Romanticized Views of “The” Writer: New Words For What We Already Knew

Readers. Writers. Reading. Writing. Read. Write. People. No People. Panic. Identity. What do people consider writing? What about writing process? Process? Writing? Talking? What? Words. Are. Hard.

From my understanding of Katie’s reading of Cooper’s piece, I can see the resistance of an often romanticized view of what it means to be a writer. What I think is funny about all of it is the idea that it appears we’re trying to blame some sort of psychological cognitive process on something I fully believe is a socially constructed idea of what a writer is. I’ve talked about it in plenty of classes (probably mostly in my early American lit classes). We see this “tortured soul” writer who needs to be alone and grapple with their thoughts to create writing. Psh.

I think that we typically like giving that as a portrayal of what a writer is. This then tricks younger people into thinking they should isolate themselves to write and creates some sort of hierarchy where people think they need to keep writing separate from all others in order to achieve the highest level of writer-dom. Gross.

This makes for a specifically difficult time working with people who are then forced to interact with others in regards to their writing. Whether that’s in group “peer editing” sessions, workshopping, or in sessions at our campus’s lovely Writing Center. Resistance exists to adopt an identity as a writer that involves writing being a relational act. This makes me think about the importance of discussing this with younger people about this. In order to avoid this kind of mindset, the pedagogical practices of those instructing students grades k-12 need to shift in some way to help us acknowledge that writing is better done when reading, talking, and doing it all over again.

As for the ecological model of writing, from my interpretation of the piece it centers mostly around the context of the writing. It mostly makes me think about the “triangle of rhetoric” that we attempt to use to simplify what this relational act of writing is. Here’s a variation I found on the internet in case you aren’t as familiar with what I’m referring to:

Image result for rhetorical triangle

Cooper states: “Writers may play a number of different roles in relation to one another: editor, co-writer, or addressee, for instance. Writers signal how they view their relationship with other writers through conventional forms and strategies, but they can also change their relationship-or even initiate or terminate relationships-through the use of these conventions if others accept the new relationship that is implied” (370).

To me, this shows a constant switching of rules. I don’t necessarily see how this works completely separate from everything else I’ve been taught in our English department at MSU. I feel like it’s something that’s encouraged, the constant switching of roles in writing in order to truly be able to communicate with each other and eventually contribute to this conversation. Cooper directly talks about Burke and this is the structure of the Burkean parlor where you need to listen to contribute. You can’t just start talking without the context.

Maybe I read the article incorrectly, but overall I think it pretty much falls right into place with everything I’ve learned the past two and a half years at college. It’s just a different name.


Photo credit:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s