Thursday, February 4, 2016

Dr. C's New and Very Different Journey: "Diary of Zita Cecilia McNamara"

"Dear Diary..."
For the past year, I have taken you on an academic "Creative Writing" cruise on my blog. I was the "Captain" of the cruise ship and students in my community college English classes were my "crew mates."  Check out my blog and read some of the entries. 

While those entries focused mainly on classroom lessons, I have decided to launch a blog diary series that will mix fact and fiction. The purpose of this shift is to allow me to do what I have taught for so many years – use my creative skills to write a work that can mix fact and fiction.  I have authored books, but not a work that uses fact and fiction. I am looking forward to exploring a different kind of genre.

Ever since I reached my early thirties, I wanted to write a book—a book about hope and survival. However, initially after reading so many other books with similar themes, I figured that my life was quite ordinary and boring compared to the provocative autobiographies I had read. I doubted I had a story like those. Then, I thought about the fact that I had a wealth of stories that just might interest folks; they were contained in my diaries, which I began when I was thirteen. Even as I got older, I continued to record my life experiences, and I recognized that my entries were important—at least to me—and, perhaps, to others. Still, I did not want to write the regular kind of diary, just about one day to the next. 

As I re-read entries, I realized that my experiences were not very different from many, but they may not have had the courage or skill to record them. Furthermore, these recordings showed that things DO get BETTER and, if we give it time and reflect, we will survive situations and become better for it. And so, I decided not just to write a diary but add reflections that I hope will help you to see living proof that ordinary people, for that is what I am, have challenges and fun moments and other challenges and survive and succeed in, many times, significant little ways, and learn through every experience—just give it time. 

And as cliché as this sounds, indeed, it is these experiences that have shaped me in becoming  the Captain that I am today, one whom many of my crew/students come to share their most personal concerns. And even I am surprised at how I can take snippets of my life's experiences and share with them solid advice or just the listening ear.

When I was on the Creative Writing cruise, I shared with one of my crew mates that I had an idea about how writing a book, like this one. She replied, "Dr. C I wish you would." So, I shall always be in her debt for giving me that boost to go from thinking about writing this particular work to actually doing it.

With that being said, I am embarking on a very different journey with the Diary of Zita Cecilia McNamara. This new blog diary will involve the writings of a 13-year-old girl, named Zita Cecilia McNamara. What makes it different is that the character is now an adult and is reflecting on her past and responding to the various experiences she has had.
Now, this is where you come in: I want you – the reader – to please feel free to respond to the posts, if you want. At the end of every post, I will have a note asking you to respond. I would like from you a:

1. Literary response. I would like for you to offer suggestions on how I can improve this diary. Just as I have encouraged my crew/students to be open to take constructive criticism that can help them improve their work, I am open to do the same with my posts. Your suggestions can possibly help me shape my work as I continue.


2. Personal response. If you've had a similar experience, please feel free to share your story and the effects they have had on you by commenting in the box below. 

I hope these diary entries will, perhaps, inspire you to write your own or share your experiences, if they are similar what my character has written. Or, you can simply read the diary entries and enjoy! 

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