Reflections on writing

I walked off the bus into the cool air of the morning, inspired by a writer whose work takes me to the river in the summer buzzing with the mosquitoes. I want to write. I want to write well. I am struggling to write sitting at my desk in my corner cubicle surrounded by office noises and the distractions of floating conversations. If I could write outside. I picture myself on a bench overlooking the river notebook in hand. Fine paper and good pens that would make the ideas fresh and inviting. My thoughts seem to work themselves out well when I am walking in the quiet of the campus. Most people take inside routes on days like these.

When I started my writing this fall, I reverted to pen on paper. Ironic for an explorer of new literacies. I wonder if I can get used to this format. I have done most of my academic writing on a computer as I am writing now. The ideas seem to sit stagnent on the page. Lifeless. Will my writing be lifeless when mediated through technology? My closet Luddite throws itself against the machine and cries out. It is different to read a book on the bus immersed in the words and the images that form in my mind, than to sit here focused on a screen. The task of writing is infinitely harder than the task of reading, is that the only difference or is it the media itself which is getting in the way. I love the look and feel of paper, the smell of a bookstore. If only multimedia could create smell, now that would be something! I am reminded of Kress and his writing on affordances. Each mode of communication has different affordances. Speech offers something different from writing, pictures something different than words, paper something different from screen. This is what he means and how it feels to be caught up in it.

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2 Comments

Filed under education, identity

2 responses to “Reflections on writing

  1. Hi Susan. since you were kind enough to leave a comment on my blog, I’m here to say thanks, and to encourage you in your new learning project. Not only is the writing and the reflection worthwhile, but so is the discussion – something that other forms of discourse, more limited by physical space, don’t offer. I’m very happy to connect with other elementary grade teachers whowant to learn by doing. I started the weblog so I could understand what it might mean for students. I never expected it to become so significant for me.
    All the best to you-

  2. I hope we never lose the love of the look and feel of books and the smell of the bookstore. I see plenty of students who still love this – even when they were not shown this at school. But not often. I fear that technology will get in the way of these pleasures, so intrinsic and essential to developing minds. Our good school libraries can still show kids the pleasure of a good book. Great reads such as the Harry Potter series prompted a new generation of readers to go back to books. But plenty more relied on the movies to share in the experience. Yes, multimedia has a way to go…..but I wonder where it will go? Are we heading for a Matrix style immersion ulimately. I can’t even begin to guess, and anyone who says they can is just getting on a soapbox. What is probably more certain is that we are at the beginning of a great change – and books may or may not have a place in the world 200 years hence.

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