Get loud.


Kalapaki Beach, Kauai.  Photo Credit: Catherine Keefe

…voice has both gentleness and clarity. So to get to authenticity, you really keep going down to the bone, to the honesty, and the inevitability of something.

Meredith Monk, composer, singer, director, choreographer.

According to Monk’s biography, she “creates works that thrive at the intersection of music and movement, image and object, light and sound in an effort to discover and weave together new modes of perception. Her groundbreaking exploration of the voice as an instrument, as an eloquent language in and of itself, expands the boundaries of musical composition, creating landscapes of sound that unearth feelings, energies, and memories for which there are no words.


Why speak of “feelings, energies, and memories for which there are no words” in a class devoted to arranging words for purpose?  To do something –  in this case arrange words for a purpose – you must first understand the end game, or at least one interpretation of the end game.

And this writing game begins with the most rudimentary element: voice.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word voice calls to us from past centuries, from many cultures:

“sound made by the human mouth,” from Old French voiz,
from Latin vocem (nom. vox) “voice, sound, utterance, cry, call, speech, sentence, language, word,” related to vocare “to call,”
from PIE root *wekw- “give vocal utterance, speak”
(cf. Sanskrit vakti “speaks, says,” vacas- “word;”
Avestan vac- “speak, say;”
Greek eipon (aorist) “spoke, said,” epos “word;”
Old Prussian wackis “cry;”
German er-wähnen “to mention”).

What will you raise your voice about?  Maybe you already have a few ideas. Maybe not. But you will.
How will your voice be heard?

Practically speaking, through your blog.
How can you ensure that your words are inviting to other readers?

1. Write thoughtfully.  Include outside references.
2. Present your work carefully, easy on the eye.  To that end, please select your blog theme from one of these options:

Forever.  Manifest.  Pilcrow.
Selecta by Obox. Sight by WPShower.
Twenty Ten. Twenty Twelve.
Wu Wei. Yoko by Elmastudio.

Thank you for attention.  Now, what is it you want to say?

An old philosophy. A new semester.

One way to learn…
One way to teach…

nameless simplicity

Laguna Beach, CA.  Photo Credit: Catherine Keefe

Inspired by “the way,” or Tao:

The Tao makes no effort at all

yet there is nothing it doesn’t do

if a ruler (professor) could uphold it

the people (students) by themselves would change

and changing if their desires stirred

he (she) could make them still

with simplicity that has no name

and stilled by nameless simplicity

they would not desire

and not desiring be at peace

the world (classroom) would fix itself

A metaphor, an ideology to guide the learning process.

We read.

We discern.

We write.  We strive for “nameless simplicity.”

We forget desire – for a “perfect” grade, for a “perfect” student, for a “perfect” assignment.
We find peace with the learning process because we learn together. We are all authors, joining in the unending conversation.


p.s.  The above passage is from Lao-tzu’s Taoteching, translated by Red Pine, pg. 74.