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Falling Into the Right Season.

Last weeks library experience was very helpful when it comes to the research for this extensive thesis we are all working on. I always remember how important the library is when I get there and can see all of the ways in which information can be processed. Craig Anderson did a wonderful job showing us some helpful tricks and tips to exploring and also narrowing our research into the direction we are choosing to take it. The database can really give a broaden version of what you may be looking for, but as researchers we are able to shuffle and discard what we don’t need, and find the true gems that can help us create our thesis.

I feel that I will actually be using Union and Maplewood’s public libraries along with Kean’s to get the information I am looking for. I don’t want everything I research to come from the internet, even though some will, but I want to challenge myself with the collection of my data and broaden how I do my research. I feel that I have used the internet and databases to my advantage thus far in the grad program, but I want to step out of my comfort zone little and see what more information I can discover.

As I continue to research my topic I see if won’t be hard to find information on technology use in classrooms, What I am finding most difficult is the preschool aspect I have within my topic. I want to focus mainly on preschool & Kindergarten, because to me these are the fundamental stages in school for children, and I feel a lot can be learned if applied correctly and adequately.

I want to give a shout out to Gianna because she sent me a really good link last week that connected to my topic. She sent me a link to an instagram page by a woman named Brittany Washburn who teaches a tech curriculum, which really ties into my topic of the idea that tech should be an apart of the curriculum. She focused more on middle school and high school students, but I was still intrigued scrolling on her page, and I liked a bunch of her techniques, so she gained a follow from me. This led me to all of the ads and emails I get about how to incorporate these tech learning tools onto my Children’s iPad, where I spend obscene amounts in monthly charges to accommodate them. I have seen personal progression with my children using the tech tools with intention and purpose which has created my view.

All for the chance at a Dream

It’s tough to write on a part of your life you’ve tried to avoid thinking about for as long as possible. The question may arise: Why weren’t you more proactive in figuring out your status? or Others who have recently got here have figured it out…why cant you? or my personal favorite which infuriates me Why didn’t you come here legally? A simple answer for the first and third question alludes to a kind of existential dread. The answer to the second is more complicated so I’ll save that for last.

Questions 1&3: Skewed Dread

Why weren’t you more proactive in figuring out your status?
So the answer for this needs a little bit of context. In 2011 during his first term, President Obama proposed the DREAM act as a pathway to citizenship for certain unauthorized immigrants. It was not passed by Congress (thanks asshats) and then turned into what is now DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Now this gives me the ability to A) not be deported B) receive in-state tuition (it does not guarantee the ability to apply for federally funded financial aid) and C) a social security number (Billini 25). To quality for any of this you need to be of good moral character, that means no criminal record (check), enrolled in school, High school or university (check), under 31 and have entered before 16 (check), and lastly, continuously resided and physically present in the U.S. since June 15, 2012 (check). So after hopping through those hoops and ladders you’re in. Congrats, yay, bring out the champagne, wooooo lets party…in Limbo. There’s nothing after this, that’s where it stops. Since it’s not a legal status I can’t apply for benefits such as: financial aid, food stamps, welfare or unemployment. I can’t own a gun (not that I want one), I can’t vote in any elections, can’t leave the country, and lastly no path to citizenship. Why am I not more proactive in gaining legal status? What can I do? I can’t vote for politicians who claim to have my back. I’m legally stuck, waiting for a miracle to land on my lap, waiting for others to grow a moral conscience.

Why didn’t you come here legally?
A question with the simplest of answers. I had no choice. I was a child of 6 thrust into a world divided by imaginary lines drawn by powers I could not comprehend. I can’t even go back to “my own country” because my visa would be revoked for 10 years. I would be stuck in a foreign country, with family I don’t know, with a language that’s slipping away from me. I once spoke to my mother about this. Why would they revoke my visa? I personally had nothing to do with this, you brought us as children. She told me “legally it was your responsibility to return when you turned 18 and apply for a visa that allowed you to emigrate to the US”. (quick side note on the bigotry thrown around these days about unskilled illegal immigrants, both my parents have Law degrees. Imagine trying to get away with anything in my house )
Well why didn’t your parents come here legally? We came on a tourist visa so technically we did come here legally. we just decided to overstay our welcome.

Question 2:Fear

Others who have recently got here have figured it out…why cant you?
Here is the big question that I actually have a semblance of control over. There are several ways to bypass my legal status that require a little bit of ~crime~ (and money). Who hasn’t heard about a Green card marriage? You marry a lawful citizen and within 6-8 months BAM green card and within 5 years BAM naturalization. However, if its found out you lied to do this, you get deported and the other party is charged federal crime along with several other fines, and even jail time. Since this is a capitalist nation you could invest half a million into a business and various other ways. Here’s an article stating all the legal way to become a citizen. Now, here’s where my upbringing comes in. As I mentioned in a side note above, my parents are lawyers so they like to do everything by the book, and legally. They raised me and my sister to follow suit, not cutting corners, following the law, and being a good moral citizen. This, alongside the consequences of breaking said laws, instilled in me a fear of being caught red handed. It can be seen in the poem I wrote on my last post, about the fear of standing out, of bringing attention to my self and my status and the safety of donning my chameleon’s cloak. (great title name for a poem).

Regarding Lit Review

Now that my informative spiel is over, I can speak on my research. It’s tough to research this topic since most of the results relate to Law and commentary on the injustices and lack of progress for me and the 800,000 others like me. That being said, it is a big part of my current identity. It might even be a GIANT chunk of my thesis, but honestly I see it as the upper most layer of me. It speaks nothing of my lyrical prowess, my wants or needs out of this life. I have this image in my head of a planet, let’s call it planet Erik. The situation of my status are the storm clouds in the Troposphere that can break at any second. Something completely out of my control. Continuing on this analogy, there’s still layers upon layers of earth that hold secrets waiting to be rediscovered.

Works Cited

Billini, Alicia. Dreamers: Stories of DACA Recipients in Higher Education during the 2018-2021 Political Climate, Western Michigan University, United States — Michigan, 2021.

Session 3: Moving Along…?

This week’s class in the library was very helpful. Sure, I knew the basics of doing research from previous class experiences, but Craig’s direction to specific databases was great! I also really appreciated finding out just how easy it was to look for fiction books, by keyword, in the Worldcat search, simply requiring the clicking of a checkbox. I’ve began to assemble a list of books I’d like to read as research for Retrograde, and this tool has already helped me add to that list. Aside from fiction, I’ve also gathered quite a few research articles I’d like to read…

But moving away from research, onto the more “creative” side of things…I’ll admit, I’ve felt pretty blocked when it comes to working on Retrograde. My goal is to finish the second draft this semester so I can start work on the third draft next semester, that draft being my “official thesis project”, but I haven’t touched the current draft for a few weeks (even though the deadline I originally set for myself to finish it is October 15th). I’m stuck on what to do with the plot rework, and forcing myself to sit down at the computer and write doesn’t really help me with creative work, at least not past a certain point, so I’ve been giving myself a break, time to think.

I am hoping that reading some of these articles might spur my brain into action again. Like, no, I don’t think I’m going to find a literal plot point while reading about “Youth Resistance to Homophobia in Catholic Schools,” or what have you, but I am thinking that doing something related to the project will help the gears in my brain start turning and get me to generate my own plot fixes. Furthermore, my in-class presentation is coming up in a few weeks, and I’m sure that getting to share more about my project with everyone will have me eager to work on it again and that everyone’s comments and insight might help me get on my way, too.

In that spirit of sharing, here are the first few paragraphs of Retrograde:

Saturn and I used to be best friends, actually. Maybe it’s because our names match, even though her dad named her after the planet and my mom named me after the Roman god. But, anyway, it’s not really because of our names. We just get along well…got along well, even though we’re so different. She’s not very well-liked at school, but I think she’s so cool…like, she used to get in trouble all the time for wearing the boys’ uniform, but it’s because of her that they let girls wear pants now. She tends to view most rules as just…strong suggestions. Which, um, isn’t good, of course, but I’ve always…admired…her bravery…

“What exactly are you confessing here?” Father Oskar’s voice pulls me out of my rambling and I shut my mouth. His tone isn’t unkind, just curious, but I find myself at a loss for words for the first time in the ten minutes I had been sitting here. The wooden lattice separating us doesn’t do much to calm my nerves; it’s not like it prevents either of us from knowing who’s on the other side. I fold my hands, start counting by multiples of four in my head. 4, 8, 12, 16.

“I…um…” I had started so strong, was so resolute, was really going to do it this time. “Well, I’m…it’s kind of a long story, actually, I was getting to that…” 20, 24, 28, 32. Counting soothes me, so long as it’s by fours, one of my favorite numbers. It’s even, for one thing, and an obvious factor of forty, for another. In the Bible, forty usually symbolizes a period of trial, like Moses leading the Israelites through the desert. I like it for that, a reminder that I can make it through anything if I just try, and pray, hard enough.

“Apologies. Please, continue.”

“Uh…” 36. “We…” 40.

Unfortunately, Moses himself never made it to the Promised Land.

Thanks for reading, see you all in class!

Getting Stirred In The Right Direction

Last nights class at the library was helpful. For the most part it was a refresher from what I learned in undergrad. But what was not a refresher was how I should go about my own research and how to conduct my research. Going on the database for gender watch helped immensely. For one, I feel like I got to the main portal of research that I want to find. Once Greg helped me narrow my research and what exactly I need to put in the database, the research didn’t seem as overwhelming as I initially thought it was going to be. That felt like a relief.

Once Greg moved onto the next person to help, I stayed on the database and continued to look throw the different essays. There was about a hundred-something. Some I emailed to myself to maybe look over the weekend and read through in hopes I get inspired. And others I sort of passed through. Despire being so many results that popped up, it was a relief to know that my topic hasn’t really been done to be completely honest. And most of the essays that I did find just sort of came from a feminist perspective and what that meant. But I did not find any personal essays of what it means to be a woman and experiences of being a woman. I just found surface/ in general ideas of the topic. Which is good. But like I said, for the ones I did email to myself I do have to read over those this weekend and see what exactly has been said through personal essays and see what I can do when it comes to my essays. Ideally, my essays have not be done, because they are my personal thoughts and experiences. But regardless, I do still need to see what has been done centered around my idea.

As of now, I have about five essays completed and I am slowly completing more as I go. I am taking my time on the essays as I want them to be well written and as well as well thought out. They are something so personal to me and I want them to be expressed correctly. Each day, I am aiming for at least one essay or half an essay. But we are moving along to a direction. Not completely sure of that direction fully, but I know we are moving.

A conversation with myself

5 hours of time is a goldmine. I want vignettes and photos. Vignettes are memory-based, but I don’t have memories of El Salvador because I ran away from it for so much of my adolescence, and that’s kind of the point. I neglected my heritage, or I neglected learning about it. As I grow older, I become more inquisitive of my surroundings and their origins.

Then, I have the trip I may take in January where I can record, interview, dig up histories of my town, take photos as artifacts, create an interactive “thing” where all of this lives….but where?

And…what is the question?

What am I asking from myself, of the people involved? What do I need to know? Do I want to talk about generational trauma? Not really, but maybe a specific form of it.

How does generational trauma manifest itself?

Generational trauma is defined as a sort of “collective suffering,” which is interesting and maybe something I’d like to sit in and think about. A lot of my family had to run from traumatic national events, which I’m sure trickles down to me somehow.

This topic intrigues me, but I also don’t want it to become a long list of traumas my family has been through. Maybe it can be the base for it all? Who knows…

Attempting To Find Direction.

Thanks to our class discussion in zoom I felt a little clear on where to exactly begin my research in order to truly start understanding my topic. There are so many directions in which I can go with this project and still am not to sure on which avenues to truly focus on, but I know this is normal at this stage.

This week as suggested by Dr. Zamora I decided to begin simple and start with looking at Digital Literacy as it compares to early childhood education. Skimming around I was able to see that I am not the only one persona interested in this topic and not the only one who wants to take a step in that direction. Finding out that I have a lot to study and examine makes me feel more comfortable with my topic, although this is just the very beginning.

I thought to myself that similar to the invention of fire or light, the internet can be put in this category as well . Very monumental and has truly changed the way we carry out life. It has made a huge impact now and with its expansion possibilities for generations to come.

With this thought in mind I want to carry out my entire thesis with this thought and tell why it is important to teach digital literacy starting early. This teaching is leading to further advancements of society around us.

“Early childhood is a pivotal period of child development that begins before birth through age 8. This is a period of rapid brain and body development.” These moments are huge when dealing with growth and development of children and implementing digital literacy strategies into their curriculum can really change the projectory of learning, or this is in some way what I am trying to prove. Either way positive outcomes for generations is the result.

The internet started January 1st 1983 according to to google and since then it has been implemented in every aspect and form of life. My idea is starting to truly understand how to use this tool, instead of children just being able to search cat videos for hours, can really change the way educators educate.

Below is how I started my research and where my thought process began:

How Parents Can Teach Digital Literacy Skills at Home 

  • List down the key topics that will improve your children’s digital literacy. Building a clear plan will help you lead a more meaningful conversation with your children. Some of the key topics that you might want to discuss with them include cyberbullying, online ethics and internet safety.
  • Break down topics into short bursts. Don’t overwhelm your children with too much information in just one sitting. Split it into smaller chunks and concentrate on one topic at a time. This will give them enough time to absorb and process everything that you’re teaching them.
  • Apply games. Young students get distracted quite easily. So if you want to have their attention focused on you, you need to make learning fun for them. One way to do so is by reinforcing game-based activities. You can also leverage gamified tests to assess their digital literacy level. 
  • Let them experiment. Let loose and allow your children to apply what they’ve learned into practice. Allow them to use technology with little to no supervision to help them become more independent and responsible online. 

What is Digital Literacy?  

Digital literacy is a broad term that encompasses all of the skills needed to live, work and thrive in a digital world. People who exhibit digital literacy understand technology, make use of digital tools, find verified information and even share one. They’re also well aware of the risks associated with technology and know the precautions to avoid them.

Digital literacy includes four crucial elements: finding, evaluating, creating and communicating information. Youth need to develop these skills to successfully navigate the digital age.

Digital literacy is an essential skill for preschoolers to learn in today’s increasingly tech-centric world. By engaging in technology activities, preschoolers can develop fine motor skills, understand concepts such as letters and numbers, and learn to use technology safely and responsibly.

Preschool teachers don’t have to be tech experts to utilize technology activities in the classroom. From various apps to using tablets or smartphones, there are plenty of simple activities to help develop children’s essential digital literacy skills.

This post will explore the importance of digital literacy in education and tips and activities to incorporate it into your classroom.  These technology activities are easy to set up and can be tailored to the developmental level of your children. So whether you’re a tech novice or a pro, you’ll find an activity perfect for your class.

A child seated with colors on the table, a white drawing paper and a computer. She is copying what is on the computer screen and coloring the same on the white piece of paper.

What is digital literacy in education?

Digital literacy is using technology to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information. To be digitally literate, one must be able to use a computer and the internet for various purposes, including research, email, and social media.

Digital literacy is an essential skill for children to learn to be successful. With the ever-increasing reliance on technology in both the workplace and everyday life, it’s more important than ever for preschoolers to use technology effectively.

Preschoolers are beginning to develop the skills they’ll need to be digitally literate. By providing them with opportunities to use technology in various ways, you help them develop these essential skills.

Technology activities for preschoolers should be designed to allow them to experiment with a variety of different technologies. Moreover, exposure to various technologies will make them better prepared to use them in the future.

Why is digital literacy important?

We use technology in our everyday lives. From smartphones, computers we use at work, and entertainment systems in our homes, digital devices have become a staple in nearly every aspect of our lives.

While too much screen time can be harmful , digital devices and technology are powerful tools for learning when used in moderation. For preschoolers, learning to use technology in fun and engaging ways will help set them up for success in school and beyond. Here are reasons why digital literacy is essential for preschoolers:

Teaches how to use technology

In a world where technology is becoming increasingly ubiquitous, teaching preschoolers digital literacy skills familiarizes them with the basic functions of popular devices and applications. This familiarity will come in handy as they grow older and are expected to use technology for school, work, and other activities.

Develops fine motor skills

Using a computer or tablet requires fine motor skills that most preschoolers are still developing. Regularly using these devices hones their skills and prepares them for tasks that require precise hand movements, such as writing.

Teaches new concepts and ideas

Technology allows preschoolers to explore and expand their horizons. With the help of apps, websites, and other digital resources, they can learn about anything they’re interested in, from animals and plants to history and outer space.

Helps practice essential skills

From counting and matching to reading and writing, there are many ways for preschoolers to practice essential skills using technology. Finding apps and games that focus on specific skills helps your child master the basics before they move on to more challenging concepts.

Encourages creativityDigital devices and applications can encourage creativity and allow preschoolers to express themselves in new ways. Through digital media and technology, they can experiment with music, art, design, and storytelling.Improves problem-solving skills

Using technology requires problem-solving skills, from learning how to use a new app to troubleshooting technical issues. As preschoolers encounter new challenges while using devices, they’ll develop these essential skills and learn how to apply them to other areas of their live

How to teach digital literacy

Digital media and technology can be incorporated into everyday activities and experiences. Here are tips for teaching your preschooler digital literacy skills in the classroom:

Use in moderation

Help children understand the importance of using technology responsibly. Set boundaries in the classroom and stick to them. For instance, if they are supposed to use their gadgets for 30 minutes, stick to that. Most importantly, lead by example and turn off screens when they’re not in use and mute your phone when you’re not using it. This can help children develop a healthy relationship with technology.

Get involved in their tech time

Spending time with your preschoolers while they use technology is a great way to teach them how to use it safely and effectively. Play an educational game with them or start a discussion about something you watch together.

Introducing digital literacy in early education can help young children develop fine motor skills, critical thinking, and creativity. It can also give them a foundation to become comfortable and competent technology users as they grow older.

By incorporating technology activities into the classroom, teachers help their children develop the skills they need to be successful in the digital world.

Starting simple will help me navigate how I choose to express the information I receive and which ways can make this a successful thesis.

Who Am I Really?

In thinking about this question I get reminded about the multitudes people have in them. How people go on about their lives with conflicting or even paradoxical natures. I love loud concerts but also quiet hikes. I could go on about the superficial paradoxes of likes and dislikes but that would be superficial. I want to dive deeper into areas of my own life containing these paradoxes that I’ve (honestly) avoided. However, I think that I should go into a semi-lengthy spiel on why these have been avoided.

Many of the people who learn that I was not born in this country have a look of bewilderment. As if someone had pulled the rug out from under them. It gives me a slight tinge of satisfaction knowing that they could not see through my cleverly designed façade. I couldn’t tell you when this disguise went up, maybe it was when I learned how to speak with out an accent, or when I inherited my mother skin tone or was it when my family learned first hand about how people of certain skin colors were targeted. (I may have inherited my mothers skin tone but my father is a naturally dark tanned Hispanic man. Shoutout to my sister who got mix of the two and landed a more olive tone). What’s worse, I cant tell you when I started believing my own lie. However, I do vividly remember when it became a choice to keep the façade going. It was in 2012 when my parents decided to sit us down and tell us the blunt truth of our status. They hammered down the fact that at we are not from this country, that at any given point in time we can be cast out and that we have no one else in this world who we can trust but each other. Imagine my thought process at 16 knowing that the only place I’ve called a home was a lie, the friends and teachers around me can’t be trusted, and that this system was inherently against us. My poor 16 year old psyche. That’s when I decided to, for a lack of better term, to fly under the radar. I often make the joke to my closer friends that I’m a chameleon, quietly in the background hiding from any would be predators.

This is the beginning of the biggest paradox of my being. From that point on I knowingly decided to strip away all evidence of my heritage, ethnicity, and race. You can’t be picked out from a crowd if you blend in, if you look, act, or sound like your oppressors.

After every step look over your shoulder
Don’t laugh too loud, you wont hear them coming
Use their idioms, and their language
Don’t give them a reason to look over here
Put a smile on it’ll hide your fear

Don’t speed to work, don’t pocket your hands
keep your head down but not suspiciously
comply with that officer,
How’s your day sir? Here’s my license, registration, insurance
No I don’t know why I’m being pulled over?
I’m just heading home, I haven’t been drinking, No I don’t smoke
Thank you for the warning, have a good day sir.
bullet dodge this time

this is still in its rough stages, I think I can/should spilt it into two poems

Nonetheless, There are certain things that you can’t strip away from your soul. In the same way I get a kick out of surprising people with my ethnicity, I always get taken aback when people just know what I am(?). I used to work retail at a bookstore and occasionally we would get a customer who either spoken broken English or just Spanish. They would see me and either ask if I spoke Spanish or just started asking me for help. I never had the heart to ask how they knew. It was usually older women who knew. Maybe it was the wisdom of age or a sixth sense.

I often fear about taking on this journey of transcribing my experience. there are roughly 45 million immigrants in the United States and since its creation there are about 750,000 DACA recipient. How is anything I experience unique? How is anything I’ve gone through not been said or published or broadcasted? With a lazy google search I can find dozen of individuals speaking out on their identities or the injustices of this limbo we find ourselves in. But I believe that not speaking out about my own struggles does them, me, everyone a disservice. I would be regress once again into believing my own lie.

Session 2: What is Retrograde?

Retrograde is defined as “having or being motion in a direction contrary to that of the general motion of-“

Oh. Right. We’re talking about Retrograde, the novel (or, rather, the story that will one day be a novel), not the adjective. Of course I knew that.

Jokes aside, after getting to briefly discuss it in class last week, I’ve made my mind up that I will be focusing on Retrograde as my thesis project. A visual novel about Nicky and her alien parasite can come further down the pipeline, maybe while I’m trying to pitch Retrograde to publishers.

I’ve spent some time this week freewriting about Retrograde as a project; what it’s about, what it means to me, what I’m trying to do with it, and what I’d like to accomplish with it during our time in thesis..

Get to the point.

Yeesh, okay. The super quick story synopsis (which is itself a work in progress, I’m not good at writing synopses) is:

Mercury Levesque is desperate for the forgiveness of two people: her father and God. The former has been disappointed in her since he found out she’d gotten drunk at a party last March. And as for God…His forgiveness is simple enough to earn, in theory. In practice, it requires a confession she just can’t make: she’s a lesbian.

There’s one person she knows won’t forgive her: Saturn Argov. Since Mercury’s family moved to North Dakota three years ago, Saturn had been her best friend. She’s headstrong, brave, and plays by her own rules. She’s everything Mercury isn’t…which is exactly what Mercury likes about her. But the party ruined that relationship, too, and Mercury doesn’t think she can repair it. When the two get paired as lab partners, Mercury feels doomed to a year of trading scalpels and chemicals with the ex-best friend who now hates her guts, but she’s soon faced with the undeniable, difficult truth that she’s been trying to ignore since March: she loves Saturn.

Erm…yes, they’re named after the planets (well, actually, Mercury’s mom named her after the Roman god, but Saturn is named after the planet…don’t worry about it.)

At its core, Retrograde is a coming-of-age YA novel about queerness and religion. It’s predominantly about lesbianism and Catholicism, two aspects of Mercury that are in pretty direct opposition with each other and that she struggles with throughout the story. Other themes and motifs include family relationships, mental health, forgiveness, astrology + astronomy, fate vs. free will, art, and Greek mythology.

The story explores Catholicism along the lines of control, shame, and repression, as well the way practitioners can use doctrine, sometimes misinterpreted/skewed, to cause harm to themselves and others. It’s shown to be a harmful force in Mercury’s life, but the story doesn’t go as far as to say the Catholic faith is irredeemable. Indeed, my goal is not a complete bashing of Catholicism, or religion in general, but rather a story that explores how adherents can become hateful, how doctrine can be harmful, etc. through the lens of a repressed gay girl growing up in a strict Catholic family in a fairly isolated environment (small town North Dakota.) I am lucky to have an accepting family, but I did go to Catholic school, and while I didn’t have a terrible experience there, especially overall, it was a place that was hostile to my queerness. So, though it’s a far cry from autobiographical, I did draw on life experience for various parts of the story.

(There does exist queer theologies and ways of reconciling faith with queerness, of course, AND some faiths/branches of faiths have no hostility towards queerness to begin with, something that is also touched upon in the story.)

Delve into the Project’s Backstory.

Mercury and Saturn are two characters I’ve had for a very long time; they date back to around 2016 when I made them alongside a friend who I roleplayed online with. They’ve changed and been developed a lot over the years, but they’ve remained both very dear and very compelling to me throughout that time. As I touched on in my previous post, when I was writing Retrograde as a short story for a class, I wasn’t intending it to turn into something bigger…but I had so many thoughts about these characters, so much backstory and lore, that once I started writing it, I couldn’t stop. Even the “short” story version wound up ridiculously long.

As for the characters…well, for a while think I “liked” Saturn a lot better. Mercury was more…a character I loved to hate, I’d say. Eh, “hate” is a strong word, but…she had a lot of personality traits that I didn’t like, yet I found her extremely compelling. She was fun to write, if only to explore a character that really made me say “you suck so bad, like as a person, but also…are you okay??”

So why did I start writing Retrograde from her POV, with her as the main character? She had more at stake when it came to her and Saturn’s relationship; her stakes were naturally higher. It was also very interesting to write through her point of view, to see things with her particular shades of cognitive dissonance and to play around with how much she lied to herself. I also really loved juxtaposing “being gay” with “being Catholic” and subverting Church-y themes, probably due to my Catholic school experiences, and I couldn’t do that with Saturn, who is Jewish. Mercury, though…Mercury plays into those themes perfectly. I mean, that stuff is the essence of her entire character arc. How could I not write from her point of view?

Of course, the more I wrote Mercury, the more I started to really, really love her as a character, beyond just a “you are so fascinating” viewpoint…and the more I started to realize we have more similarities than I thought. See, I was never religious, so a lot of the big things in her character don’t apply to me. I never viewed her as one of the characters that I was similar to; if you’d have asked, I could have pointed out a lot more similarities between Saturn and I than between Mercury and I. But the more I wrote her, the more I realized that we have a lot of more subtle things in common, and the more I started to lean into those similarities while writing. I’m not gonna flat out tell you what they are right now, but just know that they’re there.

Enough Backstory Please. What’s Next?

Right now, I’m working on the 2nd draft of the story. I was originally aiming to have that draft done by October 15th, but I’ve been a little blocked when it comes to working on it, so I may have to adjust that goal. This draft, so far, has included pretty large plot reworkings, changing much of the middle of the story and adjusting a lot of the ending. All that said, I’m about halfway through this draft and I’d still like to get it done by the end of this semester. That brings me to my thesis goal…I’m wondering if I should aim to draft the 3rd draft as my overall thesis project? It would allow me to incorporate research and class feedback into a fresh new draft.

I’m excited to delve into more research for the project. As discussed in class, I’m going to be exploring other works in the “field” (like The Miseducation of Cameron Post and The Poet X, to name just two) as well as looking at different categories of academic research, like queer theory and theology. Honestly, I’m currently most excited to delve into theology…I mean, we’ve already established I’ve got a sort of bizarre critical interest in that stuff, right?

I’m really looking forward to sharing Retrograde with you all! ^_^

Previously On…

After our zoom class, I would say almost a lightning bolt struck but not exactly. But after Dr. Zamora’s talk (which was super helpful) it gave me some more insight of the type of direction I should aim towards. Immediately after class I got to writing. I decided first that I want to draft up a couple of different essays on the exploration of womanhood and what it means to me. But also including things I have gone through being a woman. I know all woman have a story (trigger warning ahead), here are some of the essays I want to touch base upon and write before I center around my thesis;

  1. The first time I was touched/ groped
  2. The man who plotted to rape me
  3. The man who stalked me
  4. The man who called me a slut
  5. The time my mother said it was my fault based on my outfit

Those are a couple essays I want to draft up first as I share my experiences in intimate stories. Then I will most likely need another brainstorming session with Dr. Zamora. But for now I do have a good start of where I want to get this thesis going. I am looking forward to the workshop next Tuesday as I can get guided a bit more and know where exactly where to start my research.

For the meantime, here is a sample essay I wrote to kick off the creative process and get in a zone:

The First Man To Disappoint Me 

If any man in my past thought they did damage to me, they have not. My father was the first man to disappoint me. 

I remember being a kid, sitting on the floor of the living room next to my mom who was sitting on the couch. I can remember her praying out loud “please don’t let him come home drunk. Please God protect him on his way home.” I silently put my head down as I pray in my head alongside my mother. Silently in my head I asked God, “Please God, don’t let him come home drunk today, please don’t let them fight today.” When I was a kid God didn’t seem to be too real because I thought when you pray he was supposed to make your prayers come true. But prayers are not wishes. 

My parents fought badly when I was growing up. From microwaves being thrown out the window, to my dad leaving to look for a new place only to come back at night. I took on a role for my mother. To be her support system, and when she couldn’t be a mother, I tried my best to be one. 

Growing up all I ever heard was “wow, you’re so mature for your age” or “you have such an old soul.” But these kinds of comments are normal for women, it’s almost an expectation to be more mature compared to boys. But the thing is, I wasn’t a woman. I was only a child. The “compliments” are not really compliments at the end of the day when all you want to do is be a kid. Not one that is dragged between every fight your parents have or every mental breakdown your mother has where all she can talk about is committing suicide. Trying to take on every role but the only real role I had was just to be a kid. But I failed at that one. 

I say my father was the first man to disappoint me because it was hard to find that thin line. All I could see was the damage he was causing my mom, I resented him for it. While I never showed it and outsiders thought I was a daddy’s girl, I had a few moments where I strongly hated him and wished he never existed.

Previously On…

After our zoom class, I would say almost a lightning bolt struck but not exactly. But after Dr. Zamora’s talk (which was super helpful) it gave me some more insight of the type of direction I should aim towards. Immediately after class I got to writing. I decided first that I want to draft up a couple of different essays on the exploration of womanhood and what it means to me. But also including things I have gone through being a woman. I know all woman have a story (trigger warning ahead), here are some of the essays I want to touch base upon and write before I center around my thesis;

  1. The first time I was touched/ groped
  2. The man who plotted to rape me
  3. The man who stalked me
  4. The man who called me a slut
  5. The time my mother said it was my fault based on my outfit

Those are a couple essays I want to draft up first as I share my experiences in intimate stories. Then I will most likely need another brainstorming session with Dr. Zamora. But for now I do have a good start of where I want to get this thesis going. I am looking forward to the workshop next Tuesday as I can get guided a bit more and know where exactly where to start my research.