My digital essay “Who’s Afraid of the Pen” is an exploration into adolescents’ habits, beliefs and predispositions about writing through a close analysis of three students’ responses to interview questions. It occurred to me as an interesting topic as we first brainstormed the blogs, and I quickly found that it was a topic about which I wanted to write more than a measly 400 words. Several of my posts neared one thousand before I had hardly scratched the surface of the topic for that week.
It seemed intuitive then, to continue that work, and to transform it in a way that would carry some of the interpretive work I had done in the blog, but to rework it such that it was in a format that was meant to be assessed (accessed?) in a few number of sittings, and that wasn’t supposed to have the overt temporal that a blog has , at least to me.
Relatedly, I really enjoyed trying to mesh different forms of media together. It would have been exceedingly tedious of me to have to transcribe dozens of minutes of student interview. With this format, I didn’t have to. I could let the students speak for themselves and to each other, while I sat back and drew connections, made commentary. Although I feel that I did some serious intellectual work here, writing in such a context made me feel more free to play with the tone of my own writing, such that I think I manage to come off as a a voice with authority (somewhat) that can poke fun at itself as well as the pseudoscience of trying to make claims about students every where, or even all across Durham, by studying three students in the same school. I felt very few constraints in the wordpress medium. It was intuitive enough for me to use technically, and the added affordances felt like opportunities, not hurdles to be leapt or obstacles overcome.