Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What I Did On My Summer Vacation!

from the ICA website

I used to hate that topic. Or was it not the topic but being forced, almost cruelly, even if unconsciously, required to remember, with gritted teeth into the (non)freedom to write instead of being led by respectful guidance into the joy of discovery, in the advance of consciousness.  "What I Did" was probably a graded prompt, in a constrained classroom, with a subtext: “hah-hah, don’t you wanna-be-free?” 

In any case, I’m about to attempt a transformation on that once-tired topic because I’m wanting to whirl some images around a not-yet-articulated experience--it longs for expression.  

And I’m imagining this in a thank-you letter, including the appreciation told by my horse, to the Institute for Conscious Awareness

. . . Espartaco & me, August, a few days ago. . . 

where I spent five days learning, mostly in the “hands” of the McCormicks’ stallions, about developing the horse’s mind. 

 That includes, perhaps primarily, imprinting a stallion’s mind within my own body.

Dear friends at the ICA,  

[My salutation includes, of course, Espartaco, 
Malik, Relevo, Morocco, Cariño, Marco Polo, in addition to Dr. Deborah and Dr. Adele McCormick.]

the letter continues:     Leg’cy, the mare who’s been allowing me to ride regularly for a few years here at home, has a few questions for you but they can be reduced to one: What in blazes did you do to Joseph!

Leg'cy, summer 2013
Leg'cy elaborates:
1. He didn’t lose a hundred pounds—looks like he enjoyed the Tex-Mex a bit much—but somehow (magically?) we’re riding so much lighter. 

2. Being lighter, we made a nice maneuver this week, and while I was bewildered about what just happened, he stopped to let it sink in!   He used to persist giving mixed messages until I just quit.  

3. Then before starting again, he helped me shift back onto my powerdrive and off we’d go even better than before.

4. Having integrated this shift into better collection, after a few delicious strides, he jumped off; we’re both grinning and chomping on the bit for next time.

Joseph wants to add something:
Working with the mind of the horse also inspires us to see engagement with humans in refreshed ways.  Imagine classrooms distinguished by this delicate balance between external/internal.  It needs a light touch, minute increments, time for absorption to trace tonalities into feel in order to track and recognize them for the treasure of deep satisfaction and personal empowerment.  The texture of collaboration that honors the unique gift (we could call it the divine) in each other awaits us at the edge of our development, of our species’ evolution/s, of the unity—Some of our ancestors called it all-my-relations.

With sincere thanks, 

Joseph (AKA DocHorseTales) & Leg'cy

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Saturday Morning Live

butterfly fluttering at edge of visibility

So I just spent my early morning, not as planned & more compulsively than I want to acknowledge.  I was really bothered because comments that my #CLMOOC friends said they’d added weren’t showing up! My nice-guy attempts to find them, to fix settings were not working.  Grrr.

That’s just not right!  #Connected Learning means connecting, right?  I think +Elyse Eidman-Aadahl even replaced the C in MOOC to stand for “connecting” or “collaboration” instead of “course,” and I like that. 

And I really wanted to see those specific comments.  One new connection (and I hope collaboration) I’d made by participating in the MOOC was +Terry Elliott, and his note in the Google+ Community said he’d commented in my blog.  To boot, an “old” friend, +Kevin Hodgson, @dogtrax, my model of reckless productivity, said he had too. So I was almost at toothgnashing about missing comments. 

Prior to #CLMOOC, no comments was blog-norm.  I’m basically ok with writing for myself and throwing it into the ocean, but a bit of response was certainly delicious.

So today I was relatively determined to suss it out.  I googled for help, followed the directions as best I could: Nada.  Well, no joy immediately; but I mucked about.  The “messing around” of HOMAGO doesn’t quite fit me since I’m not on track to geekdom. I can’t even manage remixing off of +Chad Sansing & friends' terrific mozilla thimbles.  Maybe another new CLMOO-Collaborator +Sheri Edwards will help me out since she’s doing it beautifully.

Anyway, the muck of it was that I lost my background image.  The beautiful sunset scene got zapped completely from my blog.  Double Grr--that had probably been my favorite part of the blog other than the hope that somebody might one day comment. 

So I backed up another step and tried risked re-making with a completely different design from Blogger’s options.  Voilà!  I was also able to piddle around rearranging the gadgets that I’d tried unsuccessfully to add before, and the new design page let's me do that too.  I got the background image up again & now I see the long-lost comments.  Thanks, guys!

Lesson of the day:  Muck on, John Donne!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Why write? Because you love to.

Why Write?

Because you love to.

At heart, that’s the only reason to do anything.  (Of course, we might have to continue to penetrate the meaning of love.  But, back on-topic--)

If you’re not so sure that you love to write, please let me continue.
1) Humans “write” because it is our distinctive character.  Kenneth Burke, called the most important rhetorician of the 20th century, distinguishes humans as the “the symbol-using, symbol-making, and symbol-misusing animal” (Language as Symbolic Action).  If your symbolic action doesn’t correspond with “writing,” consider expanding the field of composition.

2) If you have difficulty claiming that you love to write, explore options.  Troy Hicks uses the acronym MMAPS to guide teaching of comp, digital or otherwise.  Look at the mode, media, audience, purpose, and situation that you use and play with them.  I discovered joy in composing as I played with digital media.  I got into DMP in ought-to mode; but as I tried out production programs that matched up with my disposition, I connected the photography I love with words, found ease of precise editing, and focused on a topic of passion (riding horses). I’ve continued to grow in love with Digital Media Production, but it’s still hard work.  (on DMP, check this.)

3) Let writing go to edge of consciousness.  That’s where vitality comes in.  Like dressage masters, we should always keep in mind that if, at the end of the lesson, the writer is not happier and healthier, then something needs attending.  If we don’t write until we find this for ourselves, how can we expect it in our classroom?

3+) If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for the kids.  Sorry about pulling that card, but we know that good teachers of writing write, like good teachers of reading read.  And we know that the best teachers teach what they love: enthusiasm motivates intrinsic, authentic, life-long learning like nothing else.  Check the process-product research; or better yet, check out your own self-directed drive.

4 or 5) Can’t find time?  No easy solution here, but try buying yourself out.  Explore paying someone to do something you’d rather not do (house cleaning, food prep, walking the dog) or even doing without x (a meal, a TV show, a graded assignment).  You might be surprised how hard it is to prioritize what we love, especially the kind of passion that takes time and tending.