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In Memory of an Emily

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In Memory of an Emily is a piece of creative nonfiction and a short film that together detail the author’s experience with mental illness in the collegiate environment. In its 45 pages, Jackman begins to detail the realities of living

In Memory of an Emily is a piece of creative nonfiction and a short film that together detail the author’s experience with mental illness in the collegiate environment. In its 45 pages, Jackman begins to detail the realities of living with depression, anxiety, and anorexia nervosa. The piece includes five sections of writing, including a preface and four portions describing freshman to senior year. Each section endeavors to explore simplistic and purposefully cliché events common in young adult/collegiate life and juxtapose the banal nature of these events with the experience of the mentally ill. Her story endeavors to explore the emotional truths of pain and suffering, revealing that beneath her tender façade lies a very different existence, one tangled in eating disorders, panic attacks, and overwhelming sadness. While maintaining a story-like quality traditional to creative non-fiction, Jackman ventures to warn with a cautionary tale of pathologizing abnormality and exploring the long lasting effects of childhood trauma. Weaving careful storytelling into an exploration of the mentally ill mind, Jackman keeps the reader both terrifyingly close and far away, whispering painful secrets and then desperately running away with the truth. She speaks frankly of all aspects of life, ranging from far more mundane events, such as break ups and college rejection letters, to complicated issues, such as the suicide of her grandfather and her admission into an eating disorder facility. The author attempts to establish a balanced rapport with the reader, recognizing the need to maintain distance and elicit emotion simultaneously. Jackman writes In Memory of an Emily as a heartbreaking but authentic tale, playing with stream of consciousness and paralyzing emotional description. She opens the door and invites the reader into her mind so as to share in the physical and emotional discomfort of the storyteller, but then promptly slams the door once inside.

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2018-05

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(Re)memories of Slavery: An Examination of the Traumatic Past,Present, and Future Depicted in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

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The application of Toni Morrison’s Beloved as a lens through which one can analyze intergenerational trauma on an individual and communal level results in a blueprint towards a remedial process. The characters and their experiences in her novel are representative

The application of Toni Morrison’s Beloved as a lens through which one can analyze intergenerational trauma on an individual and communal level results in a blueprint towards a remedial process. The characters and their experiences in her novel are representative of a myriad of ways in which trauma is manifested. I have broken down the concept of intergenerational trauma into the idea that it can be seen as the state where one is both simultaneously “falling” and “fallen” at the same time. Used here, the term “falling” refers to the consistent, individual trauma that one is experiencing. On the other hand, the term “fallen” refers to the trauma that a community as a whole has experienced and internalized. This framework that I establish based off of Beloved is a launching point for the conversation surrounding the topic of remedial actions in relation to intergenerational trauma that resulted from slavery. Using it as a basis of knowledge allows one to truly gather the weight of the situation regarding trauma postbellum. Considering the current climate surrounding any meaningful dialogue, knowledge is one of the most important aspects. Along with the concepts of “falling”/”fallen,” I also coined the term productive memory, which refers to the act of confrontation as well as the remembering of intergenerational trauma. The use of productive memory is imperative in addressing the prior ideas presented regarding intergenerational trauma and the possible pathways to move forward.

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2021-05

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Reasons to Stay Alive

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Reasons to Stay Alive is a short story that follows the protagonist, Corinne Larson, and her experiences with depression and anxiety as well as self-harm and suicidal ideations. It is meant to act as an antithesis to media that romanticizes

Reasons to Stay Alive is a short story that follows the protagonist, Corinne Larson, and her experiences with depression and anxiety as well as self-harm and suicidal ideations. It is meant to act as an antithesis to media that romanticizes suicide, such as the television show 13 Reasons Why (2017), and instead glorify growth and healing. Specifically, it focuses on the importance of social support in the healing process. The story is separated into three different formats: narrative, letter, and free-verse poetry. It is prefaced by a poem titled ‘death by suicide’ that discusses the stigma around suicide and the reason why the phrase ‘commit suicide’ was changed to ‘death by suicide’. The story then starts with a letter written by Corinne to her future self during a time she was really struggling with depression and self-harm and suicidal ideations. It is a plea with her future self to tell her everything will be alright. The rest of the story is broken into four parts, each about a specific and important person in Corinne’s life. Each part starts off as a first person narrative from Corinne’s point of view and is a memorable experience she had with each person and ends with a short letter addressed directly to each person. The letters are a chance for Corinne to tell each person how important they are to her, how they made an impact in her life, and how they gave her a reason to stay alive. Between each part is a poem that deals with different themes relating to depression or anxiety. The story ends with a letter written by Corinne to her future self that goes back and addresses the first letter. It gives past Corinne some words of advice and tells her that her reasons to stay alive are the important people in life as well as herself and the person she will become.

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2021-12