Voice in Australian creative non-fiction: The project of my belonging
Embargoed until: 2019-05-30
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The Notebook of Belonging engages with and contributes distinct values in relation to connection, belonging and narrative. Its ‘Voice’ situates an ontological approach originating from familial and cultural traditions. Multifaceted, it speaks to Western intellectual values, Aboriginality and the transformative nature of silence. Primarily a practise-based creative nonfiction project, the Notebook of Belonging has an embedded exegetical commentary. The exegetical cannot be sliced away at either end without weakening the centre; the centre is not as strong without the exegetical. In this way, there are tensions and there are alignments in how book learnt interacts with oral story. The authority of book knowledge in relation to oral traditions is contested here. The Notebook of Belonging presents knowledge imparted in oral story-telling whereby belonging and connection exist through a shared understanding of the interconnected nature of life and being. Oral story uses silence, repetition and reflection. The use of silence, repetition and reflection imparts knowledge in a non-linear and circular process. Replicating this non-linear, circular approach, the Notebook of Belonging is composed of a fragmented, discontinuous narrative, moving back and forth through time, recounting events in a non-linear order, where the multidimensional nature of time and story are always in dialogue, as they are in life. The intention is to show a constellation of belonging both conceptual and tangible; situated between European and Kamilaroi understandings. The idea of creating a constellation using a discontinuous narrative is also informed by Walter Benjamin’s One-Way Street (2016). Benjamin showed how a fragmented text creates subliminal connections between textual passages, complimented by explicit themes, formal echoes and rhymes; all of these may be structured in such a way to convey a constellation of meaning to the reader (Benjamin, 2016, p. 7). Individual fragments work as philosophical miniatures rather than snap shots. Moments from life recounted in the Notebook of Belonging focus on connection not rupture, informed and in response to Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida (2010) which presents the concept of the studium and the punctum in relation to the photographic image. The studium is the public broad range of meaning associated with the image. The punctum, on the other hand, is the private association the viewer has with the image. It is conjured by the spectator’s own experience. It is unexpected and consequently remembered (Barthes, 2010, p. 26). Other writers encountered in this research include: Nicholas Rothwell, Ngarta Jinny Bent et al, Kim Scott, Jeanette Winterson, and Helene Cixous. Their works investigate oral story as well as the power of narrative and literature.
Master of Arts Research (MARes)
School of Hum, Lang & Soc Sc
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Notebook of Belonging