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Prose as Experiment

ckosarek's picture

"All writing is experimental . . . It is an attempt to solve a problem, to find a meaning, to discover its own way toward a meaning." - Donald M. Murray

In "Teach Writing as Process, Not Product," Donald Murray stresses that the ideas in a paper are just as important as execution, and that academia too often limits how an idea might be executed in prose. Having written two papers thus far for this class (and with two more to go), I thought it would be a good time to reflect on how well our class has embraced what Murray calls "experimental" in our webpapers.

I've never been in an English class that encourages - or even facilitates - the use of multimedia sources in papers. As a reader, I find our webpapers more aesthetically pleasing when I open to a page filled with images and links. In our technological age, our attentions spans have been shortened to the length of a YouTube clip. Having images and outside links in our papers allows our minds to wander - but not too far from our argument.

As far as ideas go, I find that the execution of our papers have turned out to reflect the creativity of our ideas themselves. The fact that creative ideas are matched with creative presentation seems to do the ideas more justice; it seems to make them more important - to elevate them more.

My only caution against our experimental papers is that by incorporating more sources via links and images and videos, we also run the risk of adding unrelated distractions into our papers. Outside media and strange formatting should always add to our arguments. If there is even a slight possibility that it might take away from our main points, then perhaps leaving the prose black and white is best.


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