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Did I Meet My 2 Week Goal?

Short answer: YES!!!!

Long answer:

Also, yes, obviously. I hit my 20 pages last night! I am calculating pages by 300 words equaling a page via YA novels. I am almost at 21 pages, but writing will no longer be the focus going forward for the next few weeks.

I have been focusing on writing even when I knew I was re-writing a scene that I had somewhere else or information that I couldn’t remember I had or not. Most of what I wrote was inner monologue and dialogue, I write in script form first and then flush out things later. I just needed words on a page. Now that that is done, I have the harder, more daunting task for a non linear writer like myself: editing, plotting.

Editing is something I love and one of my favorite things to do…for other people. I love taking someone’s project and helping them craft it to become exactly what they want it to be. It’s why I enjoy my academic editing job now and helping Communication student’s with their scripts.

That being said, having to go through and edit my own work. It’s tough. I am not nor have I ever been someone who plots their work from start to finish. I just write and let the scene, characters, take me wherever. Which can be nice and necessary, but extremely unhelpful when putting a big project together.

So I reached my goal and I am stoked about that, but now the bigger task comes and I am a little nervous and feeling a lot like I will be fighting procrastination moving forward on this.

To help keep me accountable, I plan to use novel writing tools and books and dedicate 30 min a day to sitting down and plotting. That will be the goal of the week and then hopefully after that I will have a better idea of editing and moving the scenes I wrote around as needed.

Spinning a Web of Methodology

“When we’re writing memoir, we’re writing the small moments. When we think about memory, memory does not come in a linear narrative. Memory comes to us with lots of white space around it—and that’s where the poetry is.” (Jacqueline Woodson)

This quote really resonated with me this past week as I continue researching methodologies that accurately fit within my thesis. I have been so invested in cornering my work into theories that I hold dear rather than allowing my work to speak for itself. It feels like I have been steering my work rather than allow my work to inform me. I spent much of the last few weeks looking through my writing and analyzing what themes arise.

My writings sprout into many interdisciplinary topics such as trauma, culture, politics, sociology, and psychology deeply rooted in memory. What has arisen are the nuances of my lived experiences paired with the invisible hand of silence and what has remained despite everything is memory. Howard Zinn states, ” The memory of oppressed people is one thing that cannot be taken away, and for such people, with such memories, revolt is always an inch below the surface.” (Howard Zinn).

Moving forward I plan to invest more time researching concepts such as “the colonized mind”, the importance of memoir for oppressed peoples, qualitative interviews, poetic memoir as grounded theory.

A few research questions that I have narrowed down are as follows:

What memory/event informed each specific writing? How was it significant in my life/growth.

How are some ways memories resurface in trauma victims?

How is memory processed in the minds of oppressed people?

Blog #3: Further Proceedings

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.

Okay, Okay (pt. 2)

“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!

Update on 2 Week Goal

My two week goal (Sept. 14-28) is to have anywhere between 8-20 pages of my thesis complete. I am calculating this by word count (300 words = 1 page).

As of today, I have written 3 pages total from Sept. 14-20 and I am learning to incorporate a daily writing habit and planning for my next two week goal which will be focused on completing other writing for college applications while focusing on the revision of the pages I have written between Sept. 14-28 and compiling them with the scenes I have previously written for this project (and revising these as well). I think in total I have 8 pages for this project (but won’t know until I look back at all the scenes and work I have), but I am not sure if they are cohesive pages yet.

When focusing on just word count and pages, I feel good. If I think too much about revision, compilation, how much of the story is written, and the role these first pages will play in applications I start to get a little anxiety.

I am trying to focus on writing and creating a daily writing habit and just cranking out work even if it is subpar.

I can’t create my best work if I don’t create any work.

The Next Two Weeks

For the next two weeks, my plan is to outline. I know I’m not going to get the entire novel outlined in these two weeks (it would be insane and cool if I did though, but not actually possible). But I will hopefully get an outline of an outline done in these two weeks.

Basically, I want to know what needs to be outlined versus what needs to be edited from what is already written. Today (or yesterday at this point), I came up with this very basic list of what needs to be done.

My crazy plan for a plan

For those that can’t read my handwriting (including future me), it says:

The plan for the next 2 weeks:

  • Outline chapters 4-7
  • Figure out 5-7
  • Write test pages for P.O.V.s
  • What is ch. 8?
  • Outline ch. 1-8
    • Or really prologue through 7 (*4-7 have nothing yet)
  • A lot is happening in ch. 1 – what can be moved?

This list is in reference to what I originally had planned in Bibisco. Chances are, I will keep this how it is, but now would be the time to make any changes I feel are necessary.

Next, I have different P.O.V.s planned. A random bystander gets the prologue. For this one, the bystander could be Anixa or another character, it could also just be a third-party observation. I’m not exactly sure just yet, but I will be soon.

Anixa will be the main-main character, most of the chapters will be told from her point of view, starting with chapter 1. Then it switches to Traxel, then back to Anixa for chapters 3-5. Then Traxel gets chapter 6 and Anixa gets chapters 7 and 8.

Random thought, since Anixa gets so many chapters, at least at the start, I may tweak them a bit so that the later ones (5, 7, & 8) would be told from the POV of a group member. We’ll see, the main focus is just outlining right now. I can decide on points of view later after I figure out what happens in each chapter.

This should be fun. Let’s see where my imagination decides to take me this time!

M.A Thesis Origins

The content if my M.A Thesis sprouted from project I began as an undergraduate for the course, Ethnic American Literature. The end of the semester project students to develop a project that defined what the American dream.

How often we hear the words “American Dream”, accept it as a general truth and never reflect on how we have internalized what it truly means to us. I soon discovered my American dream was roadmap embossed in soul searching and unlearning.

In the Ethnic American Literature course, this roadmap was connected to the iconic American children’s story The wizard of Oz.  The iconic yellow brick road that led to the Emerald city was symbolic of my journey in finding my American-ness or The American Dream. As time progressed, that metaphoric yellow brick translated into a road I had to pave brick by brick and the only way to do that was to allow myself to speak my truth. To speak truths I had buried for so long. The process of unearthing those truths led me to ask why I had buried them to begin with.

My M.A Thesis is compromised of deeply person pieces of writings, never daring to call them legitimate poetry. Each piece representative of hurt, trauma and scattered healing process. It took me a long time to allow myself to write freely; I still struggle to write without guilt, but it was the writing that allowed me question where the guilt came from. I learned that so much guilt I carried stemmed from a longstanding tradition of holding many minorities accountable for their entire religion, race or culture. This soon led me to critically think about the effects colonialism had on my mindset; how I perceived the world and interacted with it.

In my mind, I still don’t see a paved yellow brick road, but allowing myself to be vulnerable and share my experiences with others tells me I have grown. Perhaps my path to self discovery is never ending. Every brick on this road is compromised of a sacrifice, mistakes, guilt and accomplishments; and I am learning to be Ok with that.

So Anyway, I’m Brandon

This selfie was taken at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ for the the 123rd episode of AEW Dynamite (02.09.2022). The fan screaming at the literal top of his lung capacity was very heated with the ever so hated Burberry scarf wearing “salt of the earth” MJF (Maxwell Jacob Friedman).

Hey, so for anyone reading this who is unfamiliar with my other website that was formerly used for a class that pretty much consisted of the same exact crew (give or take one member) that makes up this thesis-related course, but is currently being used for another current course (weirdly enough it is not being used for this course now that I think about it but I digress because it is not really much of an issue to me, jut something that got me a bit semi-chuckly) … uh, so anyway, I’m Brandon.

The website for the former class that is currently being used for a current course but that is separate from this specific course for the sake of being a but more organized and individualized had something along the lines of a majillion references to Kanye West, much to the absolutely bliss-filled delight of the peers referenced prior within this blog post, being they are all really huge fans, was called TheCollegeDropoutGraduate.  Ye’s debut LP thesis, The College Dropout, had a strong internal impact on me well before I ever Dropped Out, Late Registered, and Graduated from university. 

His first three albums did, actually. Honestly I’m not quite certain that I would very well-ly BE and be HERE without them. 

Whatever, I’ve been really good! The past few months have really been the first period of time since I was that I have truly felt a sense of youthful/adolescent exuberance streamlined throughout my physical, my mental, and my overall being. I finally feel older, but in no rush. I am at least more accepting and less dreadful about the the whole “being” thing, and in-turn my energy feels a whole lot more younger than it has been since I was seventeen, or around there.

What’s that TOOL lyric… “overthinking, overanalyzing, separates the body from the mind”? Well, they are pretty darn connected currently. I rejoice!

I don’t know about you but I feel like I just shared a good amount of insight about me, or I suppose more so where my mindspace is presently. I will not be as detailed in detailing you on the itty-bitty bits regarding my thesis, because it is still very much in its infancy. That’s okay, because I find it inspiring and eagering. My thesis will certainly focus on writing, it will revolve around professional wrestling. The big sticker here is that my thesis will focus on the rhetorical writing surrounding the art form of professional wrestling, and how it relates to my life, the act of writing, storytelling, and most importantly physical communication. 

The art form sport is one that, especially to me, transgresses all others in its unparalleled ability to bend and blend the real world, and invert it within itself with an extensive lore that makes century-running comic narratives and historical journalism blush. It is the ultimate high for me, so my end goal once my thesis is read by others is for y’all and them to have obtained even just a sliver of the excitement that I have for it, because that will result in a slew of lifelong fans discovering the professional wrestling lovebug that I know is present in all of us, in some way, shape, form, being, or cosmic attraction.

Growing up I felt stupidendously ostracized for liking professional wrestling, and noticed that many others were embarrassed and/or too cool for school to be upfront about their love for it. I’m not so sure that this has really changed all that much in the modern day. Personally, I think that the people that knock on and downplay professional wrestling are fake and predetermined (haha).  Thus far I have simply outlined in my head a bit, gathered resources, and thought a whole lot about wrestling (I’ve watched the usual ton of it as well, of course, duh!). Not even just in a writing sense, but I have been replaying key images, impactful moments, and my own personal crossing with the sport. I guess I am comfortable enough to claim that I’ve mostly been exercising in vibing with it lately, and manifesting the fighting spirit that motivates its most mountainous highs within me.

Introduction & Reflection

Hey everyone! As we all know each other I will save a formal introduction and jump into how I’ve been and what my hopes are for my project this semester.

If you want an introduction you can check the homepage of my E-Lit site here.

How I’ve Been

Life has been…eventful. Back in April, my hope for the summer was to jumpstart my thesis and make significant headway; however, that did not happen. Family became a huge priority and obligation and that was my focus for the entirety of the summer.

As fall came into view, I moved into an apartment and, while it has been exciting, that within itself was full of challenges. Some of those challenges included family and work obligations on top of internet issues and laptop issues (I am now split between three different laptops at the moment as one does not work with my apartment internet, one can only do minor projects and nothing substantial and the other has the only working camera of the two that can function on the internet).

I am happy that after this weekend work and family obligations will be scaling back and I will, hopefully, get my main laptop fixed.

So, that is how I have been, recently.

My Thesis

My thesis is a YA novel. However, on top of that I will be applying to MFA programs whose deadlines fall in November and December. So I need to have 40-60 polished pages by those deadlines to submit for the grad applications. My plan is to write 5-10 pages per week (not including this week) and start editing/polishing pages after 20-25 so while drafting the last half I will be polishing the first half and hopefully be finished with all of that by the Thanksgiving break and I can turn my focus to the rest of the grad applications (I still need to do a little research about all the requirements which is why I am not including pages this week as this is all subject to change at the moment).

I am excited to start focusing on this as well as to learn and support each of you and your projects.

Welcome Back!

Since May, I have been relaxing, working, and writing. I picked up a Summer internship at a bookstore that wasn’t really a bookstore thanks to Hurricane Ida. I got to work on my photography though and got paid for it! I also worked at Kean, filing papers and writing whatever ideas came into my head. Then in June, I did the writer’s retreat and loved it!

Since then, I tried to hold myself accountable for working on my novel. It didn’t really work and that’s upsetting. But I’m learning from that failure. I realize that I need to change where I write. Thanks to my internship, I learned about this place called The Write Space. I have yet to try it out but I know exactly where it is and I’m putting money aside to go one day.

Next, I made a plan to just stay on campus all day every day just to write. Partially because The Organization was born there and I feel like it should be finished there too, but also because I get my inspiration and ideas from people and things I see.

So with that said, on to my thoughts about my thesis. (I kind of can’t believe I’m writing/saying that and how excited I am about this!)

Wow, Thesis Time Already

It feels like I just started and I’m already looking at the light at the end of the tunnel.

That’s because you did just start. You knew you weren’t going to be doing this forever. It wasn’t going to take you 6 years like you A.A. & B.A. did.

This is true. But I still don’t really want it to end. I mean I want it to end but not. Ya know?

Anyway, I woke up this morning feeling three ways about starting my M.A. Thesis.

My first mood because it feels like everything is happening so fast.
After a minute of quietly panicking I let myself feel excited because I am finally writing a novel and I will get it done and it’s exciting.
Last, I let myself imagine how I would feel when it’s all done. While I won’t actually push my laptop off a table, I will be feeling bittersweet.

Over the Summer I joined the writer’s retreat, which you can read all about by clicking “writer’s retreat.” And it was amazing. I began working on my thesis there and have since tried to work on it more afterward, but it didn’t work out that way.

Thankfully though, I did manage to get organized in a way that I know will help me in the long run and I know what I need to work on during the semester to get me to a finished novel by May.

A quick recap of my project:

  • The Organization is going to be a magical realism novel
  • It is based in New Jersey in a made-up town called Zorshall Creek (zore (like sore but with a z) sh – all)
  • The main characters are Anixa Nettle and Traxel Litespire, they will be the good vs. evil sides in the novel (along with their teams)
  • The main idea is doing bad for good reasons and how different perspectives change how people view them. i.e. robbing banks to fund the community or doing illegal things to catch fugitives.
  • I am still in the planning phase but have a few things written.
  • I’m using Bibisco to help me write this novel and it is going amazingly. (I did end up paying for it, but it is worth it!)

My hope for the semester is to have a fully fleshed-out outline where I can just pick a section and write it. And to have at least 8 chapters done. Ideally, that would be two chapters a month and I know I can do that. My main concern is time. During the retreat, we had close to 6 hours a day to focus on our writing and I got a lot done. So, I’m taking that knowledge and giving myself a rough estimate of how much I can expect to be done by December.

I’m really excited for this class, to see what we all produce. The ideas we’ll have. We are all writers and I can’t wait to read what we write!