During the last 5 years I’ve had an on / off relationship with the methodologies for my creative writing practice-led research. I think in part because I’ve been doing this research part time. (Which I think has a methodology in itself!) And in part from a sense of an unruliness in my logical thinking which as a creative writer seemed unproblematic in making me lean toward creative thought. But, as I think through the methodologies I have been and am using, it becomes clear that making those links and that reasoning helps clarify what I’m doing, how I’m doing it and why. And I think give me a much fuller engagement with making poetry.
My experience of doing research part time alongside unrelated work (soldering circuit boards and office admin!) is that it can lead to a somewhat fragmented thinking, a stop / start method. I did sign up to do my research self funded and part time foreseeing no problem in that. But, a year in to my research, things changed for us financially from which we still haven’t recovered. So before, and around, the teaching undergraduate poetry and fiction at Edge Hill I worked the usual 9-5 with travel to Manchester on top. And these longer periods away from research activities, meant having to start again, having to refresh my memory at the start of each study session by re-reading what I wrote last, going over what I had been reading and (sometimes also searching for) notes I’d made. I feel, from the position I made at my starting point, I drifted off course inside this fragmentation: I have family responsibilities and it was impossible to escape that working a job had been made a an activity I had to do before making poetry, though of course I still did both!
I could not risk stopping or taking a break from my research because I had to continue on this poetry making journey I’d started. I believe in and am compelled to, albeit at a slow and faltering pace, make sense of sound-rich poetry - what is it, how can I make it, what do I understand it as being, doing. Perhaps it is that I’ve muddled through. And perhaps recently I’ve been suddenly shaken out of a sleepwalking I’d got into. But other than being a mum there’s nothing else that I feel so happy and satisfied being in a state of than learning about, making, and thinking about the possibilities in writing. I know that I have a harder, more exacting relationship with how I go about making poetry than I do say with writing fiction. And I have realised that sometimes I’ll have to be sure to separate the two in order to make both separately to fully express in their different ways the ‘encounter’ I’m writing from, as is the case at the moment.
Yet before my mind returned to feeling like a Dali painting I suddenly felt a strong conviction that it is through making poetry that there comes for me a sudden sense of an inner to outer physical movement and exchange to do with that ‘encounter’ I’ve been trying to write from; a possible passageway for and through language and expression of the tumult of thought, caused by and through which that encounter can in a way be redressed. And, my goodness, that is an amazing and exciting possibility which makes this poetry making journey more compelling than ever.