“Where We’re From”: A poem by many authors

We wrote a poem. And we created an image to go with it (below). We are from this year of writing; we are what you see. In essence then, we created text to say where we are from and images to show who we are. Is that a fair assessment of our work together?

I love it no matter what we call it.

The below image a compilation of photographs, art, and graphics we each chose to share for this project–to accompany the poem. We’ve named this our “Influence Map” because we’ve really been all about the journey this year–the textual, the virtual, the digital, the visual, the actual journey. And we’ve learned that maps come in many different forms and lead to many different journeys. Rhetoricians create maps when creating texts… to lead readers on textual journeys. Artists create journeys for viewers to take. Performers take the audience on a journey with them. And we made maps of many different kinds this year. Thank you to all the Cartographers, in Honors Comp classes at OCU and AUM, for this beautiful work.

Our “Influence Map”!

Please see our poem and map together at Writing Together in Honors. With many thanks to Adorable Angst who put the finishing touches on this collaborative work.


Monday without each other

On February 27, we will NOT meet as a group in class. Please complete your exploration as planned (which is due).

Also please watch this video talk by David McCandless on TED.com. He’s a data dude, but he’s also an artist and a journalist. Please watch this at least three times–this will take you about an hour total. Watch, walk away. Spend a few hours away from it. Watch it again. Then watch once more. While you’re watching the third time, I want you to take notes about what you notice the most about what he shares–the thing he talks about that startles you the most, the least, the thing that you wish you could do. AND visit his web site to just poke around and see what you can see: Information is Beautiful.

THEN I want you to spend 300 words or so writing about how this connects to: ethos, pathos, logos, AND how his data visualization may or may not function as a kind of memory palace. Another question related to this: is data visualization visual rhetoric? How? Why? (Obviously, I’m stacking the deck a bit on this because I think DV is VR… but you need to figure out why. Bwahahaha. Yes, that’s my mad scientist laugh.)

See you on February 29! Be ready to talk at length about this experience and weave your explorations into this discussion. Also be prepared to switch OCU blogs that you read regularly. We’ll change blogs you read in class Wed., start to talk about the final projects, firm up plans for the trip, discuss the work you’ve done in the past week, and generally have a grand ol’ writing time.

National GIS Day! 16 November 2011

November 16 is National GIS Day… be there!

On this particular Wed., Nov. 16, please “attend” class by going to the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) conference proceedings in the Taylor Center (the big rooms down from the Theatre entrance). We will not have a regularly scheduled class that day, so you can attend a session/exhibit hall.

You are not in a Geography class, but GIS isn’t about geography only–it’s about a way of thinking, a way of understanding the world. Yes, it’s a system for making maps and for disseminating information graphically according to the actual world we live on/in–and you can make pretty maps–but it’s much more than pretty map making. It’s about intellectually vibrant query; it’s about creating knowledge from many pieces of a puzzle; it’s about interdisciplinary quests–the kind heroes undertake, ala Joseph Campbell, in order to fix what’s wrong with the world and save the universe (okay, that’s a bit much, but you get what I mean now!).

Attend one presentation, please, and also visit the exhibitors to pick up some information and learn a bit about GIS. We’ll be looking at GIS and applications to writing and humanities in the spring–it’s a way of thinking, a way to map thinking… and that’s part of what we’ll do in spring, mapping our own intellectual growth. But we’ll also be learning about where we are in the world (Montgomery) and what that means both visually and textually, through maps and thinking. Patterns. We’ll be exploring patterns. What’s happened in Montgomery? What texts exist? What can be mapped? How should it be mapped? What can we do about sharing what we learn? Can we share our projects from this fall and spring through maps online? How might that look?

We’ll be looking at visual rhetoric and visual arguments (through images and maps). We’ll be making maps and playing with maps. We’ll be having some interesting times in spring… You won’t need to learn GIS, just be aware of it–Nov. 16 is the perfect time. (We’ll watch a video about a 19th map soon to contextualize what mapping and learning can do for the world–you’ll love it. Fascinating stuff.)

You’ll need to blog about the GIS presentation you attend (300 words) and also about the information you gather from an exhibitor (300 words)–both by Nov. 18, please. Thanks.

I present at 3:30–I would love to have you there, if you can do it. I’ll be talking about Writing Spaces and GIS.

And enjoy this exploration… if you like, use one of Keri Smith’s exploration prompts to approach what you experience at the GIS Fest. Fun.

Because I’m exploring the world

Today on my way into the office, I noticed two things I wouldn’t normally see: a button (photo below right) and a rubber tube of some kind (photo at the end). I think the round metal thing is a button. I can just make out “GAP” on one side, so I’m pretty sure it was affixed to clothing at some point.

Lib Arts Parking Lot Button? Maybe.

But the rubber thing? Holy cow. I have no idea at all. It’s hilarious yet has a very high yuck factor for me. I’ll ask some folks to see if anyone knows what this could be for.

How did the button come to be in the Lib Arts parking lot? How did the long rubber thing get there? Was anyone sad when they lost these things–could these have been vital components of an outfit or a device that prolonged life?! Or were these items not missed at all?

I love to wonder how things came to be in a place. I have been wondering lately how each of the items I have found made it to each location, and what on earth some of my curiosities are used for.

I love exploring the world. I love that the world is my museum. I am happier now than I have ever been in my life. Why is that? I think it’s because I’m getting to learn alongside all of you in ways that I wouldn’t normally get to–I’m exploring, too, and seeing everything differently because of you.

Longish, Creepy, Rubber Tube Thing... Ick x 100.

So. Do you think I need to wash the rubber thing? I think it needs a GOOD scrubbing. I just put it in my case of curiosities anyhow. If I’m not living on the edge, how I can see the view?

On cussing and rhetoric

This week on Wed. 14 Sept. 2011, we watched: In Defense of Rhetoric, and talked about cussing. Let’s continue on with the Exploration Blogs as assigned, but also let’s each blog once: 1 entry on cussing; 1 entry on the film.

Let’s talk about cussing more on Monday… and then we can talk about details of the film: our perceptions, how we think about how we communicate, what it means to understand our world, what we now think “rhetoric” means, and how we can use language to change our perceptions of the world–how does that work exactly.

In the meantime, if you catch me cussing, pardon my French. I’ll have more on this French thing in a later post.

Right where I am sitting

I am sitting at the front of the classroom in a chair at the teacher’s podium. I tried to use a laptop but the technology was too much for me.

I notice some kind of speaker thing with a red light in front of me–who knows what that’s for? I wonder if it is actually a mic that is connected to the recording capabilities for this classroom. Of course the document camera is all up with all it’s arms poking out–that irritates me a lot–like a vicious octopus that keeps getting in my way when I want to see students.

I like the tray that holds the keyboard, but I really don’t like the keyboard much, it’s high and hard to push the keys. AND I keep doing it wrong, so I go back and edit as I’m writing. I always say to everyone in every class ever–don’t edit yourself while you’re writing and here I’m doing it because I don’t want to go back here to proofread later on. I have other stuff to do later on that is much more fun: like tackling How to Be An Explorer of the World explorations.

The chair I’m in is actually quite comfy; my eyes are in the right location to see the screen without strain; my feet are perched on the bottom shelf so my legs/knees are not uncomfortable. HOWEVER, the sound in the room is interesting and makes me jumpy… lots of keys getting tapped, pages turning, sighing, slight hesitations, then a barrage of keys… I like consistent sound or sound I know rather than sound I don’t. Perhaps this is why I pick a playlist for a semester and really stick to it for writing. I know what’s coming.

I love the clipboard that’s sitting in front of me: it’s got ink stains. It’s an old-fashioned brownish one made of wood pulp of some kind I think. Red and blue ink splashed about here and there in random swatches… sort of like someone went over the edge of paper rather than the ink bleeding through paper.

I can see all my students in my peripheral vision… Orange t-shirt on one, flowers on another, hat on another, sunglasses on one head, red glasses on another…tapping, tapping, tapping.

AHA. Like “The Raven” tapping, tapping at my door… can’t remember the words exactly, but it’s that sort of sound. Imagine if you could not see anything, it was all black and dark, with no light of any kind, and all you could hear was the tapping of computer keyboards, corrections, backspace, backspace, backspace, when tap tap tap 20 times in a row as the writers moved quickly into one part of the text. then pauses, when you could hear sighs or swallowing or sniffing or shifting bodies. Sometimes, there might be a very long pause. What would you think when the pause occurred, that the beings who’d been typing were coming to get you? What would you think about where you were? Would you say, “Hello, are you all a bunch of writers?” Or “Why are you typing when I’m in the dark like this? What sort of twisted joke is this?”

And the typing would just continue on as before, in fits and starts, with pauses and backspacing, with pages turning, with human breathing, with an occasional beep because someone had done something incorrect. Is this a scenario from a modern Dante’s Inferno? Or is this just a writing class creating blogs posts?

As I look around, because I’m not in the dark, I see so much gray and other muted colors: black, tan, green/tan. wood tones, pictures with black frames, some white, but lots and lots of cool tones–not much warmth. Why can’t one wall of a classroom be painted bright red or orange or sky blue? I would like every ceiling to be painted sky blue so that as we work indoors we might have the illusion of the sky above us.

And then someone sneezes really loudly… excuse me, bless you…

I am happy for the fine lumbar support.