Wednesday, 26 June 2013

On Method

They always ask you about your methodology, they always do. And it always makes me ill to admit I haven't got one. It gives me a pain in the neck. To admit that my method might approximate more to rummaging around in the attic, or to a delight in spontaneity, or to the rather tricky business of sticking together words on paper or sentiments from the rostrum to make effective stories (which means so many of my students lecture notes are haunted by expletives) might be bad. Weirdly I know it isn't.
One student told me the other day; that she had found a set while rummaging in her attic, and had kept them, just for the expletives. I found some joy in that, it eased the pain in my neck.
It's all a search for something. I never give out those 'unit evaluation forms' either, that's a bit embarrassing too. If I was to be asked by those with furrowed brow, I would just have to admit that I just don't think they are very rock'n'roll; that it's a bit peculiar to ask an audience after a couple of hours of attempted inspiration: well can you all go off now and evaluate exactly just how inspirational I was! In general, after performances which are any good, even those which are a bit duff, such stuff is embarrassing. That of course, to many an academic ear, is very arrogant indeed. Personally I reply I'm sick and tired of a culture which has decided you can't even buy anything on Ebay without having to state you enjoyed the experience.
I've got a morning off between examinations and meetings and I need to nurse my pain in the neck, so I read the poems of Emily Dickinson, and I look carefully at the sketchbooks of Le Corbusier and I wrestle with the pain of Louis Sullivan all in the hope my pain will go away. All of them hated the academy, and all of them were brilliant.

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