Week 2: Writing…. Hmmm….

Again, sorry for the lateness. My internet is still on the fritz, but it should be fixed this week, I swear! At least my hotel in DC will have WiFi, so my blog will be on-time for the next post.


So, my “Theory of Writing”… It’s complicated. For a few reasons. To start, trying to pin down any specific way of thinking about writing is just so difficult that it kinda turns my brain to mush. Then, trying to pin down any specific way of thinking about writing within different contexts kinda makes the mush explode. (Which is a bit of a grotesque, or macabre, way of putting it.) The complexity is in trying to specify what writing is while taking into account the varying contexts in which writing occurs and for varying purposes and with varying intents. The possibilities are nearly endless.

Perhaps I can narrow down the complexity by saying that writing is centered on specificity and relativity. Let me explain. Every instance of writing, in every format, is influenced by its own specific circumstances (which are themselves relative). So, writing itself could be said to be relative. (Are you tired of me saying “relative” yet?)

I think that this coincides well with our reading, especially for the fact that every context that you think about writing in has its own definitions and concepts tied to it. In this way each section of our reading (1.0-1.10) was its own theory of writing (its own “threshold”), and yet all were connected to and influenced by the others. This has me quantifying writing in different ways depending on the context, but also in ways that often touch upon or overlap with other contexts. Which is why I would say that any theory (and thus my theory) about writing is relative.

This brings me to something else that I wanted to talk about for this blog post. Chris (Dr. Fosen) said something to me last Monday during our first intern session that I think ties into our discussion. While we mentors were being busy-bodies, walking around the room and looking over shoulders at what the English 30 guys were doing, I overheard a question, more like a flippant response, Chris gave one of the other mentors:

“Do you think there is more or less writing in college?”

It was said in a joking manner, in the breath between a laugh, and I found it so amusing that I inserted myself into the conversation with the dry remark:

That’s a question to ask.”

But then Chris took the question more seriously. Asking me, what if you did ask it though?

I had to stop and think the question to myself. It would certainly make for a good way to generate a discussion, especially among freshmen. But then the answer seemed so obvious. Is there more or less writing in college? Of course there’s more! I implied as much to Chris. He answered with this:

“Is there though?”

That statement not only gave me pause, but has got me thinking about it critically even days later. Does one write more in college? Why? Why not? Are there differences in the amount of writing done between different majors? Which majors write more? What do different majors write? Does the length of a written piece necessarily mean that it was more? How would we measure this? Does any of this matter? Why or why not?

Again, there are so many possibilities that can come from this seemingly simple question about the amount of writing done in only the pseudo-specific context of the college student. It has me going around in circles (like much of the concepts brought up in this class) simply because whenever I get to a point where I have a more narrow/focused understanding or definition, I end up tying it back into the original broader theory question. The concept itself seems circular to me. Which brings us back to my theory of writing: It’s all about relativity.