at first, disappointing) beast, Real You…Real you is all you have, and all the other paths are false. And in the best case, Real You is so happy to finally be recognized, it rewards you with Originality ” (Saunders 2013)

Works Cited

Karr, Marry. The Art of Memoir. HarperCollins , 2015.

Mamdani, Mahmood. Neither Settler Nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2020.

George Saunders. ” Failures of Kindness” MFA Graduation speech, Syracuse University, 2013

Research Updates!

I’m having fun researching. I don’t like having to find the sources themselves but when I do find that potential perfect source…*cue the confetti*

I get to use previous knowledge, like using an asterisk (*) after a core part of a word to get different variations of the word in your search results. I love that because it does open up different possible words that I can use and add to my search list.

And I get to add new knowledge like typing “AND kw:(…)” and fill in any word to an already searched phrase. With that, I’ve been easily able to add new words that I noticed as I was searching.

Over the next week, I’ll be looking through more search terms and skimming the sources on my laptop before printing them for a deeper read. I struggle to read on my laptop which is why I print everything.

So far, I only have 7 sources and I want to try to get to twenty with the hope that I will narrow it down to maybe 15. Which means I have to do a lot more research and a lot of reading.

Falling Behind

Editing has been extremely stress inducing for me. I’ve been doing more research into how to plot and trying to decide if something needs to be cut or moved. Making my work cohesive is really tough for me.

I understand plotting and novel structure from a reader and editor perspective, but for some reason when trying to use what I know for my own work I start to spiral. “Does this make sense? Should this scene follow this one? Should the chapter end/begin here?” etc.

I am falling behind on what needs to be done. I am trying to keep up with this project and just constantly feel like I am choosing what class(es) work I will not complete each week just to make my schedule work.

My Lit Review is something I am not worried about at all. I have read about 6-7 pieces and 4, maybe 5, of them will be in my Lit Review. As for note taking, I have annotated them and written a paragraph or so about my thoughts around them so when I need to come back to place them in the review document I have something to build on.

Research Has It’s Price

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.

Independent Work Week for Research!

We discussed how to proceed in developing your Literature Review last week, so above are the slides that help you discern how to proceed when collecting your critical understanding of the relevant literature influencing your thesis project. Remember the funnel approach and also remember this is an ongoing iterative process throughout your thesis time. Here a brief snapshot of the next couple of weeks:

Oct 12 Independent Work (no meeting) *Library workshops recommended

Oct 19 Our first Thesis presentation from Kathryn; Lit Review check in & conferencing

You to-do list:

-Blog on your thesis progress.  Report out where you are on your Lit Review process.  -What materials have you gathered? What materials have you read? What kind of note taking process are you engaging in?

¿Perdonar? ¿Con qué se come?

I was asked to write about forgiveness, what do I mean by this word? Blank.

I spent 2 days thinking about forgiveness, I watched movies, I listened to music, I read one or another poem trying to clear my mind and nothing. Until I saw the premiere of Hocus Pocus and in one scene Winifred loses her sisters, there I understood that to forgive is to lose and lose to find oneself again, perhaps with another thought, more mature, more conscious.

Forgiving more than a feeling or an emotion is an act and a choice to leave behind or overcome the bad that has been done to us and that we made ourselves. To forgive is to get rid of carrying an unnecessary weight of grudges and negative feelings that stagnate you more and more.

When I think of forgiveness I imagine myself saying in front of the mirror «I forgive you because I choose not to live with the negative feelings you provoke me, because if I do not let go I will keep them alive and they will become a disease that consumes me spiritually and physically.» I believe that to forgive another it is important and imperative to forgive yourself, to know what we are doing wrong, what hurts me and how I can solve it, because if I do not do this exercise with myself, how will I know what about the other hurts me?

Forgiveness is no longer feeling hurt when I see myself when I see them.

I believe that writing is important for forgiveness because it allows expressing, to carry out a work of introspection. Life hurts and sometimes it hurts to live. It hurts the thoughts, actions, the day to day, sometimes that pain stops being felt within itself and comes out, the body, the hands, the eyes, the head hurts, it hurts to breathe and it hurts to exist. Writing has allowed me to do a process of katharsis, because I have been able to express what I feel and think, what was left in my throat, and what went away with the wind. I have seen writing as a therapeutic process that allows me to breathe. I am extremist, exaggerated, a little dramatic, and tragic, but I know that writing about what hurts me and has caused that pain is not bad, because it is necessary to know, recognize, forgive and grow. Forgiving is hard, but it is necessary. If it weren’t for the writing I would still have a grudge against my family, towards me. Forgiving is also an act of love, of life. Writing gives me life, forgiving gives it back to me.

My Week

Honestly, the week has flown by and I feel like we were in class yesterday talking about our two week goals.

I had a busy week last week and am still in catch up mode so not much as happened with my thesis. Finding a scene to read has been difficult and I have been spending a lot of time researching how to plot. I have many scenes but trying to line them up, understand what exactly is a scene, what is missing, etc. has been extremely difficult and overwhelming.

I haven’t made the progress that I had hoped, but am excited to continue to break ground on this aspect of my project. The fact this is so challenging let’s me know I will learn a lot about my project and my process as I am working through it.

My overall feeling for this week in everything work, personal, and school is “under prepared and overwhelmed.” Because of this I have set aside time to just sit down and lay out what I need to do and turn to resources that are around to support me.

Here is a meme I found that accurately portrays how I am feeling.

The Problem with remembering…is remembering.

This week I spent a lot of time researching memory and how our brain processes traumatic memories. Here are a few personal take-aways.

For so long, I couldn’t explain nor could I understand why I couldn’t remember. How does one forget something so devastating, so earth shattering? Its hard to fathom, isn’t it? grappling with this works two-fold for abuse victims. Not only does it make them doubt their own sanity and make them angry with themselves; but it also makes them seem unreliable and even worse, unbelievable. Even more unbelievable is the fact that many people still do not know or understand how the brain processes traumatic memories, this includes many abuse victims and people working within the court systems.

so while society and court systems are asking victims of abuse to remember and recall every small detail of the ordeals they survived, our brains interfere. For so long, this caused a lot of frustration within me, but in hindsight I am realizing that my body was my only sanctuary. My mind was protecting me and giving me time to process, time not afforded to me by the outside world. so while, intrusive memories and flashbacks are difficult to cope with I understand now my brain was functioning out of mercy. Isn’t a wonderous thing to realize our bodies are hardwired with the empathy we need in that moment?

Sometimes the lived experience can not be retold with a beginning, middle and end, sometimes in needs to be remembered through glimpses because the horrors are too overwhelming. Perhaps the most desperate moments we live through need to be remembered and retold through droplets over time. Perhaps the problem with recalling and remembering is not remembering at all, but a society that does not place empathy and care at the forefront in regards to traumatic experiences.

For so long, I didn’t realize my brain wasn’t working against me; rather it was intervening on my behalf and saying: “you need a moment”.

Take a Few Slams Back

Me Dancing a(fter)t Homecoming … I Didn’t Get In

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.

Recapping the Last Two Weeks and A Look Foward to This Week

Over the past two weeks, I did nothing. But on Wednesday, I got a lot done. The plan for the next week is to do as much as I did today but on a semi-daily basis.

I need to start fleshing out chapters. I have the first 7 outlined and they need a bit more work but once that is done, I’ll be able to move on to the next step.

Creating some sentences for the chapters. My plan is to have some paragraphs of the chapters done. The order doesn’t matter as much right now. More so getting the content then organizing it later.

Lastly, I want to start working with different points of view. Just to see how I will shift chapters as the story unfolds. A few of the things happening in the novel happen to different people, so I want to see how I can recount the same thing but from two different perspectives.