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Collaborative Writing Journal

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: October 18, 2001
Latest Update: October 18, 2001

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Reactions to Our Own Artwork

Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors: October 2001.
"Fair use" encouraged.

On Saturday, October 6, 2001, Michelle M. Harley, CSUDH, wrote:

Subject: Re: Drawing Disaster Soc 355 This comment is based on Backup to NY Times Slide Show (9/30/01): Drawing Disaster the New York Times Slide Show are at A Nation challenged:Photos Scroll about half way down to the list of slide shows. Michelle is referring to Drawing Disaster: Through Children's Eyes, second from the top, and to A Day of Terror, at the bottom of the list.

I had difficulty looking at the images on tv of the New York terrorist act. Now, nearly a month after the tradgedy, I was able to look at some of the images in the New York Times slide show. It is still difficult to look at. I cannot get the image of the man falling fromt the World Trade Center out of my head. I can just stare in awe and wonder what that man must have been thinking. Through all of this I still wonder what is the benefit in looking at these images? I can only think that the more people reflect on the images, the more will call for peace.

The pictures of the area around the trade center looked like a war zone. If we, Americans, attack, we could be seeing more images of war torn cities right here in are own back yards. We thought we were safe before the September 11, 2001 attack. Even if we fight back and destroy more innocent lives, what is to keep us from experiencing what we experienced in September in another part of America.

If we can get anything from these images, could we see that this is what war looks like; whether it's on American soil or the Middle East really doesn't matter. The fact is life will be destroyed. The world now has the capablility to destroy itself in the process of what?... Protection, retaliation, justice? No matter what the cause, I don't see the need to destroy more life. Through further killing, will America receive protection, retaliation, or justice? Is the so called fight for these principles jusitfication to risk world civilization as we know it?

jeanne's comment:
For an A grade, conceptually link this to theory we are studying. The best example I can think of is Hal Pepinsky's Peacemaking Primer, in which he says in a newer version than that online: "Humanity cannot survive a highter military victory than that which the United States gained in World War II."

That's my role in collaborative writing, by the way. I would not have thought to give you the reference to Pepinsky's Peacemkaing Primer. But I can offer suggestions for your conceptual linking. We'll discuss this conceptual link in class, and you can build on it.

I had an easier time looking at the artwork of the kids depicting their feelings. Art is a universal language and I agree with you, jeanne, that through art we are able to say what we may not be able to say in words. I also think we may be able to see what we are afraid to see in photos, because art is an expression with meaning behind it and it feels less horrifying. Some of the photos in the news photo series slide show, like the lady seeking medical attention on the side walk, looked like a scene from a horror movie. In the Drawing Disaster slide show, I really liked ninth grader Stacy's drawing from Wilton High School that showed the statue of liberty crying tears for her country.

On Saturday, October 6, 2001, jeanne responded:

Beautifully written, Michelle. Nag me until I get it up. jeanne
And nag me she did, with this next submission:

On Wednesday October 17, 2001, Michelle Harley wrote:

Since writing that message [of October 6, 2001], I had the pleasure of getting in touch with my feelings through art. The lab you gave last week really reminded me how freeing that experience was. I was not sure what I was trying to say through my artwork, but I got in tune with a part of me I thought I had lost. I was able to see how it is easier to draw things we may not be able to put words to. The fact is that it is important to get in touch with those feelings and not be complacent. I will try to remember to bring my pictue in. Thanks for allowing me to find that healing through art is something I really used to enjoy. Michelle

On Thursday, October 18, 2001, jeanne responded::

Michelle, this is an excellent example of how we can write together. This is especially important for me to be able to guide you through conceptual linking, and for all of you to be able to share your different perceptions of how to use that conceptual linking.

There isn't time this morning for me to write more, but we will continue to work on conceptual linking with this piece. I want to share with you some of the literature on the importance of visual literacy. Soon . . .

love and peace, jeanne