Just imagine you can allow your thoughts to be written in the way they occur; at random. What would happen if I allow myself to write without a specific purpose other than just allow my soul to breathe? Technical writing can be silencing. We write about a specific problem. It is linear. We look for conciseness, clarity, supporting arguments, conclusions that summarize the findings and suggest practical applications. Methods that are described long enough to be replicated by professionals in my field but short enough that can fit into 30 pages including introduction, review of the research, relevance of my study, hypothesis, method which includes procedures, measures, statistical analysis, results, and then conclusion. I cannot deviate from the main and only point.
Is that the way we think? Is that the way we experience those insightful moments when we arrive at “truths” that illuminate our path, revelations that strike us with such clarity that for a moment we have to stop to see where we were headed? I thought about “pearls of wisdom” I heard this week from my fellow Voicers, some maxims, perhaps a new moral code for me. Floating in my consciousness are impressions from their passionate teaching styles; some inviting, some intimidating; all of them provocative. Anonymous writing, posting notes on blackboard from students who can express themselves without being afraid to be identified was an idea proposed in one of the teaching demonstrations. I really liked that idea until Margrethe said: “Writing without an author who is willing to accept responsibility for what s/he writes is worth not reading at all” A firmed comment. It hit me full force. If I’m not willing to take responsibility for what I say, then it should not be said. That’s a moral code worth hearing and pondering upon. The implications of that statement for the way I live are significant.
In an era where we encourage “to be who you are” but without accountability, that statement is worth analyzing. Will it encourage silence or expression? Is expression of the “dark” side of me always welcome? I believe like Rolo May writes that human beings have both opposite poles in them, good and evil. Therefore, there is always that possibility that something from my dark side can come out when I write. Encourage anonymous writing or not. The position I take on this issue will probably be largely determined by my world view. Can my world view be scientifically tested to the point I will settle the argument?
Has the “secret of life” be found already like Zhongjing claimed? Can I talk about it without offending sensibilities? Can I talk about it freely without measuring the consequences? Will DNA tell me how to live and provide meaning and purpose to my life? I wish I could relate better with my children. Two days ago my 13 year old daughter invited me to watch “America’s funniest home videos”. I think that’s the name of my favorite TV show. I know, it’s my “favorite” and I don’t even know the name of it. I replied, “I can’t. I have to go back to work”. She replied with a saddened but understanding voice: “Like always”. I feel like crying right now. In fact, I will not stop the emotion from over taking me. My life is out of balance and I don’t know how to spend more time with my children without sacrificing my professional life. I would like to do much more in my role as a tenure track assistant professor. Sponsor a writing conference for technical writing on campus for our students, finish that manuscript and submit it by July 1, 2007 to the Journal of Early Adolescence Research, organize my office, respond to that e-mail from a colleague in Colombia to start international collaboration about globalization and adolescent identity, analyze that collected data…it’s so promising and needed…revise the way I teach my courses, include exercises that I learned this week, change the syllabus and make it more like Beths’… but I cannot connect with my own early adolescent daughter!
Who We Are
Read samples of writing from past faculty participant's seminars.