Thursday, November 5, 2015

Chapter 7- From Trauma to Writing

I must say, there was something cool about seeing a published work in my text book by an Ithaca College professor. Marian M. MacCurdy wrote her this chapter, titled "From Trauma to Writing: A Theoretical Model for Practical Use," as a response to the idea of writing as healing fitting into the category of personal writing, and finding its place in what she outlines as the debate between academic and autobiographical writing in the classroom. She opens up the chapter explaining to the reader that "a debate continues in the profession between writing professors who believe students are better served by writing courses that require strictly academic prose and those who argue that students, especially beginning writers, are more likely to find their own voices when asked to pursue autobiographical prose."  Defenders of autobiographical writing claim it's honest and gives students a very important opportunity to "find themselves" after years of living with internalized parental views of the world. However, MacCurdy reminds us, "self exposure is not honesty." After a bit of this back and forth, the chapter moves to explaining what it is we're actually doing when we write autobiographically, specifically about cases of trauma.

Trauma, she explains, is such a broad yet personalized term that an event that may not have phased one individual could be a life-long traumatic event for another. What we do know about traumatic events, however, is that they "produce a shift away from verbal encoding of information toward encoding via 'emotional, pictorial, auditory, and other sense-based memory systems' (158). This shift helps to explain why a simple verbal statement of a painful event fails to convey accurately the horror of a traumatic experience." I find much truth in this statement, having many traumatic events connected to specific pictures, feelings, ect. It's so interesting to think about what we are trying to and what we can accomplish then simply writing about trauma. This made me think about what it would be like to engage in muti-media healing. For example, theres a story that's gone viral recently of Instragam model Essena O'Neill who re-captioned all the photos on her Instragram account as part [of a healing process from the extremely measures of beauty she had measured herself up against with the way she was really feeling when the picture was taken. She admits things such as "NOT REAL LIFE," "Would have hardly eaten that day," and "Standing there and looking pretty is once what I aspired to do as a young girl." She uses pictures and writing to help guide her through past traumatic experiences and "re-live," an essential part of healing from trauma according to this chapter.  

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