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CASLL-L  May 2005

CASLL-L May 2005

Subject:

Re: Confessions of a serial inkshedder

From:

Virginia Ryan <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CASLL/Inkshed <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 27 May 2005 12:28:26 -0230

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (118 lines)

Russ Hunt wrote:

>I think this is the problem, or a problem:
>
>
>
>>Do we have to be cued to inkshed? At one of the tables I was
>>at, some of us just wrote in response to sessions anyway, even
>>if not cued. Don't know what happened to them after they were
>>read at the table . . .
>>
>>
>
>There needs to be a structure around them -- it's not just
>writing, but agreeing on some more or less formal way in which
>they get read and used. Otherwise it's freewriting -- which is
>fine, but there's no need to structure an occasion in which
>people all do it.
>
>One danger, I think, is that inkshedding becomes a sort of
>ritual that we all do because we've always done it, and because
>that's the name of the conference . . . but that it stops
>serving the main purpose of the conference, which is (I'd argue)
>to explore ways in which we can make this gathering of people
>whose common interests include literacy and learning a more
>effective and rich occasion for exchanging ideas and values.
>
>-- Russ
>St. Thomas University
>http://www.StThomasU.ca/~hunt/
>
>                -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
>  To leave the list, send a SIGNOFF CASLL command to
>  [log in to unmask] or, if you experience difficulties,
>         write to Russ Hunt at [log in to unmask]
>
>For the list archives and information about the organization,
>    its newsletter, and the annual conference, go to
>              http://www.stu.ca/inkshed/
>                 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
>
>
>
I'd like to add my two cents here - but to begin I'll reiterate the
thanks that others have offered to Jane and her "team."  Inkshed 22 was
well-organized and stimulating, and the location was totally beautiful.
A whole lot of work went into making that happen, and I'm really
grateful to the organizers.

About "inkshedding" ....   I've only been to two Inksheds, so I don't
have a whole lot to base this on. I have, however, been to lots of
/other/ conferences, so I have plenty to compare the Inkshed concept
/to.  /And when I went to my first Inkshed in P.E.I. several years ago,
I found the practice of inkshedding to be an excellent focussing and
reflecting tool. It was also wonderful to be able to take away and
ponder the diverse written responses to my own presentation. I would
hate to see the inkshedding process become something rote that we do
mainly because we've always done it... I'd also hate to see the process
eliminated, or adapted into a periodic, generalized response to a number
of sessions.

To eliminate inkshedding from our conferences would be to do away with
the rich exhange Russ mentions, above. Yes, some of that exchange can
occur through discussion - as happens at other conferences (and I do
agree with Doug that inkshedding should not /preclude/ oral discussion).
But I think that the kind of meditative process that occurs in solitary,
reflective written response is a rare and special opportunity our
conferences offer us - an opportunity we seldom get otherwise, unless we
are students in classes that use inkshedding or disciplined individuals
who keep voluminous journals. I don't know about any of you, but neither
of those describes /my /daily circumstance. So inkshedding at these
conferences permits us to engage in reflection in an unusual and
privileged way. And obviously, the products of this process are a
treasure trove for the person who gets to take them home as critique of
his or her work....

But to use inkshedding as a kind of summarizing technique at two or
three points in the day - or to do it without a cue when one is so
moved, as Roger mentioned - seems problematic to me. I engaged in both
these kinds of writing at Inkshed 22, and both of them left me
dissatisified.  Doing a "group inkshed" didn't work for me for two
reasons. For one thing, the "common theme" according to which
presentations tend to get grouped  together doesn't always end up being
as common a theme as expected. Therefore, the two or three presentations
about which we might write may not invite a joint inkshed, even though
on paper they had sounded as though they would. Also, though, I found
that if I held off responding until I'd listened to a number of
speakers, I wasn't able to give as focussed and complete a    response
to the first speaker as I was to the last; my brain just wouldn't let
me  :-(      Inkshedding without a cue didn't work for me, either.
Actually, it wasn't the lack of /cue/ that fooled me up:
thought-provoking presentations tend to provide sufficient cue to
respond, as Roger suggests. But when not given silent time in which to
/do/ the inkshedding, I didn't like to do it. Doing so meant I wasn't
giving my undivided attention to the next speaker - so I just gave up
writing anything down, at all...

So for me the solution would be (perhaps unfortunately) to limit the
number of presentations at Inkshed conferences, even though that is also
a very non-Inksheddian-thing to do. Having an all-inclusive conference
is a commendable  goal, but something seems to need to be sacrificed,
here - and I'd rather have fewer presentations (even if it was mine that
was eliminated) than give up the very process that makes this conference
one-of-a-kind.

What a long two cents'-worth that turned out to be.

Ginny Ryan

                -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
  To leave the list, send a SIGNOFF CASLL command to
  [log in to unmask] or, if you experience difficulties,
         write to Russ Hunt at [log in to unmask]

For the list archives and information about the organization,
    its newsletter, and the annual conference, go to
              http://www.stu.ca/inkshed/
                 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

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