Re: Freewriting

Suzanne Cherry (smcherry@UNCCVX.UNCC.EDU)
Wed, 24 Jul 1996 13:38:01 EDT

Jane and others are calling our narratives about our own processes
confessions (*true or otherwise*), which strikes me as a fascinating
choice of words. But, then, I'm fascinated by narratives and the
role(s) it plays in our learning and our teaching of composition, anyway.

All of this to say -- I've observed students handing me drafts/final
copies of writing only after they preface the text with a variety of
apologies/confessions/expressions of emotion (almost all negative
perceptions of their own writing). I find myself doing the same thing
when I ask my senior colleagues to read drafts of my work -- articles
I'm thinking of submitting for publication. I recall doing that a lot
with certain professors as a grad student, as well. I also recall one
rather painful lesson with a particular professor in which I learned his
comments always echoed the ones I made to him as I submitted a paper.
When I changed my preparatory remarks, his evaluations changed. What
did I learn? That for this person, I had to change the way I presented
my writing. I did not change the way I ask most people to read what
I write, though.

So, is there a piece of common ground here? What is it? What does it
matter and what does it say about the teaching/learning/doing of composing? I
don't know but would enjoy some discussion.

Suzanne Cherry
UNC at Charlotte