English 738T, Spring 2015
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PWGProject-A Journal

Posted by Ruth on Monday, March 2nd, 2015 at 12:34 pm

One section in Shelley Jackson’s Patchwork Girl that I think we should consider including in our project is a journal. The journal in PWG outlined the creation of the female monster and Mary Shelley’s reaction to her creation’s initial growth. The journal, in general, is a self-reflective form that offers insight into the writer’s motives, emotion, and ideas that might not come out in any other part of the text. Our journal section, like Shelley Jackson’s (written in Mary’s voice) will be an outlet for our collective experience of brainstorming, consolidating, writing, and creating our text. It will reflect not necessarily our process, but our understanding of our what our text undertakes and the issues that undertaking might reveal.

The question, that should be considered when putting together our journal, if we include it, is whose voice we should use. In PWG girl Shelley Jackson uses Mary Shelley’s voice to make us question the idea of authorship of the text as well as to provide the creator’s perspective on the female monster she created. If our aim for the project is to ‘rescue’ Shelley Jackson’s patchwork girl from its current prison of outdated technology whose voice would best serve? Overall, it probably depends on the focus our text takes. Will it be more on the story/plot that we come up with? Or will it be our own experience of ripping Jackson out of her well stitched cell?

If we focus more on plot what might that plot be? Will we try to mimic Jackson and make her a character, or rather, co-conspirator, in our text? If that is the case the journal might be written from her perspective taking, like she did for Mary Shelley, excerpts from her original text (perhaps about letting her writing free into the world). In this version, the text would take on the form of the female monster and we might write a fictionalized Jackson as we all (her and us) reflect on and try to set free her text. However, we might also write a literal ‘monster’ into our story if we wished to continue the theme. Making up our own new creation might stretch the idea a bit far, but what if we brought back a creature from previous texts? My initial thought was just to bring back Mary’s (and Jackson’s) female creature but what if we brought back both? What if the female and the male monster came to Shelley Jackson to help free her own creation, or to make a new one? The latter might be a little out of our scope, but I think we could make an argument why both creature’s might be concerned about the status of their (somewhat) shared stories and the author(s) who ‘made’ them.

This has taken me far away from where I started. But, a journal section in a story about the return of the male and female monster written by a real and fictionalized Shelly Jackson would not only provide a new narrative, but raise the kinds of questions we might might want to spur within our text. That kind of self-reflexive voice that Jackson tried to capture in Mary Shelley’s journal in PWG. Does a text ‘belong’ to anybody? Does the creation necessarily depend upon or have any duty to its creator(s)? Can the male and female monster collaborate effectively? And, what does our involvement in the story do to inflate the issues of authorship/creation Jackson already included in her text of PWG? Our journal would be our reaction to what we have attempted to do with our text, either told through our voices directly, or through Jackson, as fellow creator. Either way, it would be an important outlet for our own uneasiness as well as our satisfaction with our own ‘monster’.

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