Cannot Compute

Of all the blogs I’ve written, my favourites are not the ones where I tried to construct a coherent argument, but the ones where I said what I meant in an oblique, imaginative way. Often these blogs come out in a weird form: a stream of consciousness, a poem, a play, or a tiny story. Typically, they are very short. Some readers struggle to compute this kind of writing: they tell me off in the comments, ask me to explain what I meant, or write blogs in response to the argument they think I made. But the whole point of fiction is that you don’t want to explain it to your readers. You’re not meant to explain it to your readers. Fiction has to show, rather than tell. The readers get to make the meaning for themselves.

Some commentators would like us to be more rational and less emotional: they want us to offer facts and evidence, not fiction and feelings. There is definitely a movement in education at the moment that wants emotions and personal experiences to be dismissed, because they get in the way of evidence and reason. But we are human beings, and as such our daily lives are made up of feelings – we are what we feel as much as what we think. Teaching is an emotional act, as well as a rational application of technique. The teachers who inspired me as a child did so because they believed in me and wanted passionately for me to learn, not because they applied scientific reasoning to identify the correct methods with which to teach.

Sometimes the best way to shine a light on a subject is to come at it from an angle. A poem can hit on a truth with far more precision than an essay. (I mean, just look at how much meaning Nancy Gedge can fit into 68 words.) And to be honest, I often have no idea how a blog will come out, until I let my fingers run loose on the keyboard. Because I don’t write to try and get you to agree with me …

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
Flannery O’Connor

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4 Responses to Cannot Compute

  1. nancy says:

    It’s strange, isn’t it. Sometimes it just plops onto the page – and I think that’s why I like the blog format. I can be as creative as I like and say what I like in the way that I like – or the way the emotion demands. I don’t want to write without emotion. Look at the difference it made to Simon Knight’s most recent post https://sentineluk.wordpress.com/2015/06/ and then he had the temerity to apologise! I told him off about that, obviously.

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  2. nancy says:

    PS I find it fascinating how my blog is interpreted. I suppose, because it straddles three worlds (parent, DS and teacher) there are at least three ways of reading it, if a reader was so inclined.

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  3. Hi Sue, it was great to see you talk at the Festival in the panel session with Rachel Jones. The thing that has amazed me with educators and teachers who blog is the sheer variety of blogging styles. To those who want evidence, rationality and less emotion I can easily point to other bloggers who write this way, or they are free to set up their own blog and I’ll happily help them set-up. There’s space in the blogosphere for everyone and there is so much colour because of the range of styles and stances. Keep going Sue, in your own way!

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