Wallowing in Complexity

23 Jan

For some strange reason, whenever I hear the word “wallowing,” an image of an elephant playfully rolling around in a huge puddle of mud comes to mind. My over active imagination often flashes back and forth between the visual of a real elephant and the lovable Disney character Dumbo- but in my case, Dumbo is some how a blue elephant. Now, I am not telling you this as a silent cry for help, nor did I share this visual with my students, but I did think it was important to do an entire class on “wallowing in complexity,” and figuring out what this meant for college writing. For me, the visual I have in my head of a happy, little blue elephant wallowing in mud, is logically tied to childhood encounters of Discovery channel shows on the elephants in Africa,splashing and playing in mud on hot days to lubricate and soothe their skins.
In writing, when we allow ourselves to wallow, like the elephants we are momentarily allowing ourselves to self indulge. By wallowing in complexity, we allow ourselves to:
1. Pose problematic questions- questions that interest is as writers and as readers
2. To analyze a problem from all angles- not just right or wrong
3. To compare all the things we discover
4. To accept and incorporate supportive information and approaches
5. To acknowledge competing information and approaches
6. To write effectively
By wallowing in complexity as writers and as readers, we become experts by understanding how best to examine the work of others and by knowing the standards by which our own works will be examined.

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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in Uncategorized


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