Excited About Thesis Tank!

Stolen Memories: A Post 9/11 Memoir From Beyond (Working Title)

By: Laura Lopez

My project is an experiment in genre-blending storytelling that pushes the boundaries between the classic memoir and historical fiction.  I intend to explore the implications of mode and memory on character and plot development through the creation of a series of fictionalized correspondence with my father.  These unexplained “interactions” will begin on or around the day he died (9/11/2001) and evolve, over a 16-year time-span, through letters, emails, and text-messages. In addition to the father-daughter narrative, my project will layer in a second “story” told through the inclusion of personal artifacts related to my 9/11 experience (such as letters, poems, newspaper articles, etc.). In this way, questions related to memory, meaning-making, trauma, and the grieving process are also investigated.  My research methodology will include a comprehensive literature review, an autoethnographic analysis of my composing process, and a reflection on the impact that reimagining this period has had on me. In doing this work, I hope to fill an existing void in the post-9/11 literature space, add to the discussion surrounding the both the modern epistolary and print-based multimodal forms, and contribute to the existing knowledge surrounding genre-blending.


7 thoughts on “Excited About Thesis Tank!

  1. Thank you for sharing your project ideas, Laura, and for inviting us to join your class later today. It will be an honour to meet you all and to discuss your plans for your research. I’m deeply moved and impressed by your project ideas. Looking forward to talking more later.


  2. Hi Laura, there was not time to share in your shark tank area to share some thoughts but I was very impressed by your topic and your willingness to share your story.

    A few things which came to mind as looking at your work, thinking about the genre blending as a form of epistolary storytelling, or nesting stories for further meaning. Telling two unique narratives at once to create one story is daunting, and I look forward to seeing how you maneuver this space.

    If you have not seen these resources, I would look at them from a structural perspective – how they used genre blending to tell a story by letting the different modalities do different things. You are looking at a unique story with multiple structures, so there aren’t good examples of 9/11 and this structure. With that in mind,

    House of Leaves – Mark Danielewski. This book is remarkably cutting-edge in epistolary tradition as well as working against prior assumptions. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Leaves
    The Sense of an Ending – Booker Prize winning story from Julian Barnes. This looks at memory; the subject matter again is not pertinent but rather the structure https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sense_of_an_Ending
    11/09/01 – this was a documentary collection of short films from 11 countries, each 9 minutes, on the topic of 9/11. The specific films are not as important as how they work together https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/11%2709%2201_September_11


    1. Thank you Rolin. I really appreciate you taking the time to give me some feedback and resources. I’m definitely all over the epistolary genre (although i didn’t mention it in my “pitch”). I can’t wait to check them out…asap!


  3. Hi Laura, I’m sorry I didn’t get to participate in the tanking, but I thought I’d leave at least a brief late-to-the-party comment here.

    Epistolary fiction begins for me with Pamela. It’s very far afield of what you’re doing, but it may be of interest in terms of genre history. The backstory (as I recall from grad school long, long ago) is that Richardson did letter-writing work for gentry who wanted that “personal touch” but weren’t very good at writing themselves. When Richardson figured out he was good at the letter-writing, and that there was money in it, and perhaps he could do even better by using the form for storytelling, well, off he went and a genre was born (and a fortune made).

    I love the real-time first-person vividness of epistolary novels. One of my favorites is Possession, which puts an epistolary section within a larger framework–including fairy tales. It’s a multi-genre work that I never grow tired of.

    It strikes me that blog posts are an interesting blend of journaling and a kind of epistolary nonfiction–letters to the world, letters to oneself?–and there’s a series of them around 9/11 that I have long admired, by a writer and tech entrepreneur named Anil Dash. Each year on the anniversary he writes a post. Here’s the latest one: http://anildash.com/2017/09/sixteen-is-letting-go-again.html

    Good luck with the project!


  4. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog and comment here. I appreciate your time and thoughts. I will definitely check out the recommended epistolary works. There is something fascinating about the genre. Dash’s blog was particularly inspiring. It was interesting to read his excerpts from his 9/11 anniversary posts in reverse order…I could totally see the sort of backward progression in his attitude/views on the event as they got closer to 2001. Alan and I were discussing the possibility of playing around with the order of my letters with my father and now I can see the potential impact of the reader in doing so. Thanks so much for that resource!! And thanks for planting the seed about blog posts being “letters to the world or oneself”……food for thought for sure. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s