The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia

Out of all of the texts we read this semester that are fiction, this was my favorite. I haven't finished it yet, but what i've read so far I am really enjoying. Again, Plascencia is taking what we know to be conventional narrative and turning it around.

But, I took more from him and PoP than I did any of the other books. While the others showed me how one can deconstruct a narrative, PoP showed me how to play with form. I have actually taken some of Plascencia's tricks with form, like the blacking out of text and brought it into my own writing.

When I began this class and thinking about texts that break form, I thought there was no way I would be able to find enjoyment from a text that didn't follow convention. But, I wanted to. I didn't want to have a closed mind, and have found enjoyment from films and other forms of entertainment that break from the typical narrative.

PoP was my way into enjoying more avant-garde texts, as they are called, and I am very excited to finish reading it. 

If on a Winter's Night a Traveler

This text, like the one before, was also difficult for me to get into. I wanted so badly to love this book at its very first sentence ever since we discovered that the reader becomes a character in the book. 

And, I didn't really find a way into the book, I am sad to say. I thought the language was interesting, and it did remind me of other texts as I mentioned in class, but it wasn't until the actual class lectures that I found myself understanding how the text functions as a significant piece of postmodernism.

Again, what I took from this text is its unconventional manner and the way it allowed me to take what I know about plot and narrative and writing and look at it in a new, rather deconstructed way. I find that Nightwood and Winter's Night are like those deconstructed desserts that you can get at hipster restaurants. 

All the ingredients are there, and it smells like red velvet cake, but it sure as hell does not look at all like a red velvet cake, but maybe that's just because we're too used to the idea of "should be".

Nightwood

Nightwood by Djuna Barnes was not an open text to me in the sense that I had a hard time working through it and finding a way in. I began it at the beginning, how I do with most books, but then decided to try something new. I decided to approach it by skipping around and through the narrative to find my way in.

I found this text easiest to approach in this way, which was a strange new revelation for me. I had never read a text before in this way, only fro beginning to end, how I was taught to read and follow narrative. 

But, as we've gone through the semester learning about narrative, we have also learned how narrative began in its convention, and then read this text, the first of three, that showed us how these conventions could be broken. I find my ability to skip around in the text and find a way in, to what I found to be actually, quite beautiful. 

Claudia Rankine “On Whiteness and the Racial Imaginary”

“The imagination is a free space, and I have the right to imagine from the point of view of anyone I want—it is against the nature of art itself to place limits on who or what I can imagine.”

Here are my rambling thoughts:

Oh my god, I think about this ALL. THE. TIME. 

I understand I have privilege. I am a white writer. Middle class. I grew up with parents who love each other and are still together. My education is paid for me.

I understand I am a minority. I am a woman. I am a first generation "American". I am a German living in America, raised in a household that didn't have the same ideals as the red, white, and blue.

I am also a writer, and a member of the "We Need Diverse Books" movement. I believe in writing from every point of view, of writing stories that are diverse because our lives are diverse and everyone deserves representation.

But then, who am I, a white woman to write from the perspective of a black man, or a gender fluid Puerto Rican? I don't know their reality, I only know mine. But, then I want to support writing about and from every perspective. They deserve their own books, we owe them that, writers everywhere. Publishers owe them that. 

Instead of trying to write from different identities, I began writing characters that had none. I don't describe the looks or skin or orientation of any of my main characters anymore. You can view Orion and Ruth however you want, because my book is your book, and their identity is for you to adopt and alter.

Lyn Heijninan "The Rejection of Closure"

Okay, okay, tie for some honesty. I did not read this entire thing. I skimmed all of it, and then went in with a closer eye to the sections that I thought I could make sense from.

I really didn't understand this piece until we started to go over it more in class, and I could look at the text in context with examples. 

But, what I think about with this piece is this:

A text can be open and closed. And as a writer, I believe that is partially a choice that I have to make in every piece that I write, but it is not solely left up to me. I cannot control the reader, and I cannot know their knowledge or their consciousness. You could, for example, find something I write open if it has German in it and you do not speak German, but someone who does, perhaps finds it closed.

But, then, I get confused because I think that Open and Closed should be different. So, something being open means that it just spools out, its all over the place and its hard to find your way in. Closed is something that's tighter, easier to understand. But, if something is closed to me, it means its closed off, that you can't access it.

So, I remember this by saying its the opposite of what I think it should be.

As for whether or not a text should be open or closed, I don't care. I believe it depends on what you want. If you want a large readership, than perhaps something that is closed would be better suited. If you do not care, then write whatever it is you want to write, regardless of whether or not its closed or open.

Gertrude Stein, "Composition as Explanation"

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I've always been a fan of Stein. I thought she was this super dope radical feminist that I just had to have in my life, and actually reading her work hasn't changed that opinion of her. (Though, for some reason I always forget her name and was terrified of accidentally referring to her as Kathy Bates in class).

What I want to say about CAE, is this: oh my god, I am so confused.

So, I did read this whole thing, believe it or not. I actually read it about 3 times because I felt like I was spiraling multiple times. Someone, as I'm reading this, I'm thinking of Hegel, which is not really a connection I want to make, but I can't completely control my brain. Hegel's approach to art and literature is didactic, all-inclusive. Stein, with her "continuous present" reminds me of the same kind of idea, but from a different angle.

This text makes me feel like I'm spiraling because of the way it repeats itself several times within the same sentence or paragraph. But this functions to me as a revolution that never ends, which brings in the continuous present even further. If we continue to be every version of ourselves that we ever have been, and we bring all of those versions with us to every single piece of art we approach, then we will be more aware of that art. I don't know exactly if that is what Stein was writing about, but that's what I take from it.

Biting the Error

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Biting the Error: Writers Explore Narrative does two things that I love and appreciate. 

1. It makes fun of the New Yorker

2. Its fucking weird

My approach to this book was different than most anthologies. While I do skip around in a lot of anthologies, I also tend to not stick to one section. However, as this book is sectioned off into various topics, I picked two that I thought would be interesting to me, and stuck with those. And, like I said, one of the essays in one of the sections I read makes fun of the New Yorker, and I love that. ;)

So, what does this text do? Well, as a writer who has been unknowingly (up until this semester) writing an Aristotelian plot in all of her books and in all the ones she reads, BTE exposes you to essays (albeit not plots) that do not follow the normal structure. They use words (shout out to twig calligraphy) that no one really knows what they mean, and they cover unconventional topics, like a movement away from poetry and beating down the New Yorker, which has always been highly regarded.

When we began to discuss this book as a group in class, it was interesting to see how many of us found different essays fascinating, but also how a lot of us noticed things that were similar in a book that seemed to focus on having barely any similarities with anything else.

All around, I don't think it was my favorite book this semester, but I appreciate the wit and the topics it exposed me to that other books have always been lacking in.

Backwards and Forwards - March 1st

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Backwards and Forwards by David Ball has probably been the most helpful and significant book that I have read in my career as a writer. This book takes you through the elements of a narrative (though it refers to plays specifically), as well as what you can gain from studying a plot from the ending to the beginning, backwards.

Triggers and heaps, or cause and effect as they are more commonly referred to, was probably the lesson in the book that helped me the most as a writer. Even though plot is something that we may not think too much about, it is one of the most essential parts of our narratives. It is what we build characters around and it is what changes our characters, the thing that makes other things happen. 

I get stuck in my writing a lot. Whether or not I believe in writer's block is still in question. However, having the concept of triggers and heaps has helped me to break through most of my problems in writing. (Not all, unfortunately). 

Ball's book inspired me to start thinking about my own novel in terms of cause and effect, one thing happens and triggers another. I took this idea and created a timeline on the wall above my writing desk of all the main events in my book. (There's a huge gap in the middle, but I'm not dwelling on that until after midterms). Underneath these index cards, I intend to put post its that are the biggest triggers and heaps. There is also a trigger that happens at the beginning of the narrative that doesn't have a heap until the end of the book.

Ball's book helped me realize that while form is something that can be broken, and maybe you do need to understand it first, but its helpful to structure yourself as a writer. Books and stories have this ability to escape from us as writers, we are in our heads, usually solitary, and there's no one to reign us in but ourselves, and a strict form can help you do that. (if you're the type of person that needs that, and I am).

But, honestly, if you're a writer, or want to be a writer, read this book.

Hamlet - Feb. 25th

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For the first time in my life, I read and watched Hamlet.

Now, I'm a big Shakespeare fan. I've read all of the sonnets and he has heavily influenced many of my books, my most recent one having a working title that is a line drawn from one of Othello's monologues. I love seeing plays and reading sonnets. I love the way he writes and the stories he weaves. He is the bard, as we have dubbed him, and everything he wrote set a tone for writers generation thereafter.

I am not one to only read a seminal text when it is assigned. I wouldn't be much of an English major if that were the case. However, I just always preferred to have the opportunity to see a Shakespeare play rather than to read it.

However, when it was assigned in class, I was excited. It has been a few years since I have had a conversation with the Bard, and I was growing tired of the needless separation. 

First of all. Hamlet's great. Seriously. I really, really like this play. Its filled with all of the tropes we hold near and dear or revere, but it is the origin. It is the thing that made the thing.

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I also watched the David Tennant version, which I bought for 3 dollars on Amazon. I'm a huge film fan, and they shot the play/film as if it were partially shot through security cameras, and the actors are aware that they are being filmed. Talk about meta.

Hamlet is just that: meta. Its a play that is aware that it is a play. And, personally, I find that brilliant. Shakespeare continues to teach writers everywhere that there really is no limit to what we can do with our minds and our imaginations.

Even looking at this text closer in class showed me curves and edges to the plot and the characters that I hadn't noticed before. It reinvigorated my love for theater and everything that falls under that category.

Now, in this coming week, we will be studying David Ball's "Backwards and Forwards", which walks you through Hamlet backwards. 

I'm about halfway through, and I'm already loving it.

More on that next week when I've read more, and hopefully that wc has gone up.

Narrative Form - Feb. 25th

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I know. I haven't written much.

In my defense, I've had over 300 pages to read in the past two weeks. 

Against that defense, I probably did about 10% of that, and no its not because of some super important delay, or a family emergency, or even a worth excuse. Nope. Its because I discovered Queer Eye.

Are you watching this show?!? You should be watching this show.

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But, I did do homework. I just didn't write. And, it feels like its been forever that I haven't written, and its been less than a week. The year of not writing at all seems like forever ago, though I only escaped about a month ago.

Writing is my habit. It is the thing that helps me make sense of this nihilistic world, as John Green says. More than that, though, writing is the thing that made me survive. It is everything to me, and not having the time to do it slowly chips away at me everyday. Now, most of the guys from Queer Eye would probably tell me to just make time for it.

And believe me, fab five, I'm trying.

But, its hard! I'm balancing 6 classes and a job that's part time, but is usually full time, as well as working on myself. It might seem like not a lot to you, but trust me. It is.

These six classes this semester, I chose, primarily, to help aid me in becoming a better writer. And, you may have noticed that I usually talk about a text or something I learned in class. Not only does this help me catalog what I learned (so that I can teach some of it to the students I will hopefully teach in grad school), but it also helps me reflect what I am learning now.

I am a bit behind, so I'm going to use the time to get caught up.

2 weeks ago we read and discussed Suzanne Keen's seminal work "Narrative Form". In this book, Keen writes about all things fiction and provides you not only with definitions of key terms, but with the argument over them.

I didn't know how hard it was to define story from plot until I realized that I didn't have definitions to begin with.

I don't agree with all of Keen's statements. (Like how Dickens was a creative genius - he wasn't), but I do see the benefit in not only defining terms for your sake, but for the sake of your writing. It helps you join a conversation that has already been going on, as my professor says. But, I think it also allows you to be in conversation with your work.

This applies to all art and to all work. We all have our own lingo, and we might just use these terms at the seat of our pants, but that doesn't mean we really know them. Keen shows the context to words and the importance of knowing them. 

Even though it is often hard for us fiction writers to sit down and read something that isn't even creative nonfiction, but just straight up definitions, this is an important piece to keep in your back pocket.

I failed - Feb. 19th

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We could excuse the fact that I've been pretty much failing at my plan to write two blog posts on here a week to catalog my semester of writing/revising my book, but let's be real, that's not fun.

Or, maybe it is, for you. But, it isn't for me.

Instead, I want to look back at why I wasn't able to keep up with this, and that in of itself, will be a catalogue of my writing semester.

So, why did I miss three posts? It's really simple: time.

With my six classes and various projects, as previously defined in the last post I wrote 14 days ago, I ran out of time.

This isn't to say that I spent my time wisely, like working on this blog or getting ahead in my course work. Instead I did things like some homework, some getting ahead, some doing work, and others finishing Reign, because I had to know how TF that ended. ( I have many feelings about the ending ).

But, I also gave myself time to read for pleasure, most nights before bed, which is typically my homework time. And, slowly, my 6 am writing for two hours ritual, fell out of place, and I found myself unable to get up in the morning.

Here's the thing. I love writing. I love being busy. I also like forcing myself to take time for myself, even if binge watching slowly makes me regret everything as the weight of all that I must and have yet to do bares down on my chest.

But, I do have panic disorder. Which means that depression is always lingering around, somewhere in my being, although it feels like its either over my head, or beside it, sometimes in my blind spot.

Depression struck me last week, and I couldn't do much at all.

But, I did write.

I just didn't write this blog, and I didn't write my book. Instead, I wrote a Creative Non Fiction lyric essay about living with anxiety, and about the melancholia that hits.

I wrote it over the past two weeks, slowly, and then all at once.

And then, my Prof would be so proud of me, I took time to edit it. Its not long, a three page piece, but I read it over and over and I had a thesaurus out, and I really edited it. I spent time with it and decided what I liked about it and what I didn't.

I didn't change much of it, because this was written slowly, and was written from my heart and my gut that had been feeling wrenched and guilty for something that was a part of me. 

I try not to feel guilty about these things, but sometimes I do, and that's just a matter of life. It's also a matter of life that we won't always complete everything we set out to in the time that we want to. But, that's one thing that I'm learning too. I have to be not only okay with failure, but learn to celebrate it, and take it in stride.

My two weeks away from this blog weren't for nothing. I wrote, and I grew, and I learned. There was a purpose, so while I did fail my own rules, I did learn something. So, maybe I succeeded after all.

Rules were meant to be broken anyways, right?

My Projects - Feb. 5

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I wanted to take the time today to outline the various projects that I will be completing this semester, more for my own sanity than your enjoyment (or pity). 

1. Creative Nonfiction Essay(s)

For my Creative Nonfiction class, I have decided to write a series of essays a la, Hannah from "Girls." I want to take pieces and moments of life and retell them in a hopefully humorous and poignant way. (Poignancy has always been that thing that I've wanted to obtain as a writer.) I may or may not write multiple, but I will write at least one. Currently, this essay is called "Cathedrals" and in it I tell the story of how I became a writer and a storyteller, and what that means to me, as I'm sure it means something different to all of us.

2. My Novel

This really shouldn't be new to you if you've been reading this blog, as I know some of you who are. This is my most recent novel that has been affectionately dubbed "TVEM", even though that acronym is for a title I may or may not use anymore. Its a story influenced by classic film motives mixed in with more contemporary issues. It also adopts an abstract villain of depression. This book has been my work in progress throughout college, and I am determined to leave college with it completed.

3. Final Research Essay

As an Honors major we are required to revise a paper from a previous Honors class, or create a new one based on an approved concept. For the majority of my collegiate career I have been studying villains and how you can use them to define plot. I plan on continuing this same type of paper, but write (most likely) about fantasy, including Star Wars and a book that has yet to be determined. I'm trying a new technique in writing my essays where I don't start the paper with a thesis, but instead just write and write and write, so I guess we will see where my love for villains and Kylo Ren will take me. (This paper will probably also be presented at a conference, so I probably shouldn't take this love too far.)

4. Hand Lettering / Copywriting

At my work, we have an end of the academic year student showcase where the designers show off some pieces of their portfolio to industry professionals. As the only English major at my work, I assumed I wasn't participating. However, it seems as though I am. I have no clue how to participate in this, besides with doing something cool with copywriting and or hand lettering which I have been practicing. My goal this semester is to have 3 - 4 pieces that show a cross between writing and design that I can show at this gallery.

5. Hamilton

English majors almost always have some sort of final paper for their class, so for my Contemporary American Literature class, I will be writing about Hamilton. (Its one of the texts we are studying, I'm not just forcing my one true love into class, though I would have found a way to exit undergrad with writing about Hamilton, trust.) I will most likely also interrogate the text of Hamilton and discuss who is really the villain of the narrative while bringing into it the historical fiction aspect and what it means to have a villain who was real. (This could easily bring in things like Mindhunter).

These will all be due by the end of the semester, but I'm hoping by typing up all of my final projects, they will become realized, and I will miraculously finish them before the last week of school where I become a symbiotic puddle of sweat, blood, snot, and tears.

Podcasts That Helped Me Sit TF Down And Write - Feb. 4

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A few months ago I took to listening to podcasts. This was a combination of having a new internship where I had to commute 3 hours every day and also sitting at that internship staring at a computer screen trying to figure out what to do with the downtime I suddenly found myself with.

I never really liked podcasts. It was hard for me to sit down and just listen to someone else talk in my ear. Which is weird, because a few years prior I had taken to listening to audiobooks and even snuck watched tv shows at my desk at my old job where I would just listen to Veronica Mars solve cases.

But, for some reason, I just never could sit down and listen to a podcast. Then, I heard Serial. Serial is a podcast written by and hosted by Sarah Koenig, where she researches famous cases that aren't all what they seem.

I could not stop listening to the first season, it was like an itch you just had to scratch. In fact there were times at my internship where I just stared blankly at my screen not doing anything at all because I was so wrapped up in the drama and the deceit that was funneling into my ears. One of my coworkers actually had to ask me if I was okay because he thought I hadn't blinked.

I haven't finished season 2 yet because it is a case I actually do know about, and I know the outcome. Which makes it a dose less fun.

Slowly, I began to think of podcasts as another source for stories that I hadn't before, and I started to research what kind of podcasts where out there for writers. 

I already knew about Dear Hank and John, and I had listened to it from time to time. Now, it is usually what I listen to on my daily walk to work in the morning.

However, in the past week I have listened to two podcasts that really just helped me sit the fuck down and write. (And, as you will notice in the 20 weeks to follow, I really, really like John Green.)

1. The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

In "The Antropocene Reviewed" John Green reviews two thing of the current culture that reflect on his life. The first two are Canadian (or if you prefer Canada) Geese and Diet Dr. Pepper. I started listening to it because its John Green, but let me tell you, this podcast is phenomenal. I would listen to it whether or not it was John Green, because its just deeply fascinating not only to learn about the history of things you never thought had a history, but to also learn about things that may seem mundane in your own life, but are important to other people's lives. As always, John Green uses expertly crafted prose and his own charmed candor to create this delightful podcast.

2. The Writer's Panel #298

"The Writer's Panel" is just what it sounds like, hosted and moderated by Ben Blacker. This podcast interviews authors you have and have not heard of and asks them questions about their writing, their life, and how those things intertwine. This episode, hopefully unsurprisingly at this point, interviewed John Green, however it wasn't done in a studio, instead in front of a live audience. I've been lucky enough to see John Green live film a podcast, and it was hilarious, and really cool to be there in person and then listen to that podcast later to see what was cut and what was left in. In this podcast, John talks about his writing process and also about how he became a writer. I knew a lot of what he talked about, but nonetheless, hearing a writer who you admire talk about how hard and nihilistic it is to be a writer makes the act of doing it less haunting. And, that is something we probably all need.

Hopefully these help you write, or at least encourage you to try listening to some podcasts and see if they work for you. 

And trust me, there's one for everyone.

Aristotle's "Poetics" - Feb. 3

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This semester I'm enrolled in six upper division English classes. 3 of these classes have assigned Aristotle's "Poetics" in the first two weeks of the semester. As it happened, the reading was all due between Monday - Wednesday of this week.

Aristotle's theory followed our study of Plato's "Republic", which to be honest, is filled with shit, and I don't even want to talk about it.

Aristotle, on the other hand, had some ideas that I can understand, and some which I also think are probably better left to be forgotten. Or maybe not forgotten, but learned from as what not to listen to. This is my general attitude towards dead old white dudes who are trying to mansplain the world to me.

"Poetics" is often categorized as one of the foundationary theories of Western critical theory. (My computer tells me that foundationary isn't a word, but I'm leaving it because I like it).

Now, Aristotle basically defined what stories are way back when, and it doesn't seem like much has really changed since then. Characters must be relatable, plots must have a fall, a climax, and the best kind of story are those when someone falls from good fortune to bad and evoke fear and pity.

It's basically every Shakespeare play ever, and I love Shakespeare. Probably more than I should.

I agree with a lot of what Aristotle has to say. Characters should be relatable, and yeah, plots should have a good, dramatic incline and decline. But, what is relatable has changed since then, what creates catharsis has changed too.

And, one thing I could never settle with his text was one question: What about emotions?

I write a lot about mental illness, about characters that have to fight inner demons that other people just can't see. Its cathartic for me, as I suffer from panic disorder, but I want to represent something where I saw a lack.

Emotions and feelings are things that cannot be relatable because they are entirely our own. We may be able to sympathize with someone who feels anxious or has depression, or even something as simple as jealousy. 

However, are feelings, the deep thoughts in our head, those our entirely our own. Our opinions cannot be shared, not in the essential way that we feel them.

You may too be a Hufflepuff, love Harry Potter, but I can guarantee you that your love for the boy who lived and his story is different than my love.

It's this weird thing where we feel the need to claim our emotions and our opinions as entirely our own. Have you ever loved a book before it was popular, and then you felt like you didn't want it to ever become popular so you could hold it closer to your heart, but then you also wanted to share it because it made that same heart smile?

You want other people to understand you on a level that no one else has before, but you still want your emotions to be solely your own because the thought of someone else feeling what you feel is terrifying? Maybe it makes you less you?

I think its something that everyone feels. In whichever way that is. 

But, its a fear that has no reality, because you are the only you that could ever exist, and you are made up of your fandoms, your opinions, the little things in life that all added up to create a whole person. And, those influences make you. 

No one reacted to Star Wars the way you did. No one fell for John Green's prose the way you did. No one cried at The Color Purple the way you did. Because only you can react the way you do.

So, then, my question to Aristotle becomes this: Can we ever really write a truly relatable character?

Maybe the answer to that is no.

Maybe its yes.

 

Define Fiction - January 28th

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This past week, the thing that stuck out the most of all the things that I had to do as an assignment, was to define fiction. Knowing my professor, I knew that it wasn't going to be a simple task, that most definitions weren't going to fit. 

Most people, including Plato in his piece "Republic" divide literature into two categories: true and untrue, or fiction and nonfiction. However, this distinction doesn't really do us any good, because as I noted in my Critical Theories class, this is working under the pretense that there is such a thing as "true".

We could all read a nonfiction story, take it to be true, but we will never really know if it was or wasn't. Only the author will. Same goes for fiction. We could take any one of our favorite stories, and maybe the main character is real, but just holds a different name. We can never know.

So, then how do you go on to define these things? We were asked to write a 250 word response to that question, and I felt like I was just going in circles.

How could I not define the very thing that I wrote?

My stories are fiction. Some parts of them are true, but the whole isn't. But, does that really matter enough to define an entire genre?

I kept going back to believe that the definition of these two was just something created by publishers to help market. But, they also use the true and false definitions.

All of the wondering and frustration just lead me back to what I had always originally believed: that literature, all kinds of it is art.

And the definition of art is to convey a truth that had always been inexplicable before.

Because there really is no difference between fiction and nonfiction, besides our attitude towards it. Our expectations differ from when someone hands us a YA novel or a biography on Teddy Roosevelt. We expect different things. But, to our knowledge the YA book could be 100% true. Roosevelt's could be false. 

All of art is just a recount of something that has happened, whether to the artist or not, and no one can have a 100% truthful memory of anything, because the second it happens, we react to it in only the way we can.

This is why my definition always suited me. Art is created to show a truth, any truth. It does not have to be intentional, because an author's or artist's or painter's intention does not matter. Because intention never matters. Only results do.

Whatever you take from a piece of art is your truth, and that is the definition of it. So, maybe there is no such thing as nonfiction, because we all lie a bit, most of all to ourselves. But, it doesn't matter in the end really, because even if those characters are fake, or they're real, or if they take you to some far away magical kingdom, you still closed that book having experienced something you never had before. You took some kind of truth away with it.

And, that is what really matters.

Introduction - Jan. 23rd

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Yesterday (January 22nd, 2018) was my last first day of my final semester as an undergraduate. While my collegiate career has taken many twists and turns that I didn't expect (three major changes, many different minors, and classes that I thought I would love which I didn't), it has all lead me back to what, I suppose, was always at the core of me: writing.

While last semester I took an adventure into the world of Graphic Design and coding, this semester, I have taken only literature and creative writing courses. Let me preface everything by saying: I have only taken one creative writing course prior to this semester (it was in my first ever semester), and I hated it.

I was told that I couldn't write about abstract ideas, that I couldn't write about things we couldn't see or touch. That didn't suite me as I was working on a story about oblivion. The professor told me she would fail me if I didn't revise for her standards.

I didn't revise, and I did receive a 'D' on my final assignment. 

That class deterred me from pursuing creative writing as a collegiate endeavor, and I filled my days with different kind of literature courses, until this semester.

I have 3 creative writing classes out of 6. That's 50%. (Since I'm not a math major, I won't assume you are either).

In the capstone Creative Writing course, I am required to have a project that I will try to complete by the end of the semester. This can be literally anything. (As this is not the same professor, and a much, much, much, much better professor from the first class I took. Seriously. He's the best.)

Not many people decide that this will be completing an entire novel, but some do. Some do essays or a collection or short stories, some do portions of a novel.

I have decided that this semester, knowing full well that I have hopelessly and unchangeably given up on my previous goal of "no effort, senior year", to write an entire novel.

This will be my blog, affectionately entitled "One Semester: One Book". (Because lets face it, writing a novel is hard, and you can't expect me to be that creative when I'm facing this mountain of a task).

I know, I know, there are things like NaNoWriMo that force you to do it in a month, which I have done, and was successful at once, but imagine having 6 classes, awaiting grad school decisions, working full time, and doing this. I'm a bit crazy, okay.

This will be my experiment, whether or not it fails, I guess we will see what happens.

Now, The Rules:

- I will update this blog at least twice a week

- The topics will include what was discussed in class, what I learned, my general opinions

- In every post I will include a word count of my work in progress

- I will allow myself 3 strikes of missing blog posts

- Completing the book will not be judged by the word count, but by the narrative working its way to completion

The Parameters:

- I will be working on a novel I have already written. (I know, seems like this whole thing is fake now).

- This novel will be affectionately known as TVEM, although the book I wrote underneath that name, is now going to be a different book.

- That's right, I am going to write this sucker from scratch.

- The characters are the same, the premise is the same, however the ending, the story, the plot, will not.

This is the second time that I have done this, and as I detail in my introduction, I consider the second book that was produced to be an entirely new one, because I used nothing from the first and the story went through a significant evolution.

I am also doing this because I feel the need to always complete a story, even if I don't like the way it turns out, I need to complete it. Even though I did write this book, I never wrote an ending, which is weird for me. I always write that first. As I will be attending graduate school in the Fall, and will be working on a book about I don't even know what yet, I need to finish this book.

So, without further ado, here we go.