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Art or Olympic sport

I am energised by my fellow bloggers out there in the blogosphere.

Yesterday I had to go into work. I know it sounds so decadent – in reality having to go into work is actually a necessity and not a luxury for me. If only it was the other way around. For those of you that are not aware I am currently on leave while I write up my Masters research. I am officially away (the reality is I am tucked up in my study writing) but I seem to be going in to work a fair bit.

Anyhow, I had a fantasitc day yesterday even though I was distracted from my research writing. I am involved in a project at work looking at the strategic direction for Learning and Teaching at the polytechnic where I work. I love this. The reading, the discussion, the sharing of experiences and understanding. So much of what I learnt during my FLLinNZ year has come to the surface. Seeing the future possibilities is so exciting. Getting from here to there – well, that is another story – only time will tell.

My day was topped off by my family following a tradition we have established over the last few years – attending the latest Harry Potter movie on the day it is released here in Wellington. Everyone in my family has read all the books except me. I am waiting for that space in my life when I can read for pure pleasure! The movie was incredible and I walked out dazed. I am impressed at how the writer is developing Harry Potter. Last night I saw a young boy who demonstrated character, strength, determination, and a commitment to friendship. What a fantastic role model for kids. The underlying messages in the story are very powerful.

Yesterday I also printed out a copy of my research so I could see in hard copy what I had written so far. I felt guilty because didn’t do any research writing yesterday. As I sat in bed and read through what I had done I was surprised. Well at least in my eyes, it wasn’t bad.

This morning I read this post on Torill Mortensen’s blog (one of the international speakers appearing at Blog Hui) from Tuesday 22 November. Her post was entitled Self flagellation (doesn’t that grab your attention immediately):

Self-flagellation may seem like an academic olympic sport, but after a certain point it doesn’t really make your research or your writing better. Hurting yourself constantly over academic writing can lead the other way: that you remove what made your writing special, different and more interesting. Unless you really like the pain, indulge in your favourite sustenance, lean back and breathe, while you find something to focus on that makes you smile and notice good things. It may let you notice the good things in your own work too.

A new Olympic sport - self flagellationI had to smile. Is this what I have been doing? Self-flagellating! Participating in an academic Olympic sport does sound a lot better. In New Zealand we would say: “beating yourself up”. Oh, I am such a master at this. I definitely deserve a gold medal!

Subconsciously I followed Torill’s advice without even knowing about it at the time. I took time out and then when I looked at my work it wasn’t as bad as I was building it up to be in my mind. Now I have to get back into it.

One more thing before I go. I was also reading Jay Cross’s blog this morning. He is currently writing a book on informal learning which I can’t wait to read. He is over in Abu Dhabi where he was involved in the Emerging eLearning 2005 Conference. He wrote on Wednesday 23 November:

Michaelangelo claims David was in the stone. He only helped him to come out.

Work is moving right along here in my writer’s cottage hidden away in the Abu Dhabi Hilton. My book now tops four hundred pages and that’s before adding the graphics.

Michelangelo said the statue was inside the stone. All he needed to do was chip away the superfluous marble to let the statue emerge. I’ve stuck together a sufficiently massive stone so as of today I’m taking out the chisel, praying that the statue that emerges won’t be too avant guard.

The images from Jay’s trip are incredible and so are his postings. As for the little cottage where he is writing – wow! The images remind me of a scene in the Harry Potter movie when he walks into what looks like an ordinary camping tent on the outside and when he enters it the interior is decorated like an Arabian Palace. Harry comments on how much he loves magic when he sees the scene in front of him!

I hope my David emerges from my writing (or chiseling). I suppose if I keep avoiding it by writing other things I will never know.

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