Van Manen – an example of anecdote as phenomenology

As I make my morning coffee, I look out of the kitchen window. I see a hummingbird land on the feeder and I smile. And yet, I do not pay much attention. I am kind of sunken in thought as I stare out of the window. I know I have to do a bunch of jobs today but cannot bring myself to focus on them either. I wonder what my kids were doing last night. The morning seems to be slipping by and I have the vague feeling that I should be accomplishing more with regards to the things that matter. “A penny for your thoughts,” I hear my wife say. She has torn me away from my dreamy staring out of the window. “What were you thinking?” she asks. (I don’t usually like questions like that. I don’t even honestly know what to say about my state of mind.) “Oh, nothing really,” I respond. But my wife keeps pressing, “You looked so intent!” “Well, I was admiring the orchids in the kitchen window sill,” I respond. “It is amazing how they keep blooming week after week.” My wife, the gardener, seems pleased with my explanation, though I can see from her face that she expected something else.

van Manen, Max (2014-03-31). Phenomenology of Practice: Meaning-Giving Methods in Phenomenological Research and Writing (Developing Qualitative Inquiry) (Kindle Locations 863-871). Left Coast Press. Kindle Edition.

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