By Aurelea Mahood
Here at Capilano like most universities and colleges, there is a vibrant culture of guest writers coming into speak to the students and community at large. With this first offering of English 214 -Technology + Culture, we decided to take that tradition and twist it a little. And so, in this iteration the guest writer does not come to the classroom but to the course blog.
Montreal-based J.R. Carpenter has been our first guest blogger. I met J.R. earlier this year at the ELO Visionary Landscapes conference in Vancouver WA at the beginning of June. Prior to that, she had been working on an RSS project for The Capilano Review. With these confluences gurgling below our English 214 syllabus, it seemed fitting to approach J.R. to lead off this project.
It has been more than just fitting: it has been an immensely positive experience that unfolded like this:
- after settling on a format for the project, J.R. began to work on a draft entry for the CultureNet blog
- the week of scheduled in-class discussion of “The Cape,” J.R. sent me a copy of her draft to comment on
- on October 10th, J.R. posted her guest entry to this blog (see The Cape: The Back-Story)
- we have the equivalent to six single-spaced pages of generous candid reflections on the origins and impulses informing the writing of “The Cape” to work through in the English 214 seminar
- after reading the entry, the discussion starts and soon the whiteboard is filled with the thoughtful scrawl of the students
- two key areas of interest begin to emerge: i) comments/questions relating to composition and e-literature broadly and ii) comments/questions relating to memory, timelessness, family, place, mapping, and the sublime as explored directly within “The Cape”
- nearly two hour pass – class is officially over – and we move to formalize the questions
- by noon on October 10th, the questions for J.R. are posted on the blog
- J.R. responds with fulsome replies over the weekend
- we reconvene today October 14th evermore convinced that we are interested in further exploring “amnesia” (or “the art of remembering”) and the “sublime” as expressed in electronic literature
Thanks again to J.R. Carpenter for participating in this project! Fingers crossed – we look forward to reprising this in future versions of English 214. And thank you to CultureNet and English Department here at Capilano for assistance in making this event possible.