Monday, May 17, 2004

Status Report


That's roughly how many words, as of this afternoon, I have written for my thesis. All of them -- er, most of them -- pretty good words, too. Spelled correctly and everything.

I tell you this now simply to flag up the fact that I had a very uncommon (for me) burst of creative energy this past week. Upon returning to my introduction, which I've taken to calling, for lack of a better name, 'chapter one', I realised where I was getting bogged down. Namely, I no longer believed the central philosophical premise that I spend forty pages presenting there; in fact, I believed the exact opposite. This sounds a bit more dramatic than it was is, though. One thing I've learned is that the 'opposite' of anything is normally much more similar than we might be disposed to think possible. It is when you begin with entirely different (versus 'opposed') premises that you begin to get into trouble. Anyway, without going into detail about the change, suffice it to say the reversal has energised my production. 'Tis a nice thing, indeed, to have sufficient confidence to say, without hint of irony: 'I know what I'm talking about here!'

A friend of mine took advantage of this very odd exuberance on my part and talked me into submitting a proposal for a creative conference in late-June. Here's what I've come up:

I want a voice . . .

Such is the theme of the original material / reflections that I have in mind for the first annual Scottish Conference of Creative Writing. I am a third-year PhD student in the Centre for the Study of Literature, Theology and the Arts, studying the strange contagions of love, comedy and madness that infect our philosophical / theological thinking.

I propose that God, too, 'wants a voice' -- that it is in speaking that God / Eternity IS. The comedy / madness (depending on how you look at it) is that God is not Himself, and that true religious love is the acceptance of this 'damaged' deity. Or, in other words, that it is only in 'original sin', the fall from God, that God is at all. My proposed pieces for this conference are a mixture of original verse and prose -- verse-in-prose -- and short reflections on what I perceive to be parallel in the condition of the writer (w/ regard to 'writing'). Wherein, popular thinking notwithstanding, the writer does not lose herself in writing -- the truth / identity of writer and writing deferred -- but actually produces herself, IS at all, in 'the Fall' / the 'original sin' of writing. Such is the anxiety of the writer who stops writing, who loses her voice, and thus loses herself.

Now, of course, regular readers of this blog know that I do not have a very good track record for getting papers accepted to conferences. So, who knows. You'll know when I do.

Right now, though, it's back to work for me.