a placeholder, just in case

Like I said, given the choice I would stick to what I’ve already started, so that’s still Plan A (or B, or C, I lose track).

But, if I do have to think about years of managing neuritis I may have found a reasonable solution that will not only allow me to finish the PhD, but give me the mental energy to carry on with some marking and tutoring, both of which are also important to me. It isn’t the solution I was going to write about yesterday (but includes a lot of the best elements), because after I wrote that post I just kept thinking – if drawing doesn’t exacerbate the pain and helps me feel mentally much better, I should really find a way to draw?

collage gn

So I went searching this afternoon and found that graphic memoirs, especially illness memoirs, were a thing. Who knew? There is some research done on different aspects of these kind of narratives but (having only spent a few hours on it so far, don’t quote me) a wide open space right up through the middle of them to conduct further research. I am wondering about a combination of analysis of other’s work, and drawing a memoir of my own research (and how it came to be my research) to sit along-side that analysis. There could be a lot of different aspects to it, looking at visual storytelling as a research method, how illness is represented in these kinds of books, the point of representing illness in these kinds of books, and as a possible way to translate academic findings into something more accessible. To name a few.

This quote from Quesenberry and Squier, 2016:

Ultimately, our sense is that graphic memoirs of disability, illness, and other types of difference share many characteristics with more traditional, exclusively textual life writing forms, though in graphic life writing the visual dynamic—involving the connections and disconnections between the verbal and visual—produces specific engagements with disjunction, complexity, and the ineffable.

I don’t know about you, but the words disjunction, complexity and the ineffable get all my artsy researchery goosebumps going.  And yes, it’s kind of the Master’s thesis redux, where blogging is swapped out for graphic memoir, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. That’s building on what I already know and making use of what I have already done.

Also, drawing.

Other Things to Like About Plan H (or D or E, F, G, I lose track):

  1. I could further the research on the idea of small freedoms that I introduced in the Master’s thesis. I think it’s a really useful idea in all different kinds of resistance, and I didn’t get to explore or explain it in enough depth. I could look into that more here.
  2. It allows for the possibility to include humour*. I find a difficulty with a lot of memoir, and research, and illness narratives in general is how seriously they take themselves. Life is funny, even when it’s hard, and sad. I think so. Super Adequate Woman thinks so. It would be very satisfying to bring some element of humour into my research.
  3. It could also include ideas of the beautiful awful, the social gaze, protest art, to name a few of the previous incarnations of Ideas I Have Had. They can all be part of both researching and creating a graphic memoir. In Search of The Green Man has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
  4. Oh yes, and mythology! I was so keen to use mythology in the Master’s but never could quite make it work. It could work here.
  5. As above, it very much ties in to the book that got me all excited about artifacts of loss in the first place. In the interment camps, the Japanese American’s used what was around them to create art and crafts to brighten their tiny homes, to bring some joy into their lives, to feel more human. I can see this as a way to use what I can still do (again, yes, let’s hope it’s temporary etc., and so forth) to contribute to the field of critical health psychology, and bring some joy into my life while I am doing it; a creative artifact of my own loss. Did that make sense? I will be able to explain it better when I’ve thought about it more, but I know there is a link there. Oh, probably they are both examples of small freedoms inside the generally restrictive world of habitus. All my roads seem to lead to Bourdieu.
  6. I probably haven’t explained what it is about the current research that I feel unable to do? It’s all the travelling and the interviews – the thought of driving all over town and giving the kind of sustained and empathetic attention the participants deserve – it sounds pathetic, and I loathe writing it, but as things stand I’m not up to being able to do all that very well. The driving alone will kill me.

I know there were other things I wanted to briefly note, but I’ve hit my concentration limit and have forgotten them all, and none of this might ever be needed in any case. I’ll close the laptop now and pop off for a cup of tea and a bit of Netflix. I’m expecting to hear from the neurologist again this week, and once I know what she has to say about next steps, I can decide whether to jump the current ship or just keep rowing.

Supervisors willing, of course*.


*eff everything croppedI made this graphic in photoshop one day when I was at my worse and couldn’t even sleep, before I was prescribed suitable pain relief (which I have had to stop for a while so I have the thinking ability to mark essays, because I tried to mark a few last week and just couldn’t tell what was good or bad about them, despite being sure I would be able to. Essays are easy! Bugger that to all damnation. So, now the pain is creeping back – Scylla and Charybdis, etc.) She (I forgot what name you gave her, Veronica?) still makes me smile, every time I look at her.

**I think I can hear Kerry grumping*** at how I am wasting time writing about all this palaver when I could be getting on with the research we’ve already started. Fair enough too. It’s just – I’m sad. Not depressed, not anxious, not panicking. Just very sad. And this cheered me up enormously, so a Sunday afternoon well spent, I think.

***My apologies if I can’t. I’ll write out the sentence ‘I mustn’t put words in my supervisor’s mouth‘ a thousand times in penance. Well, I won’t, but I could download the Dragon software you suggested and recite them instead if you like.

the beautiful awful (part 2)

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We made the world we’re living in, and we have to make it over. ~ James Baldwin

My friend Laura mentioned Navajo rugs the other day, the imperfections in their weaving. One story is that the imperfections are created on purpose, as a reminder that nothing is perfect. Another, that they are part of the process, mistakes made and then left in place as capturing a moment in time.

I have no idea of the literal truth of these stories, but I like the metaphorical truth. I like the metaphorical truth particularly in relation to my body, which I still think of as separate to ‘me’ even while I would argue vehemently that it is not. I’m not going to list out all the chronic diagnoses I have received thus far, it’s an embarrassingly long one and I prefer not to think about. I still believe they are all  separate from ‘me’, something other, something to be worked around, gotten over, cured, healed, dismissed, ignored. I don’t know what exactly, but something, anything, other than me.

But they are me. The mistake in the rug, if you like, a faulty genetic code that causes me to not produce enough complement C2, leaving me even more susceptible to autoimmune disease than I would otherwise be, and respiratory infection also. It’s a fairly mild mistake, as genetic weaving goes, but a mistake nonetheless. A deficiency. Who wants to own being ‘deficient’, however mildly? I don’t. Or rather, I don’t want to be judged as deficient, rejected, minimised, sidelined, discarded, forsaken. Even by, especially by, myself. It’s easier to separate myself from it, and then sideline and minimise the fault in the rug.

And yet. The older I become, the more syndromes and diseases and infections I collect, the harder it becomes to continue minimising them. I’m tired. I’m flat out, worn out, tired. Tired of pain, tired of infections, tired of uncertainty, tired of explaining myself, tired of letting people down, tired of hoping, tired of tired.

What I’m not tired of is creating. My faithful companion, a reliable source of meaning and reason and purpose. And if I don’t create because of the pain, does it nevertheless change how and what and why I create?

I’m not sure. They’re inextricably linked, how would I even know? But I wonder if there is an intensity there, an appreciation I wouldn’t otherwise have. I think of the Acharis, characters in Michael Ende’s Neverending Story, ugly, unhappy, misshapen worms that are too ashamed of their appearance to ever come above ground. They mine Fantastican silver with their tears of sorrow, creating intricate filigree works of astounding emotional depth and beauty. When one of our heroes takes pity on their tears and transforms them into the silly, beautiful butterfly Shlamoofs instead, they have no interest in their former work, and find it fun and funny to destroy it all. Too late, the young hero realises that the ugly Acharis were both wiser and far more beautiful than the mindless Shlamoofs, and that happiness is not a useful measure of either contribution or worth.

The beautiful awful. The imperfect success. I want to combine these ideas with that of wholeness as an integration of selves, as opposed to wellness being an absence of ill health. I see a series of photographic and narrative portraits of people in the midst of trying to make sense of this integration, specifically, people who use art and creativity in their efforts to do so. Braided with these stories will be a photographic and narrative exploration of my own attempts to make sense of this integration.

Last time we met, Kerry mentioned the possibility of self-portraits along with the idea of photographic portraits of others, as perhaps showing how research changes the researcher. Which it does, I think, always, more or less. I want to go further though, and tell the story of a researcher who is purposely setting out to change, to be moved, challenged, solaced, enlightened. I am sure it will play out in unexpected and surprising ways; such is the nature of experience.

We made the world we’re living in, and we have to make it over. There are many ways you could interpret James Baldwin’s quotation, but for me, for this project, it’s a statement of using the artistic and academic freedoms I have to explore the experiences of others, and in doing so to also envisage and develop a greater sense of wholeness for myself. To integrate the faults in my own genetic make-up as being as much a part of who I am as my white (actually yellowy-beige) skin and penchant for drawing colourful nonsense – not wrong, not less-than, but fully me.

Is it psychology, is it research? The short answer is yes, and yes. I’ll get to the longer answers as we go along. And is it a PhD? I think so. I certainly hope so.

one foot in front of the other

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It doesn’t get much more winter than this morning’s winter. Silent, cold, the whole world feels blanketed in shadow. It’s the kind of morning where sleep becomes more mistress than necessity.

If all had gone well I would be revising my finished thesis by now, crossing t’s and dotting i’s and visiting printers and wondering how the hell I managed to make it through after all. It always amazes me, every assignment or exam, every time. They always feel perpetual, and then suddenly they’re not.

But all didn’t go well. It’s painful to admit, but I’m ashamed of that. A part of me carries the feeling that I invited the rare, unpredictable, auto-immune attack on myself. It’s not related to the arthritis, the arthritis is fine; it’s not related to the ruptured ankle ligament, the ruptured ligament is fine (okay, still ruptured, but the ankle is fine); it’s nothing I ever heard of before, or even knew was possible. Yet, it feels like a character flaw, a personal fault, something I need to improve, work harder on, apologise for.

Senseless. Also true.

So, my extension time has lapsed, and I am back to the mad last minute rush I was in the middle of when everything caved in. I’ve blocked FaceBook and Instagram on my computer, uninstalled their apps on my phone. Turned the volume of the world right down until it fits entirely within the confines of my own home. I have made my main two jobs, my only two jobs, family and thesis, until that last word is written and that last piece of art complete.

Two things I can predict with utter confidence: 1) it will get done. 2) I will think it could have been done a whole lot better. Every section I write, I think how much more room there is to go deeper, wider, deeper still. Every piece of art … well, we’ll need a swear jar for me to write what I usually think about those.

I’ve been thinking about doctoral topics for a while, skirting around the edges of material objects and talismans and secular faith as they relate to personal health. But all so amorphous and changeable. I was looking up a few articles to fill in some of the missing elements I have found in my work so far, and came across The Spirit of Mourning by Paul Connerton (also How Modernity Forgets and The Art of Memory – and I suppose it would be remiss to overlook How Societies Remember. And …). I’ve ordered it as a treat for myself to read once I’ve finished the current thesis (me, incredulous: an academic book as treat?! me2: yes! it’ll be awesome! shut up!), and my spidey senses tell me that there will be something in there I want to look at further, something I will love and adore and want to live with for another three years. Which is good news, because the excitement for a new project has given me added motivation to get through the old.

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Julia is not well, it seems clear her liver metastases are no longer stable, and stable liver mets were her last bastion of hope for further treatments. I keep checking to see if there are updates, even though I know that she is not having her scans until this week, and that when the news is bad she needs time to come to terms with it enough for herself before she can write about it for others, so I won’t hear for another week or two. And still, I check. I think part of my reluctance to write about her at the moment is because she is so unwell. Do I think the writing will hasten her illness along? No. I think it just means that I am facing the reality of her condition on a daily basis, which is painful even at this remove. Bearing witness is important work, I will believe that to my own dying breath, but it is rarely easy or comfortable.

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I was given a textbook by the New Zealand Psychological Society for contributing a small piece in their student section on what my thesis was about. You mention terminal illness, and everyone’s interested. When the book arrived, I was really disappointed: Engaging Theories in Interpersonal Communication: Multiple PerspectivesYada, yada, bored, boring, boringness. But I was on the way to the hairdresser, and had an hour of staring at myself in the mirror to endure, so I took it along and gave it a go. The chapter on Narrative Theories was so useful in explaining narrative theories in a way my little brain could finally come to understand (even if I do have to keep re-reading to keep it straight), I would recommend it to anyone undertaking narrative research. It gets a little too involved in its own communication theories, and is overly enamoured of empiricism as a means of theoretical confirmation (i.e. the same as all psychology), but those aside, it is a well written overview of the functions and goals of narrative analysis. Here’s a little sentence I particularly enjoyed as a student of critical theories: Narrative inquiry and theory building need to interrogate not only the positive functions of narrative and storytelling, but also examine the ways stories disconfirm, belittle, reject, reify stereotypes, or hurt individual and relational members. Why yes, indeed. They do need to.

still not here

SONY DSC I should be reading research articles, but there is only so much one can fit into one’s head before it melts into a desolate puddle of overwhelm. It doesn’t feel like I’ll ever read enough to grasp the concepts and ideas as well as I want to. But I’ve met some interesting thoughts along the way, such as differentiating the narrative understanding of self from the whole of self, something I had an intuitive understanding of but have been circling around the right words for; emotional experience as an oft missing element from academic accounts of lived experience (and of identity), something I have been thinking about particularly in terms of a creative thesis; and a perception, rightly or wrongly, that there is a general inference that the creative part of a creative thesis doesn’t need the same level of time and training to accomplish successfully as the critical thinking parts do. I’m uncomfortable with the idea everyone could, or should, write creative theses. I mean, I can sing, everyone can, but I really should never do it publicly. Not ever.

I don’t know where I am going with that last one, if I am going anywhere at all.

And the photo is to remind me of a metaphor of depth of field in recounting and analysing stories. That is, our focus can be on the one thing in the foreground, but it doesn’t mean the parts blurred to the side, to the background, are any less relevant or real.

 

tell me a story

portrait 2 inverseI asked Google what an identity is, and it told me that an identity is the fact of being who or what a person is, which may be the worst answer in the history of all possible bad answers. There are no facts of who or what a person is, other than those of basic genetic chemistry, and even those are incomplete and often without context.

I once read a critique of narrative identity that went something like this: I don’t understand my own identity as a coherent narrative, and therefore the idea that we understand ourselves through narrative must be wrong (and even, in the author’s opinion, dangerous, though he never mentioned how). Even if we take the argument as valid, which it is absolutely not, it’s based on a misconception of what narrative is. It doesn’t have to be coherent, it doesn’t have to follow a developmental arc, it doesn’t have to agree with itself or be consistent over time. It is not a statement of what is true, and arguments of validity and reliability and falsifiability are irrelevant when applied to narrative. All that a narrative is are the means by which we communicate our understanding of a thing in this moment, be that thing our illness, our identity, or the reason we ate a packet of pineapple lumps for breakfast when we fully intended to make a green smoothie instead (one was less work and more flavoursome). I would argue that there can be no way to communicate or interpret anything, even to ourselves, without some level of narrative involvement.

It’s not that there’s only narrative. It’s that there is narrative.

my week

Here’s my week in drawings. They’re related to my thesis, to qualitative research, to how people understand their lives. Also to the incessant fear that this academia thing won’t work out and I will have to flog off random bits and pieces of my imagination to complete strangers to make ends meet. Best be prepared.

It looks like I was wasting time, but I learned a lot, things I didn’t know I needed to know until I knew them. Which is all very fuzzy and opaque, and I’ll tell you about it sometime when it isn’t *cough* some ungodly hour in the morning *cough*, but partly what I mean is this: “If someone tells you what a story is about, they are probably right. If they tell you that that is all a story is about, they are very definitely wrong.”

Okay, that’s actually what Neil Gaiman meant. But I mean it too. Narrative research need not concern itself with the validity of narrative, as a species we’ve been using it to make sense of things since before we even had language, it just needs to concern itself with how to put those narratives in a useful context.

the word of the day is isonomy*

*According to dictionary.com. I went there to look up “narrative”, because you know how sometimes you know what a word means but you’ve never really checked what it’s supposed to mean, what other people think it means, or defined the terms by which you would most prefer to use it? Me and narrative are like that. And if I learned one thing as a psychology undergrad, it was to always, always, define your constructs. So.

Narrative:

noun
1. a story or account of events, experiences, or the like, whether true or fictitious.
2. a book, literary work, etc., containing such a story.
3. the art, technique, or process of narrating, or of telling a story.

You’ve got to love a dictionary that gives the meaning of one word by substituting a synonymous one. A narrative is a story. Thank you dictionary.com.

portraitIn their article Narrative Inquiry in Psychology, Smith and Sparkes talk about the tensions in narrative inquiry, including those around concepts of identity and how much we can equate identity narratives with identity. I think it’s an interesting discussion, but one that perhaps focuses on the wrong idea. It seems to me to assume that identity is a concrete discoverable thing, and researchers will, one day, come to an agreement on how to define narrative in terms of identity, or identity in terms of narrative. But they won’t, because they can’t, because identity is a hall of mirrors, a kaleidoscope, insert favourite applicable metaphor here. All we can see, or show other people, are distorted shards of an illusory abstract whole, and the most narrative can do is communicate the boundaries of that shard.

I think what I am trying to say (after spending most of the day picking at the edges of it) is that I agree these tensions exist and I also think they are not a product of theoretical disagreement, but a product of identity itself. And I  have no real difficulty with the possibility such tensions can be both disparate and compatible. I can, to misquote Carroll’s Alice, hold as many as six theoretical tensions before breakfast. It’s crucial to know they are there and what they might mean in terms of my research, but they’re not what most interests me.

What interests me about illness narratives in blogs is that the author chose the topic. It was meaningful enough to them to want to use it to represent something about themselves to the world, something they hoped other people would read. My job in that context is not to judge salience, but to notice it. What is it they are wanting a reader to understand? And why is that of particular importance?

current favourite

Still playing with collage, will start to create thesis specific versions soon, but I included this one because it’s a current favourite. I just like the lyricism of wild blooded dreamers. In my secret heart, or one of the many, I am Percy Bysshe Shelley.

P.S. Isonomy means equality of political rights, making it one of my favourite best new words.

beautiful, dripping fragments

autumn pinkAlternative title, Furiously Playing Catch-Up, not my favourite way to spend a sunny Sunday. This post has been sitting in my drafts box all week as I play solo parent to three teens for the fourth and final week, the one that broke the proverbial back of the camel. You know who doesn’t get paid for the extra work a business trip entails? That would be me.

I’ve been collecting fallen detritus, bits and pieces of nature’s abundant impermanence, what Walt Whitman calls her beautiful, dripping fragments.  I walk on the beach in the rain, along pavements, around my back garden, collecting and cataloguing colour and shape and texture. And as I have been doing it, I’ve been thinking about something Veronica mentioned, about how the sand dollareveryday mundane routines of life might be experienced against the backdrop of terminal illness, and the way medicine has advanced so that some people experience cancer as a chronic illness. Julia is starting to talk about chronicity too, she has begun a new treatment that is working so well hope has returned to her writings. And it seems to be the mundane routines that she wants to embrace, the very ordinariness of daily living that ground and normalise our existence.

There is more here to think about and explore, my brain is full of half  formed thoughts I can almost see, but not quite, and I am just too tired to sort them out today. Time is becoming on much shorter supply than it should be, and I need to move on to actual thesis writing, but that doesn’t browns and orangesworry me, I have faith in my ability to pull things together as a deadline approaches. Lord knows, I’ve had the practice. The confusion is a worry though, there are myriad half-formed ideas and connections floating around that I am having trouble articulating, but I also take it on faith that I will find my way through that as I go. Fingers crossed. I will think of them as theoretical beautiful, dripping fragments, sitting in their random piles, but waiting patiently to be sorted, catalogued, arranged. It will all make sense in retrospect.

In other probably not related news,  Ellen Urbani  has written an interesting essay on ‘truth’ and narrative from a writer’s point of view, and Miss Norma, aged 90 from Michigan, has decided to forgo cancer treatment altogether and go on one last trip to all the places she wants to see. Wholeness isn’t always healing.

 

doing narrative research

… narrative research, although it is popular and engaging, is difficult…  

bertha overlay2

The quote is from a book I am reading, Doing Narrative Research, edited by Andrews, Squire and Tamboukou. I have a few hours in which to finish it because the university library want it back and they’re charging me $3 a day until I give it back. Someone else needs it, apparently, damn them bless them.

Exams are over and I have started my background research, focussing on narrative itself for the first few weeks. I flicked through a Master’s thesis a couple of days ago that was purportedly on narrative. My teeth ached. I may have pulled a few faces and flung it down in frustration once or twice. It was very rude of me, but it was so dull and the writer so overly concerned with her own emotional state  (I get it, reflexivity is good – but let’s not make that a justification for indulgent mirror-gazing, eh?) For example, writing that something is “profound and emotionally moving” means diddly squat. Take me to the place and time and write about it in a way that moves me too. What kind of profundity? In which context? Regarding which specific emotion?

I know it is neither necessary nor sufficient to have good writing technique to do useful psychological research, but it makes it so much easier for other people to understand what the hell you’re going on about. No, in fact I do think that communicating your findings is one of the aims of good research, so I take that back. It think it is even more important when you are using words rather than numbers as a research tool.  You are expected to learn statistical technique for causal research however good you are at ‘maths’, so why not a course on writing well for the interpretive researchers? “Profound and emotionally moving” is a lazy and opaque description of what was likely a useful and powerful observation.

My undergraduate degree was in English Literature and Classics, particularly the literary side of Classical history, the philosophies and the mythologies, so I may be biased. I don’t care. When I’m President of the World, I’m making that writing course mandatory.

Side rant over.

Because I’m out of time, I’m only reading the chapters of the book that I think are most suitable to my own interests. Not that I would really know. But life is one long series of compromises, is it not? I’m a fast reader, thank god, this has saved my procrastinating arse on more than one occasion. My notes below are both incomplete and provisional.

Experiential versus sociocultural narratives. I have to disagree with the writer who is distinguishing between them. They are not distinguishable, you cannot have an experience without a sociocultural context to that experience. As I write, France has declared a national emergency because of a series of attacks that have left many dead, and injured, and, yes, terrified. All of our individual experiences of today, from perpetrator to victim to internet rubbernecker, will be somewhat unique, our reactions complex and varied. We won’t even all agree it was horrific – some will understand it as a form of justice, rather than terror. The meanings we prescribe to our individual experiences are sociocultural, even if they are not examined as such, because we cannot remove our experiences from the places and times we live.

What I think so many of the so-called differences are describing are just different contextual emphases. I can’t see the philosophical difficulty with that, as long as the context is clearly examined and understood. This may just be showing my own inexperience, but I’m likely to plow on with my ignorance regardless.

I put Bertha the colorful sheep up there to illustrate a little of what I mean. I don’t think it’s black and white, or shades of grey, that we are talking about, but a colourful montage of different approaches and perspectives. The colours are the contexts, and if we want to argue something, then we could argue that what I call red may be more appropriately called a yellow-based orange. Not that red is somehow more valid as a colour than a yellow-based orange.

I seem to have pre-empted the next chapter, called narrative-in-context. As if there is any other kind of narrative. Everything I said above, I maintain with the distinction between the ‘small story’ and ‘big story’ focus. It reminds me of a quote I read in a book of narrative poetry about a women and her experiences with a profoundly disabled son (I forget the name, I’m sorry). Sounds grim, but she is writer enough to have made it a remarkable book in both literary and human terms. She said, somewhere near the end, that for her the small things are the big things. I agree. I find the distinction between small and big narratives puerile. How’s that for an emotive word? It’s just – our research is not separate from, but a part of, our life and the lives of our participants. These theoretical distinctions may be important at times when assessing what we are doing and why. But they sometimes seem to me to be a way of distancing our selves from our work, objectifying and stripping it of its humanity. We are people listening to, and writing about people. In this regard, there are no small stories.

I’m running out of time. Too much talking, too little reading. I’ve skimmed over the next few chapters rather dishearteningly. Either they’re boring and too focused on technique over the meaning of that technique, or else I don’t understand a damn thing. Maybe both, or neither. Likely I should shut down FaceBook and turn off the news websites. I’m anxious (that I’m just not getting it and Kerry and Veronica will be reading this and thinking, what the hell?) and unfocused (a general state of being) and none of that is helping. Also, I promised my family orange almond cake for afternoon tea and all I can smell is cooking oranges. Cooking oranges smell delicious.

Visual narratives. I think I misled Kerry when he asked me if I could do my research without using the photographs Julia has included in her blog. I answered yes, and he said that they may be more important than I think, but what I meant was that it would be possible to do the research without them. But not nearly as rich and deep. Personal blogs have visual and written narrative deeply entwined in my experience. It’s a good part of what I so enjoy about the genre. And I think they can be useful shortcuts to meaning; seeing a woman’s breast squeezed into a mammograph machine, as this chapter on visual narratives has depicted, has an immediate and emotive resonance that it would take very skilled writing to rival, and even then over a longer time frame. Visual and material objects can be used to reveal or conceal, to enlighten or manipulate, but either way they are powerful. I agree with the author, Susan Bell, that visual narratives, complicated as they are, extend the reach of narrative studies.

That’s all the time I have. I will come back to the book in the future perhaps. I would like to say I learned some things here, but I didn’t really. And that concerns me.