During the first two years of my Ph.D., I have written thousands and thousands of words, but I’ve never used those words to engage with an audience outside academia. My thesis examines contemporary American literature, and who better to comment on my ideas than those living in the contemporary moment, American or otherwise? I haven’t used a blog platform since my early teens and I am still wary of the implications that sharing thoughts and information will have in this new age of insecurity and surveillance. Nevertheless, I am giving it ago as part of a University of Surrey course called ‘23 things’.
Over the course of this project, I will be posting entries that will reflect on my experience of the Ph.D. process, ponderings about my research interests, and perhaps even some ideas from my thesis. I hope that this will open up a new discourse with an audience I haven’t yet engaged with. I welcome any comments, feedback, challenges etc., and hope to communicate with some like-minded people.
To provide a bit of insight into my research, I will begin by explaining my reasoning behind the name of my blog ‘Seeking NeverNeverLand’. Whilst some may assume I am a Peter Pan mega-fan (not quite the case), it is in fact a reference to one of the books I am examining as part of my thesis: Bret Easton Ellis’ Lunar Park (2005). Ellis’ metafictional memoir explores the relationship between a father and a son who never successfully connect or understand each other. Robby, Bret’s son, refers to himself as a ‘lost boy’ in search of ‘NeverNeverLand’, unable to assimilate with the upper echelons of the Los Angeles glitterati, he disappears, leaving behind his distraught and broken family.
So, on a literal level, the title reflects the novel; however, there is a deeper metaphorical implication too. My thesis examines representations of the home in all its forms: architectural, spiritual, psychological. I believe that in the contemporary age, we are all seeking a safe place to protect us from the threat of the external world. This perpetual pursuit of ‘homeliness’ is a never-ending cycle – a process of seeking NeverNeverLand – a mythical utopia.