… and I’ll explain why. I listened to the podcast of the interview back in February, and never found the time to write my post. I listened to the podcast again a few weeks ago when I sat down to write the blog post and realized I didn’t remember enough of what I listened to. Listening to it a second time actually turned out to be incredibly beneficial, because while I was recalling my initial thoughts on the podcast, I was also gaining more insight into Cotera’s responses.
So here we are today, actually writing the blog post. As the semester came to a close, I knew I could not simply avoid this post. I am not posting because I need more points in my gamification grid. I’m posting because although I have procrastinated to no end, I wanted to reflect on Cotera’s interview and how I relate to it as a writer and most importantly, as a student. Well, although my memory is normally quite keen, I found myself needing a little refresher on the interview, so today I pulled up the podcast for a third time. Hearing the interview for a third time really allowed me to figure out which parts of the interview stood out and resonated most within me. These were the parts I recalled most significantly from each of the previous listenings.
Admittedly, I’m a pretty horrible female in terms of enjoying feminist discussions. I was a little skeptical of listening to a women’s studies professor and when she focused briefly on the Chicana feminist movement, I was worried the conversation would become a lecture. However, moving past the political side of it, the way Cotera described the endless boundaries of what it means to be a writer truly intrigued me. I was particularly drawn to her description of a real writer as someone holed up with a tweed jacket furiously cranking out words. I find it fascinating that while she holds onto that description, she also acknowledges that a large portion of her current writing is more based around writing many smaller projects, such as proposals for her teaching.
On that note, I’ve been thinking a lot about how she tried to teach a class where she eliminated the standard essay/paper format, and instead allowed the students to post on a blog. It’s interesting how some students still follow that intro, body, conclusion format that was drilled into all of us throughout grade school. With so many new mediums of writing, especially digital forms, I enjoy hearing about how different professors handle the shift away from the traditional essay. I know many professors ignore the possibilities of new media, so I think it helps that Cotera is a writer herself, and understands that great writing can happen in a variety of forms (even Tweeting). This especially holds true for scholarly writing as she mentioned. The way Cotera noted that no one writes a huge scholarly piece without having some major passion or opinion on the topic validated our in class discussion on how scholarly writing often avoids personal pronouns or any blatantly stated opinions. Reflecting back on it, I do think I would enjoy reading more personal scholarly pieces, but would also be skeptical to break away from the tradition of reading these types of work with an unquestioning eye based on the formal presentation of impersonal material. It would make me question authority to some extent, even if completely unjustified.
All in all, I’m glad I ultimately listened to Cotera’s interview (all three times). It allowed me to compare my own thoughts on writing and writers in general to someone who has actually experienced success and growth within the field. I actually looked at taking a course with Cotera for the upcoming semester, but unfortunately a 400 level AMCULT class did not seem like my idea of enjoyable.