Home, Play, Work

Photography is Hard

After a busy weekend of new Doctor Who, homemade pizza, and kid-friendly cookouts with friends, I tried to get some more pics for my hybrid fruit project. Here’s one of the best pics taken in my dining room using the late afternoon sun.

This pic was taken by my husband and without the makeshift white backdrop I created. I took many photographs of this apple and this lemon in a variety of positions and stages of undress, the entire time fighting against the shadows falling from the panes on my dining room window and the toddler who was fascinated by this tripod toy that Mommy wouldn’t let him play with. Eventually, the light gave out, the toddler decided to eat one of the subjects (not the lemon), and Teddy agreed to pose for a few photos.

And that’s how I spent my weekend. Tomorrow I get to try to clean up the pics.

Play, Work

Shortcomings

We’re all at home this afternoon due to that little squall down in the Gulf of Mexico, so I decided to have a look at the photos I took for the first project in my digital art class. I’ll spare you the horror and just share this picture of my absolutely delectable subjects.

They’re all pretty much gone now; we had the broccoli (in the plastic bag to protect from dust) for lunch with the fabulous Stacy and Mimi, and I have it on good authority that the pineapple provided a perfect morning snack for two hungry toddlers on a rainy day playdate. The grapes and I got acquainted last night after supper.

I was supposed to get shots of my subjects that I could use in a hybrid fruit/vegetable/fruitable project, and I did take a few photographs, but they weren’t lit very well and the tripod was crooked and I just couldn’t seem to wrap my head around all the parts of the project, so I ate my subjects with the idea that I’d get a new batch over the weekend when the weather’s better and give it another go.

The really important thing that came out of this experience, though, was the reminder that we don’t all know how to do everything, and that we can always develop new competencies. Before going to take the photos, I participated in a small group discussion of our sketches for our projects, and all I could think about during the experience was how my writing students must feel when they have to share their drafts with their classmates. Maybe I’m wrong–maybe they all feel confident and competent as they send around those tentative words–but I know that at least a few of them over the years must have felt as I did yesterday: humble and inadequate and not a little bit frightened to reveal just how amateur and feeble my skills are in comparison to the work of those more confident and experienced than I.

Home, Play, Work

A Reason to Write

I’m going to make some art.

I’ve been wanting to learn the basics of photoshop-esque digital art for a while. I’m not a visual artist by any stretch of the imagination, but I’d like to be able to do more than just crop a photo or shift between color and greyscale, so I’m sitting in on a colleague’s Digital Art class. Two classes in and I’ve made a picture.

a very childish drawing of a house with a red door, a tree, some discolored grass, and a burning sun. There are also words along the left of the photo: "Houses have eyes and mouths." "eep!" "Not a home."Clearly, I have a ways to go.

One of the projects for the class is a photo collection illustrating various color and visual principles, a project that gives me license to visit my craft room. I cannot begin to tell you how happy the thought of diving into the bins of yarn and fabric–not to mention the folders of paper and the buttons and…–makes me. Pretty.

So there will be posts here related to that class, which may lead to posts related to other things (like my writing class, where we’re focusing on the use of social media in elections. Team Romney, I’m not talking about you or linking to you or liking you because I like you. My interactions with your social media sphere are for science. So there. Nah nanny booboo).

Work

The Reluctant Scholar

It occurs to me that I should rename this blog. I’ve always meant to use this space to engage the topics that interest me, but I never write anything here because of my paralyzing fear of being–well, being anything.

That’s no way to live, is it, especially for someone who encourages students to write for self-discovery as much as anything. So I’m putting it out there right here, right now, for anyone who cares to know: I am a reluctant scholar.

I love teaching. I love to plan classes and assignments. I thrill at the possibilities of a pristine Moodle class. I can even admit to enjoying–truly enjoying–commenting on student writing (as long as I have space and time enough…).

I enjoy my service and administrative work; it gives me a chance to connect with colleagues and my institution in a variety of ways that are meaningful and potentially transformative. I like committee work. I enjoy contributing my knowledge and experience to help improve my school and community.

Bring up the word “scholarship,” though, and the color drains out of me. Reluctant may not be strong enough of a word, actually, to describe where I am with regard to scholarship. Don’t get me wrong: I have ideas. Loads of them. I read. I write. I talk and think and share in unmediated spaces with relative ease. I posit. I articulate. I ruminate. I just tend to do these things in ephemeral spaces.

I am reluctant to commit myself to memory.

Work

Personal and Public

In Turning Composition Toward Sovereignty, John Schilb discusses the lack of publicly-oriented rhetorical scholarship in the English and Rhet/Comp journals (as editor of College English he would have some sense of what’s going on out there). He theorizes that our use of Foucault’s shift of the discussion of power from sovereignty allows us to place our emphasis on agency instead.

I think he’s spot on regarding the lack of attention to the use of rhetoric in the public sphere, but this is ground I believe we long ago ceded (through passivity, I would wager) to our colleagues in communications in favor of focusing our resources on the first-year composition enterprise, an endeavor that is much more greatly helped by considering agency as a fundamental concern. I find his use of “Composition” in the title interesting as it suggests the producing, not analyzing, side of the discipline.

I’m energized as I consider Schilb’s piece, though, because the use of rhetoric in public discourse is of interest to me, so much so that I wandered over to the Communication department at UGA to audit a doctoral seminar on Kenneth Burke during my doctoral studies; I was hungry for a discussion of the frameworks governing conversations. The more I think about it, the more I wonder whether it would be good for me to dip my toes into that water professionally.