Archive for the 'Writing' Category

A Room To Write

“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.” – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

White Wall

This blog has long been my space for writing about education, schooling, learning and various permutations of those academic words. Now that I am two years out of college and my world is separated from the academic and student life I find myself at a crossroads. What do I do with this space? What belongs here? It seems like it shouldn’t matter but, I find that I am unable to bring myself to write about other ideas.

I don’t necessarily want to write about things radically different but, I do spend time reading on a large variety of topics and it doesn’t always connect back to “higher-ed” or “ed tech”. I am still on the same journey I began as a freshman in college, a life-long journey as a learner but, I find myself on the move to a different caravanserai.

Part of my struggle to write about something else in this space is the fear of leaving the “conversation”. I’ve sat at the proverbial table with many people whom have thoughtfully considered my ideas and commented and critiqued them. I’m afraid I’m leaving a conversation I’m not fully prepared to leave. Who will listen to me when I get up and go?

I’m not so worried about this space getting lost. Everything would be aggregated to my main site or whatever site I choose to treat as my hub. But I feel at conflict with myself. I want this to be a monument to my young adult thinking but, it saddens me to think that my writing in this space would come to an end.

I have other spaces to write and there is no limit to the amount of new places I could create. Is changing this space like redecorating a room or like attempting to convert a bathroom into a kitchen?


Write to Know

(More writing about writing)

The refrain, “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” has been running through my mind. I spend a lot of time thinking and reading on lots of subjects but, I don’t spend much time writing. The closest I get is chat conversations online. There is a part of my brain not content with consuming endless information. Conversations with people helps to relieve some of that cognitive dissonance I feel but, I know writing is important to the process.


 Even when I agonized over almost every paper in college there was a part of my brain that knew that writing was key to understanding. I still think about the paper I wrote that addressed the question, “What is art?” because it was one of the most difficult papers I ever had to write. The more I wrote, the more I was able to see the flaws in my arguments and understand more clearly what I was trying to say. I think I came out of the paper even more confused about the definition of art but, it was a satisfying confusion after a long struggle with many different ideas and arguments.

I continue to try and commit myself to writing, even if it is for my eyes only, because I know without it my thoughts are ephemeral and incomplete, and reading subject to the faulty memory of the mind.

More Writing Angst

Every time I sit down to put the thoughts in my head on paper they seem to slip through my fingers like so many wriggling fish.

Writing seems to be the one thing my brain hasn’t been able to overcome in my post-college life. It terrifies me a little. I’ve spent the past year or so studying and learning just about anything I want. It has been so much fun for me to learn what I want to learn. That is why it is so frustrating to be unable to write down the the ever bubbling thoughts I have running through my head. Maybe I need to start with the private writing again, maybe the audience is my problem.

I want my writing to have form, structure, a purpose. All that ever seems to come out is a flow of wandering thoughts and frustrations. So here I am, once again, unable to let go of the need to write the perfect blog post.

The Never Ending Battle to Write

One of the biggest hurdles that tripped me up on in college was writing papers. No matter what I did the process never seemed to get better. I’ve had lots of people give me advice but, I never figured out why I couldn’t just write. For awhile I thought it was being required to write that brought me to a stand still but, now that I am a year out of college I doubt that is the case. I have many things I want to write about but, my brain cannot focus when it comes time to sit down and write.

Even while writing this post I struggle to focus.

The things I think never seem to come out the same when I write them. That doesn’t make much sense I know but, my free flowing thoughts appear dull and stilted when it comes time to type it all out. Maybe it is the romance of the quick fleeting thought that makes me believe my ideas are good and the hard light of writing it out reveals there was not much there to begin with. Besides that issue, when I finally do get to writing I find that the more I write the more I lose my way. More and more ideas pop into my head and I begin to wander off. The worst part of these tangents is that they sometimes seem like better ideas then my original one. Or am I chasing the thrill of exploring a new thought?

Mostly I write this post as a way to write again. I don’t like the way most of it sounds but, if I publish it maybe it’ll push me to start writing again. The frustration of wanting to write but, being unable to is starting to get to me.

E is for Eyes

A complex piece of evolution that sits right above our noses everyday (hopefully!), the eye is sweet piece of human engineering.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Look Into My Eyes

Somehow I have managed to avoid the blight of poor eyesight that plagues the rest of my family and so I feel doubly blessed to see unimpaired. Considering that I’ve never experienced what it is like to not be able to see clearly, I find it hard to comprehend not being able to see the nuances of the world that surrounds me with my own two eyes (pun sort of intended). And I know I need to value my good sight because who knows how long it will last.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Thomas Shahan

Besides the fact that I have good vision I find the evolutionary development of the eye fascinating. When you look at the emergence of basic forms of life (in the Animal kingdom) they seem to across the board evolve towards being able to see. From the first photo-sensitive cells to more and more complex forms of vision, life on this planet has a strong desire to see. In addition, when we consider how everything in this universe is connected by basic elements that were birthed in the bellies of stars long ago; the evolution of eyes can been seen as a deeply connected universe’s desire to reflect on and appreciate itself.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Thomas Hawk

C is for California

I have only been to California twice in my life for a total of 2 weeks.IMG_0382 But both those weeks are intensely ingrained in my memory as times of physical exuberance and spiritual exploration. The two trips were at a small camp of 20 or so people and each day had a different adventure in store. Whether it was climbing mountains, kayaking or mountain boarding the camp kept us moving. In the midst of all this action there was time for deep conversation, questioning, frustrations and tears.

Before the trip even began I was excited to go to California because it was the place my father and my aunt spent a good part of their young adult years. I know there are many stories my father never had a chance to tell me and I wish more than anything I could have heard. My aunt does her best to relay the stories she remembers and she was a part of but, she’ll never be able to tell me what it was like to hike in the sierra mountain range for weeks at a time. So in a small way journeying to California was a way to reconnect with my father’s past as if somehow it still lingered out there in the mountains or on the streets of San Francisco.


I remember that on the day we hiked a moutain (whose name I can’t recall) on the way back down the mountain I was separated from everybody in my group. Initially I thought nothing of it but as the way back down took longer and longer I became increasingly nervous. It was the most alone I have ever been in my life, no one near me, no sounds of vehicles or “the world”. In the middle of wondering whether I had gone back down the right way a butterfly appeared and landed on my shirt. I remember freezing and just staring at this creature, who just as quickly as it landed took off again. It was the first time in my life that I felt there was something out there that was bigger than me on this planet. I nearly fell to my knees I was so overwhelmed with emotions and to this day I can’t accurately explain what happened in that brief moment.

B is for Backyards

Day 2 of 26 in 26

cc licensed flickr photo shared by D’Arcy Norman

Having a backyard in America seems to represent something larger than the plot of land itself. It is an ideal that many strive towards (along with the white picket fence). For me backyards represent childhood and time spent with close friends. Many of the adventures that went on in my best friend’s (who lived 3 houses away) backyard are some of my most cherished memories of childhood, a whole different world could exist right in his backyard.

Then there is my backyard. It wasn’t the central location for play but was a place my father kept his garden and where I first learned about gardening, dirt and digging your own worms for fishing. There were times we spent sitting out on the back patio as a family watching the bats in the park fly from tree to tree. Or my dad cooking on the charcoal grill for a fourth of July celebration with family. My backyard was a place to spend time with family.

Because of the special meaning backyards hold within their fenced boundaries I am thankful for them. I look forward to having a backyard one day so I can grow more memories in a plot of land.

A is for Arachnids

Ok, so being thankful for spiders might be a bit strange but I’ve come to appreciate and even enjoy my friendly neighborhood arachnids.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by shauser

Besides the fact spiders eat other little buggies (like mosquitos, yes!) the real reason I enjoy them comes from their ability to create intricate webs out of a light yet very durable material. Every spider has their own special nuances when it comes to design making each web that much more interesting. In addition, the fact that everyday they take take down their web and start over again (recycling their web of course) is a ritual that for whatever reason fascinates me.

Truth be told I don’t know a whole lot about arachnids whenever I see a spider web I always stop to take a moment to enjoy one of the coolest designs in nature. In fact, once you start looking for webs you see them everywhere, funny how we can easily miss things we pass everyday.

26 Letters in 26 Days

It is very convenient this year that Thanksgiving (for us Americans) falls on the 26th of November and that there are 26 letters in the alphabet. Do you see where I am going here?

I propose a 26 letters in 26 days blogging series, going through each letter of the alphabet and describing something we are thankful for (I know cheesy) in the spirit of being thankful all November long. From the silly things to the serious I hope this will be a fun and challenging way to blog during the month of November.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by floodllama

So anyone else want in? Maybe a good tag to go along with this? 26in26? I don’t know, I am open to suggestions for guidelines. In any event starting November 1st I will be starting off  at the letter “A”, hope to see you there.

Chants from a Digital Native

Today Gardner tweeted an article by Christopher Scanlon, “The Natives Aren’t Quite So Restless”. Normally I avoid articles touting to understand what exactly a digital native is and what any of it means. But since it came with the Gardo© nod of approval I read through it. Right off the bat I will say it was one of the best articles I have read about Digital Natives.

The ending paragraph puts it succinctly:

If we are to equip students to navigate a digital world, education ought to be based on assessing students’ individual strengths and weaknesses rather than making glib generalisations that mistake using Facebook for technological savvy.

Thank you! This may seem obvious, but the way Scanlon goes through his argument is one of the best I’ve seen. While generalizations can be helpful in broad conversations it does not belong in higher education where generalizations paint with a broad brush over everything, obscuring important detail.

I probably know more people that have the characteristics of a “digital native” that by definition fall into the “digital immigrant” territory, than supposed “digital natives” that represent digital natives. The reason I even fall into the category of digital native now comes from knowing those digital immigrants who have showed me the way. Yeah I was good at the lower-level digital stuff beforehand, most people are, digital natives aren’t special in that. Scanlon points out that we mistake my generations use of Facebook and constant connection to the web as digital literacy and creating processing and thinking. So lets look beyond broad generalizations that work on the surface and start digging deeper for what is really going on. Its not as simple as native and immigrant, it never has been one or the other throughout the history of man, so why would the digital world be any different?

Tagged! My Feed

Photos Huzzah!