Some of the time during this process I found it really difficult to express what I wanted to in the form that I was accustomed to. I knew the formula to write an academic paper but, somehow, this process was different. It was Winston Weathers’ book, An alternate style: Options in composition, that expanded my awareness of alternate constructions and challenged me to think outside the box.
“As I grow older, more experienced, perhaps even more mature, I sense that many of the things I want to say do not always ‘fit’ into the communication vehicles I have been taught to construct” (Weathers, 1980, p. 1).
“What I’ve been taught to construct is: the well-made box. I have been taught to put ‘what I have to say’ into a container that is always remarkably the same, that - in spite of varying decorations - keeps to a basically conventional form: a solid bottom, four upright sides, a fine-fitting lid. Indeed, I may be free to put ‘what I have to say’ in the plain box or in the ornate box, in the large box or the small box, in the fragile box or in the sturdy box. But always the box - squarish or rectangular. And I begin to wonder if there isn’t somewhere a round box or oval box or tubular box, if somewhere there isn’t some sort of container (1) that will allow me to package ‘what I have to say’ without trimming my ‘content’ to fit into a particular compositional mode, (2) that will actually encourage me to discover new things to say because of the very opportunity a newly-shaped container gives me (even though I can never escape container - e.g., syntax - altogether), (3) that will be more suitable perhaps to my own mental processes, and (4) that will provide me with a greater rhetorical flexibility, allowing me to package what I have to say in more ways than one and thus reach more audiences than one” (Weathers, 1980, p. 1).
Winston Weathers also introduced me to the collage.
“Another frequent effect of the alternate grammar of style is collage/montage in which diverse elements are patched together to make the whole composition” (1980, p. 37).
”reacts against the ‘categorizing’ of traditional style and insists on packaging together into a heterogeneous community all those matters that in traditional style would be grouped into homogenous units” (1980, p. 37).
“Collage at its best actually countermands much of the discontinuity and fragmentation of the alternate style by revealing, by the time a composition ends, a synthesis and a wholeness that might not have been suspected at any station along the way” (1980, p. 37).
As I am deep into the creation of this work, I can now see how this type of composition is coming together to reveal a synthesis. I enjoy working with fragments and seeing how they come together to form a whole. The unfolding is such an exciting and delicate time of unveiling, revealing and trusting.
“It is difficult to make something linear out of something that has not been linear at all in its conception (or in its tracings of tracing)” (Hurren, 2000, p. 31).