origami

I'm not good at putting things together. My family used to do puzzles together. My job was to categorize the pieces according to color, scene, etc. This was because I really suck at figuring out how the shapes work together. My brother is a whiz at this. I used to wonder what it would be like to see the world as he does, with shape and texture, a kind of interesting depth to objects. I don't know if I get bored with trying the same piece a hundred different ways or what. M and I bought a puzzle recently but I don't know if we'll ever get around to working it. We'll see.

I found an origami kit while going through boxes in the recent cleaning spree. It still had the instructions and paper so I'm saving it for my Tech. Writing course in the Fall when I'll ask students to use the instructions to create origami shapes. Then we'll talk about the importance of clear instructions and visual aids. It'll be a way to 1: approach rhetorical concepts in an "outside the box" way and 2: use the origami kit, which I'll never do alone.

I'm fascinated by people who can make things, arts and crafts, carpentry, little paper shapes, cakes, whatever. I think its why I've become so enamored with architecture, lately. I'm amazed at how something goes from an idea to paper to model to a building I walk through, or live in. I've talked about tangibility before and I think it's a part of cultural expectations of work. When you work, there is something to show for it. But what about those of us who work in other ways? Who, at the end of the day don't have a table or meal or paper shapes to "show for it?" This is, believe it or not, connected to the identity of technical writing as a field and the identity of a technical writer, who may work among other non-technical persons or may collaborate with a team of writers producing a document or series of documents. What work do you account for then?

Because I collaborated on an editing project this summer, these ideas have been ones I've thought a great deal about. Sharing the workload means sharing credit. Leaning on a co-editor to produce results I can't or don't want to do has further shown me why students struggle with group projects. Part of it has to do with power dynamics in a general sense but I think most of the struggle is born out of the ambiguity of credit for work. And this is probably connected to power, too. But it's often difficult for students to understand a group identity, group work, and group credit.

I'll be interested to see how the origami goes when introduced individually and in groups. I'll keep you posted.