I received feedback on my second chapter from my Director of Studies. Very fair and helpful but it filled me with dread in relation to losing the plot and the focus of the thesis. It is more difficult to write a thesis-as-piece-of-work than a thesis report. I know the challenge would be here all along. I have had it pretty easy until now, no data gathering in the conventional sense, no number crunching, no narrative analysis, no conventional, run of the mill method. Because of this, it is not, at the time of analysis and evaluation that I am finding it difficult. What I do requires a lot of thinking and a lot of looking because it is evanescence. It disappears in my hands as I write. Then, at times, it also surprises me.
Writing is a process of discovery for me and, right now, I am attempting that dialogue chapter that seems to be the kernel of it all. 9,000 words of kernel, though. I learn what I have done through its writing, no matter how grueling it is. In order to do good writing (and this is all about a particular kind of good writing) I have to do a lot of re-writing. So not only I get the horror of the blank page, the knots in the thinking, the conceptual abysses where words are definitely not enough, I also have to establish a relationship with the writing, one that will stand many re-reads. If I get bored with it, so will my readers. If I am not seduced, tricked, tripped by my words, who will? This thought is specially compelling for me now that the external examiner has taken shape. I always wanted her, but thought she would not be able to do it. Well, it turns out she is interested and the pressure is on. She is a writing specialist (amongst other things), you see.
Anyway, my trick to keep my focus in my task is to work images in parallel to the words; to see as much as to write, and to think through both. It does not mean I talk about the images but the contribution to knowledge is definitely manifest in those photos. This is what I discovered in chapter 2. So here’s what I have been looking at closely, my double screen, my double mirror image. I recommend opening it in a new window.
Laura González. Valentino. Photograph, 195 x 73 cm. 2009