We help you by going through your script and telling you ways to improve them for the audience.
If you are an Invictus writer, we can help give you a platform which give you a voice that people might like to hear.
‘Invictus’ The Poem
We can also help you in the ways of Invictus writing by providing you information on how make your draft better.
Need To Analyze A Poem But Face Writer's Block?
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When Brad asked me to join Invictus, I was hesitant. I had never considered myself to be writer, and I had never written anything on this scale, let alone this personal. But I learned a long time ago that I can trust Brad, so when he told me I needed to do this I believed him.
Those who know me can tell you that I don’t share much about myself unprompted. I’m just not a “sharer.” When Brad asked us to talk about ourselves, and made us go deep, I was extremely uncomfortable. How often do you share the bits of you that really matter with a group of strangers? I don’t even share those things with my friends and family most of the time.
The group seemed most interested in where I come from and how I was raised, which was doubly difficult to talk about because my mother and I were losing our house at the time. But, when everyone else shared their stories, I realized that this was something I needed to talk about. Those sessions were uncomfortable, but in the end they were necessary for all of us to go beyond the classroom and become a writing group.
That being said, this project made me think about the things I never think about, hence the title of my piece, “It’s Like the Weather.” We don’t often pay attention to the things that really shape us and drive us, because it becomes the background of our lives. Invictus changes that. We’re all a little messed up and a tiny bit broken. Invictus breaks you, or at least makes you realize you’re broken in the first place. But it’s in the breaking that truth is found and you come face to face with who you are. The process of writing involves more than just putting words on the page. You have to be able to look at life, see the story, and write it the best you can.
Looking back at my piece six months later, I can see that I was telling the wrong story. I took the story in one direction, when the story was pushing me in another. Ernest Hemingway said, “The first draft of everything is shit.” Well, the first fifteen drafts of mine were shit, and even the final draft is shitty, just a little less so. But I’m proud of that piece of shit. I didn’t think I could write, but I did.
Kurt Vonnegut, one of my favorite human beings, once said, “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”
So it goes.
Brian Johnson: Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong…but we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…
Andrew Clark: …and an athlete…
Allison Reynolds: …and a basket case…
Claire Standish: …a princess…
John Bender: …and a criminal…
Brian Johnson: Does that answer your question?
Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.
I wasn’t sure how Year Two of The Invictus Project would go. Unlike the first project in 2011, I hadn’t had most of these students in my writing classes. In fact, I rarely teach writing at all anymore.
There’s a few hold-overs for sure: Malik, Jordan, Matt, and Dave. Most of this group, though, had come across me through other classes I taught in the Digital Media Minor, my work with the National Association of Black Journalists, or through word of mouth.
We were all a room of strangers, which meant that they had a longer road to walk when it came to working together. They hadn’t gone through the inevitable bonding experience my classes provide as I continually for my students to edit, edit, edit, and then edit more until we run out of time to edit any more.
Still, this quiet group — and they are supremely quiet — started to pull together throughout the second semester. I suspect that much of their bonding is happening away from my watchful eyes, which is exactly as this should be.
That not a single one has dropped out of the process says much about them, as well. In 2011, nearly 1/2 the original writers left at some point. In 2012, we’ve lost only 1. This makes my editing job all the more difficult, which is exactly as I want.
We are nearing the end of Invictus Vol. 2, and the words are beginning to flow across the page, and new stories are being written. This group, The Breakfast Club as we’ve dubbed ourselves, has been more tentative than my first group, more cautious of how their words will flow into the world.
But where they are the same — which is always the part that interests me the most — is their individual and collective desire to find a way to make their words mean.
As writers, as storytellers, as The Breakfast Club, this is all we can try to do.
We are Invictus.
I was worried that the third incarnation of The Invictus Writers would lose something.
For the first time, this project wouldn’t be an independent group of writers. Instead my department chair convinced me to turn this into a traditional class. In the most basic sense, that transition would bring an end to our long, meandering Saturday conversations held as we ate pancakes and drank coffee. These introspective conversations would be replaced by regular, weekly meeting times and assignments. My free flowing writer group would be transformed into just…another…class, which was exactly what I hoped to avoid when I started this.
I agreed to the experiment, but I wondered if the class might crumble because of the structure.
On our first day, I asked each person to tell us a story of his or her life. There were no instructions or rubrics to guide anyone. I just wanted each person to tell us a snippet of life. In those stories, I hoped I would hear the essence of the narratives those young writers would eventually tell. As Kaleigh M. Sheahan began talking about her family and her life, she used the words “normal” and “messed up” as if they had some meaning. She spoke confidently about those two conditions, never considering that we each might have a different take on what those concepts meant.
When she was finished, I asked her to explain what those two ideas meant to her.
There was a long pause, which was followed by an even longer pause. It was the long, uncomfortable silence that teachers too often fill in with answers. Eventually, a single voice chimed in. Then a second writer followed up.. Before long there was a chorus of strangers sharing intimate details about their lives — details of great sadness, and of great happiness – each who rejected the notions of normal and messed up.
I knew in that moment that The Invictus Writers project would survive this classroom experiment. I wasn’t sure what it would become, but I knew the young writers would be okay. We didn’t have a “normal” classroom, but as we would come to find out that was okay. After all, we’re all a little messed up, and a tiny bit broken.
We are Invictus.