So here I am working on another chapter. This last week has been interesting. I sent out an manuscript for an English Journal
call at the beginning of the week, the first print publication that I've written a paper for since grad school (um, twenty years ago). It felt odd to be writing a paper. In some ways, it felt like working on those papers in grad school. In other ways, I feel as if I'm writing from a position of greater authority. For the most part, I know
what I'm talking about now. I'm not guessing, though I still have many moments of doubt about my ability. Who knows if it will be accepted, but at least I spit text out on paper, and I can pull out the list of ten that's in it and convert it to something else if it's rejected.
This whole EJ accomplishment brings us to evil belief #5, which I complained about almost a month ago
. I need to have the chapter on beliefs written by the 5th, and I've been stuck in the same place (on belief #5). It's quite true that I have had many other things to work on, including that EJ article, so I haven't given the chapter MS much attention. Yesterday, I read and reread and rereread that fifth belief, and I came to realize that it wasn't my inability to write or think. It's that silly belief. I don't think it's written very clearly (and I realize I may go to hell and/or the unemployment office for saying that about an NCTE position, but there you have it). On about the tenth or twelfth read of that crazy thing this week, finally yesterday I realized it was a problem of focus and framing.
The belief states, "Writing grows out of many different purposes." The problem is that it doesn't stick to that issue. It first hits purpose but then addresses audience, and by the time it gets to what this means for teaching, it's talking about the forms and genres that teachers frequently assign (from my perspective anyway). I couldn't figure out how all that boiled down to the simple belief that was being used as the label. In the world of taglines, it should have been "Writing. It's way more than one thing." Simply changing the statement to include audience or rhetorical situation would have clarified things so much. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why it's framed by purpose, and then spends most of the explanation on audience. Yes, purpose influences audience, but overall, I think it's the belief that needs to be clearer. Nothing this basic should take me months to figure out. I've spent all this time thinking that I
wasn't up to the task, doubting myself, and I've finally realized it wasn't me. It was the text that I'm working from.