When I think about writing in my classroom, I often imagine the figure illustrated above: a head for “thinking” and arms for “writing.” But writing is a physical act; our bodies make writing possible. Our bodies are sources of knowledge, containers of collected memory. Our bodies think. Our bodies feel. So why does the body feel noticeably absent when we “think” about writing?
This is something I’ve been wondering about a lot lately. I come to these questions not only as someone who teaches First Year Writing, but also as a theater-maker (with an interest in the body, training, and performance), a student exploring the Feldenkrais Method (an “approach to human movement, learning and change”), and as a recreational runner (The Feldenkrais Institute). All of these practices rely on, develop, or question the use of the body in action. So I wonder, by extrapolation, if writing can’t be part of this conversation, too. Can we borrow from the performance and athletic fields and incorporate embodied knowledge into our teaching and writing practices? Is it possible that we could become more dynamic, deliberate and effective writers and teachers if we learned how to utilize our senses and sensations, if we allowed writing to be an embodied experience? My purpose is to put forward the questions in the hopes that we can start a conversation together, and begin to explore the “spaces in between” thinking, sensing, and writing. Continue reading