I’ve spent the majority of today laboring on one of the elements of my thesis and I think I finally have the form of something. Initially, I thought it was going to be one of my reflective essays, but it actually turned into the preface for my project. This works perfectly because it will be what I present on Wednesday.
Getting this piece out has me both encouraged and concerned. It took me a long time to write what ended up being a very short piece. When I say I labored, I LABORED to get the words down on the page and to make my thoughts organized and make sense. This makes me feel freaked out that every single one of my essays, fictional pieces, and theory-ish pieces are going to be massive undertakings and that I’m never going to get anything finished.
But – I am encouraged as well. We talked last week about addressing those things in our lives that are getting in the way of our productivity and I have tried to do just that. I have found that one of the biggest distractions for me really is my phone; and when I am stressed, Instagram is my best friend. I like to think that my curation of memes and funny posts in my stories isn’t just for me but is a service I provide to those who see them, but… I can’t even bullshit myself that hard. In order to curb the compulsive need to check my phone every 5 minutes, I have been turning it off and leaving it in a drawer all day. It is amazing how the simple act of putting your phone away in a place where you can’t see it makes your brain attend better to the task at hand. Yes, my mind will wander to my phone and I’ll wonder if anything has happened in the last few hours since I looked at it; but I acknowledge the thought and let it pass so I can keep on writing.
I am addressing what is contributing to my concern, but the writing itself and the articulation of my thoughts is still one of the hardest things about this project. I can feel the essence of my project, like a tip of the tongue kind of feeling, but it takes me a lot of focused concentrating to get the ball rolling in describing it and when I have the distraction of my phone or my stomach telling me I am hungry (we just ate, I promise) or my cat yelling at me to let her go for a walk… my train of thought gets derailed so much that I have a constant sense of being scattered and unclear of what it is exactly that I am trying to say.
But, despite all that, here is what I have come up with:
I am writing what I’m going to call a “theorizing memoir of care”. I don’t know if that makes sense, so you can tell me what you all think on Wednesday. A line from my writing today that kind of captures what I am trying to get at by calling it that is:
“It is one thing to understand the why of a theory, but another to understand the why of the theorist.”
Now, I could just be full of shit, which… I mean, I am most of the time. I love to play with contradictory things to the point of confusion and I very well might have done that with this piece. But I do also believe that I am on to something and that I finally might have put my finger on the pulse of my project. I think I am going to end up doing a lot more fusing of the personal and theoretical than I originally planned, and I don’t really plan on having any kind of definitive answer or argument by the end of it. I mean, I do, but I don’t. A huge theme in my life is what I call “living in the tension” and that is what I want this project to be. Living in the tension of the fact that answers aren’t ever certain and that they evolve with time.
A huge breakthrough for me this week was realizing how to do the fictionalized case study. I am doing it in a totally different way than what I did over the summer and the format fits my vision so much better. It will only focus on one fictionalized person and I will thread their story through out each of my sections. In addition to the case study, I am planning on having reflective pieces that takes on the majority of each section, but with it will somehow be the theoretical/policy/academic pieces… this part I am still trying to figure out how to move forward on. Maybe you all can give me some advice on how I could do it better.
I am excited to share with you all the format I have come up with for my project. I hope that it won’t seem too meta or confusing but if it does, I hope you’ll let me know.