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Had a productive week in terms of research and feedback. In terms of writing, not so much. Slowly making progress but it is definitely slow and I am putting a plan in place to kick it into high gear.

That being said, I did not meet me goal for the week. I was hoping to work through a chapter of a book/writing tool that I mentioned during my presentation last week. I have been working my way through it but haven’t completed it yet.

Going forward I want (need) to make more headway writing, but after a meeting I had yesterday I feel very confident and what I need to do and what/where within the novel I need to focus on.

Look forward to giving feedback tonight and connecting with everyone.

Blog #7: Just Another Week


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. 

(there is a Waldo in the Lounge FYI ;))

The struggle is real

I’ll admit, I’m struggling. I never liked reading research, and so, in true Chelsea fashion, I didn’t start until yesterday. Plus, these weeks are going by too quickly and it’s starting to stress me out.

So, on to progress. I was able to skim through my sources and pull chapters that would likely be good, I was even able to rule one out. So, there is some progress and today, I’m going to lock myself in the library and dive in to all the research.

I have a presentation next week that I’ve at least been working on. I’m not too worried about the presentation or the semester in general, I have full confidence in myself that everything will get done. It’s just in the process of getting from start to finish, I take the longest, hardest way.

Starting today, I promise to get organized, get things done early and stick to my study plans better.

All The What If’s…

A question roaming around in my mind the past few weeks has been : ” Can the process of theory be unintentional? Technically according to Grounded Theory, the answer is yes. Grounded Theory as a Qualitative Research Method is one in which the theory is developed through the data collected. However what I am specifically trying to understand is the unconscious collection of data vis-à-vis poetic memoir.

The writing process of memoir in many ways mirrors the data collection in Grounded theory which occurs in a cyclical manner. Both seek to gain perceptions and understand experiences, but the aforementioned occurs at an unconscious level. Similarly both require the researcher to focuses on a process or actions occurring over time.

Another striking similarity between the methods in Grounded Theory and iMemoir writing process is coding. Once a Grounded Theory researcher as collected data, they must begin a series of coding procedures: taking memos, coding of themes which have been extracted, grouping of codes into concepts and then into categories. The writing process of memoir, specifically poetic memoir involves some levels of the same coding process. The writer constantly visits and revisits specific memories and events that may or may not be linear in an attempt to understand their own lived experience. Even though the extraction process is initially an afterthought, the writer makes a conscious effort to make sense, on an individual level, of what has been produced. Furthermore, both memoir and grounded theory allow the focus to shift according to data. What a memoir writers discovers about themselves often changes over the course of their writing. The emphasis on understanding rather than explaining further implies that poetic memoir can be considered a valid form of grounded theory. In many ways, it can be asserted that Memoir, specifically poetic memoir is in Unconscious method of grounded theory that creates a pathway to consciousness.

In the next coming weeks, I will read up on more poetic memoirs and the possibly coding and methodology that they entail.

Not Much to Update On

I’m still looking for more sources. I haven’t gotten a chance to really look through them yet. Ideally, I’m going to use the 14-day challenge to help me with that. Yesterday was the first day and I was able to transcribe older notes into Bibisco.

The plan for today is to look through what I have and narrow down what I have. Once I have skimmed through summaries and abstracts, I’ll be able to print the ones I need and do a deeper read of them and start an annotated bibliography. That may also turn into creating scenes for my novel based on the research.

My main concern is tying the research into the fiction, I’ve never done that before and I don’t want it to ruin the novel. I am hoping that by writing scenes based on the research, it would flow easier into the novel. Also, I’m hoping that each source would equal one, maybe two scenes, that can be used to help build that foundation of the novel.

Took the Money & Ran

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.

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.