'Jared Diamond asked the acclaimed evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr (1904-2005) why Aristotle didn’t come up with the theory of evolution. Mayr’s answer was ‘Frage stellen’ which Diamond translates as ‘a way of asking questions [sic]’ (Byrne 2013). The idea that a particular way-of-asking might generate a particular way-of-knowing and, indeed, a particular branch-of-knowledge, is utterly intriguing, especially when we frame the practice of creative writing in those terms: as a way of asking questions.
'Drusilla Modjeska unpacks the concept of ‘temporising’ in her article ‘Writing Poppy’ (Modjeska 2002: 75). This discussion invites us to consider the generative capabilities of the temporising space – as an imaginative space for writers, as an alternate way of asking questions … of seeing, being, knowing.
In narrative, the questions that underpin the work do not necessarily appear in the surface-content of the text. In this way, the story is a metaphorical representation of the questions that lie beneath. As Aristotle suggests, metaphor relies on ‘an intuitive perception of the similarity [to homoion theorein] in dissimilars’ (Ricoeur 1977: 23). In narrative we contemplate a question, or an idea, within the context of a metaphorical other. This is a form of temporising: of ‘slip[ping] into other time frames’ as a means of ‘retreat[ing] and consider[ing]’ (Modjeska 2002: 75, 76). In narrative time, we consider one thing through an alternate temporal lens. We prevaricate in otherness.
'Fiction-making represents a very particular way of asking questions. With reference to the process of writing the short story – ‘Everything that matters is silvery white’ – it is clear that ‘making’ narrative is a way of asking questions that is assisted by the transformative temporising space.' (Publication abstract)