“We’ll start with the more traditional approaches,” he said, meaning pens and keyboards. The rhetoric of multimodal texts was projected into the future, the always-deferred.

I’m writing this in ink, on acid-free paper. Beside me, a glass of wine and two film-ready devices. I’m thinking about my blog: how will this read on a screen? What image shall I use?


People settle down. Soon there’s only one conversation, between the presenter and the woman who asked the awkward question. I recall being impressed by how calmly it was resolved. These are teachers of English, but it’s not an English class.

“Is anyone pretending to write?” asks the presenter. “Yeah, me too,” he answers himself. Other than that, it’s just the sound of typing and the coffee machine. Plus something humming overhead – looks like central heating but it’s audio gone rogue.

Someone on Twitter watches through the webcam. “Writing’s not a spectator sport,” he says, interpreted by the presenter. I wave at the camera, but only after tweeting about it. It’s like I’m reading my own script.

They’re calling this “2.0.” Earlier, we were welcomed by elders from version 1. They’re still here, typing on Macbooks, using the language of the Uniting Church. “Fourteen years ago, we started a conversation.” The year I finished

My phone vibrates, calmly. It’s my partner in Nanjing, via WeChat. He’s found a place.

This post was completed at a professional writing workshop at the Victorian Association for the Teaching of English; crossposted at stella 2.0.


2 thoughts on “Multimodal

  1. michaelalexanderchaney

    Wow. I’ve been to plenty of conferences like that and never thought they’d be so ripe for such a poetic translation. I love the ironic counterbalancing of techno-enhanced communication and all the absurd meta-commentary about communication going on simultaneously.


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