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1 C y n t h i a S e l f e DOI: 10.7330/9781607326625.c001 CYNTHIA L. SELFE is, in her words, “blissfully retired.” A former humanities distinguished professor in the Department of English at The Ohio State University and founder and previous co-editor of Computers and Composition: An International Journal, Selfe has a prolific publishing record. To date she has published both print and digital form, four single authored books, a co-authored book, ten edited collections, nineteen book chapters, and sixty-five journal articles. In 2007, Selfe cofounded the Computers and Composition Digital Press. Selfe has served as the chair of the national Conference on College Composition and Communication and the chair of the College Section of the National Council of Teachers of English and held a variety of administrative roles. In 2014, Selfe won the Conference on College Composition and Communication’s Exemplar Award. Selfe began her career at Michigan Technological University, a science and engineering focused institution of seven thousand students located in the Upper Peninsula, and worked there for twenty-four years before taking a position at Ohio State. Along the way, she taught courses in computers including Hypertext Theory and Computers and Writing, composition, scientific and technical communication, and literature, including a course titled Literature and Lore of the Upper Peninsula, among others. Over the course of her career, she has served in a variety of administrative positions including chair of the English Department and director of the writing center at Michigan Tech. Selfe’s interview took place on May 19, 2013, in her office at Ohio State University. christine: Why aren’t we studying ourselves as writers? We’ve studied ourselves as teachers, we’ve studied ourselves as activists, as literate beings through the DALN [Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives], but when we’re talking about our actual writing for publication, the stuff we need to do to keep our jobs, why aren’t we talking about that? cindy: I think it’s a wonderful question. I think that part of the response there is that scholars of rhetoric and composition are supposed to 34   How Writing Faculty Write be able to write. I think that’s the expectation, that we have not only as writing our subject matter, our disciplinary subject matter and the subject matter that we teach, but that we have some facility with language itself and the writing of language and the articulation of ideas through written language as part of being a professor of rhetoric and composition. christine: Agreed. cindy: That said, while I believe that’s an expectation, I don’t think that’s always a reality. In fact, I know colleagues struggle a great deal with composing and writing their scholarly work. I certainly do. I mean, I slog through my scholarly work. I only write when I get so uncomfortable with having to write, that I really have to get down to it, and once I get down to it it’s not as awful as I remember it. But it is a slow, hard, slog through materials, collecting the materials, doing the research if I’m doing the research or finding the scholarly sources and then fitting them together in a way that makes sense to me, and then the way that makes sense to me is never the way that I know editors are going to like it so I have to adapt it to my audience, my editorial audience, my audience of colleagues. christine: I see. cindy: To complicate that, I guess I have gotten dissatisfied with alphabetic writing as a venue for that kind of articulation. I’ve really have gotten dissatisfied with the flatness of alphabetic writing and so now I can’t even start writing until I also start thinking of how it’s going to look, what is the design going to be. What’s the platform in which I’m going to explore these ideas? Is it going to be a web based text or a Prezi, or is it going to be a blog or comic? Not only the medium, but the modalities of expression and the genre are dimensions I have to figure out in terms of the composing that I do. So composing is not an easy task for me. christine: Even now. cindy: Especially now. Especially now because there are so many more choices and expectations of course, both mine and people who read the work that I do...


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