Happy Halloween

Its the spookiest day of the year. The day where the boundary between the living and the dead are blurred, allowing spirits to walk among the living. My favorite time of the year.

Lately I’ve been focusing on the structure of my thesis. As I’ll explain in my presentation today, I want to structure my thesis into three major parts. childhood, ranging from 0 to 10, adolescence, ranging from 11-17, and adulthood ranging from 18 to Now. Each being a filled with crucial information on why I started the journey of searching for my identity.

As for the Literature review, I have 6 articles that will be extremely beneficial and can be used for multiple parts of my thesis. I also have 4 books, 2 of which I will relating to (these are the memoirs Minor Feelings -Cathy Park Hong and In the Country We Love -Diane Guerrero) and the other two are more for inspiration. The Poet X centers around the struggles that come with a strict Hispanic household and it’s written in verse. so it’s a great source to learn how to tell a story in this format. I wrote this, for you, is one of the poetry books that has impacted me greatly more than any other contemporary poetry that I’ve read. When I brought this book to class it may have not seem like a lot material to go off but it’s actually part of a bigger collection. There’s actually about 4 books titled I Wrote This For You (or some variant of that)

My writing has been slow for the most part. I find myself being over whelmed with the work of other course, and entertaining the most important family guest, my Grandma who is visiting from Ecuador for about 2 weeks. I manage to push out a few poems and short memory recollections here and there but not as much as I want.

Anyhow, since we’re meeting digitally today, I’ll link my reading here.

A Short Week

This week I was a busy one personally so all I was able to do was some more organization and started the actual writing of my blogs and ideas/topics fro writing. I have not solidified what platform I plan to use as of yet and I am making that a part of my research by looking at different platforms and what would be best for my work. I have updated my Thesis Google Doc to explain In more of my plan, but in short I will be creating a website where I will be using the perspective I have had as a parent, an early childhood education teacher, and as a grad student who has now spent the last year and half engaging with multiple forms of digital media platforms, for education purposes, and sees the importance of creating digital literacy patterns as early as the ages from birth to 8 years old.

I have approximately 15 solid sources so far, as I am preparing my literature review. I have not had a hard time finding information, it has more so been a challenge is going through the information and actually finding pieces I can use that don’t all sound similar or are stating the same things, I have not as of yet gone in depth with actual research on tech products for children of this age and what applications or programs work best. I noticed this as I was sorting through the information I have so my goal is to take this week to explore more of the actual tools children can use. As this relates to my blogging/ vlogging( because I am thinking of adding some vlogs/ pictures and other imagery examples to my website)

Overall this thesis will consist of two parts which will be the actual information I will be giving based on the research I do in the fields pertaining to early childhood education and teaching digital literacy. These ideas will be expressed in the second part of my project which is the actual creation of the website, the content ( which will be my ideas, scholars evidence surrounding the field, vlogs, other forms of of literature or digital art forms). I will be doing some interviews as well with other parents that I am familiar with, b ut have never had these conversations with them. I feel these will be posted on the website it will make for great content.

In the Reflection Period, I guess…

I’ve taken these last two weeks to really read my articles and kind of see how my family and I fit into these theories. The main articles of focus were two written by Mirna E. Carranza, and honestly, I felt like I was reading about myself throughout both articles.

The first titled, “SALVADORIAN WOMEN SPEAK: Coping in Canada with Past Trauma and Loss,” gave me insight to a side of my family’s postwar traumas that I’ve seen play out in real time, but never acknowledged. Carranza goes through 4 coping strategies that many of the women use to come to terms with the postwar traumas. Spoiler alert: every single one is actively used in my family!

The one the stuck out to me was “no pensar,” which translates to “don’t think,” and this is essentially the women actively choosing not to allow their traumas to drown them by not thinking about them. This is definitely a coping mechanism for many family members of mine. But, what interests me is the fact that this explains so much in terms of their inability to communicate. This also plays into their need for self-reliance.

In relation to myself, this unfortunately came down the pipeline and filtered to me. I mean, I’ve always struggled to communicate what I feel. This is why I write; I need to put it somewhere other than within myself.

That realization alone was enough to make me feel like I’m moving in the right direction in terms of my thesis. It makes sense why I’m itching to search my memories and find my place in the Salvadorian community. I feel like this will be some weird form of communication between my ethnicity and I.

One more thing: I have sat down with my mother and I have an itinerary building up for my trip in January. Most of the locations are within her village and my father’s. They are on opposite ends of the country, so I feel like this will be an interesting lens to look through. I have six days and hardly any internet. Seven year old me would think I’m insane for doing this.

Session 7: Milestone Appoaching

At the time of writing this blog post, I only have five articles left to read from my original list of about 23! Yes! I am going to finish those five this week, and attend to a few other research tasks such as scanning a few pages of a book that I plan to refer back to but have to return and picking up one of my fiction selections that I got from interlibrary loan. Speaking of fiction, I’ve already read one off of my list and added it to my annotated biology. It was a graphic novel, so I flew through it quickly as expected.

The research is going well. I’m building a robust list, though I expect I’ll still have to research some other topics once I’m finished reading what I have left. I’m still not sure where I’m going to go with another stream of research, but hopefully that will become clearer after I finish this round and take stock of what I have.

Writing hasn’t been as productive as I’d wish. Perhaps once I’m getting closer to really being finished with the research part, and can dedicate more time to actually writing, things will get easier. As it is, sitting down to work on finishing the second draft still feels like pulling teeth…I’m thinking about using the motivation of Nanowrimo to help me finish. Of course, I’m not going to add another 50,000 words to the draft, but just the goal of writing every day and the comradery of participating with the Nano community will probably help me a lot.

Speaking of second draft…I’ve been thinking about what that term means to me. For Retrograde, my second draft needs to: introduce a new plotline, completely remove most of the events of the middle of the story and replace them by weaving together the new plotline + existing ones to create new scenes, and change the ending to comply with the new narrative. This draft has to be cohesive, eliminate any major plot holes, and demonstrate a strong plot that’s really driven by Mercury’s actions. That’s it. Other things, I can fix up in the third draft next semester.

And what’s the goal of the third draft? Strengthening character arcs/characterization and polishing the solid plot foundations that I’m laying down in the second draft. By the end of the third draft, I want to have a story that is ready to be sent in to a developmental editor, whose fresh eyes can hopefully help me to see any leftover plot problems and help me plan out any big-picture revisions that are still needed before I begin focusing on the smaller details like improving the style of my writing, the sentence-and-paragraph structure, and so forth. So, what is really important for the second and third draft, for this Retrograde-specific process that I’m developing, is plot and characterization! To me, those are the two most important things in a story, and so I want to get them down solidly.

I’m excited for Halloween tomorrow, and to see everyone on Zoom class! 🙂

Building A Perspective

This week will pretty short with my blog post, as I plan to take our class time, and the rest of this week to starting bringing forth new ideas to my thesis. Doing more research last week I found 7 more articles that relate and I am in the process of going through them to find what I need and don’t need. I have done a good job so far of keeping the information I find organized. I can see how later I mat possibly end up not knowing where a specific piece of literature is as I start complying for my literature review. I am attempting to find specific quotes and cite them now so I know exactly where to look. The issue is not yet knowing -exactly what I might say or it where it will fit is the issue. I can see that as I now have about 15 solid sources ( I know should be more by now probably, but these are the ones I feel very strongly about as of now) , I may just want to find some way to track my work through the chapters or specific passages from he works I am reading.

Our discussion last week was very helpful as it truly helps me know I am heading int he right direction when someone says exactly what I am thinking. Creating a platforms for moms (or parents) was starting to cross my mind as I wanted to find a way to incorporate that parenting is so vast as each child is unique and it is important to hear the different aspects. With this thinking I have solifided that I have to look at eh realm of early childhood instead being so specific and looking at preschool, because this was to specific in the study, and I felt I was making my information search to narrow. Hearing the prerspectives of different parents from the early childhood age group can depth to my research.

I feel that I want to create a space where I can incorporate the use of technology with early childhood education by having a place where information not he latest tools are available, parents have a forum for questions, and of course showcasing how technology in this part of development can be helpful in the Childs development process. As I stated last week, taking this to a school perspective left too many gaps for question, but presenting this from a mom perspective leaves room for others to contribute their ideas. My suggestions and research are not the end all be all, but will give great insight into how this can help teachers with curriculum learning, parents keep up with curriculum learning at home, and how to gage a Childs development through the use of technology when it comes to education.

The rest of this week I will spend some time finding a few more sources for my literature review. Aside from that I will explore some platforms where I where I can bring my ideas to life. I want to see what my options are when presenting this work. I want to refine the information I am gathering and have a second look at my rough outline and add and take away what I don’t need based not he change I have made int he way I am presenting my work. I want to looking some education technology tools that are used in schools, and even some early childhood schools ( in or outside of the United States) where they are using tech tools to teach.

Session 6: Ebb and Flow

As I’ve been for the past couple weeks, I’m still reading research. Last week, I narrowed my list further. Now, I have a small pile of four articles printed out right now to read over the next couple of days. Once I’ve finished those, I have a list of 10 more articles, as well as a nonfiction book to finish. I can make good time reading the articles, and I could probably find more in the the bibliographies of what I read, but…I feel as though I’ve gotten a lot of the information that I needed from these readings. I’m hopeful that the 14 I have left to go through will give me the rest of what I need on the subject of growing up queer in a Catholic environment…and then I am not entirely sure where to go next. I don’t know what other topics I should explore. I don’t want to fill up my whole bibliography with readings on this subject, since as I said, I think I’m close to having all I need on this particular matter. Out of everything I’ve read so far, a lot of eliminations have left me with 5 sources on my bibliography. Hopefully these next 14 readings, plus the book, will give me another 5. I have some fiction to add as well…but still. I need to figure out what fields of research would help me. I might try looking at other characters aside from Mercury and find a couple of resources than can help me with writing them. Or I could dive into Catholic theology and symbolism…hmm…

However, this blog post isn’t meant to be bad news or just a scream into the void about being lost…because aside from research, I’ve also started writing Retrograde again! I hadn’t really added anything to the story in a couple of months, feeling pretty stalled, but I’ve managed to type up a whole new scene, and I think I’ve got the momentum to continue writing more throughout the week. I’m still not entirely sure how I’m going to thread this new plotline all the way to the end, but I’m a discovery writer, so I just won’t know until I get there…and that’s part of the fun, honestly.

(For reference, in this draft I’ve cut out a rather large plotline late in the story in which Saturn has to stay a few days at Mercury’s house due to her father needing an appendectomy. Which, I mean…I liked a lot of those scenes, they did a lot to develop Saturn’s character as well and her and Mercury’s relationship, but ultimately the whole thing just felt too incidental. I need events that are more connected to and caused by Mercury’s actions, so I removed that plotline and am sort of playing with ideas about what to fill that void with.)

I’m going to spend the rest of the week reading articles and writing more scenes. Since we don’t have class tomorrow, I’m hoping I’ll be able to power through and read the 4 articles I have printed. If all goes well, I can print a couple more when I’m on campus on Wednesday and read those during the second half of the week. I’ve been listening to my Retrograde playlist while writing, and if you’d like to give it a look or a listen you can click on that link right there!

See you all next week!

Finding My Arch

Last class was helpful, I didn’t put much though about the grand “arch” of my thesis. Obviously I knew within my essays I was leading up to something but I couldn’t figure out just what exactly that was. Well I did some reflecting. I started to look over the stuff I had already read like Sylvia Path and Sandra Cisneros work. I started to realize a general theme I was gravitating towards (even when it came to my own writing) was love, relationships, and sexuality.

When I looked back on the collection of essays I gradually been producing/building, I realized a lot of the themes within my essay focused around the same themes found in the readings I was partaking in for research. Therefore, I think perhaps maybe I can stick to these three themes as part of my arch or I can maybe narrow it done to just one?

I will say now though, I feel more comfortable starting my Literature Review process because now that I possibly know what my overall themes of area are centered around, it would be much easier to center my literature review that reflects those themes and helps make my essays potentially stronger.

Boo! HALLOWEEN is Almost Here

I don’t mean to scare you all, but we are officially headed to Halloween, which means that the remaining time in this semester will start to really fly by, from here on in. As an academic with many semesters under my belt, I am well attuned to the rhythms of the Fall semester. What typically happens is we hit Halloween with a sense of the semester midpoint, but the remaining time really whips right by. This is in part due to Thanksgiving and then the quick approach of the holidays, which bear for many of us the weight of complex emotional expectations. In other words, our experience of time will accelerate, the pressure dial is turned up, and the worry involved with reaching personal goals will start to dial up too. But I am here to say it will be ok. I am of the mindset that if we acknowledge these impending factors, we can head off the way in which it might take us all by surprise. My advice for the next few weeks is to keep your eye on the prize, and remember that “slow but steady” wins the race. (If you were wondering – in this context, “the prize” is a successful completion of the semester).

Here is some food-for-thought about the challenge of procrastination, and the bigger picture (with some laughs):


Thanks Gianna for a great overview of your thesis project, which is well underway. It was a treat and a truly inspiration to hear you read a small excerpt from the universe you have built in Retrograde thus far. The themes (and the writing itself) are already deeply felt and distinguished, and I look forward to your further thoughts on what a “second” and even “third” draft might entail moving forward.

Next up! The following week we will not be meeting, but your do not have “off”, as the time we would be together should be used wisely with intention. I have labelled the coming week as “Independent Work Week” and I look forward to hearing about your overall progress in your blog posts.

I will see you all on Zoom on Oct. 31, and we will have the pleasure of listening to Erik’s presentation that evening. Until then, keep going and put in the concentrated time it takes to write and develop a big picture project like the MA thesis.

And remember, until we meet on Halloween night, …a candy a day keeps the monsters away.

Dr. Zamora

quick break to breathe

This week I took time and looked more into the structure of my thesis. I have so many creative ideas that I desperately need to narrow down, so I know what I’m actually creating. Because I have so many forms of media to include, I’m really leaning towards going a similar route to the E-Lit website. That is where the idea spawned from anyway. I feel like it could act as an organizer in a way. As for the research, I am categorizing them by context versus content.

I know those are two broad categories but it’s helping me navigate through the research articles a bit. I think of context as histories, social movements, etc. and content has more to do with individualized research – so like the more creative references that’ll inspire my thesis. Essentially, I’m separating the scholarly research with the creative research.

I know the gears have to start turning a lot quicker than what I’m doing right now, but I think I finally have a better grasp at the final end product that I want in terms of research. The visual end product needs to be cleared ASAP.

Don’t Be a Squirrel

(Quick explanation for this title, squirrels often hide nuts in the ground and never in one place. Safer to have multiple caches of nuts than one big one. However, some of these caches are…forgotten or left behind. Since I don’t have the fear of having my cache of valuables stole, I’ll place them all in one place and avoid being a squirrel)

I had a very lengthy conversation with my friend, peer, and confidant, Daniel. He and I had a similar experiences in our lives regardless of our upbringing. He’s Pentecostal while I was raised catholic. Why am I mentioning this? Well because religion is another aspect of my life, my identity that I’ve avoided. My family was never big on going to church, however they raised us to be good moral people. They always told us to believe in God but never in the word of man. It cant be trusted. Man can be greedy, self-centered, egotistical, evil, selfish. SO this is my stance on it on religion and how played a role in my identity, I’ll have to write on it some more to get all of my thought on it out from the prison in my mind.
One other thing that I will be focusing on is the idea of trust. I want to write about this a lot more before I tell the digital ether about it.

On the topic of Organization. I have made a Google folder for everything. I have made subfolders for books of a similar fashion (memoirs in verse and poetry books) then folders for the old dead white guys that inspired my love for literature and poetry. I’m debating if i should make a folder for songs or music that have impacted me.

This is one of my favorite poems. Its currently fighting for first place against Max Dhrmann Desiderata. It clearly depicts the anxiety within me and the unsureness of everything.

For the research articles I’ve decided to separate them by topic: one for DACA articles, one for articles on Theological identity, one for trauma responses. I could go more general and just make folders with general topics like legal, psychology, theology, memoir, etc. For now I’ll leave it as until I get more articles. (articles that I know ill use)

My next steps for the Lit review is to scour the databases for psychology articles on identity and/or trauma. Id like to avoid making this an APA psych thesis and somehow have my article give some justification for my thoughts. I’m trying my best to avoid Freud and his coked out Oedipus complex diagnosis…if that’s possible.

I’m super excited for Gianna Presentation, and hope to collaborate or discuss religious inspirations and maybe share found articles on this topic.