Grief made visible: experiments in narrative form through creative practice
Ms Niamh GordonZoom
This paper introduces the idea of grief as an invisible force which disrupts and disturbs narrative form. It also draws attention to creative practice as a successful research methodology within the medical humanities, highlighting its ability to bring together a multiplicity of perspectives within this interdisciplinary field.
In this paper I first isolate grief’s disruptive narrative effect in three novels by contemporary Scottish writer Ali Smith. Drawing on examples from Smith’s Hotel World (2001), Artful (2012) and How To Both (2015) I argue that it is the temporally disruptive aspect of the experience of grief which facilitates Smith’s narrative innovations in these texts, making it visible upon the page.
Then, I go on to explore how creative-critical research offers an opportunity to develop new theoretical approaches to understanding this ‘invisible’ impact of grief on narrative structure and time. Focalised through the specific experience of bereavement by suicide, I show that creative practice is a valuable methodology which can synthesise approaches from multiple different fields, and offer a solid framework for conducting lived experience research, especially for topics related to trauma and bereavement.