ED 816 Response to Guest: Ken Wilson

When Ken Wilson came to speak, I found myself mesmerized when he would read from his work – which meant less notes taken. It was easy to get lost in his works and words! When reading from his works, he no longer was Ken Wilson but the character he was taking the role of.

Ken said he is “drawn to things that create havoc”. I think we are all drawn to stories that are like this – stories that create problems and questions for the audience/reader. Not always does the story solve the problem or answer the questions, but then the audience/reader can make it their own. Applying this to my own future work, I realize that I am similar to Ken – I am constantly in the midst of chaos and yet, my chaotic life has led me to a balance I have found for myself. Yet, as I try to distance myself from my past disorderly life, I immerse myself into new controversial problems such as the topic of my future thesis. Why? 

Perhaps by focusing on other problems, I can forget my own. Perhaps I am drawn to havoc, as Ken says. Or even now, I recognize perhaps my disconnect with my family has created a loss of identity that I want to recreate. In doing so, I have found empathy for those who have had their identity taken away. In doing so, I move “back and forth in the stories from yours to theirs” as Ken said. I didn’t even realize I was doing that. Without even acknowledging it, my past stories have created a fidelity (a common theme that has been mentioned by almost all guest speakers) for my future research – to the theme, with the research participants, and with my readers. I am going to be like Ken’s work with Otto Dix – giving voice to someone’s story.

After viewing Ken’s Windblown/Rafales, a lady in the audience said “How did he get to know this place so well?” This is exactly what I want to accomplish for my thesis. I want to show my research participants/readers that I did connect with their stories, even if through my own. I want them to feel their voices come through my written words. It is through this future work, that I will continue to reestablish my identity I feel I have lost. It is through giving voice, significance, and representation to someone else’s story that I will feel that I have accomplished something in my own story. 


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