Quote of the Week: On Writing


(cropped movie still fm Pillow Book)

Ok this week there are two winning quotes:

But some things make sense only to the writer, and it takes posting for that truth to seep in.

– Earl Cootie via Gay Prof’s Comment Section


I’ve been itching to do [sic] create, rather than merely produce.

[. . .]

I’ve also passed down to graduate students the metaphor of historiography as cocktail party.  That metaphor has died in practice.


I think it is easy/hard to lose one’s writing voice especially in conflictual and/or competitive environments. Easy b/c there is always someone scraping at your unique edges; hard b/c scraping always hurts and often leaves irreconcilable scars. Some times, self-editing is a necessity and sometimes it is like the media after 9-11, you know what needs to be said but you are too caught up in the system of power and discipline to say it. If speaking or not speaking makes you bleed then you know that there is a better choice. But knowing that should never cloud you to the moments when writing serves no purpose but to pontificate or eviscerate. I of course am guilty of all of these things tho I try . . .

In blogging, some people write ahead of time, edit it, and upload when they are sure it is exactly right. Others send off pithy missives with the click of a key never to be interrogated by them again. I post what I feel and think in the moment b/c I cannot do that in my academic writing. I edit as I go, as I read, and re-read the piece b/c my process is part of it and I don’t mind if you look. And I never rewrite to make someone who responds to my writing look foolish. The document is the document even in this age of quick and silent rewriting or deletion of the word. Ultimately, it may not be the best read for those who have to navigate my disability (which is always at its worst when I am feeling something intensely) but it makes me braver and stronger and more aware of my flaws in a productive way. I hope that transfers but then again, I have watched “the metaphor die in practice” more than once.

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