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This novel began as a short story collection exploring aspects of blackness that dealt with homosexuality, family dynamics, violence, Christianity and societal constructs. The first draft was titled Innerworkings. My goal was to show how the actions or inactions of others can easily affect someone else’s life by focusing on each character individually before their story intertwined without another’s. This current thesis manuscript steams from my experience of talking to family members and peers, each with a different option about how the topics stated should be handled. Most of the conversations left me with more questions and feelings of guilt or questioning what my life looks like vs what it should look like. With the current thesis manuscript, I strive to find a way to bring up a new way to handle discussions where spiritually and unspiritual topics can be handled respectfully.
Reading Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied Sing and Salvage the Bones allowed me to see how a story could play out when each character is given their individual spotlight while also giving the reader insight to how they view the other characters. The work here is also influenced by Tomi Adeyemi’s novel Children of Blood and Bone and Marlon James’s Black Leopard, Red Wolf that showcased how important maps and character charts were in helping the readers understand the world and plot by giving them insight before they cracked open the first chapter. With time, I hope to be able to integrate maps and family tree dynamics into the novel so that The Community can be properly showcased as a character and its changes over time.