domingo, febrero 19, 2006

An ethnography of a book... Is that possible? 

I found this old book, that brought up many memories. Back then, procastination and writers block would get in the way of getting the dissertation done. And an acquaintance, those you meet in workshops whose company you swear will last forever recommended my reading a book about a woman's diary.... "Ella Price's Journal". Being into theory and not really fiction I hesitantly jotted the title and eventually got and read the book. And now many years later get it back in my hands. Amazing!

Reading about the consciousness raising of a middle class housewife in the Bay Area during the 60's is ok. What is significant is how by consistent writing you mobilize the stream of consiousness into that.... working through a writer's block. And ever since that conversation with my newly found friend about writing about blocks, and reading what became a book for Dorothy Bryant I find journals to be productive tools.

And for fun I will copy here one of her first entries which were suggestions for journal writing from an English class that required it:

Suggestions for people who need priming
  1. Your honest reaction to something that happened in class.
  2. Your reaction to something you read.
  3. A quotation- copy it and comment on it.
  4. A problem you are struggling with.
  5. A new word. Copy a definition from a big dictionary. Try some sentences using the word.
  6. Description of an interesting sight or incident.
  7. Suggestions for improving the college.
  8. A summary of something you read.
  9. A mistake or failure from which you learned something.
  10. An idea you disagree with--tell why.
  11. A question you can't or won't ask in class--leave room and I'll try to answer it.
  12. A dream.
  13. A favorite fantasy.
  14. A description of a person.
  15. An important experience.
  16. When all else fails, a bit of your autobiography.

Bryant, D. (1972) Ella Price's Journal, Signet: N.Y.

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