Releasing the imagination: Opening the poethical DRAW door

Year: 2021

Author: Mackinlay, Liz

Type of paper: Symposium

She opened the door and there they were, four of her favourite feminist thinkers and writers—Virginia Woolf, Simone Weil, Ursula Le Guin and Hélène Cixous. Deep in conversation, they had not noticed Elizabeth arrive.And Virginia said, “Creativity and style is a very simple matter really: it is all rhythm” (1977, p. 147).Then Ursula said, “Yes, because telling the story is a matter of getting the beat—of becoming the rhythm” (2004, p. 180).And Viriginia said, “And it goes far deeper than words. A sight, an emotion creates this wave in the mind” (1977, p. 147). Then Ursula said, “Beneath words...there are rhythms to which memory and imagination and words all move; and the writer’s job is to go down deep enough to begin to feel that rhythm...and let it move memory and imagination to find words” (2004, p. 281).And Hélène said, “Writing is a rhythm that beats through a thinking, feeling and living complete body and a writer composes words and worlds by listening to the vibrations of writing with one’s ears; there must be a current, a coursing of the text (in Cixous & Calle-Gruber, 1997, p. 64)”.Then Simone said, “Hush, pay attention” (1951/2010, p. 35).And Hélène said, “This is the stop; the silent demand of writing which moves us towards the  poethics of becoming a thinking-writing body (in Cixous & Calle-Gruber, 1997, p. 79)”. Elizabeth took a step back to think. She had not heard words like this spoken about writing in the academy for some time and they filled her with many questions. What is this work we do in the academy which writes words about the world? How do we know we are writing the right words to right the world and what kind of world do we want to word? In the hush that follows, the word kind seemed more important now than ever and Elizabeth began to wonder, what if paying attention to the waves in the mind which move to the rhythm of the poetic imagination was the ethical necessity she had been seeking to free herself and her academic writing? She was a rebellious girl at heart and without looking back, Elizabeth opened the door for her thinking-writing body to depart radically in academic writing. ReferencesCixous, H., & Calle-Gruber, M.  (1997). Helene Cixous Rootprints: Memory and life writing (E. Prenowitz, Trans.). Routledge. Le Guin, U. K. (2004). The wave in the mind: Talks and essays on the writer, reader, and the imagination. Shambhala. Weil, S. (1951/2010). Waiting on God (E. Craufurd, Trans.).Routledge.Woolf, V. (1977). The letters of Virginia Woolf, Volume III, 1923-1928. Harcourt Brace.