autoethnographically speaking

I am writing an autoethnography.

Ellis and Bochner (2000) advocate authoethnography, a form of writing that “make[s] the researcher’s own experience a topic of investigation in its own right” rather than seeming “as if they’re written from nowhere by nobody”. Autoethnography is “an autobiographical genre of writing that displays multiple layers of consciousness, connecting the personal to the cultura; autoethnographers “ask their readers to feel the truth of their stories and to become coparticipants, engaging the storyline morally, emotionally, aesthetically, and intellectually” (Porter, Noah)

It’s about getting electroconvulsive therapy. And I’m presenting a part of it to class next Thursday.

This is going to be strange. I’ve never really told this story to anyone before, well, except to those who read this journal. I’ve been disclosing so many of the details over the web to practically anyone who wants to read this, but why do I feel uneasy about saying something in person? When I write online, do I feel like I’m somehow detached from the story? That must partly be the case because I am letting the writing do the talking, but now I will have no distance from the story that I will be telling.

I’m nervous. Though I’ll have much of it analyzed sociologically (and that’s how it will be told), the story is still mine. How will I react? Will I be overwhelmed by emotions that I’ve never been in touch with before? That would be embarrassing if I tear up during class, but maybe that’ll be good for me to get it out. I used to be worried about how others might react, but now I’m wondering how I will be when I give this presentation.

A side note:
“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift”

I happened to see this quote on the end of my friend’s e-mail, and it made me think a little bit.


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