Wednesday, 25 May 2011

3 x 2 x 3: Selecting a Fishing Rod for the Exhausted Artist

Selecting a Fishing Rod for The Exhausted Artist

Hereʼs an unashamedly popular proverb:

“Give a man a fish so heʼll eat for a day; teach him how to fish and heʼll eat for life”

That man could be me trying to assemble my ʻrod of researchʼ to catch the fish of PhD gold. At present, I have bits of the rod, possibly a hook, but a bewildering choice of exhausting instructions, some of which are in a language I am still learning and Iʼm only allowed to look at the instructions for snatches of time.

Iʼd welcome experienced researchers who can think outside the box and help me not waste time, which is very hard won as a new parent managing a conniving illness. The Adaptive Prism, Emancipations for The Exhausted Artist is the most satisfactory incarnation of my PhD title. The “Prism” itself, is a metaphor about adaptation within illness. But itʼs more than hypothetical. I am attempting to draw blueprints for a highly bespoke, practical, lived philosophy.

The aim is to envision, regenerate or replace the colours now missing from a previously healthy and colourful life. Research-wise, Iʼm currently inside a ʻpraxisʼ concocting music and sound medications whilst testing their efficacy for autoethnographic and potentially wider usefulness. I am writing short essays about the projects and one is on the wall in this room. These will ultimately be formed into a philosophical manifesto and idiosyncratic multimedia publication of some kind.

But there is a problem. My practice-research is currently lopsided. I have no problem with the practice as it has developed within an existing illness as a personal medication with itʼs own adaptations. I know what my ʻchaptersʼ could be and what practical projects would parallel it. But the last academic writing I did was in 1994 for my degree – and now I have a kind of handicap of very little energy.

What would you do? I benefit hugely from the learning, but my compass can go haywire at times, as my view of formal research is quite weak. B-roads can emerge and leave me whimpering at the wheel at times. I accept that all researchers
must accept cul-de-sacs as part of research, but if I had a better idea of research methods I might be able to filter more effectively.

The central problem is that because I am not used to academic journals and reading massive quantities I run out of energy fast. I am not exactly asking for shortcuts, more time-saving ideas – lets end on a particular question:

I want to write a 1000-2000 word essay on a ʻhistory of exhaustionʼ that is not [wholly] a medical history. I canʼt find much on ʻa social history of exhaustion.ʼ How would you go about such an enterprise whilst being able to work slowly in 1-2 hour bursts?


alison333 said...

hello Chris

I'm sorry I missed Wed; had to teach that day.
Hope some guidance comes your way soon; I van empathise re; academic writing. But I do like the idea of rhizome theory, have you come across it much in your reading? I suspect it could suit your way of thinking.
x A

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