Friday, August 22, 2014

Against the Negative

One of the problems of doing a lot of academic detective-work, especially if you're dealing with gender (and, I should imagine, race) issues, is that you unearth a lot of depressing information that articulates just how unpleasantly powerful the systems are that keep everything in place and prevent change that would make work, family, and other life situations more fair.
The sort of research that I do can be miserable at times. I don't set off with an agenda, just a simple question, but as time goes on and as the research becomes deeper, I turn around to find that I'm in the middle of a swamp of predjudice that is nothing short of horrific.
The very positive and interesting interviews that I undertake become undermined by a feeling that there is a cycle of repression that is impossible to break through; there is little progress, and what there is is slow and easily reversible.I have noticed this negativity creeping into the writing that I'm doing and the biggest challenge now is to revitalise it and make it interesting to people who probably (metaphorically) have their hands over their ears.
I already know how rigorous you have to be if you are swimming against the social and academic tide and I have read some academic material recently that puts my own writing to shame.
Last night I spent two hours shunting bits of text around to try to make the writing flow and collect together relevant bits of information in specific places to reinforce what I'm saying. As I sat there, it got dark and my feet got so cold that I had to switch on the fire to thaw them.
There is a new pile of library books sitting on the desk waiting to be harvested. House-bound this weekend, I know I'll have deep spectacles-grooves imprinted on my face by Sunday evening.
This is a bit like recording, when you start off in the morning and the next time you look at the clock and it's four o'clock. I'm going to do that too this weekend.

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