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January 2013
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March 2013

Gearing Up for Heavy-Duty Writing Times

I have an unusual oppportunity to catch up on my scholarship this semester, so I've been making lists and reading a lot of background material. Having gotten my Ph.D. in the year 2000, I didn't know of any schools that offered a Ph.D. in new media or digital culture. I had long been interested in that area, and I created my own individualized instruction class that I called "Writing for Multimedia" that Dr. Mike Williamson taught, or rather served as instructor of record. I read Landow's book then, before it was revised and updated, I read Jane Yellowlees Douglas's early work, and Colin Brooke's and many others who have continued working in this field. Twice I taught to writing majors at Edinboro an undergraduate version of "Writing for Multimedia," again which I created from the ground up. I taught "Science Writing" as an individualized instruction, and developed a plan for a "New Media Minor" at Edinboro, and received the blessing of the Dean of Liberal Arts to work on it as a multi-disciplinary minor, particularly with the Communication Department, Art Department, and Computer Department. At that time, I did not know (no one outside the department did) that the "Speech and Communciation Dept." was changing its name to the "Dept. of Communication and Media Studies," so I ended up stepping on a few toes as I called the first meeting to explore the possibility of this minor. After smoothing the few ruffled feathers of a few and reassuring everyone that I was hoping this to be an Interdisciplinary Minor, we had our meeting, at which time I suggested that the Communication and Media Studies Dept. take the lead on this. Nothing happened, so the minor when nowhere, but I kept up my contacts with the supporter of this idea.

I was excited to be able to review a new book in this field that was published in Composition Forum, and I made plans to attend the two-week DMAC (Digital Media something something) that started being held at Ohio State right about this time. However, even though I put down my $100 deposit, I couldn't attend that year, hoping to the next one. But, as things worked out, Dan got a job at Northeastern University's School of Law, and we began the difficult process of moving eastward. That's taken quite a long time, but we're here, now, finally (I say this after being here a complete year), and had a lot of weird setbacks along the way, some health-related, some family-related, and many simply hard. The hardest, I think, was leaving Edinboro after being there for 24 years. The last time I shut and locked the door of my office was one of the hardest and saddest moments I had in a long time. Yet, I know I'm not the only one in the world who is part of an academic couple who has to deal with this kind of thing. My way of coping with things like this--as Dan often jokes about/which is true also-- is to go find a book (or 2) on it! But there are none, really, for each situation is different.

So, here we go. New adventures await.