Advisor Meeting (23 Feb. 2018)
with Andrew Cooks (Research Advisor)
Andrew and I had a very productive conversation. Most of the advise focused on ways to approach writing, which helped ease my melodramatic struggle with words. The following points are suggested steps forward in the writing process:
From here, write down all ideas as they come. Getting your ideas together is essential at this stage. What form those ideas take will come later. As you think of words and ideas write them down.
Articulating the ideas and putting them into words creates something concrete from which you can polish once they are clear.
In regards to the two different approaches to writing presented in my introduction:
The introduction stated: "the writing below is the thesis I "need" to write."...Why? Why does it need to be written in this way? Why does one have to be written in such a formal structure?
I had also stated in the introduction that these two methods of writing will be connected in the final paper... Andrew's response was: maybe interconnected is a better way to approach this. Interwoven and threaded into each another rather than two separate pieces of writing. However, perhaps it needs to be written separately now and then consider interweaving them later.
Think of this writing in the same way you think of breathing. There is the natural informal and often unconscious way of breathing and how does this compare to the forced breath?
The first sentence in the instinctively written piece is a far more inviting sentence to propel the reader into the second sentence. The first sentence in the formal writing is far less intriguing and raises questions rather than commanding your interest.
Andrew suggested the book, "Several Short Sentences about Writing" by Verlyn Klinkenborge. I read this book last night and it was fantastic. I feel like everything Klinkenborge explained about writing was related directly to me. It completely changed my perspective on creating sentences.
Look at every sentence that you write and question what is it saying or maybe what isn't it saying? Does it need to be there?
The first step is to trust. Ideas can come to you from out of nowhere. Write those ideas down. Sometimes they are the perfect start.
Question from Andrew: "Why can't the two pieces of writing be one or two things at once?"
Think of your writing in the same way as you make in the studio. Think about the way that you work and how this can be translated into the way you write. The writing needs to reflect and honour the writing. If you don't write in the way you create work in the studio, then you undermine your studio practice.
Say with words what you can only say with words - say with words the things you can't say with the images you make.
The first more instinctive writing in my introduction is far closer to the ideas I am talking about than the second stage of writing. Even the space the words create on the page/screen is airer. Think about the white around the words - reflecting air, space, breath. The first writing is less dense visually than the second more formal writing. The first words are far more visual.
Think about the two parts of the breath, inhaling and exhaling. One always follows the other. Could the two writing styles reflect this? Interwoven into the cycles of breathing, being aware of time passing this way.
When you are alone in a space (like Iceland) time passes differently. Your sense of time changes. Can this be in words also? A different approach to timing.
Think about the writing you enjoy reading. Write something you would want to read. In a way, it is like having a conversation with yourself as a means of clarifying the things you are talking about with images.
You should write this for yourself and not for others. What do you want to read?
Take the two introductions, re-read them, pull out the things that mean something to you. Imagine you are cooking and reducing the sauce down to its essence. Try and treat the writing process as a conversation with yourself about how you do things and don't treat it like a recipe or formula that you need to follow. Only if it is meaningful to you will it be meaningful to someone else.
Ponder all the what ifs. Write as naturally as you breathe. And honour what you do. Ask, does this honour my studio practice? How does this relate?
Remember: Words are an immersive experience also.
Link to Klinkenborg's blog: