I haven’t blogged in a while because I’m so caught up with dissertation-ing and trying to secure placements/jobs and whatnot for after my MA. I’ve probably driven everyone I know insane by harping on about these things; it’s going to stop soon, I swear. Anyway, it’s World Book Night, and I won’t be distributing free books as much as I’d love to, because I have no time. Instead, I’ve been reading some interesting theories about reading different narratives, writing your own and the effects of it on psychological wellbeing.
It’s easy to sometimes forget how much you enjoy Creative Writing as a discipline when you’re working under pressure towards a looming deadline. And how, despite the bleak outlook that it has in terms of stable employment (or so they say), you would not change it for anything. I could get lost in a tornado of research, reading one book to another until I have to remind myself to come back to my focus. Because Creative Writing isn’t limited to just ‘creativity’ and ‘writing’. Those are the key things, yes. But it is informed by almost every other discipline. As an undergrad, I extensively embodied art into my dissertation. As a postgrad, I’m leaning towards psychology, social sciences & well-being as well as the standard fiction/non-fiction books and literary theory. Like I said, I have to keep reminding myself to come back to the focus of my topic and not stray too far, but I’m constantly intrigued by how much you can learn through creative writing and reflecting on it. It makes me feel satisfied within when distant relatives and people you meet generally in everyday life dismiss it as a subject that ‘isn’t serious’ and ‘useless’. Comments like ‘all you do is read and write stories’ actually make me feel bad (and I mean it in a totally non-codescending way) for them as they don’t realise the wealth of knowledge that can be had by the discipline (cliche alert).
So, for World Book Night, here’s to the idea of ‘the reading cure’ and ‘bibliotherapy’. The idea that reading can heal us, psychologically make us stronger, wiser, happier, and help us come to terms with things. The fact that books helps us understand ourselves and the world more. (I’m still hunting for a relevant working definition to cite this).
Hope you’re all curling up with a book tonight (and most nights for that matter).
P.S. If anyone has any further reading suggestions on these topics (writing, wellbeing, mental health), journals or anything, it’d be hugely appreciated.