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


  1. sounds like a great idea. I might give it a shot.

    Sutherland would be my anthropologist. He'd be a dry fellow, quick to pen, and slow to complain. His belt was in place (at three notches), his pack carefully prepared, his feet shod, and his face washed and dried with purpose. Routine was welcome and expected. Notes were exact. Entries were deliberate. Relations were weighed and evaluated, used and manipulated - not maliciously, but with purpose. And all of it, to the very last jot and tittle would be accounted of in the logbook. A logbook worthy of acceptance. Most could think him equally dull as the brown jacket of his notebook, but he'd have merit - you'd only have to open that same notebook or get him talking to see it.

    Isaac would be my postmodern traveler. He'd have bearing, not a sense of the place, but a sense of his place. Like he walked with a gravity of himself, and he knew it's weight. Not pride, but a man like a comet, knowing how and when he'd strike the sky and sing with trailing lines fire. But for now, he rattled through contemplative darkness, ignorant even of the stars.

    Whitman would be my meditative/eccentric poet, someone equally likely to write a poem about the day or spend the night balancing on his head - with a bottle of wine by his side (of course). And he wouldn't shave at all, or look in the mirror (why look at yourself when the whole world's waiting for your eyes). He'd laugh through his eyes and sing through his grinning teeth, and all the world would welcome him for it, at least, that's how he sees it.

    Ezrom would be the man older than his skin, who would slide the palm of his hand against the dirt with the same respect and strength he would use to meet his father's handshake. His silence could be unnerving to those unfamiliar with it; it wasn't for a lack of words or thoughts, but they weren't ready to be loosed. They were slowly gaining weight and sinking deeper into the hollow of his stomach, rising on the tide of his silent breath and sinking with the ebb of his exhale. When they were ready, he would speak or write, but only with reverence.

    that was way too easy to work up - maybe that split personality thing is setting in earlier these days

  2. Love it! Thanks for sharing. It'll be nice having you in the field to share skitso thoughts. But really, how could you sum up yourself or any person in one straight forward character? How dull.

  3. This is such an interesting approach. I've thought of writing "fictional" field journals before, but in my mind it was a project I'd be working on in my current situation, i.e. not in the field. I think it's going to be so much fun to take all these characters or personalities to the field with you, and have them all responding to the same experiences along the way.

    Of course, with these characters in your head layered with the characters in your group (including Chase's own multiple personalities) and you might just drive yourself insane :P

  4. Rachel, I'm going on a Field Study in the Fall and was checking out different people's blogs. Anyway, this is a great idea and I love it! I wish I could have been in the field with you to see how all of this played out!