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"Slipping" into Our Writing: Notes Towards Day 6 (Thurs, 9/15)

Anne Dalke's picture

I. coursekeeping
* Beatriz is placing us in the Pembroke East TV Room
Cathy will select our site for next Tuesday
feedback about last Tuesday-near-the-cemetery?
Amanda's post re: ppl taking care of selves:)

* do we want to share our cell phone #s?
(I heard that Cathy was asking for mine in EH,
couldn't get it :)

* continuing to name one another; use as review

* Your third 3-pp. web event--looking for
traces of "slipping," or marking its absence,
in some text we've read--is due tomorrow by 5 p.m.
Remind you to let me know what's happening by
5, if you can't have it ready by then.

* we started talking on Tuesday/will
talk more today about “slippages,”
all those unpredictable, dark, and
playful aspects of our unconscious…

For the next two weeks, we'll be exploring play, as a particular
mode of engaging in these less intended, less censored
aspects of our experience.

By 5 p.m. Mon, 9/19: third short posting,
describing your childhood experience of play.

For Tuesday's class, read three short essays on-line:
Robin Henig, Taking Play Seriously,
Stuart Brown, "Play, Spirit, and Character" [ listen to this one],
and Molly Knefel, "Kid Stuff."

II. More Slipping
pick up Tuesday's convo about the essay,
using several of your Serendip postings...

Mpan1, “Slips Happen”: An event I didn’t expect was when a student claimed that the lights hanging in the Radnor common room made her uncomfortable. I was not expecting this because I come from a town that consists of a majority of Jewish people and I’ve never encountered someone who was offended by the presence of lights. Also, I see lights everywhere around the holiday season so I assume that everyone was okay with it. Reading this part opened my mind a bit. It goes to show that we must be sensitive to every issue no matter how trivial the issue may seem although many times people slip as as Nkechi did as she was trying to make the space as homey as possible.  

Liquid Echo, ‘Slipping”: A part of the essay that really stood out to me was the story of Nkechi and the villager that she was assigned to. The instance where Nkechi walked away was viewed as a lost opportunity for she was unable to create a connection that she had gone there to create. In contrast, it was also an instance of someone acknowledging their uncomfortableness with a subject and choosing to walk away. There always seems to be a gray area between trying to form new connections between different identities and protecting the integrity of one’s own identity. This story in particular really touches upon that difficult interaction.

Evaaaaaa, “Discontinuity and Comfort Zone”: We've all told to step out of our comfort zone, and we've all told the benefit of doing so, however, …staying in the comfort zone is the less energy-consuming state of our mind. Most of times, we are unaware of the fact that we are still staying in our comfort zone. That is probably the same as "slipping into something more comfortable" - we like comfortable. 
But…there is a huge inadvantage of being too comfortable: we lost the ability to change. The world, however, is constantly changing. …Things are changing, norms are not continuous - we are living in discontinuity… we should prepare for that. This preparation, requires us to step out from our comfort zone, to climb back to face difficulties and unknowns.
Life is not about comfort. Academic lives are especially not.   

Free Rein, “Loner Chronicles”: Nkechi is assigned to a shadow a villager who tells her that she doesn’t like to be with “people who look like you”
The above statement from the villager gives me a flashback when I was coming to college. My layover was at London- Heathrow International Airport where a white young boy, probably aged five years, stared at me for almost five minutes. Questions criss-crossed my mind. I wondered what he had seen in me that everyone else was silent about. Had I drooled over my vest on one of my naps in the plane? It also made me question the intensity of my melanin because there were other people of colour at the airport. The mother tried to draw the child’s attention but still, he kept on looking at me. Then the child abruptly shouted, “Mummy, she looks like a monkey!”. It was devastating, humiliating and heart-breaking. Everyone was gazing in my direction. The mother laughed. I had heard of this from my friends who had travelled earlier but I had thrown all the care into the wind.  This was one of the many experiences which muddle me; others of which would also be referred to as “personal issues not public matters.”
The incident really disturbed me in my next flight. I felt like boarding the next plane back home. It was my first destination. I did not want imagine having such another encounter at Philadelphia or Bryn Mawr which am glad it has not occurred; may be because I spend my entire time alone besides class. As Sarah Ahmed says, “solutions to problems are the problems given a new form.” The fear of people’s declination to work with me or embrace the way I am has greatly contributed to my current state of being a recluse: an introvert. I have never been like this; not at all. However, I would choose this option any day, to make my ‘home away from home’ experience worthwhile, because honestly, some ‘slippages’ may not be any pleasant.       

Starfish, “Slipping” and the college as a case study:  Chapter Eight of “Slipping” is about the “slow”, and “messy” process that is a community’s trying to better themselves as related to issues of diversity. The thesis of the chapter seems to be that making mistakes (slipping) in this process is central to questioning previously unaddressed elements of how we approach diversity. I agree that, of course, any attempt at creating a more inclusive community will involve mistakes, and that often these may provide a learning opportunity. One example given in the chapter is of questioning our assumptions about what inclusivity means by analyzing our use of the word “welcoming” (a slip), in discussions about diversity. But, this example, as does much of the chapter, uses an academic setting as a case study. I am not sure that the premise of slipping as leading to constructive interaction would hold as true in society as a whole, where there is less of a cohesive, hyper self awareness, such as can be found in a small, “intentional” community such as a liberal arts college. Society as a whole may lack the will for self awareness to choose to learn from its slips. This is not to say that slipping can’t be part of the process of construction in a broader community, only that it will require the conscious efforts of subgroups to reflect on it constructively. Slipping is a beneficial, but not a natural process. We must choose to learn.

III. (by 12:05) Writing Workshop

have divided you randomly into
4 groups of 3, 1 group of 2:



Han Bin


share what you've brought towards your paper:
describe what you are thinking of doing,
discuss what your focus might be,
where you might go with this...
make sure that everyone gets a good 5-8 minutes
of concentrated listening, feeding-back time...

IV. (by 12:30) come back together: what emerged re: writing?
helpful/confusing to hear others' ideas....?

V. (by 12:35): Angela Zhang (and Miciah Foster?) re: Writing Center