poet? writer? gunslinger extraordinaire?

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Last week, I had more of an epiphany toward what I wanted my project to be about – I can feel myself closing in more on the idea I want my thesis to be. I think there are many elements presence, but slowly, they’re starting to manifest themselves and become a more solid concept. I knew I wanted to write about Ginsberg, and I knew I wanted the project to be a digital poetry one, but I kept struggling with the significance of the work in relation to myself. Why do I want to write this, and what can other people, hopefully, gain from it?

With that being said, I  think the answer itself lies in the question. At this age (any age, really), we struggle for validation. We struggle because we want what we do and contribute to this world to hold some importance, and for people to say, “Ah, yes! That’s not complete bullshit – there’s something there.” I’m struggling with accepting calling myself a “writer,” a “poet” – it feels wrong to identify as that without being a published artist. On top of it, I feel like I’ll never be a true “writer” – I feel like whatever I do is subpar, has been done before, or it’s just generally not good enough to be seen in my field as valid literary work. Objectively, I’m sure this is just a normal human experience – I’m sure even Ginsberg, no matter how convinced of a “prophet” he was, struggled with his identity as a writer. I’m sure, during his twenties, he didn’t know if what he was doing was good enough. I’m sure all artists have had these experiences, and it’s apart of the process – and that’s something I want to highlight in my project, the insecurity of putting yourself out there when creating art.

I already knew I wanted to possibly create “fan” drafts of earlier poems he wrote, and this would fit in perfectly with the theme. Additionally, this past week, I’ve started reading his journals from the mid-fifties, collected by Gordon Ball. I’ve been highlighting and creating a timeline, feeling out more of the historical accuracy of where he was and what he was doing and thinking. I know it’s been suggested to maybe play around with his psyche and add a little bit of color and leniency in his character, but first I want to document for what it is.

I’ve also been revisiting Ondaatje and making notes of specific interdisciplinary techniques he used in BtK. I want to highlight the multimodal elements that I’ve found have given the collection its sense of timelessness in its surreal and postmodern, fragmented world.

Basically, things are coming along. I still need a concrete idea I can put into a sentence that completely envelopes my thesis, but I think it’s almost there (at least, I hope!) But who knows? It can change the more I delve into Allen’s world, and that’s okay too – it’s just personally comforting to know that I’m mapping out a general direction.

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