Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Interaction Between Body and Writing :: Teaching Writing

The Interaction Between Body and Writing My first text for this assignment was this haiku: thank god for spring in Ypsi; makes it easier to get out of bed. It seemed appropriate to the task of attempting to write in English without using any technology, as the haiku form is traditionally concerned with the natural world. I envisioned the grass and earth on my property, newly bared to the sun again after the snows, and the letter-making materials available on the site. I could hear my paper unfolding in my head; since the point of the project was to come to terms with the bonded nature of language to technology in writing, I could see whole paragraphs about my use of found sticks and mud as well as bits of discarded junk that my landlord had left lying around since last fall. My argument would be that the use of materials that had originated from the natural world and been manipulated by technology that were now returning to their natural home symbolized the interwoven relationships between thought and feeling and action that is written communication. I had some lovely big ideas. But then I started wandering around in my head a little bit, and some interesting questions came up. Having grown up in ballet and still acting in the world to some extent as a dancer, I wondered if dance is also a technology in the same way that the alphabet and writing are. It seems to me that social dance, while it does serve the purpose of communication to some extent, has no articulated 'alphabet' of signifiers that compare to words and letters. Dance forms like ballet and flamenco, however, most definitely do. For the trained dancer and the educated audience member, ballet is a system of movement with numerous gestures, movements and shapes that signify specific meanings. The manner in which dance is formed, however, via the body of the 'author,' doesn't perform the same separating function that Walter Ong claims writing does in his essay Writing is a Technology that Restructures Thought. The technology of dance is contained within the author, but the technology of writing is e xternal to the author. While writing "promotes 'objectivity'" by distancing the performer from his/her ideas via performance (326), dance to some extent preserves the unity of thought/emotion and the thinker. With my confidence shored up by Naomi Baron's discussion of the

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