Phillips, D. & Lindsay, E. (2017). Using diary writing: a narrative of radical courage. TEXT: Journal of Writing and Writing Programs,(Special Issue 38), M. McAllister, D. L. Brien, L. Dodd. 1-14. Australia: Australasian Association of Writing Programs.
This article considers the use of diary entries as primary source material in autoethnographic research. It examines how the act of diary writing can reveal a trajectory into, and away from, an experience of depression and how diary entries can provide grounds for conjecture about possible futures and imagined self-narratives. It describes how ‘radical courage’, as identified by Phillips, can displace suicidal ideation and bolster a new self-narrative of an imagined future. The article highlights the value of diaries. More than a source of raw data for research and creative writing projects, they offer diarists a safe place to explore and create alternative and productive selfnarratives. In their unedited state, they are a first-person, present-tense record of emotional states, showing how context and events impact upon an individual’s life. Diary entries can reveal to the diarist and researcher alike the beginnings of a new selfnarrative that is not yet fully imagined nor articulated. The article includes selected diary entries and reflections on depression as a lived experience to show the connection between radical courage and a narrative of the future. This narrative form – a narrative of the imagined future – is commended for its therapeutic potential as a cognitive strategy to build resilience. Through writing and speaking, the story develops as it is lived; by being lived, the story becomes embodied
School of Arts
Open Access Journal Article