Push Up Against the Edges: Digital Writing Month

Check out this quote from a blog post by Michael Manderino at his blog, Pedagogical Consciousness:

.. we should treat songs as texts and albums like literature …

In this wonderful analytical post, Michael deconstructs the experience of listening to the band, Best Coast, and makes the case that the act of listening is akin to the act of reading (so, I am going to flip that, and suggest that the act of writing music is akin to the act of writing. I don’t think he would disagree.) He goes after mood, and sound, and then image and video sequencing. He touches on the lost art of album design. He views the experience through multimodal eyes.

The overall impression that I get (or I should say, gets reinforced by Michael’s analysis) is that the “composition” here is the collection of media parts that wind their way into the whole experience, and when thinking of how technology is shifting our notions of what writing is, this kind of analysis is insightful and metaphorical: if technology allows us to move our stories into multimedia, what does that do the story itself that we writers write, and that our readers read (or our viewers view, or listeners listen).

Michael, in fact, even notes that the use of a blog makes a difference in the writing of the analysis itself, and of course, he is write. The affordances of a space where links can be embedded, and media shared, and more, lends to something deeper and richer.

Analyzing the individual modes are insufficient to recognize the cross modal dependency to communicate the narrative.  We need to foster instructional opportunities to recognize these sites of multimodal intertextuality.  Music is an optimal media source for doing so. — Michael Manderino

It’s as wonderful muddle that we (writers, teachers, readers) find ourselves in, mainly because we are still in “the moment” when all of this is unfolding. When you are in the midst of change, it’s difficult to know where it will end up. Writing is in the midst of change. I don’t know where it will end up. You don’t, either. That doesn’t mean we give up and moan about the old days. It means we are in the midst of adventure, so gather up your compass and backpack, and head out into the edges of the world.

So, what do we do? We play and reflect.

In November, I am helping to facilitate this year’s version of Digital Writing Month (DiGiWriMo) with my global friends, Maha Bali and Sarah Honeychurch, with support by the folks at Hybrid Pedagogy. We’re inviting all sorts of people in all sorts of fields to write guest posts and we hope to suggest some activities that will get participants thinking about what we mean when we talk about “writing” in this digital age. Interestingly, November is also NaNoWriMo, so lots of folks are digging into traditional writing and storytelling. Maybe some will find some convergence points in November.

We’ll be facilitating discussions to explore the shifts in writing, the way image informs a composition, how audio and listening tap into something intriguing, and how transmedia/multimedia composition might alter the experience of text for a reader/viewer/listener/player.

We hope you come along for the adventure. Come on over to the Digital Writing Month website. If you add your name to the newsletter, we’ll send you updates on posts and activities in November. Get making and creating.

Peace (inside the text),