Stephanie J. West-Puckett

writing, teaching, studying digital writing and rhetorics

Aleatory Writing with Buzzfeed Quiz Results

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One perk of having the flu is that you get to lie in bed and make stuff.  Rarely can I spend eight hours on my laptop writing with digital media, so today I took advantage my doctor’s directive and make a user guide– for myself.  A queer blend of technical and expressive writing, this user guide is meant to explain to others how I learn best.

Inspired by my colleagues at JH Rose high school who designed and blogged about this project on Edutopia, I set out to see what would happen if the raw material for my user guide was randomly generated by taking popular buzz feed quizzes.  I’ve been reading Deleuze and thinking about Jonathan Hilst’s call to use aleatory teaching methods in composition as a way to displace self and allow writing to follow new lines of flight from oppressive structures.

Mechanistic understandings and instantiations of the writing process are all too common in composition and often move from useful heuristics to oppressive structures.  Like Hilst, I’m wondering how we might write and teach writing by leveraging chance, deviation, randomness, and play as powerful invention strategies that open up new possibilities.  Since I’m also reading Sara Ahmed’s Queer Phenomenology, I’m wondering how we might re-orient towards expressivism and writing processes, looking not at Whitman’s barbaric yawp, but instead at other possibilities that might be within our reach when we take up practices and objects of play to write with.

So check out my user guide– written with Mozilla’s popcorn maker.  Let me know what you think and remix your own.

Author: Stephanie

I am an assistant professor of Writing and Rhetoric and director of First Year Writing at the University of Rhode Island. I received my PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication from East Carolina University. My dissertation research analyzes the knowledge-making practices of composers in both online and off-line maker spaces, and my digital writing research has appeared in journals like College English and Education Science and in the books The Next Digital Scholar: A Fresh Approach to the Common Core State Standards in Research and Writing and Assessing Students Digital Writing: Protocols for Looking Closely.

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