From section 1.3: “The expression of meanings in writing makes them more visible to the writer, making the writer’s thoughts clearer and sharable with others, who can attempt to make sense of the words, constructing a meaning they attribute to the writer. While writers can confirm that the written words feel consistent with their state of mind, readers can never read the writer’s mind to confirm they fully share that state of mind. Readers share only the words to which each separately attributes meanings. Thus, meanings do not reside fully in the words of the text nor in the unarticulated minds but only in the dynamic relation of writer reader, and text” (Wardle and Adler-Kassner 22).
This is like the fourth time I’ve tried to word this opening sentence. In thinking about who is going to read this (Kassandra and Kim most likely, and hi guys!) I’ve had a hard time negotiating with myself how to begin. I thought maybe I’d start with a story, something like:
Today in class our group was working on our literacy theory poster, and having a good time when they let me put a crack on the face of our phone.
This was attractive because it’s on the verge of storytelling, which is something I enjoy, and because it assumes that the people I’m addressing in this particular piece of writing already understand the context of which am speaking. I like that because it makes me feel like I have a degree of familiarity with you, and maybe makes me feel like you guys are “on my side,” and I can relax a little because of it.
I also thought about beginning in this way:
I really like the quote above and thought it would be a good place to jump in….
What I hate about this approach to inviting y’all into this particular blog post is that it’s kind of redundant and obvious. Why would I put a quote at the beginning of my post if I didn’t like it, or think there was something profound to be gleaned from its examination? I wouldn’t. Why would I call attention to “jumping in” when you guys already know that’s exactly what I’m doing?
Sometimes you just need a way in, and this second approach would have served that purpose, but it wouldn’t have been flashy… and I hate to admit it (or do I?), sometimes I act like a flashy individual. I’m working on it. I promise (or do I?).
I apologize for that^
Anyways, I decided on this last approach because I think it demonstrates something in this particular quote at least to a degree (<- transition sentence lol).
By calling attention to a few possible intentions behind my writing, and by by cluing you into the mechanics behind these writerly moves I am making (at least to the best of my abilities and awareness) I’m trying to show you that writing is a relationship.
In trying to be as aware as I can of you guys (my audience) I’ve attempted to construct an opening, however bizarre it might have felt to begin with, that shows the rhetorical intentions behind different possible introductory sentences and thereby call attention to the process of decision making in writing. But, I can only be so effective. You will have to work with me and this blog post and try and reconstruct what I’m trying to say on your own. And you will have to grapple with multiple possibilities as to what I might mean. Those of you that know me might have an easier time constructing something that closely resembles my meaning, those of you who have done the reading might even alter or correct my meaning, but eventually you will settle on a “best estimation” of what I am trying to articulate in this piece of writing, and when you do that you too will have made a decision about what my writing means, whether or not my ideas have any validity, how you might respond to the writing, add to it, poke holes in it, and whether or not these ideas fit within your own theory of writing as it stands thus far.
So If I can alter the original quote just a hair, which is fantastic and mindblowing as is, I might write; meanings do not reside fully in the words, but in the navigation of minds through a written text on either side of its production. The best writing and reading (or just processing of messages put forth) on some level is active and never ending (or if it does end, it’s hard to mark the place of its ending).
Now finally there is this:
This part will sound crazy, and I apologize in advanced.
I’ve been immersed in the world of social theory and perspectives (modes of production, and perspectives and interpretations), and I’ve noticed at least one thing. As a people or a public we change over time, and our relationship to history, or our perspective, always changes in relation to the challenges that face us in our present, or maybe some “idealized version or reality” we hope our world will one day fit.
I’m talking about Paradigms (1. a typical example or pattern of something; a model.: “there is a new paradigm for public art in this country. 2.a set of linguistic items that form mutually exclusive choices in particular syntactic roles.: “English determiners form a paradigm: we can say “a book” or “his book” but not “a his book.” ).
I think both definitions are useful, and I wasn’t expecting to run into a linguistic definition but that is fantastic!
I think that these texts we have been reading are holding up a previously existing paradigm of writing, and asking is this useful to us anymore? In what ways is it still useful? And in what ways is it maybe holding us back?
Kassandra pointed out a quote from the first page (sorry I’m going to steal it from you!), ”writing is often seen as a basic skill that a person can learn once and for all and not think about again” (Wardle and Adler-Kassner 15). And I believe this way of thinking describes at least one aspect of an older “Paradigm of Writing” that is limiting us as a Globally reaching people, capable of speaking many languages, and wielding a vast array of ‘modes of communication’, that are more connected than ever before… and because this ‘more traditional Paradigm’ no longer serves one of the (hopefully goals) of our time (the hope that we can communicate with each other and work together with greater and greater levels of proficiency) we are calling its tenets into question, and asking questions that hopefully will begin to lead us in the direction of a “new Language Paradigm” that will enable us to better reach for the goals and objectives we have defined for ourselves today, and will continue to define with each new understanding we achieve.
So you think about the crack on the phone (on the graphic our group made), and I like it because to me it represents a physical relationship with a technology of communication. Any technology we have wears out over time and is replaced with something more tailored to our current needs. Just like phones, even the newest and shiniest phone won’t serve our needs forever, and a crack in the screen is a reminder to us that one day we will need to replace it if we want to enjoy any kind of traction within this modern society of ours… and is it possible that the same thing is true of a language paradigm? Maybe we are realizing that we all need to upgrade to the new Language 7s, because our old Language 5 that we have is starting to run slow, and the updates are becoming too big for the old ios to handle, and we are sensing a need to move on.
IDK guys. Everything I write is convoluted. As fun as they are, these ideas hurt. I’ve had a lot of fun with you guys so far, and am looking forward to where these readings will take us (canned closing remark :P ).
Have a great day,
PS- looking forward to reading the comments.