Thursday, May 12, 2005

Getting started might be the hardest part

I've been floating this idea of a blog for a while, but it has probably taken me close to a year to actually make the committment. I just read Geoff Sirc's essay “Composition’s Eye/Orpheus’s Gaze/Cobain’s Journals” (Composition Studies 33 (Spring 2005): 11-30) and couldn't put off the project any longer. He makes his usual compelling, unsettling argument for writing about the everyday, for journaling, for shaking off the pretentiousness and strained style of academic reading and writing. I've been reading Ulmer on the value of notebooks and journals too, so push has come to shove.

What Composition needs most, perhaps, is a bad attitude. . . . Compositionists need to feel fucked, too; they need to sit around their living rooms, rip up about 250 shitty “classic” essays in our complimentary copies of reader-based textbooks, and move on, cleansed and revitalized. (23)

I feel like a colossal failure everytime I read Sirc, but I think, "someday I will get it figured out." I wonder how much he is pushing my buttons, our buttons, because I have heard him say he does teach something like academic discourse, he does want his students to suceed in college, to develop some necessary skills. But he also comes across, in person and on the page, as genuine, sincere, a little frustrated, a little tired of Composition as Ways of Reading.

Ten minutes a day is going to take some stamina. I've been writing for seven--the last three probably lead to the break-throughs ; )

So, why am I drawn to the Sircs, the McLuhans, the Ulmers, yet teach The Call to Write, generic conventions, academic discourse, research and citation. Why do I assign what I assign? Betsy just walked into my office to show me FLW's falling water on the new cover of the new edition of "Writing Analytically" and she opened the page to "Doing the method on the poem" and I just had to / have to shake my head--WTF are we doing in Composition?

I think I will go throw out the 55 complimentary copies of Writing Analytically that just arrived in our department.

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