Sunday, 23 September 2012
Another oddly misleading bio
We looked yesterday at the way that a well known home educator was able to write almost three hundred words about her experience of home education, without once mentioning that she was actually a home educator herself. I regarded this as something of an achievement and was surprised to see it surpassed by yet another high-profile home educator. Here is her bio from the blog she keeps:
I’m a novelist and poet living in a village perched on the edge of mountains, from where I run an independent press with the assistance of my son and daughter. Independence is a recurring motif in my thinking – I home educated my four highly independent children (now independent young people); did my PhD in feminist theology at a time when it was an emerging mode of thought ; run independent courses in creative writing with the highly independent poet, Pete Marshall, and have moved through major institutions, educational, spiritual and domestic, to work towards my independence.I have published books on home education and parenting, focussing on living with children in ways that respect their autonomy, as well as novels and poetry collections. I’m working on a novel that explores metamorphosis in the lives of three people – I’m Still Here – and a poetry collection that includes a long sequence about Cwmorthin – an abandoned slate mining village near my home. The sequence, ‘Ty Schrödinger’, will be part of the collection A Small Bird Burning. You can find out more about my books here.
I am sure that many readers will recognise the author from this description; she is of course none other than Jan Fortune-Wood, or just Jan Fortune as she wishes to be known since her divorce. What is missing from today’s picture, children? Well the fact that the writer has managed not to mention that she is a priest! This is really weird. She tells us that she is a novelist, that she has a PhD, as well as letting us know that she is a publisher. Why miss out the part about being an ordained priest?
Something else that I am puzzled by is that she claims to have ‘moved through major institutions, educational, spiritual and domestic’ . I think we may safely assume that the major spiritual institution through which she has moved must be a coded reference to the Anglican Church. What though was the major domestic institution? Is she talking here of her marriage? If so, it is a strange way of stating the case; I cannot personally imagine referring to my marriage as a ‘major domestic institution’! This is the trouble with Jan Fortune’s writing. It is OK when you read it with the eye of faith and do not enquire to deeply into the meaning of the words. Once you stop and try to figure out what she is actually saying though, you are lost.