Friday, April 30, 2010

Ode to Larium

I am begging tolerance if I exhibit the following symptoms in the next four months. It is all from the $200 medicine that gives me a 10% chance of not getting Malaria.

Upset stomach, nausea, projectile vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, muscle aches, tiredness, dizziness, drowsiness, diarrhea, headache, insomnia, strange dreams, lightheadedness, bizarre behavior, chest pain, fainting, fast, slow or irregular heartbeat, flu-like symptoms, chills, fever, loss of balance or coordination, memory problems, mental or mood changes, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, paranoia, restlessness, confusion, numb or tingly of hands or feet, red, swollen or blistered skin, ringing in the ears, seizures, severe or persistent cough, shortness of breath, suicidal thoughts or attempts, symptoms of liver problems, yellowing of the skin or eyes, persistent tiredness, tremor or vision changes.

Those are just the ones before an allergic reaction. So far I have had the strange dreams, bizarre behavior, nausea, and mood changes. Can’t wait to take another one tonight.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sorting Out the Characters

So far, this is what I have been brain storming for my travel narrative.

I'll have a preface that explains that all the characters were me and kind of the objective behind the difficulty of mediating an "original" experience.

Then, I'll have these characters that I will see the world with. Each is an aspect of me, and it will make me hyper sensitive to the ways that I will see Ghana through that character. I'm still debating how long each duration should last, but I'm thinking 3-5 days a character. I have no idea what to name some of them.... I'm always bad at picking names out. But especially when it is supposed to represent me!

Some Name: Romantic traveler and anthropologist: This character will house my most obvious paradigms, deal openly with culture shock, be open to the new culture, maybe get homesick, be past thinking, and obsess about American food (when they make me eat vegetables.)

Mediums: Field journal, tourist snap shot pictures, letters home, jots


Some Name (thinking Virginia for Virginia Wolff): Postmodern traveler: This character will be darker, more pessimistic, write in stream of conscious style, find layers of meaning, and will be more existential and observant with more existence thinking.

Mediums: Field Journal, Short Stories, Poetry


Some Name: Photographer: This character will realize that words are not the only way to mediate an experience. She will be kind of quite, strange, reserved, sleep with her camera, and will use minimal words to express herself.

Mediums: Photography, To Do Lists


Olivia (Liv): "Experiencer." This is the adventurous, tries everything, open, present oriented "in the moment" person. I think I will do this character once a week, maybe on Sunday, where it is my day off. While I am this person, I will not try to mediate my experience with any immediate forms of recording it. This means leaving the jottings home, the camera, etc, and just living the experience. Obviously I will probably come home and record my experiences in my journal for my own sake (debating this), but I will not do it on scene.

Mediums: This person will not have a voice in my narrative, but will be seen over the shoulders of the other characters.


Akua: "Native." The theme of my narrative should definitely play into realizing that I can and never will be able to see from a Natives perspective, but this character will embody what I learn while at the secondary school system about attitudes towards English and writing. She will try to be the voice that kind of contradicts some of the truths of the American travelers (my other characters) through the narrative to show the difficulty of experience.

: Poetry, Oral Tradition, Commentary, Song

Monday, April 19, 2010

Imitation Practice 1

I am half way through my travel writing packet. Some resonate more than others. Virginia Woolf's "Street Haunting" has been my favorite so far. (Why must all my favorite authors commit suicide? What does that even mean for writers?) I want to write like that. I want one of my characters, one of my avatars, to embody that voice. I think I can pull it off, but I need practice. I tried to imitate, but it was hard. It is hard to divorce her style and her content. It seems too perfect a couple. Anyways, that will be a work in progress.

For now, here is my first imitation practice from the travel literature. If imitation was good enough for the Renaissance I should be good enough for me. This exercise was based off of Walt Whitman's "When I Heard the Learned Astronomer."

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sporatic Reading Report

The fifty-pound Through the Dark Continent is consuming most of my time. I am not seeing anything stylistic that intrigues me, but I do find it interesting that it maintains the Victorian style of writing that I have read in my last five Victorian novels. The difference is the content, and it surprised me to find it in the history section of the library. Henry Morton Stanley is extremely subjective and aesthetic about his writing, and in many places I can make out the thin veil of his limited portrayal. It reinforces my desire to do this project in Ghana because I can certainly see how this book contributed to the Dark Continent stereotype. Maybe I will notice a pattern and do an interesting counter argument of his observations using his same style.

My goal is to have read Through the Dark Continent and the packet for my travel writing course before I take off. So far finals preparation has not allowed me to practice imitating the styles, but I have had time to read through a few.

Robert Service’s “The Wanderlust” is something I feel I can certainly relate to. I like the dark tone it takes on, and I think it is more fitting for the real nature of traveling. I’m not sure why he has organized his stanzas the way he has, but it seems to split in two different kinds of voices. The even numbered stanzas seem to be more lyrical. I have never thought of constructing a poem this way, and I might want to try it and dramatize two distinct voices. Something to take a closer look at.

“The Learning Astronomer” by Walt Whitman was a poem I have read before. It just reminds me why I am going to interact with Ghana instead of studying it from a textbook. It is also short and simple enough that I think I can try to do a writing exercise off of it.

The worst of finals are over, time to make some spit wads!


Half of my delay in beginning this blog has been the inability to generate a witty, creative, encompassing, inspiring title. It never came. Perhaps the progress is the point. These are my spit wads. I do not know which ones will stick, but I won’t know unless I throw them.

Welcome to my Ghana blog. 25 days left.