I hate first blog posts. I always feel pressure to get things started in just the right way: first posts should frame my project or my goals with foresight and ambition, should introduce myself in a voice that makes me sound fun and intelligent enough to keep your interest. First posts should be auspicious. This pile of shoulds freaks me out, and I usually end up procrastinating, fretting, over-thinking, and ultimately not writing. Shoulds are the adversaries of writing.
So, an inauspicious beginning is in order. Let’s see how prosaic I can be: just the facts.
Who (am I)?
My name’s Andrew Lucchesi. I am a PhD student at the City University of New York Graduate Center, where I’m working on a degree in English. I spend most of my time thinking about writing, teaching, and learning, and how these three complex processes are related. Over the last four years teaching college writing classes and studying composition and rhetoric, I have learned to think about writing in complicated ways: writing–both alphabetic and digital–is at once tool for making things for others (finished texts) and also a tool I can use for myself, companion to help me become better learner, thinker, and worker. I try to teach my students to think about writing this way, and I try my best to believe it myself, to practice what I preach. I know that I am never done learning to write, and that writing about my own learning process is the best way to speed this learning along. Which leads me to question two:
What (is this blog about)?
I’m calling this a learning/doing blog. I am picturing it as a mix of an informal publication venue and a process journal for my writing and research work. To keep me working on my various article and dissertation projects, I will post drafts and chunks of writing that are parts of larger works-in-progress. Feedback and suggestions are welcome. I will also post reflective writing in which I take a step back and talk about my process as a developing academic writer–what’s working, what’s not, what’s next. At some point, I will more fully flesh out the theoretical underpinnings of this blog project–what exactly I mean by learning/doing. In lieu of a thorough explanation, I’ll give you an idea of the ground I mean to cover.
Where (will this blog go?)
You can expect posts on this blog to include things like this:
- Drafts and chunks of writing for conference talks, dissertation chapters, webtexts, videos, and other formal products
- Musings and speculations on ideas emerging from my research
- Report-backs from workshops or other public events (done by me or by others)
- Reflections on my experiments with various digital tools or writing techniques
- Coming soon: my experiments with the digital mapping/composing tool Mural.ly
- Rants and diatribes about life as a graduate student, my learning process, and Beyonce-themed podcasts
When (will I post?)
I’m planning to post at least once a week, probably by Fridays. While I would like every post to be interesting and important, the truth of the matter is that this blog is more about process than product. The important thing for me is that I post something every week: it’s about routine, not revelation. It’s about committing to a process that will help me develop healthy writing habits and keep my demons of self-doubt in check. So you can expect some variety from week to week in terms of format (and probably quality too). But I promise to update every week.
Why (should you read?)
I can imagine some reasons why you might read my blog. Perhaps you are a graduate student yourself, and you’re also struggling to develop your professional identity, your writerly voice, your teaching style, all that. Maybe you too are thinking about writing a dissertation and want to stay sane (whatever that is) while doing it. Or perhaps you share similar research interests with me, and you’ll be interested in my ideas and scholarship on disability or pedagogy or literacy. If this is the case, you might check out my annotated bibliography archive, where I review and respond to the books and articles I’m reading. Perhaps–and this feels unlikely–you simply like the way I write, or you know me personally or want to get to know me better. Maybe you simply enjoy reading what I write and it has no particular utility to you at all.
How (should you interact?)
Whatever your reasons for reading my blog, I want to encourage you to interact by commenting, contacting me, or spreading the word through social media. Whether I’m posting polished drafts or loose musings, I would love feedback: disagreements, questions, corrections, encouragements, anything. I want to start discussions. So, please, don’t be shy.
Those are the facts. Stay tuned for more soon. And thanks for reading.