Takin it in Strides

Alright. So, I can confidently say that I have much more done now than the last time I posted on here, but I’m still struggling with nipping that procrastination in the bud. My biggest struggle I have run into that I didn’t really prepare for was remembering exactly what happened on the day of the accident. Don’t ask me why I thought that falling out of a tree and getting drugs shot through 4 inch needles into my body would make for me remembering this full and elaborately traumatic story, but apparently I had some over-confidence in myself when choosing this topic. I think what’s hard about writing a personal narrative like this, in a genre I have researched and narrowed down to as “recovery narrative,” is that at least personally, I don’t want this to be a sob story. I want to realistically and consciously be aware of what happened and how I was feeling and maybe what changed in me during that time. But, since I tend to incorporate humor when I’m slightly uncomfortable, I’m also trying to add a flare of sarcasm in there. So far, I have a good chunk of it done along with an extensive bulleted list of what happens thereafter. I’m trying to flesh all of that out tonight because I meet with my narrative mentor tomorrow!

As for the poem in the last week, I have made immense strides, which I am ecstatic about! I met with a poetry mentor on Friday at Sweetland. The half hour I spent with her was mostly dedicated to explaining the Capstone further, what being a mentor entails, and telling her the backstory behind my project. As I’m sure you can imagine, my mouth ran for approximately 27 of the 30 minutes just to get all of the information in. But, what I told her was that essentially I needed a push in the right direction, a place to start, a kick in the ass. I LOVE poetry, but let me tell you, when you try to just get up and write it, particularly when you’re really trying to give yourself that sort of prompt, it is HARD. What we came down to after discussing my story was that I felt a lot of frustration toward the limitedness of my body after the fall. We decided it might be cool to try to make a “how to” type of poem, where I describe how I was feeling in specific situations and how to deal with that when you haven’t ever before. My starting point has been to write down vivid images of when I was feeling most limited by body, and I have really felt inspired by this. I have gotten a plethora of images written down and feelings incorporated that I haven’t had the chance to recognize before, so I really appreciated the starting point she gave me. I plan to meet with her again later this week to review my progress!

As for my choreography, I talked with my poetry mentor about maybe using this as a starting point for the poem rather than using the poem as a starting point for the choreography. I have thought about it a little and we’ll see where that takes me this week. I plan on doing a sort of interview on choreography with my dance mentor this week as well as finalizing the dates for constructive criticism and filming of the dance later this month.

Overall, I am getting more and more excited (though stressed by the time crunch I got myself into) about the project and I can’t wait to see what other things inspire me to move on and find closure through this writing journey!

2 thoughts to “Takin it in Strides”

  1. Hi Nikki – After listening to you talk about your project in class today, I was curious to see what you were blogging about. From our discussion, it seemed as though you have a solid plan moving forward with your project. All of the elements are there, you just have to put them together. The “recovery narrative” aspect you describe suits your project well. The idea of adding humor into how you were feeling during the time of your recovery sounds like it will help you avoid the “sob story” kind of narrative you do not want your project to be. As for your poem and choreography, I am interested to see which you decide to go with first. Will your poem serve as inspiration for your choreography? Or will your choreography serve as inspiration for your poem? I wonder if other choreographers have created a dance routine to a poem. Is there any additional research like this that you could conduct to help make the decision? Either way, I am confident that the two will blend together well, especially because of your passion for both dance and poetry. I look forward to seeing where this takes you! – Allyson

  2. Nikki—

    Your comment really resonated with me. I think I was similarly overconfident in choosing the topic of my project. The thing about writing personal narrative is that memory is malleable and wispy—all descriptions of my uncle seem to slip through the cracks of my memory right as I attempt to commit them to paper.

    Just as you want to distance yourself from a “sob story,” I’ve found myself worried about all the types of nauseating cliche that accompany grief narratives. I’ve tried to circumvent cliche by grasping for the unusual—not choosing the first word that comes to mind, or even the second, but waiting and waiting until the eventual word I choose is dislocated from known idiomatic phrases just enough. I wonder if this technique might help you in the midst of that difficult-frustrating-sometimes-empowering process of transferring memory to page?

    I think discussing the limitedness of your body is an excellent place to begin—maybe you could even use this as a transition to discussing the limitedness of memory (impaired by trauma or drugs or loss in consciousness)? I wonder if the ethos of this very blog post—the fact that you can’t remember, and it’s hard to remember, and you can’t be expected to remember—can make it into the poem somehow, thereby expressing the frustrations of recovery?

    Ultimately, the story you’re telling and the modes you’re using to tell it are incredibly important, so I have absolute confidence that your final product will be equal parts powerful and helpful to others. I so look forward to reading more!!

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