The Language of Lost Cranes

  • Morna McDermott
Keywords: Currere, narrative inquiry, autoethnography


This paper focuses on using currere as a method for exploring the interior grief process of loss and death juxtaposed with the exterior embodied experience of identity by relationality. I will focus on the regressive phase of currere, described as a, “re- entry to the past and its conscious reincorporation into the present,” because as Pinar reminds us, “the past is not a language lost to the present, not a language sealed off in the unconscious, forever buried.” (1992, p. 265). The paper explores the journey of the author during an intense period of loss, death, and grief.  An origin story about birth unfolds, taking the reader in a spiral process across the past, present and future. The author explores Pinar's work The Lost Language of Cranes (1992) in which he examines the journey of both himself and a narrative (fictive) character (from the original essay by Leavitt(1988), both searching for a “lost” language (of cranes) by which they might communicate both the familiar and strange, to connect with those around them. This paper takes a play on that title and reflects on being the one who is "lost," searching for a language in her wanderings, during which the author re-arranges her “self,” or the “eye,” of the I (McDermott, 2011), in new relations to others facets of  becomings. The purpose of this paper is to create a theory of "language for cranes", who are lost and wandering, in search of the birth and death of possible meanings for existence.



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