How We Work

How We Work

How We Work

How We Work


"How We Work is a collection of essays by writers from across the disciplines on the ways they produce work. Each writer offers a description of the processes and quirks of putting thoughts into form. All give personal reflection on how creating is both horizontal and vertical, involving the writer with places, sensual experiences, and other bodies, as well as with other parts of the self. Deliberately interdisciplinary and multicultural, this collection contains the work of curriculum theorists, fiction writers, poets, musicians, and professors of mathematics, English, philosophy, and women's studies. We hope to encourage readers to become more aware of their own creative potential by reading these essays." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Marla Morris

Mary called the state troopers. She thought I crashed and was in a ditch on the I-10 coming home from Louisiana State University. the troopers refused to look for me. I hadn't been missing long enough. Why, you might ask, was I missing? Because I had a writing crisis. Picture this: a new graduate student in a doctoral program flipped out over writing a paper. Toby Daspit and I were taking Petra Munro's curriculum theory course that semester. Petra said, “Write a paper around one idea.” Toby and I flipped out. We spent three hours after class talking in the parking lot about how to write around one idea. of course, the state troopers didn't know that I was still in the parking lot talking to Toby. I knew I was running late so I kept stopping at gas stations along the I-10 trying to call Mary but the line was busy. Each time I stopped, time kept moving. the clock kept ticking; it was getting later and later and later. It was a nightmare. By the time I got home it was near midnight. By this time Mary had called Petra.

You see, my writing crisis began a major turning point in my life. My undergraduate degree in philosophy and my master's degree in religious studies shaped the way I understood academic writing. I was trained as an exegete. This is what I call doing a line-by-line. the only kinds of papers I wrote were around a person, say, Dewey, and I'd write an explanation, a line-by-line of what Dewey said. Mirroring the text was my job. But that's really all I knew. I felt somehow that I had said nothing at the end of the day, but I thought that's what academics did: they said nothing. They simply repeated the old masters and that was that. My training in exegesis led me to believe that writing was about saying nothing, until I arrived at lsu.

It was at lsu that I began to learn that writing is more than repeating the great ones, the wise masters. Writing means saying some-

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