00 | 99+
“Your truth is provisional,
and the only thing backing it up
is who you are at the time
you wrote this or that,
and that your joys
and biases and prejudices
are part of writing, too.”
[Joan Didion, Let me tell you what I mean]
The MRes is going, although with a big bump on the way that scared me and threw me off. I took some time and drove down to Glastonbury again which was good even if the weather was terrible.
Anyway, I am here for another reason: I am here because I want to introduce you to The Polyhymniades.
My research process for my thesis is formed by a regular drawing practice, followed by a rigorous self-reflective journaling activity with the implementation of tools such as Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey, Jung’s subconscious and dream analysis, tarot and oracle cards. The writing practice stems from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way – Morning Pages. The thesis in itself consists of two written pieces: the Critical Exegesis and The Polyhymniades. This last one is offered as a collection of new journalism / intimate essay sections, hopefully conveying a didactical underlying objective, each one informed by a quote (as epigraph):
a. which is taken from a BOOK;
b. written by a FEMALE AUTHOR; and
c. the quotes are all to be found on page 99.
This series of limitations [seen as almost giving up part of my power by an arbitrary choice of a page number] is set on purpose as if trying to stylistically imitate the limitations of the drawing practice [as in only paper and pencil] and the giving up of an earthly control system in exchange for a mystical chance encounter. This collection of essays bears the title of The Polyhymniades to indicate the inspiration of the muse Polyhymnia who is said to preside over hymns and sacred writing - in the modern canon, by extension, writing, drawing and photography [when considered etymologically as φωτός (phōtós) "light" and γραφή (graphé) "representation by means of lines" or "drawing"]. Hence, each of these polyhymniades will also show an image from the journal / notebook / writing experience used. By extension, it feels as if Polyhymnia herself speaks to me through the voices and words of those women writers I quote and who in turn give me a language to translate my experience, validation of same, and clarity.
The next post / entry is an example of one of these Polyhymniades. Then, for clarity and academic requirements, the ones following will still be inspired by quotes taken from books written by female authors but not necessarily from page 99 (hence the collective title for these posts as 99+) and will not revolve specifically / directly around drawing but their scope will be broader.
The thing is: I feel I need to write more: things have shifted, things have evolved and changed, and there is something I feel I need to say.
And as always: onwards + upwards