Hi Betsy and all,
Like many, I've been following this conversation with great interest,
and have just now had time to reply. The discussion has prompted me to
think more deeply about Inkshedding than I have for a long while,
particularly about the distinction that's been drawn between the
practice of Inkshedding and the community of practitioners.
As to the practice, since I was introduced to Inkshedding at the Canmore
Inkshed a number of years ago, (I'm a relative newcomer!) I've used it
in in both non-credit, writing-based and for-credit tutorials. In both
cases, I've found it a useful way to help students get to the 'heart'
of what they wanted to write about or discuss. In fact, an exercise, a
hybrid of Inkshedding that I used in tutorial classes was always a sure
way of jump-starting the discussion and drawing in even the shyest
students. I think it was because of the genuine enthusiasm the students
discovered for their subject.
But that was a number of years ago, and as I was re-introduced to
Inkshedding at a recent conference, I was reminded of how quickly this
practice can not only draw shy students into discussion, but can also
build community. I came away from the Inkshedding exercises knowing more
about my own writing process, but more importantly, feeling a part of a
writing community. Perhaps that would have happened anyway, but that's
not my usual experience with conferences.
Russ Hunt wrote:
> It's interesting that this fascinating discussion is occurring
> at one of the points in the year when, I would guess, most of us
> have the least time. Maybe this is for others (as it seems to
> be for me) a way to procrastinate . . .
> I want to pick up one thing Doug says:
>>What I was referring to in my Inkshed article (I think) is
>>the broader sense of inkshedding referred to by Russ in his
>>recent post. This means, generally, almost everything you do
>>with text except the extremes of (a) a bit of lame oral
>>discussion in which the teacher fishes for the right answer,
>>and (b) essays written to impress the teacher, who is the only
>>one who will, however unwillingly, read it. Freewrites,
>>semi-freewrites, ungraded assignments, peer review, on-line
>>postings, and any number of strategies fill this position. I
>>use them all in varying amounts depending on what I'm
>>teaching and what I'm trying to do with it.
> For me (and I don't know if this is true for others) the crucial
> think about inkshedding is its social embeddedness -- that is,
> that the writing carries immediate, felt rhetorical force: it's
> read, read for what it says, and is written with the knowledge
> that that's going to happen.
> So (and Peter Elbow and I have had a couple of long talks about
> this at the Canmore Inkshed, and since) for me freewiting, in
> the classic Elbows on the table sense, is not actually
> inkshedding, since its point is that it's free of the
> constraints placed on writing that's going to be public (or at
> least read by _somebody_ other than a teacher as examiner). Nor
> is an ungraded assignment -- nor, really, peer-reviewed writing,
> because the peer reviewer's reading (and expected to read) to
> evaluate and help rather than to engage (cf. _The Bat-Poet_).
> -- Russ
> St. Thomas University
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