The mirror manoeuvre : telling the same story twice

Baldwin, Andrea (2014) The mirror manoeuvre : telling the same story twice. In Strange, Shane & Rozynski, Kay (Eds.) The Creative Manoeuvres : Making, Saying, Being Papers – The Refereed Proceedings of the 18th Conference of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs, Australian Association of Writing Programs, Canberra, Australia.


The emerging field of ecopsychology is marked by two theoretical concerns which can be seen as mirror images of each other. One is the concern with what humans need, psychologically, from the non-human natural world (e.g. Wolsko & Lindberg 2013). The other is what nature needs from us (e.g. Swim 2013). Ecocriticism has been exploring these questions for at least two decades, but ecocritical theory examines ways of reading texts rather than ways of writing them (Bate 2000; Buell 2001; Garrard 2012). Undertaking theoretically-informed “creative manoeuvres”, and reflecting and reporting on the results, is one way for practice-led researchers in the field of creative writing to progress the knowledge claims of our discipline. This paper describes an ecowriting practice experiment based on the premise that specific techniques of narrative fiction writing can deepen reader engagement with ecopsychology’s twin concerns, and help motivate ecological action. Exploring this premise is time-critical given the current environmental crisis (Rust & Totton 2012), and emerging evidence that contemporary modes of representing the non-human natural world fail to elicit activist responses (Crompton & Kasser 2009; Joffe 2008). In the practice experiment reported here, a unique reading experience has been constructed such that the reader encounters from two different perspectives, through two different novels, a single story of humans benefiting from non-destructive interactions with non-human nature. This paper argues that the two novels create a complex and intense relationship between reader and story which generates specific psychological effects, and ultimately demands an activist response.

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ID Code: 68696
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: creative writing, ecocriticism, ecowriting, Lacanian psychoanalysis, the uncanny
ISBN: 9780980757378
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400) > Creative Writing (incl. Playwriting) (190402)
Divisions: Current > Schools > Creative Writing & Literary Studies
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Andrea Baldwin
Deposited On: 17 Mar 2014 23:06
Last Modified: 09 May 2016 04:38

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