Wednesday, October 26, 2005

way too long...

without a post.

I have been reading student papers and, and, and, I don't know what else. I guess I have been trying to get the ppt music video research project figured out and straightened out, and I have been running to meetings, and meeting with students. Busy, busy, busy, but a good kind of busy.

I just reviewed a set of proposals that went more quickly than usual. Made me feel like I do get better at something with practice.

I have been wanting to get to McLuhan for compositionists. The chapter in Mc's Legacy, "Beyond McLuhanism," is going to be able to function as an excellent starting point for a chapter on David Byrne, David Carson, Laurie Anderson, etc. I think many chapters will move along if I ever find the time.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

what's the routine?

still trying to figure out how to fit my academic writing into my schedule. spent today grinding through committee work, doing class preparation, answering emai, thinking "i need administrative support," but never seeing any legitimate opening for writing or reading.

last night I spent a chunch of time locating some files and getting organized to do some writing, but I never got past the sorting stage. sigh....

I often hear about the person who gets up two hours early to write the novel or scholarship or whatever, but that doesn't seem to work for me. I do write better in the evening, but that usually keeps me awake much longer than I can sustain for long.

I just read a little analysis about my personality type (enji, I think)--it said "we" have trouble doing things we are not passionate about. Maybe I am just not passionate enough--although that doesn't seem right when it comes to McLuhan for comp. I am starting to think about doing something like getting a hotel room for one night over the christmas holidays--take off in the morning, work all day (probably at a library, but could be in the hotel), write as late as I can, sleep, get up and check out, keep working all day, head home for supper. Probably looking at about 16-20 hours of dedicated work time--I think I have enough material to pull that off without having to worry about running out of things to write. If I could flesh out all my chapters, get some feedback, and peck away at it over the semester, I could try to shop a manuscript around at CCCCs. That would be ambitious and professional of me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

life is not a game

I might have already written this post early this year--i guess that means the idea just won't die. I am thinking about the metaphor life is a game, a metaphor I have used in a paper that may never get published, and I have been thinking about it in the context of all the baseball "controversies" this fall. These artificial worlds are taken so seriously, despite the fact that the games are so meaningless, and if we think about these controversies in the context of world catastrophies that follow one on the next, it is hard to imagine how we have culturally got to a point where we value the games so much--want to discuss, analyzed, dissect them so much--and what we seem to want to do with the disasters is forget and move on. we don't want to point fingers.

But i digress. I wanted to write about a new framework for thinking about that paper: Spellmeyer's Arts of Living. I had explored, but not developed that framework earlier. I probably need to drop or cut back on the pragmatist framework. think I have thought about the persistence of this metaphor, from Johnny Damon to poker manuals for life, but if I get reader reports back on the piece and I get the expected rejections, I will try to move work into this other framework, and probably look at the journal college literature a little more closely.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

research problem

So, I am trying to think of a good way to interact with the research class. I wonder if I can present them with a research problem like this one:

Marshall McLuhan provocatively suggested that kids in the 1960s were trying to interact with print like it was a screen: they scanned print, looked around, but didn't focus on words, had trouble holding the line of the line. How might we research a claim or hyposthesis like this?

Or, I want to develop a pedagogy that favors tactility and connectivity rather than abstractness and isolation? How might I do that, and how might I research this pedagogy?

Rather than read texts closely, I am interested in making connections among texts: compositionists after McLuhan. David Byrne, David Carson, Laurie Anderson, others.

Or really, really generally: I want to understand 21st century students. What is that going to take? What do writing instructors in particular need to know?

I suppose we could also play around with tetrads. Tetrad laptops, tetrad cell phones, tetrad personal essays, literature, the genre approach. I should probably bring in a bunch of McLuhan books.

What, if anything, are laptops doing for your classes (as student, as teacher)?


Saturday, October 08, 2005

money, money, money

I am starting to think more seriously about books for English 120, and I ran across Barbara Ehrenrich's new book, Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream. I went to Amazon to check out a price and it was grouped with a book called Class Matters, which in turn lead me to Money and the Meaning of Life and Money, Money, Money: The Search for Wealth and the Pursuit of Happiness.

all of these books have a lot of potential for teaching and scholarship. I am inclined to take a serious look at CM and MMM because those are edited collections--a little easier to work with in a writing class, and the first covers a wide range of stories about class in america. the ehrenrich book is interesting in the context of my poker paper and my interest in the changing american dream. according to the poker ads, the american dream isn't really pursued anymore: you hit it big with a few bets a kaboom! you live the American Dream.

AS I was thinking about the American Dream, I also thought about metaphors we live by as a context for my "Life is not a Game," paper. I think I have already blogged about Johnny Damon's biography and the poker as metaphor for life books I have seen, but I don't think I precisely thought of metaphors we live by as another context for that paper. I could probably drop the whole rorty and pragmatism thing if I made that shift. Certainly a book I have always wanted to read, although the title pretty much says it all.

One additional random thought: an assignment for Writing in the health Professions. Maybe it would come out in the journals / blogs, but I would like the students to compile a list of further readings as part of a strategy to get them to think about being life-long learners and readers within their field.

I notice I am at 9 minutes: I wonder if others write this much in 9 minutes? Now 10.

Monday, October 03, 2005

When I don't journal...

ideas get away from me. I know I missed a bunch the last 10 days, but let me try to get a few down.

I heard a wonderful radio show, Speaking of Faith, on Sunday. The host interviewed a surgeon / theologian who has written about the wisdom of the body, dying, and a memoir Lost in America. I heard lots of potential in Sherwin(?) Nuland's words for my course on Writing in the Health Professions, and for the memoirs 110 students are about to write.

I really enjoyed re-reading Klosterman's FRC last week; I saw all sorts of McLUhan traces, some of which I had already noticed, some of which were new to me. The complexity of his media ecology analysis is impressive. I am more certain than ever that there is an article to be written about learning from Klosterman. Although students struggled with the complexity and absence of linear line in his arguments, they also saw humor and insight in his work.

I need to write a proposal about style within the next two weeks. I was telling people about my theory of style as "space management"--informal brings everything close together: writer close to subject, writer close to reader--it is intimate. A duh-pithany, I suppose. Midlevel is about motion, about jazz and action, about being "stylish" and entrancing and enticing, about mesmerizing rather than than me and you. Midlevel is the only style that gets called "stylish"--informal is conversationally real; formal is devoid of style, without stylistic flourish, distant, professional, scientific--all that non-jazz. I think I might have fun with this. Oh yeah, and I want to argue about the importance of putting these styles in front of writers; an analogy might be to a color chart: style as circular, rather than grid-like, as primary, secondary, and tertirary styles, cools and hots, effective and dissonant blends.

Now that is using the journal: the whole color chart thing came to me as I wrote!