Monday, August 22, 2011

Restructuring my thesis, being led astray by Gaston Bachelard and the fiery blaze of Cy Twombly.

I restructured my whole thesis in the margins of some other notes last week. 

See that inverted triangle? That's my sophisticated chapter plan. One hundred thousand words accounted for by a sketch that looks like a turnip.

It was, however, a very encouraging development. My thesis now has a definite flow and direction and I have made a deal with my supervisor to have chapter one written in three months. (When I typed 'three months' I imagined Ursula the Sea Witch holding up three fingers in front of Ariel- 'Got that? Three days.' I have the entire script of The Little Mermaid memorised (with character voices) and I don't think I'm going to forget it in a hurry.) 

I'm writing out all kinds of lovely enmeshed ideas- the intersection of intimacy and immensity on the style blogosphere. The way that clothing is the interface between a corporeal self and the external world, and the parallels between that and the ways bloggers 'dress' their blogs with their dressed selves. How blogs themselves are an interface between bloggers and their worlds, their offline reality and online presence, and spaces that bloggers inhabit, create and negotiate. And so on (and on, and on.) Exciting!

Yet I'm also still reading Bachelard's beautiful Poetics of Space and it is slow going (because his evocative language is so deftly layered, I don't want to miss a thing. Aerosmith?! Where did you come from?) Well, even though it is slow going, and even though it leaves my brain feeling as lively as a cinderblock, the introduction is like a passionate manifesto for poetry and the soul. 

Consider this:
"Indeed, the soul ... possesses an inner light, the light that an inner vision knows and expresses in the world of brilliant colours, in the world of sunlight, so that a veritable reversal of psychological perspectives is demanded of those who seek to understand, at the same time that they love (a) painting. They must participate in an inner light which is not a reflection of a light from the outside world. No doubt there are many facile claims to the expressions "inner vision" and "inner light." But here it is a painter speaking, a producer of lights. He knows from what heat source the light comes. He experiences the intimate meaning of the passion for red. At the core of such painting, there is a soul in combat- the fauvism, the wildness, is interior. Painting like this is therefore a phenomenon of the soul. The oeuvre must redeem an impassioned soul."

Marvellous, huh? And also evocative (to me, at least) of the late Cy Twombly's work who, although not a Fauvist, also seemed to paint from an impassioned soul.

And that's how I spent the larger part of today Googling images in the exact shade of red I had on my mind and how I pondered deeply the poetics of the soul... and how my word count stymied. I'm just going to blame Bachelard and his terribly wonderful musings and have done with.


  1. Rosie, Have visited your blog after a hiatus. I am morphing into a fashion-lover. Thanks (mostly) to you. Your writing is such a lovely distraction. From your biggest and most hipster of fans.A

  2. my dear, if my blog saves but one person from a life of mismatched colours, joggers with business suits and stockings, and UGG boots worn outside the home, I will consider it a success and will be myself satisfied. (Can you tell I have been reading 'Jane Eyre' lately? I want to be a Bronte.) Enjoy that DVF beast x