chapter  9
11 Pages

Writing Dialogically: Bold Lessons From Electronic Text

ByFred Kemp

It was during my seventh or eighth year of teaching writing that I realized that I was not teaching writing but was instead teaching a form of basket weaving, and not doing a bad job of it. The baskets my students learned to weave were sturdy, prosaic affairs that could hold just what I expected them to carry, and no more, but not much less either. If you saw these baskets lined up alongside the road, you would grudgingly compliment them on their uniformity and minimal structural integrity and the diligence that went into the weave and, most of all, the sheer persistence required of anyone who would submit to the mindless discipline of twisting the straw here and there, here and there, for something that was not a whole lot different from what had gone before, and promised to be little different from what would come after. Just follow the form, I told them. What you end up with will be able to do the job.