Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More Reflections on Writing: "Outside" the classroom

Perhaps I have been reluctant to theorize about the classroom situation because I failed to take what I already knew to be the case into account: that the classroom, as we traditionally inhabit it, is not where writing happens; indeed, we can even see this empirically -- most writing happens wherever our students go to write -- outside the classroom or “in” the classroom on their phones when they are supposed to be listening to your well-planned lecture on Aristotle's rhetoric. The "moment of inscription" at this time in history is not modeled on a student, with a pen, sitting at a blank sheet of paper with a passage to interpret or a theme to write on.  Rather, the model might be a man sitting in a coffee  shop, reading a PDF of a text, pausing every once in awhile to re-write phrases from the text in the margins and checking facebook to see if anyone’s commented on his post about said book and if so responding with his own text and boggling back and forth between a conversation about David Lynch – the logic of the AND – parataxis – but an AND that does not come after but rather disperses our attention, distributes our cognition, but for that matter, makes it more than reader, text, writer – texts abound and crash into conversations, music on the earphones, sounds of the espresso machine—all of this environment contributing the moment(s) of inscription – a whole “ecology” of which our minds are but a part. And yeah, 

maybe it won’t all come out ordered into coherent paragraphs 

                                                                                                                      with citations in their proper place and the text edited for grammar, 

but invention will have taken place on the edge of chaos—

or within the chaos saturating every atom. 


  1. Nice images! At some point I want to go back and read more closely the discussion of chaos and complexity theories in relation to writing in _Postcomposition_.

  2. Before I forget, I wanted to restate an idea and questions about your post here and its connection to Raul's neo-empiricism. How could/would an empiricist record the navigation of writing spaces of a subject? What would happen when writing has a broad definition? In this post, you have two “types” of writing (i.e. photographic still image, typed-written text), as well as comments on hand-written text (margin notes) and typed facebook chat text. You have recorded your multiple moments of inscription here, but what about observing other similar instances in other systems and networks? Who are our subjects (if that even matters!) and/or collective subject (think about community, especially a collaboration, often used in feminism, in writing)? Would we empirically identify how one writing connects to another writing, hypothesizing how one affected the other in a system of chaos? What signifiers would arise or that we would identify as tracing from one to the other (we see an obvious one here with your reference to our facebook chat about David Lynch and your appropriation of one of his film’s stills)?

    Just wanted to get some ideas down and thought I’d share. Thanks again for chatting today!