• working/reading

    I am reading through 'both ways' literature of Yolngu and non-Yolngu working their knowledge systems together. Alongside I am reading Lorraine Code's 2006 book Ecological Thinking. I am also browsing through blogs and discussions on knowledge work and community development.
  • About this Blog

    Here I post some of my work and thinking. It is a much harder task than I thought! It is an extension of my research on knowledge and difference connecting my experiences, reflections, formal written pieces, and hopefully friends and colleagues. As work and self cannot be separate this blog is both personal and intellectual. Comments are moderated because, while it is a site for collective work, it is not anonymous.
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New Blog

This blog is not longer being used: it has been moved to www.christianclark.net

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Blogging here

After my last post on letting go a cherishing quite places of contemplation I thought I would post this which I have had for a while and an image of my current quite place that I like quite a lot …

If you are interested in journal software, blogs and bibliographic software, research tools, or just want to read about the stuff that is behind the screen read on. Part of the motivation for this post is to remind myself and others that blogs come from somewhere. They are typed by hands, in rooms by people, like me, contrived from notes jotted down on paper on trains, conversations over heard and participated in. It is collective work. All this is removed in the ‘post’. I greatly enjoy how writing this blog makes me reconsider conversation and take puzzles I am told about or experience on. So at the moment I sit up stairs in an rather empty version of my family home on Canterbury in Melbourne.

DSCF3513

The other part of the motivation is to share what I have learnt so far. So here goes …

I work on a Mac but some of this may be good for PC users.

The blog is all run on open source software so really it is a plug for open source software and the need to support them in use and money as they are better by far.

My main concern when thinking about having the blog was that I wanted to keep notes on my computer but not all of them online; some are rough, boring, personal, and fieldnotes are confidential. So I found Jounler (http://journler.com/ – free), a great way to keep a journal, manage files, and hold ideas. Journler does everything except bibliographic work, but for that there is Zotero (http://www.zotero.org/ – free). Zotero is a plugin for Firefox. It is excellent, much better than Endnote and integrates with Open Office (and MS Word). The best bit is that it can read bibliographic info from websites (including getting any full text links) and also generate records from a website including a full image of the website as it was when you looked at it (great for news items and online resources). Zotero can link to or store any other type of file, generate notes, tags and sub libraries.

Okay back to blogging. So Jounler has all my entires, notes, filed notes, thoughts, stories etc. From any entry in Journler you can send it to a blogging software. I use ecto (http://illuminex.com/ecto/- $19.95). I choose a Jounler entry I want to post on the blog from all the entries I don’t, and simply export it to ecto. From ecto I can add images and media and then upload it to the wordpress online blog. As the blog is on wordpress it is all set up with layout etc. You can choose a few things like themes, colours, and an image.

In the future, I will be using a Creative Common license to make the stuff here more accessible. However, any work like papers I put up, links to them will generate an email to me asking to have a copy. This way, I figure, I get to know people who have similar interests. For this, I have to host my own blog as this email generator thing is not a widget you can add in wordpress hosted blog. But I can still use the wordpress engine which is still open source free.

For reading blogs and subscribe to feeds I have found Shrook (www.utsire.com/shrook/ – free). It is marvelous. You can subscribe to many many feeds and then create folders to find article that mention key words (for me ‘knowledge’ and ‘indigenous’ are all I have now). After trying to get all my online thing together I am actually enjoying having a different piece of software for different uses. So Firefox is for research and surfing, Shrook is for dedicated reading. [From Blogging here]

Burn Out

I have been trying to find a story about the last few months. Lara and I had to leave the community we were living in quite suddenly. We landed back in Victoria and staying in Murrindindi with my parents. Murrindindi is now quite well know as it is the name of one of the dreadful fires that burnt only weeks before we got back.

I was sitting at a folded out trestle in a beautiful house, trying to keep writing. Autumn colors were just beginning. Just beyond view from the house were the burnt bush and houses. At night during the fires, my Dad described the fire as a wild beast, raging in the bush and terrifying in the mind. Always out there. day after day. And they were fortunate.

Burnout. Once the word was in my head it wouldn’t leave. For a time the bush, all brown and black, ash and dust, was the emptiness and wreckage that we felt. Lara and I we in burnout from something quite different to the fires, my parents from ‘the fires’ but not the fire itself. Burnout is what you are left with, and how you are left. It is not only something that slowly mounts, or something you go through only realising afterward, though your understanding maybe grow in time. Burnout, like the emptiness between the black trunks, it is state of being.

And then the bush seemingly betrays you. Green shoots appear on all the trees (and I’m not talking about the ‘yey green shoots capitalism is all okay after all’ green shoots!). There seem to be more than just a few. They seem to be recovering while you are not. I was stuck by the many works in an Art show in the Yarra Valley, produced in only weeks after the fire, depicting the burnt, smoking landscapes. But by this time, the burnout these canvasses conveyed, was disappearing outside. The arresting of time effected by the paintings was strengthening. Green shoots are like the way you say you are okay and keep breathing. They are the brave face of the bush, the bare minimum of living, but they can propel you too fast into being okay.


3492947877_45244bb064_o
Copyright © 2009 Sean Miakin flickr.com/photos/seanmakin/

[From Burn Out]

showing not telling

“A limited point of view is wonderful as a device; when, for example, there’s a fist person narrative talking to us and that character lacks self insight. For a reader, that is a marvellous experience, to be filling in the insight that the character doesn’t have about themselves.

When we use that old adage of showing not telling, what we’re showing is insight into a character that the character doesn’t have about themselves, the stuff they’re trying to keep hidden without realising that they are. That creates a beautiful, vivid and evocative space for the reader to immerse themselves in. Lack of self-insight can be used for great comic effect or dramatic effect, or create poignancy or great suspense.” Kate Kennedy interview in Overland 193.

This technique, ‘limited point of view’ or ‘showing not telling’ as Kate calls it, I have often used. For people like me, writing where partiality (embraced in both meanings), situatedness and modesty are virtues in one’s methodology showing not telling seems to work. It seems to be a style perfect for the task. You use first person narratives, showings you own ignorances, limitations and muddled practices. For people like me, also wanting to open up possibilities, different ways to go on, ‘showing not telling’ can also be created by making stark the limitations of a seemingly self evident reality, and hence the possibilities of other realities. And as Kate clearly puts it, this type of writing is often very engaging to read.

But it can be done in bad faith. It is too easy to show the limitations of others, use there ignorance for ‘comic effect’ and release from other wise dry academic genre (wild caricatures are the worst form of this). And as authors, it is too easy to build suspense simply to add rhetorical force to your conclusion. After re-readnig interviews, fieldwork stories, watching video footage over and over again, it is easy to feel like little can hide from us, we are with the reader now ‘filling in the insight’, and this for of reflexive move silently reverses the modesty we set up with humorous stories of our own flounderings.

[From showing not telling]