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Response 7 - Ordinal Thoughts - version 3

Marie writes: This is version 3 of the response to Task 7. See here for reflections on the response.

21/10/18 – 17:08

Today we had a conversation about writing and you articulated something useful about your relationship with academic prose. You explained that you often work out what you want to say about a subject or a film while writing about it where most academics already know what they want to say in the moment they sit down to piece together an article/book. That was quite elucidating for me in understanding how you work and also it clarified for me your relationship with process and product. In my dance background I have used my body to do this work. Figuring out a movement phrase or a choreography is done by working it out while moving. Rarely have I been able to (or indeed been interested in) trying to work out in advance what something should look like. I want to think about how your process of writing is a form of improvisation. What you described to me today was a sort of ‘material thinking’ through words: you write something down, look at it, reread it, add something, change a word and so on. A bit like what I’m doing right now, I am improvising thinking by writing down words and sentences that enter my head. Recently you used the phrase  ‘I'm taking a thought for a walk’. I like this image of ‘airing’ your thinking by saying things out loud to hear what they sound like and what meanings they create outside your head. Dance improvising is like this for me, perhaps in a more abstract way. I start with a movement and let it take me in a direction until I find something that grabs my attention. I then stick with it for a while and try and investigate it through repetition or doing variations on it. The difference in the product between your medium of thinking/writing and my medium of improvising/dancing is that mine is ephemeral. You can trace back your thinking and rewrite and rethink and make it how you want or need it to be. Mine is gone. This is the beauty of dance. I can try and recreate or repeat but it will never be the same. Understanding that writing for you is a process of clarifying thought has shifted my perception of where process ends and product begins for you. These are simply meditations on the conversations we have had. It is an exercise of thought improvisation taking the reader through a stream of consciousness that simply tries to pick up on themes that we have discussed in relation to the project.

See here for version 1

See here for version 2