Thursday, January 3, 2008

Proceed Deliberately

Here's a maxim to write by: "When you proceed deliberately, mistakes don't cascade, they instruct" (87).

It's from Stewart Brand's How Buildings Learn, which I am now working into the final section of chapter three, a section which also will serve as the basis for my CCCC talk in April. There are two bright sides to this; namely, I am almost done drafting chapter three (only a few days past my goal of completing the draft in December), and I have cause to get prepared for CCCC well in advance of the conference. On the dim side: it is demanding a different sort of deliberation to conceive of the section simultaneously in the contexts of the existing chapter's build-up and the conference paper (Blink!: I should quit thinking of it this way.), and writing the ends of things (i.e., sections, chapters) is not like putting the final pieces into a bounded puzzle. With puzzles, there is relief in the reduction of options (only two pieces left); with the stuff I am working on, I experience--and too easily wander off into--an expansion of options. "When you proceed deliberately, options don't instruct, they cascade."

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