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Embodied Narrative Writing: Forging New Pathways out of the Feeling Process of Narrative Writing.

I'm here right now, writing. These are my fingers typing, reaching
sometimes for the mug beside me, spurred on by more caffeine than I
wanted to drink today. My clock is here reminding me that this is one
minute in time, one minute and then another. Here and now, ticking,
ticking, ticking.
My clock. My fingers. My eyes, closed, feeling the words, embodied and
bodied, (1) in this time and place, and through fingers that are mine.
Let's start with a story.


"After having you in my Narrative Inquiry class, I thought I would find more of you in this dissertation."

I am in a medium-sized room at the university. It is my oral defence of my doctoral degree, and I am nervous. I had to close the blinds behind me because the sunlight reflected on the computer monitor displaying the two examiners. My supervisor, the committee members, and a few guests are sitting in front of me around tables arranged in a rectangle. The room is slightly darker now than I would have liked, the sun no longer blurring the small expressions on my face. I am a little shaken by this comment, so I pay extra attention to my face.

Wasn't I in it? I wonder. I think about the preface to my dissertation, (2) an abbreviated auto-biography of what brought me to my interest in student voice and experience at a private career college (PCC) in northern Ontario. I think about how I shared my family history, my fears, doubts, inner secrets. I wonder which part of me she is looking for. I told the reader why I came to my study, why my personal background influenced it in many ways. What had I overlooked?

This examiner, a narrative inquirer, recalled a journal entry that I had written in her Narrative Inquiry course about summers on my grandparents' farm in Portugal. She was interested in an early connection I had made between my interest in feminist epistemology, which I used to frame my study, and how I learned to see differently my grandma's ways of knowing through the stories she told me about being the best in her village at crocheting and starching linen. This examiner was interested in me and how my self-reflections during my time experimenting with writing as "a method of inquiry" (3) had challenged me to rethink and reimagine my world. After speaking to that aspect of my doctoral writing journey, the other examiner, another narrative inquirer and poet, interjected with enthusiasm to say, "Now that's an article I would like to read."

Of all the lessons I learnt that day and through this doctoral journey, the one I most want to share with other narrative inquirers and researchers is the lesson that methodology is more intricately rooted in the personal than many of us ever think it should be. My path to this lesson was not direct; it took until my defence, and the months after it as I revisited and rethought that journal entry. It took a great deal of reflection on the value of self in inquiry to understand that I had lost some of the richness of my dissertation in doubting that my own stories and experiences outside of my work in education were relevant to my study. Half a year after my defence, I now am able to truly embrace Carmen Shields' heartfelt statement that "what began as a research phenomenon has become the gift I use to construct my world." (4) Through writing, narrative inquiry has become so much more than a research methodology.

In this paper, I share a journey precipitated by those examiners as I returned to my journal entry about my childhood summers. By revisiting the initial journal entry alongside one I wrote days after the defence, I share how I developed a process of writing that allowed me to embrace what I characterize as the feeling process of narrative. This process has further enabled me to achieve an important goal of narrative inquiry of drawing on our own experiences to "(re)interpret" (5) and reimagine our worldviews. I also explore the impact that those reinterpreted perspectives have had on my approach to delivering postsecondary vocational education in northern Ontario, and to changing the educational culture of a college. A methodological discussion is included on the challenges I faced in negotiating the value of the auto-biographical nature of narrative inquiry.

First, however, I needed to rethink that initial journal entry.

On Grandmas, Grandpas, and Reimagined Meanings: March 22, 2015

My grandpa was the first entrepreneur I knew. It took me years to think of him that way. My dad had said it in passing once. I stewed over this thought for days. Grandpa wasn't an entrepreneur; he was a farmer. But what else was he?

Let's look at a child's facts. Grandpa had a lot of cows--so many cows that my brother and I would ride bicycles along the road to his ordenha to avoid stepping on cow manure. Not one inch of cobblestone was left uncovered. The smell from this was stifling. We would compete to see who could avoid breathing the longest. One of us would inevitably lose and the stench would filter in through the laughter.

The bikes we used were what we then considered relics. They were so old that no visible colour could be seen beneath the rust. Yet, as our grandma had promised, they worked perfectly fine. I thought rural Portugal to be behind the times, at least fifty years behind in progress. Progress was something I staunchly believed in. I would go home at the end of summer and tell my friends about unimaginable living conditions.

My grandpa's ordenha didn't look like it could be a dairy plant. It was concrete, small, and its insides only partly closed off, never a worry of being robbed or vandalized. All of the town's people would bring their cows for him to milk, cows I thought were his all along but really were those of the town's people my grandpa allowed to shelter cows there. He would walk them one by one down the 200m road to the dairy plant, lead the cows to the milking spots, and slowly but surely have a gentle machine milk them. It was just big enough for six cows to be milked at a time. And six cows were just enough to make the place seem dirty and disgusting to an egotistical little girl, but not enough to make this seem entrepreneurial or innovative.

My grandma would tend to their many fields while my grandpa worked. They had workers to help, but my grandma worked as hard as any of them, harder maybe. She worked so hard that I don't even know now how she survived. But it was good work and enough to keep the bellies of her children and grandchildren full and pudgy. She would hate to have to sit down at the end of the night, choosing to cook instead, and she had good proof for her diligence: my grandpa's belly was so round in his older age that it was quite the sight to see him nimbly bend over to attach the milking apparatus to the cows.

On these visits to my grandparents, my grandma would always find time to come home from the fields at our breakfast time to make us food: milk that she boiled long enough to skim the fat off of, a pinch of instant coffee, and a large piece of bread she made in her oven that was just an open hole built right into the stone. Ask anyone who had tasted it and they would tell you it was the best bread they had ever had. And no one stopped to question why she was giving children coffee. Then it didn't matter so much what children ate or drank. They were alive, happy, and just pudgy enough to prove they were not starving. All was well in the world.

On Sunday my grandparents always rested, believing in God and a day of celebration. On these days we all ate together for hours. I would barely eat because the smell from the pigs and chickens just outside was enough to make me gag. I thought the Portuguese were unclean, that they did not know what real food was or how to avoid contamination. Being a vegetarian in a household of farmers is not easy, though. "Just try taking a bite. It's homemade," my grandpa would tell me. I would roll my eyes and fight back tears. They were too uncivilized to know.

The truth as I remember it is that I never liked my grandpa much until he had his stroke. After the stroke, he was kind and loving, taking interest in our lives, sharing his stories, and smiling more than I ever remember. It unshackled something in him, letting him speak more kind words about my grandma in the short years after his stroke than in a whole lifetime before it.

When my grandma mourned his death I learned about old (long) love for the first time. In his hospital room she would slide a wooden stool up to the edge of his bed, climb to its top, just high enough to bend over the rail and kiss him. She would keep her head next to his the whole time, telling him about her day, gossiping in a way I never thought grandparents did. For the first time they were real. For the first time they were lovers.

The day before my grandpa died he was disoriented. He looked me square in the face--this entrepreneur, this family man, this lover of a wife--and told me I looked miudinha, young, small. I smiled, had a conversation with him that I can't remember, and then shortly after left the room because the smell of sick and dying was making my stomach turn. My grandma never once blamed me, even when the next day when it was time to pick her up for our daily visit he had already passed. I felt as though I should have known, should have recognized the importance of his seeing me as small and young. To someone dying I certainly was small and young. As the person left behind, I often wonder if he had seen me as a little girl in those final moments, as the version of me he liked best, before I knew better.

In the months following my grandpa's death, I learned more about his and my grandma's life than in twenty-odd years of visits. She took me upstairs to the room that was half the size of our family office, the wooden window sills with gaps large enough to let in big spiders and anxious moths if they wanted entrance. The bed in the corner of the room was so small that my brother and I often wondered how grown-ups ever slept on it. She sat down in front of a large chest that she opened.

What unknowingly came out of this chest was her story. She had saved everything that was important to her: the cloth corset she had worn under her wedding outfit; the first table cloths she had been given as a bride that she carefully crocheted around the edges in a then brilliant white; the linen table cloths that she had once been best in her town at starching and ironing; proof of the many talents and interests this once young woman had and wanted to pass on.

The corset got her talking. Her face lit up as she laughed at how small-waisted she had been on her wedding day; at how much of a shock married life was for both her and my grandpa, the first time either of them lived without their parents; at how they had only seen each other a few times around town before deciding that they wanted to marry each other; at the secrets of their private routines; at how they used to talk long into the night, and at how they had never noticed how hard they worked during those days; at the joy in her face over the life she had lived, a life that I had previously viewed as unlivable in this modern world, as simply the embodiment of gender stereotypes. How could I not see that being good at starching and ironing or making the best bread in town was noteworthy? That creating a system to milk the whole town's cows was important? That putting love into raising animals, tending to crops, and feeding yourself and your family food with ingredients you can be sure of is just about the most important thing you can do on this earth, and just about the most valuable lesson I could ever have learned? How could I not see that if they could forgive my arrogance that I had a shot at becoming someone they could be proud of?

Now, I see my grandparents' home and town as a magical place where people were certain about the meaning of living: loving those around you and enjoying good (real) food and wine. Now, I see that I had everything to learn from people who I thought were misfortunate enough to have been born in rural Europe where gender stereotypes were givens and technology was not the dominant means of communication. Oh how time can teach.

February 21, 2018: Continuing to Reimagine

I read, stewed over, and dreamt about this journal entry for a week and a half after my defence. Why this entry? What was this examiner urging me to explore? After sitting with my thoughts until they were in my veins, my fingers itched to write, to use words to reimagine my grandma and life, again. In response, I wrote the following journal entry.

Only three years have passed since I wrote that journal. Yet, I am different now and changed already. I feel those words deeply, like an emotion you can feel in the pit of your stomach, in a way that speaks to my ways of knowing and how words take shape for me physically, like something I can feel. I now wish I could rewrite that entry because I know now that my grandma, too, was an entrepreneur. My grandma, who I always imagined being there beside my grandpa, helping him in his dreams, was actively living her dream of having a farm of her own, crafting her life deliberately with my grandpa as her partner. I had misapplied my feminist worldviews because she happened to do the cooking, sewing, and washing, tasks that, I later learned, brought her great joy and pride. My young western heart (6) took issue with seeing my grandpa sit at the head of the table while my grandma cooked. I ignored the big smile on her face, and that she chose not to use the modern technologies her children had bought her to speed up the cooking process. I ignored that it was her way to do things the slow and deliberate way, the skilled way. I chalked it up to wifely (and womanly) duties in a place that I felt disgusted by for not recognizing the intellectual abilities of women.

I was wrong.

When my grandma shared her stories with me in the weeks following my grandpa's passing, she carved out a narrative space for me to reimagine what their lives had been, though it took my participation in a Narrative Inquiry class to recognize it. She took me back in time, to a place I could not understand fully through a child's eyes. She let me see myself, happily bumbling about in a house I would go back to Canada to tell my friends was not quite livable, that half the house was made of concrete and a free passage for birds to fly through. In this carved out space, where my grandma sat kneeled over with thick yellowed linens folded neatly on her lap, I saw myself skipping on that concrete patio with my cousins. I saw myself wearing those linens she was telling me she was skilled at starching, the old way, the real way she would say, with blocks of starch she had to rub onto the linen and press with an iron heavier than I could lift to smooth its creases. She only smiled when we wrapped them around our child bodies like a wedding dress, and when we used barrettes to secure her lace curtains to our hair as veils. She never looked down on me for having gendered dreams, like I did of her later. She never blamed me for not thinking twice about how much skill it took to smooth the creases left behind by childish games. I never thought much about those linens until now, or about how those linens gave my grandma a great deal of pride. When she first told me her story, I had likely scoffed at it as not important at all. Now, I think of her face when she looked at those linens. Creased eyes turned up slightly from smiling proudly through the tears she shed for my grandpa. She studied those linens like its threads were words, weaving stories only she and my grandpa could read. They anchored her in an important way to a life she was mourning, a life when she was valued and proud and skilled.

I think about linens often now, knowing what they can mean.

The Feeling Process: Negotiating the Value of Self in Narrative Inquiry
It is not enough to retell the same story in the same way across time
if that story is to be used to connect with new meaning and inform us
in the present. Rather, a story remembered must be revisited and
reconstructed using our own life experience across the intervening
years.
                                                  --Shields, 2005 (7)


Those family stories, imagined and reimagined through time, (8) were more important to my doctoral journey than I initially urged myself to explore. I saw them as being outside of the scope of my inquiry, always separate from who I was as an educator and researcher. By writing my way into the past to reimagine what those childhood days were like, I came to learn that, like John Guiney Yallop (9) with his poetry, learning to write narratively precipitated a self-journey that took me back to places that were impacting my knowledge inquiries and how I am in this world. Guiney Yallop shares that,
For me, narrative inquiry was a beginning of a journey to finding my
whole self. While storytelling was certainly part of that self, being a
poet is also an integral part of who I am. Narrative inquiry led me to
poetry, and poetry is leading me to a fuller understanding of who I am
and how I live, or might live, in the world. I am writing my way back
to the places where I felt whole, and I am writing my way forward
reclaiming my whole self, with my whole range of experiences. (10)


It was not an easy lesson, but narrative writing eventually enabled me not only to come to know who I am, but to continually reconstruct that self within my ever-changing contexts, always with an eye to how the past can help me move forward into the future.

More explicitly, I learned that lesson by coming to think of narrative writing as a process that involves intense feeling, something I have come to characterize as the feeling process of narrative writing. Prior to encountering narrative, I was trapped in flawed thinking that Shields argues students in modern universities too often adopt; that is, believing that "knowledge is an accumulation of arguments and perspectives of others" (11) rather than exploring "why we might think as we do based on our own tacit knowledge." (12) By the time I graduated with an undergraduate degree in English literature, I had stopped writing poetry and fiction in favour of academic writing, despite having written passionately from the age of seven when I wrote my first novel, Troll Land. Narrative inquiry enabled me to explore being a writer again, to use words to explore my beliefs and values. Pushing the theories and theorists aside, I used my doctoral research journal to experiment with different forms of writing, sometimes using stream of consciousness to work through emotions and anxieties from the research process, other times writing for an intended audience, thinking I might include my journal entries in my dissertation. Most impactful, however, were the times I wrote out of a place of feeling. I wrote journal entries about myself, about the world as I saw it, about the memories of a girl and then an adult, about anything that let me engage in a feeling process that was more than a form of academic inquiry for me. Selecting stories from my past and structuring them for a journal helped me to explore my motivations for my study, to connect with people around me, and to use those motivations and connections to explore education and my life more broadly. I allowed academics to be something I felt deeply through personal experience instead of simply "knew" because others had told me so.

Viewing narrative writing as a feeling process taught me about the value of self in inquiry, and how to explore and hone my own unique ways of knowing. Particularly, I learned that one way I come to knowledge is by embracing the strong emotions I tend to feel when I engage in inquiry and writing, despite having been taught early on that feeling should be removed from academic and properly objective inquiry. Why had I ignored my years as a literature student when I learnt that writing that elicits feeling and emotional responses can cause us to rethink our viewpoints towards change? It took learning how to write narratively to reawaken those instincts to learn and explore through feeling, and in doing so, I learned the greater value that our own stories matter too, that truly feeling what you write creates opportunity for self-exploration.

In seeing writing as a feeling process, I came to see its powerful potential to blur the boundaries of academic and personal, fiction and reality, body and mind, private and public, narrative and self-narrative, researcher and person. Writing as a feeling process is to take Donna Haraway's "view from a body" (13) into the realm of narrative to show with feeling that we all write from one place and then another with many intersecting influences and feelings. It is to heed Tasha Riley and Sharon Rich's warning that researchers must restore people to knowledge endeavours by "engaging in acts of storying our lives." (14) It is to explicitly challenge a long tradition rooted in Enlightenment principles that has dominated academia for too long, one that demands that knowledge be produced in a "perfectly detached, neutral, distanced, and disinterested approach to a subject matter that exists in a publicly observable space, separate from knowers/observers." (15) When knowledge is produced under such circumstances, knowledge is produced "from nowhere" (16) and, as such, contains a more justifiable claim to truth than knowledge that is so-called biased by personal or political goals. (17) The consequence is that modes of inquiry and knowing that are rooted in experience, practice, and feeling receive little credibility, leaving many people excluded from claiming and producing knowledge, or from being taken seriously. (18)

Conceptualizing narrative inquiry as a feeling process has reminded me to always explore the ways in which researchers conduct inquiries amidst daily interactions with our world. We feel, we dream, we celebrate and mourn, we desire, we care for ourselves and others, we cry when others are not looking, and laugh, too. We feel, in many ways and across many experiences. Removing feeling from writing and inquiry privileges the distanced and detached knower who produces knowledge from nowhere; a knowledge detached from the realities of what it is to be human, to truly feel in this world and to use passion and feeling to enact change. Writing as a feeling process allows us to find new ways to define rigorous and scholarly exploration, ways that include a wider spectrum of what it is to be a person in this world at this time and place, connected to others through intricate webs of experience.

Finally, narrative writing (through the feeling process) has enabled me to avoid what Laurel Richardson and Elizabeth St. Pierre lament is a widely held belief that "being a something ... is better than becoming" (19) Writing ensures I remain in a state of perpetual becoming, always exploring and reimagining. It helps me to heed Richardson and St. Pierre's advice to truly privilege the writing process as an integral method of inquiry: "Writing is thinking, writing is analysis, writing is indeed a seductive and tangled method of discovery." (20) Narrative writing has become a way to think, analyze, discover, and, I would add, feel.

From Methodology to Practice: Narrative in the Workplace
I am becoming who I am as I write myself to an understanding of who I
am.
                                                     --Guiney Yallop
            (in Shields, Novak, Marshall, & Guiney Yallop), 2011 (21)


The benefits of working through my stories by journaling were far-reaching if not immediate. In thinking a great deal about Shields' assertion that narrative writing can help us to "come to know in new ways from stories lived in the past," (22) I opened a world wherein I could explore how my personal motivations informed my role as an educator. Specifically, it encouraged me to explore my belief that voice and diversity of ways of knowing are of utmost importance in providing postsecondary vocational education in my geographical region. Learning to see my grandma's--and, later, my mom's--life differently, taught me to see students differently, and to wonder what else I might not understand about students that I cannot learn without their stories, both imagined and reimagined.

I do not believe I would have learned this lesson had I not undergone a narrative journey through my doctoral work. (23) I spent a considerable amount of time learning "to think narratively, to attend to lives as lived narratively." (24) I grappled with what it means to believe that we all lead storied lives that we use to make meaning, and wondered about "the implications this meaning has for understanding human existence." (25) Choosing to conduct a critical narrative, (26) I wrote extensively about my experiences working with six participants who attended the PCC in northern Ontario where I work. In those journals, I reflected on how exactly researchers work within a three-dimensional narrative inquiry space to construct research texts that honour the complexity of experience while simultaneously contextualizing that experience. (27) What do we learn, I wondered, when we situate experience in place (situation), explore how experiences relate back and forth across time (temporality), and consider how experiences are informed by the complex interactions between personal (inward) and social (outward) contexts? (28)

By applying this narrative process to my interactions with my participants, I came to learn so much more about them than I had ever stopped to ask a student at our school previously. I learned about their motivations and goals and lives outside of school. They taught me to stop thinking of students as only students; that is, as only existing when they are at our school, and as having no other intersecting influences on their behaviours and choices. I had to think more broadly, to learn to situate experience in that three-dimensional space to endow it with meaning. I engaged in a relational process that is an ongoing negotiation between researcher, participants, and "larger cultural, social, familial, and institutional narratives," (29) all the while wondering what this could mean in practice.

Narrative also made it possible to reflect on how life transitions are characterized by "much more gradual shifts as stories [are] carried forward." (30) Participants did not have only one direct answer to my research question of why they chose to attend our school. Instead, answers required going down meandering paths through their pasts. Along these paths, we explored topics I had long since trained myself to think unimportant to my role as a PCC administrator. We examined the kinds of experiences they had in previous educational institutions, both painful and celebratory. How did those school experiences make them feel about themselves? What intersecting factors and influences had they considered when trying to choose a postsecondary institution? We explored, delicately, whether participants felt equally capable of attending all types of postsecondary institutions and programs. What did success mean for them? In what ways, if any, did being a PCC student lead to achieving their particular versions of success? What impact has PCC education had on their lives more broadly?

Our explorations of possible answers to these questions and many others allowed us to interrogate how power and oppression likely influenced their lives, and to work towards the emancipatory benefits that can result from making meaning of our stories and experiences. (31) This process was messier than I expected, and certainly, much different than what I thought it would mean to do serious research. Participants shared personal memories, confessions, revelations, and self-doubt over and between laughs, long silences, and, sometimes, tears. They even shared deeply-personal family traumas and secrets, and a range of other private experiences and pain that left me emotionally invested in my research. That these experiences surfaced during interviews about PCC choice and experience caused me to rethink my role as an educator, and the possible values of postsecondary vocational learning.

Without quite knowing it, this journey took me to that "unimagined place" (32) that Shields, Novak, Marshall, and Guiney Yallop argue we can come to occupy when we engage in narrative inquiry. I wrote extensively about my experiences with these participants, and the resulting reflections that came out of hearing their stories. Embracing the feeling process of narrative inquiry in this writing enabled me to become increasingly aware that many students (not just my participants) wanted to share their stories with me. I learned to listen to these stories in new ways, to deliberately open a narrative space within which we could mutually explore where and how our experiences merged and how these same and different contexts were impacting our interactions. In this space, I actively listened and felt in response to stories that, at times, horrified and humbled me, stories that reminded me of my privilege and of the incredible importance of truly understanding where students have been if we are to help them go forward into their "imagined" (33) futures. In this space, I learned that education need not always be separate from feeling, that feeling can be a productive path to learning. Through, first, co-constructing narratives with six participants in my study, and, later, finding that many students willingly shared their personal and deeply emotional stories with me, I realized that feelings and strong emotions can have a place in education; that learning, like research, does not need to be objective and impartial or distanced to be meaningful.

These lessons eventually--over a three-year span--turned into a reimagined set of values that guide our college. By collaboratively rewriting our school's value statement to embrace the feeling process of narrative, we have been able to get to the heart of our education mission; that is, the equitable support of students towards their imagined futures. We no longer define those futures only by the jobs we want to help them find, but explore what other dreams these students have that we cannot know by simply thinking of them as vocational students. We are still in the midst of this culture change, but it has already enacted change that is allowing us to forge new ways forward. The emphasis is now on the narrative constructions and reconstructions that we encourage students to do throughout their time with us as students; we have added a Student Success department that utilizes narrative approaches to student meetings; and a host of other changes that are outside of the scope of this article. Narrative inquiry freed me to explore how the past can influence the present, and how the personal is intricately tied to the academic.

Though I had looked at personal journal writing as secondary to the doctoral study itself, I learned--with the help of a team of narrative inquirers and the feeling process of narrative writing and reimagining--to value personal writing and exploration as a primary value of narrative inquiry. More than just the methodology for one study, narrative inquiry has become a code to live by, and writing in a way that embraces the feeling process the medium through which I continue to re-evaluate that code.

Back to the Beginning: Reimagining My Defense

I did not know quite how we got there. They were talking about my writing and the role it had on my life and journey. I was trying not to act surprised at the direction the defence was going. But, I was surprised. I was surprised that they wanted to talk about me so much and not my work. I see now that I should have expected this.

I listened until a whirlwind was in my head and the only thing I could do was speak through feeling, letting it radiate through my skin.

I blurted out that conducting a narrative inquiry helped me to find my way back to writing. I exclaimed somewhat dramatically that I was not exaggerating when I wrote in my dissertation that writing had become a way to survive.

Slowly, very slowly, a smile formed on the external examiner's face on the computer screen in front of me.

"What if," he started gently, "you didn't think of writing as a way to survive, but as a way to thrive?"

And ever since, it has been.

Thriving in the Aftermath

Another six months later and I continue to think of my grandma standing on that stool, hunched over my grandpa's hospital bedrail like a lover. This moment was not as real on that day as it became when I wrote its memory into existence years later, when feelings I had bottled deep inside were etched into my electronic journal in stark black and white. I think often about how I might never have written those words had I not been invited to explore how to journal as a narrative inquirer.

I did not understand, then, why my search for my researcher identity most often played out in my journal through explorations of family memories. Now, I am beginning to explore possibilities as I write my way forward with words that are at once from my body but also from a long lineage of family inheritances.

Here I leave you as I wonder what these family inheritances might mean, and rethink what value "family" might have in academic journaling. As I further unravel myself and my beliefs in the pages of my journal, I begin to weave the threads back together in new ways, ways that allow me to reconsider what it is to be in family, at this time and place, from a body that carries with it many types of narrative inheritances. (34)

Notes

(1) The differentiation between "embodied" and "bodied" was intended to be jarring to the reader, and to, thus, invite the reader to consider the physical being in body of a writer, who must always be in one place and time, impacted by many intersecting historical and contextual influences, and who must write from a perspective that is not so-called objective. It also avoided the word "embodied" being read only to mean to represent or to take on meaning. This differentiation foreshadows a theme I explore later in the paper.

(2) Amanda Carvalho Harris, "Into the Silence: A Critical Narrative of Student Choice, Experience, and Identity at a Private Career College in Northern Ontario" (PhD diss., Nipissing University, 2018).

(3) Laurel Richardson and Elizabeth A. St. Pierre, "Writing: A Method of Inquiry," in Handbook of Qualitative Research, eds. Norman. K. Denzin and Yvonna S. Lincoln (Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2005), 969.

(4) Carmen Shields, Nancy Novak, Brenda Marshall, and John J. Guiney Yallop, "Providing Visions of a Different Life: Self-Study Narrative Inquiry as an Instrument for Seeing Ourselves in Previously-Unimagined Places," Narrative Works: Issues, Investigations, & Interventions 1, no. 1 (2011): 64.

(5) Carmen Shields "using Narrative Inquiry to Inform and Guide Our(RE) Interpretations of Lived Experience," McGill Journal of Education 40, no.1 (2005): 179-188.

(6) In writing quickly for a journal, I used the word "Western" when I should have written "North American." I was working to rethink flawed thinking from my childhood that aligned North America with a more modern (read: correct) way of living founded on feminism, and Europe with more traditional, androcentric ways of life. The word Western likely came quickly to mind because of the many times I had visually mapped out my childhood trips from west to cast and back again.

(7) Shields, "using Narrative Inquiry," 180.

(8) Ibid., 179-188; Shields el al., "Providing Visions of a Different Life," 63-77.

(9) Shields et al., "Providing Visions of a Different Life," 63-77.

(10) Ibid., 73.

(11) Shields, "Using Narrative Inquiry," 182.

(12) Ibid.

(13) Donna Haraway, "Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective," Feminist Studies 14, no. 3 (1988): 575-599.

(14) Tasha Riley and Sharon Rich, "No More Boundaries: Narrative Pedagogies, Curriculum and Imagining Who We Might Become," in Contemporary Studies in Canadian Curriculum: Principles, Portraits and Practices, eds. Darren Stanley and Kelly Young (Calgary: Detselig, 2011), 104.

(15) Lorraine Code, "How Do We Know? Questions of Method in Feminist Practice," in Changing Methods: Feminists Transforming Practice, eds. Sandra Burt and Lorraine Code (Toronto: Broadview Press, 1995), 15.

(16) Haraway, "Situated Knowledges," 589.

(17) Lorraine Code, "Taking Subjectivity into Account," in Feminist Epistemologies, eds. Linda Alcoff and Elizabeth Potter (New York: Routledge, 1993), 15-48.

(18) Nancy R. Goldberger, "Looking Backward, Looking Forward," in Knowledge, Difference and Power: Essays Inspired by Women's Ways of Knowing, eds. Nancy R. Goldberger, Jill M. Tarule, Blythe M. Clinchy, and Mary F. Belenky (New York: Basic Books, 1996), 1-21.

(19) Richardson and St. Pierre, "Writing: A Method of Inquiry," 967.

(20) Ibid.

(21) Shields et al., "Providing Visions of a Different Life," 74.

(22) Shields, "Using Narrative Inquiry," 181.

(23) The thinking represented over the next three paragraphs was adapted from my doctoral dissertation: Carvalho Harris, "Into the Silence."

(24) Jean D. Clandinin and Michael F. Connelly, Narrative Inquiry: Experience and Story in Qualitative Research (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 2000), 120.

(25) Donald E. Polkinghorne, Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988), 6.

(26) I conducted critical narrative research (CNR) based on the definition offered by Luigi Iannacci in "Critical Narrative Research (CNR): Conceptualizing and Furthering the Validity of an Emerging Methodology," Vitae Scholasticae, 24, no. 1 (2007): 55-76. Iannacci defines CNR as an embodied form of research that seeks to challenge social forms of oppression while highlighting and privileging participant perspectives through the use of story.

(27) Clandinin and Connelly, Narrative Inquiry.

(28) Ibid.

(29) Vera Caine, Andrew Estefan, and Jean D. Clandinin, "A Return to Methodological Commitment: Reflections on Narrative Inquiry," Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research 57, no. 6 (2013): 574-586.

(30) Jean D. Clandinin, Vera Caine, and Pam Steeves, "Exploring Transitions within Lives," in Composing Lives in Transition: A Narrative Inquiry into the Experiences of Early School Leavers, eds. Jean D. Clandinin, Pam Steeves, and Vera Caine (Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2013), 219.

(31) Robert Atkinson, The Gift of Stories. Practical and Spiritual Applications of Autobiography, Life Stories and Personal Mythmaking (Westport: Greenwood Publishing, 1995); Mary Bateson, "Composing a Life," in Sacred Stories: A Celebration of the Power of Stories to Transform and Heal, eds. Charles Simpkinson and Anne Simpkinson (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1993), 39-52; Jean D. Clandinin and Michael F. Connelly, "Personal Experience Methods," in Handbook of Qualitative Research, eds. Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna S. Lincoln (Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 1994), 413-427; Pierre F. Dominice, "Composing Education Biographies: Group Reflection through Life Histories," in Fostering Critical Reflection in Adulthood, eds. Jack Mezirow and Associates (San Francisco: Jossey-Pass Publishers, 1990), 194-212; Carolyn G. Heilbrun, Women's Lives: The View from the Threshold (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999).

(32) Shields et al., "Providing Visions of a Different Life," 64.

(33) Ibid.

(34) The doctoral research taken up in this article was supported by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Amanda Carvalho Harris

CTS Canadian Career College
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Author:Harris, Amanda Carvalho
Publication:Vitae Scholasticae
Date:Sep 22, 2018
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