Clyde Street

Learning, Teaching, Performing

Writing Week Outputs

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This year’s Faculty of Health‘s 2010 Writing Week at the University of Canberra has produced a number of outputs.

I have posted about two workshops held to support the week:

Three colleagues have edited and submitted (eight) papers to journals this week, one colleague has completed two chapters for an international handbook, one colleague has delivered three reports, five colleagues have taken the opportunity to work on drafts of PhD chapters, one colleague has written a new course and a team of colleagues has submitted a large grant application.

I have written up a paper from 1993 and posted it on this blog. My aim was to share some ideas from the early years of notational analysis in sport. I hope I raise some important epistemological and ontological issues in the paper and see it as a contribution to the sociology of knowledge about notational and performance analysis. I have developed a wiki for a UNHCR project.

At the end of the week a colleague shared with me a link to the video of J K Rowling’s Commencement Address at Harvard:

Her 2008 talk was titled The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination. In it she shares some insights about her exoerience. I thought this was a great way to end our week:

Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.

Now, I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark one, and I had no idea that there was going to be what the press has since represented as a kind of fairy tale resolution. I had no idea then how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality.

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

Here’s to big ideas!

 

Photo Credits

Writing a Composition

Untitled

Write till you drop

Author: Keith Lyons

Clyde Street has been my WordPress blog since June 2008. I write about learning, teaching and performing.

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