The New Work of Composing

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A Call to Action

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A Call to Action

These are not our mothers’ arguments. They have made their arguments well and made them repeatedly. This is a call to action.

We cannot dismantle the master’s composition with the masters tools. To do so is to perpetuate that composition.

We know what the best practices are; we will not settle for any others. We will not excuse, justify, or explain ourselves any longer. We will point to the bibliographies and suggest that people read the arguments that have already been made. We will not continue to make our mothers’ arguments.

Carolyn Heilbrun (1988) stated:

What matters is that lives do not serve as models; only stories do that. And it is a hard thing to make up stories to live by. We can only retell and live by the stories we have read and heard. We live our lives through texts. They may be read, or chanted, or experienced electronically, or come to us, like the murmurings of our mothers, telling us what conventions demand. Whatever their form or medium, these stories have formed us all; they are what we must use to make new fictions, new narratives. (p. 37, emphasis added)

Invitational rhetoric tells us that we are responsible for creating these new fictions, these new narratives, new stories, and that we have the tools to do so. If we lay down the master’s tools, as Sonja K. Foss and Karen A. Foss (2009) have suggested, we will discover our own tools; or, even better, we may discover that we do not need tools at all. What we need, they suggest, is an invitation. And with this invitation we discover that we can be the field–with the scholarship, the teachers, and the administrators—that we want to be.

We will own our knowledge and our field. The time we save not arguing the past can then be spent creating the new work of composing: creating invitations to converse.