Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Write It Up

Originally posted on February 25, 2015

I fear that I am an unabashed fan of the written word. It allows one to re-read, review, contemplate, critique, expand, integrate and do all manner of other things with what is read. I’ve given classes on the technology of writing.

So I am encouraging people to not just present in person what they think, at conferences, workshops, and other settings, but please, write it up. I hear about  workshops and conferences that have not been recorded, and few if any papers have come out of it—to my chagrin. I wanted to know what went on, what others are thinking in the field.

In a larger sense I want to witness to the value of the written—or keyboarded, and then printed— word. Yes, it takes more time to revise and revise again; yes, it misses the richness of the nonverbal and the immediacy of the present moment. But printing, writing, the alphabet, the whole technology of projecting something as amorphous as language onto a surface where it can be easily re-viewed—that dynamic is being emphasized— is far from obsolete. Videos have to process in real time a great deal of extraneous activity.

We are talking of what J. L. Moreno called, “the cultural conserve"—the essence of which, if you think about it, is writing. (Oh, yeah, maybe picture drawings, but it’s far less clear what they’re about.) I note this because in these days of television, videotaping, texting, and a host of related technologies, many people have unconsciously forsaken writing, printing, journals, as if they are less authentic. The are, indeed, but in another sense, they are more enduring, shared (and sort of objective), and a thousand times more disseminated, widespread.

This, then, is a plea for people presenting or attending to write up what they say or report on what they say. The journal or newsletter sorely needs substance, and the field is in danger of withering for lack of this kind of material. Lest this be misunderstood, I would add two or three exclamation points !!!—or simply suggest that you hear between the lines the intensity of this plea.

For example, there was an international conference about psychodrama and group psychotherapy in England last September, which to my knowledge generated not a single paper! (If it did, I haven’t been able to find out about it.) This, alas, speaks to the inanition plaguing our field. Illusions of adequacy (if not subtle superiority) are quasi-delusional experiences, apparently; they are in blithe denial of the danger facing our field.

Part of the problem—I don’t know if it’s a big or small part—is the illusion that professionals must write our papers by ourselves. The idea that people can collaborate seems to have been lost, conditioned out of us by schoolteachers glaring at us if we’d dare to look over at another student’s test response—and our internalization of that glare plus fear. But it occurs to me that this collaboration was the core of what Moreno saw in group dynamics—not a group in which competition was the operative principle, as it is in so many groups, and especially many sports—but rather a group in which creativity is collaborative, yes-and as they say in improv theatre.
 
So collaborate. Have the better writer take the lead and others who may have more ideas contribute. Share the authorship! What’s important is that it gets out there, that we can read what you’ve learned through doing, sometimes through hard experience. The journal needs good stuff. There are other journals that need stuff too. If it’s not good enough for the journal, then post it on your website, or your friend’s website, or send it to me!


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