Thanks, Bruce and Liquidiamonds: I want to acknowledge your comments and ask others to go back to Lad Tobin’s book, Reading Student Writing. I’m taking notes right now, digitizing some of Lad’s insights–and there were many. Here’s one when he writes about his classes: “ . . . my students produce pieces that are aimed at actual humans who might actually be interested” (125).
Lad and I both address the phenomenon of “Reader’s Block,” teachers who procrastinate, recreating in their reading the scene they have set up for their writers. Lad seems to have given up on the rhetoric and composition community (personal communication); I’m hanging in there. The question I’m asking–why can’t we stop creating rhetorical situations that push students away from writing when it’s so easy to invite them in? I think this is actually a very interesting question. Enough with this struggle trope.