Swimming to Palestine

Rummaging through a wonderful cardboard box full of family memorabilia, I came across a series of letters my grandmother wrote in researching for her brother David Diamond‘s biography, which she never wrote.  I would love to reconstruct what she might have written.  I have a box full of material related to Uncle David and my grandmother. My book contains a […]

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Getting better all the time

Well, little by little things are getting easier, although my head is still not totally in the game and I’m still not totally caught up with school work.  For good or bad, I don’t have any work on my plate right now – probably mostly for good so that nothing is interfering with school. I’m very behind in submitting writing and book reviews.  I’m talking to my mentor tomorrow and will make sure I can catch up with everything timely.  (What do I mean by that?  I guess I mean that I hope I can finish without getting “in trouble,” or that I will pass even if I rush to catch everything up.) I have decided on what I think will be a good course of action regarding school.  Now that I’ve figured out that Goucher’s MFA program offers summer classes (how did I not know that? somehow it seems like there are a lot of things I don’t know about), I am going to take an elective – Research and Reporting – in the summer, running from May 6 till July 19.  That way I will get my elective out of the way and I can focus on filling in gaps where I need more research and reporting, and hopefully start the fall fresh and ready to go.  I’m working on three essays – well, one is trying to salvage the missionary story however I can, and one is […]

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Yesssssssssss!

I sent a ranting email to my Goucher mentor about my feelings on categories of writing and how my brain is going to explode over the issue. God bless her – she told me to write stories.  Basically write stories however. And I replied that that is exactly what I want to do.  Phew.  Now I can dig into my […]

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Format, part 2: The overthinking

In last night’s post I promised to continue my train of thought.  Yesterday was kind of a thoughtful day, as in I wrote for like an hour in my journal, vented some anger, bitterness, resentment, confusion and a little bit about goal-setting.  This is why I keep a journal – a password-protected, naming-names corner of my personal galaxy.  Often after […]

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Following one’s instincts

The more I read the more confused I get.  I just wanna write about stuff I’m interested in and stuff that I think will benefit readers.  Here’s what I wrote in the manuscript synopsis I had to turn in during my first semester: American society is increasingly secular and is undergoing increased polarization between the secular and religious as well as among faiths and denominations. In the 2012 presidential election we saw representation from two historically marginalized groups – Mormons and African-Americans. Clearly the influence of European-derived Protestantism is diminishing. And with change comes the potential for conflict. We see this in so-called “anti-sharia” bills and in massacres in Jain temples. Stories have the power to change perception and feelings – that’s what narrative is about, whether fiction or nonfiction. Understanding has the power to prevent or mitigate conflict. That is my over-arching goal with this manuscript: to tell stories that have the power to open minds. As I report and write more, I will have a more detailed view of how the stories will go together. So I just want to write about that stuff.  I don’t want to write a magazine article and then try to turn it into a nonfiction novel.  I don’t want to crack my knuckles and start an essay as though I’m composing a sonata.  I just wanna write about what’s going on and what I think about it.  I am driving myself absolutely […]

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