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A storied approach to life

The story below is one example of the many stories that I have written whilst undertaking my Doctoral Research. I will be sharing them HERE- I hope you enjoy reading them, and most of all I hope they make you pause and think a bit...... What would the stories of your life 'tell' about you?


Once upon a time, in a land not so far from here, there lived a PhD student. She decided that she didn’t want to do the ‘usual thing’ in her research, although when pushed she had to admit she didn’t really know what the 'usual thing' was. All she really knew was that she wanted to do things in a creative way that made her feel at peace inside. Not an easy thing to achieve when you are aiming to change the world!

She had a question to explore. It tumbled and twisted in her brain and drove her forward. But when she tried to capture it and give it a formal name (a title), it slipped through her fingers………………......................

Woops, there it goes again! Finally she made a stand and gave it a title, “There, that will do.” And she made a start on her research, following the path being revealed by the question. But do you know what happened next? As if by magic, next time she looked at what she had written, it appeared that someone had been playing with the words, switching the letters around so that the title no longer made sense. 

Oh what to do? Should she look for someone to blame? “It’s those Boggarts!” She exclaimed, “Perhaps they’re cross with me because I haven’t made time to play with them recently?” Realising this was a silly, childish thought, she scratched her head a bit, and considered what to do. “I know, I’ll look again at my data, I'll listen to what it has to say,” she announced. At least this would be a positive step. She reformed the title, “Ah, that’s better, that will do.” And she carried on with her work. 

I think you can probably guess what happened next time she looked back at her title? Yep, the Boggarts had been playing with the letters again. When others asked her, “What is your research title?” she would patiently explain, “This is what it is, for now, but it may change. I’ll only know for sure when I’m finished.”  Some (who understood about the 'questionableness' of research) nodded sagely and said, “I understand, that’s how it should be.”

Others were bewildered by her words, “And when will you finish?” they’d ask. To which she carefully replied, “I’m not sure, sometime next year I think… once the Boggarts have finished playing with my words.” (Hayes, T. 2015) 


A response to this story from a 'critical friend', part way through my PhD:  

Part of me wants to reply in literary critic style... I love the way the boggarts allow you to articulate and make-manifest the everyday intangible worries we all have about the writing process.
Part of me wants to say... Those bloody boggarts keep messing with my attempts to write my latest paper too.
Having said that, I wouldn't recommend using the 'boggart' excuse too many times with your PhD supervisors!

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