The New Work of Composing

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Price of Wading

We cannot step into the same river twice.

Composing technologies march on at a terrifying pace. As we know from our own experiences with trailing edges, it is difficult to keep abreast of the daily beta iterations of composing spaces. And so we linger at the river’s edge, looking longingly at the sweeping current. I cant make a movie to share at a conference, we think, because I dont have time to make it perfect. With everything else I have to do, learning the technology while doing the scholarship while teaching and running a writing program and serving on committees, not to mention the not-mentionable (honorable mention?) home life, I just cant do it.

Technology seems to be reserved for two groups: those who have tenure and those who are in graduate school. Inherent in the use of technology is risk, and those of us with degrees-in-hand working towards tenure do not have the time or the resources to risk tenure. It is better to be safe than sorry. However, at some point, we can no longer afford to wait, to wade, into the stream of bits and bytes and streaming audio and video, because the longer we wait, the more the stream has passed us by, the more there is to learn.

As we count the days until we earn tenure, we weigh the price of doing the work that we know should be done with the rewards of earning the right to do that work.

If we agree, at least momentarily, to dismiss argument as our primary goal and choose instead to focus on invitation, then the river before us is inviting and we can step into it any time we like. It no longer requires that we collect our claims and evidence and mount the perfect defense. Rather, we can say, this bit of information resonates for me. Does it resonate for you? Can we talk about it?