This week we had our first ‘peer led’ session. Fifteen of us came together to discuss what we had taken from the previous week, how the exercises and reading had impacted the way we think about the writing process – and some cases have been able to approach our writing this week.
We did lots of talking… A number of themes came up form our discussions and Andy kindly noted some of them down. These were as much to do with why we wanted to be in/attend the group as they were to do with how we relate to writing. We hope, I think, to revisit some of these in the coming weeks.
But as well as talking and discussing we made sure that we did some writing. We set ourselves a free writing task to write based on the discussions and the reading.
I loved the reading, so much of it resonated with me – thanks Rebecca, Emily and Tamsin for introducing me to it. This is what I (Elsie) wrote:
“What of ‘me’ do I bring to the writing? To the research?… I Wonder if the question should be ‘what do I not bring’? What of me does not come through?
Actually, my playful and fun side tends to get let behind, the bit of me that does cartwheels in the park, and who dances to taylor swift as a not even guilty pleasure. The young person, the fun person, the naive person, seems to get tucked away when I write because(?) I have to have an authorial voice – be an ‘expert’? – have a well formed opinion. I haven’t expected this, a well formed opinion, from any of my participants – but I do expect it of myself…
I bring to the writing (process?) my insecurity, my gender, my own experiences of sexual violence, my youth work experience and my expectations of what it is to be and academic.. I bring my privileges and yet my ‘youth’ gets tucked away because I want to sound ‘older’, more competent than I am… In this room right now I think I am probably the youngest person – or certainly one of the 3 youngest by quite a way. But when I do my youth work and my research I am the oldest, and I feel I have to act with confidence and competence – which hides the younger person that I am. Yes I am an adult, I feel pretty ‘adulty’ in many ways. I have responsibility and independence – I feel very responsible for this group right now… But I am also inexperienced in so much, yet don’t always feel able to show this… or perform it incase my ‘youth’ gets in the way. It’s tricky that liminal space of ‘youth’….”
I think that this was partly inspired by the reading and discussion but also the teaching I’ve been doing this week about youth transitions… considering how do we become ‘adult’, so what I wrote was not actually that surprising… I don’t think…
When I shared this with Fawzia we talked a lot, about lots of things – she had written a wonderful piece that has a very different style to me – But for both of us the idea of performance came out loud and proud. We wondered ‘does writing disguise?’ does it mask who we are and some of what and how we think because we feel we have to perform in our writing. we wondered how we can develop the confidence to write tentatively and to be hesitant.