Provisional and Tentative

I just spent one hour writing an entry that I am not going to post today. It's not ready. I have more to say - I don't think I'm finished. It seems that there is more but it is beyond my reach tonight. In other words, I'm not done engaging with the ideas I'm interested in. So, I'll stop and return to my entry tomorrow. Perhaps my entry will become two entries. Perhaps it will never be published on this blog. I might return to it tomorrow and realize that it does not reflect my thoughts well enough. I will attempt to re-phrase, re-work, re-negotiate my understanding of the ideas that, one hour ago, prompted me to sit down and work through them, write myself into greater understanding. When I return to my thoughts tomorrow, it is not going to be because I need to polish the writing and publish a well-organized and well-developed piece. No. I am going to return to it because I did not, could not, finish the process of cognitive engagement with my ideas. I don't know if I'll be able to finish tomorrow. I don't even know if I'll be able to continue. Other experiences might interfere, impose themselves upon my thoughts from one hour ago and send me off to explore other aspects, other avenues. As I said before, what I just wrote may never see the light of day.

But that's fine. I don't keep this blog to churn out polished articles. When I sat down one hour ago to write, it was not with the intention to keep posting. I don't write merely to publish things on my blog. I publish them on my blog because that is how I think. Writing is my cognitive tool. None of the entries on the blog of proximal development are complete. They are attempts at understanding, they are provisional, tentative. This is, after all, a record of my engagement with ideas. It is not a collection of polished, published pieces.

And so, tommorow, I will sit down at my desk again, re-read my work, and then press "Enter" to start a new paragraph or press "Delete" to start again. I might also see a word or a key phrase in the middle of my second paragraph, or my third, which will trigger thoughts and ideas that I am presently unaware of. Tomorrow, they might seem absolutely fascinating and I will keep typing furiously until I work through these ideas, until I reach some sort of provisional understanding of what they mean to me.

The point is, I don't know where that entry will take me. Even if I end up deleting my thoughts or changing most of what I've written tonight I will not feel that I wasted one hour of my time. I will not blame or criticise my own writing skills. I will move on to other ideas, other thoughts. I will move on knowing that I had spent one hour thinking about things that are important to me and that I had done my best trying to write myself into a better understanding of my own thoughts. I may not have another entry to point to on my blog but I will definitely have a sense of having gone through an important cognitive process. Sooner or later, that process, that one hour of writing, will emerge in something else, will help me engage with other ideas.

In other words, I just spent one hour thinking. That is exactly why I want my students to have blogs. That is precisely why I want them to write.