I’ve been away for a while, sort of, but I’ve been floating around the internet reading blogs and thinking about things and wondering what significance blogging has for me, both personally and as a feminist. Its been good to have a break because after handing in my dissertation, I really didn’t have the energy nor the enthusiasm for any sort of writing, really! I wrote an article for York Uni’s women’s committee magazine a week ago, but apart from that, I’ve been feeling adrift.
I’ve been thinking about what I want to do next – most likely find things to do whilst I look for a job or work experience – and I’ve come to the conclusion that I definitely want to do a PhD, possibly next year. I had to cut down my dissertation from 37,000 words down to 20,000 words! (which was horrible, and I was still doing the cutting down the evening before I had to hand it in, eek!!). I still feel the need to write, and continue writing, because writing is something I’ve done for as long as I remember. That is what blogging means to me, ultimately – a space to write.
I’ve had lots to think about and lots to figure out as well. I’m still happy to call myself a feminist but refuse to label myself further. I agree with a lot of different writers, bloggers and theories, as well as disagreeing with others. I can’t confine my thinking to anything in particular, and feel that it is unhelpful to place certain labels on people or to confine people to certain ‘categories’. I’m also sick of infighting blah blah blah – which I’ve already said much about elsewhere, and don’t really want to think about anymore. If people are going to be petty, then that’s their problem.
Anyway – a couple of things have been memorable about the past few months apart from the dissertation panic! I went to see ‘Her Naked Skin’ with captions at the National Theatre last month which was amazing. I’ll write a review with more detail later on sometime, but it was the first play shown by a living female playwright at the National. Much of it was harrowing – the depictions of literal and symbolic violence against suffragettes in prisons (arrested for so called ‘criminal damage’) were shocking but really brought the point home that these women were fighting a war. If you want to know the synopsis, the link is here. I’ve also had a few cultural annoyances which can be summed up more appropriately by this article (by my lovely manfriend no less!). However, a lot has passed me by due to the strange headspace I seem to be in at the moment – so bear with me while I get myself revved up again. I sort of seem to be flitting around getting annoyed by random things, and feeling like more needs to be done yet wondering what on earth can change things and wondering if it’s all futile.
I’ve also seen Mamma Mia! and absolutely loved it, as well as seeing The Dark Knight, which I also really enjoyed. My Mum, sister, partner and I all went to see The Lion King in the West End with captions, which was also fabulous and definitely worth seeing – in fact, I think it was better than the film in some ways! The actress/dancer playing the leopard was amazing. Yesterday, my manfriend and I went to see The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – incredibly emotionally charged and very upsetting. We need to be reminded of the holocaust – we need to be reminded that horrible things have happened and continue to happen. It’s important that films like this are made.
Two weeks ago I also went to see Fight Face by Sophie Woolley, a deaf actress and playwright (she both wrote and starred in the play along with actor David Rubin, who, funnily enough, also used to be at Chickenshed). I went to see When to Run last year, and was really entertained by her performance – she really has a brilliant feel for comedy and satire. Reviews of Fight Face are here.
It might seem as if I see something new every week, but I assure you that these events took place over three months! (I really don’t have enough money to do something every week, if I want to survive…) 🙂 It did give me a break from thinking about the dissertation anyway, and I’m hoping to get it published somewhere eventually, although I’m not sure what form this will take – it may be book or article form. I think it needs to be published because deaf women’s writing and experiences need to be highlighted – I got some amazing responses from a wide range of respondents, and I feel that I really wouldn’t have a research project at all without them. It brought together a lot of things that have been sort of covered separately elsewhere (a little bit, anyway), and I really want to take it further somehow.
I think in the next few months this blog will turn into something more about my life and what I feel I need to write about. Sorry if it seems like navel gazing, but I’ve said so much about feminism and I’m still sorting out my head and my feelings about the whole thing. Maybe it takes time to find a balance somewhere, to find a way of writing that feels comfortable, and not feeling dictated by what you feel is expected of you. To get anywhere, there really does need to be dialogue between everyone, not just a select few. I want to feel free to write about what I enjoy writing about, what I enjoy doing, what makes sense to me, rather than feeling restricted and wondering if I ‘dare’ talk about something. That feels like oppression to me!
The picture is of one of the famed Nana’s by Niki De Saint Phalle, one of my favourite artists 🙂
4 thoughts on “Midnight Ponderings”
I love this post – it seems to reflect a lot of the things quite a few people have been thinking lately. And really well done on getting your dissertation finished – I hope you do get it published somewhere, I for one would love to read it!
“Maybe it takes time to find a balance somewhere, to find a way of writing that feels comfortable, and not feeling dictated by what you feel is expected of you. To get anywhere, there really does need to be dialogue between everyone, not just a select few. I want to feel free to write about what I enjoy writing about, what I enjoy doing, what makes sense to me, rather than feeling restricted and wondering if I ‘dare’ talk about something. That feels like oppression to me!”
I think you’re exactly right, especially about writing what you want and not what you feel you should. It takes bravery to do that, because as soon as you change subject (I have found) people who were supportive before sometimes lose interest, and your hits go through the floorboards. I’ve just binned yet another blog because I still felt I couldn’t truly be myself there.
Anyway, I hope you’re well, and when you decide to write, whatever you decide to write, I’ll look forward to reading it! 🙂
Hi Liz, thanks for writing in! You’ve been busy. I haven’t been to see anything, but last time I stood in a queue outside the cinema, I felt claustrophobic! We went to a Christmas panto once where they were talking to people in the audience, and I was terrifed they would pick on me… as I didn’t know what they were saying. 🙂 They left me alone, but I stopped attending plays.
I know what you mean about not wanting to be restricted to writing anything in particular. I find it hard to write what I want to say at times even though I never promised to be writing about anything specific.
I think in the next few months this blog will turn into something more about my life and what I feel I need to write about. Sorry if it seems like navel gazing, but I’ve said so much about feminism and I’m still sorting out my head and my feelings about the whole thing.
I feel the same about feminist blogging at the mo, I just can’t seem to find the energy or inspiration to write anything, it’s either all been said before, or I just find myself tying myself in knots over a particular point, and it’s got to a stage where I’d really rather be doing something far more practical than blogging. When I first started blogging I found it exciting and useful, because it was a way of connecting with other feminists in a way I hadn’t previously been able to, and because my feminism was still forming, I was a lot less inhibited about saying things. But now, having developed my thinking, prompted by my studies, I find that what I want to say doesn’t seem to fit so well with the blogosphere anymore, and that’s where the frustration has set in.
I’m really glad to hear your dissertation went well, it sounds like a fascinating and worthy project, and I hope you do get the chance to develop it further. Personally, my experience with academia this year has left me a little burnt-out, and I can’t imagine doing a PhD anytime in the near future. You mentioned on my blog that the distinction between academic and grassroots feminist writing should collapse, and I agree, I think if I were to do research/writing on feminist issues in the future, it couldn’t be for a purely academic audience. It would have to have that activist, ‘real-world’ element.
Hope you are well!