Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Stumbling around the Internet last night, searching for new glimpses of the awareness of immediacy as a force in our experience, I came upon "The Immediacy of Rhetoric" by Steven Krause, a remarkable research document that the author describes as "nothing more than an odd and well-documented personal essay, a 'creative' work designed to help me (via the process of writing and the product that results) come to grips with and then to understand the quickness, the sheer and dramatic speed around me, the world's immediacy."

I have long regarded "writing as inquiry" as a means to discovery, the emergence of reality uncovered by the miracle of language. Dr. Krause has modeled this process, and I recommend his dissertation as an outstanding journey inhabited by insightful companions such as Derrida, Foucault, Baudrillard, and many more, including a final gesture to Laurie Anderson:
Ultimately, my goal with this exploration of immediacy as it applies to rhetorical situations has been about reconfiguring questions. As I suggested in the close of my introduction, the questions of immediacy are similar to the questions Laurie Anderson raises in her song "Same Time Tomorrow": "Is time long or is it wide?" I don't have an easy answer to that question or the questions of immediacy. But I hope that by asking these challenging questions about immediate rhetorical situations, I have exposed new possibilities for discourse.

Dr. Krause began this inquiry sometime during the 1990s and defended it in 1996 and presumably published it on the Web shortly thereafter and made some minor adjustments (although apparently not to the text) in 2002. Then it began its new habitation in Time and Space somewhat like an abandoned spaceship. There once was a links page, but that was eliminated in 2002 since the links so quickly lapsed and were out of date, disappearing into the blackhole of derelict websites begun so brightly full of hope, dissipating and disappearing in efforts requiring more resources than originally anticipated in sustaining such projects. Hopefully Dr. Krause will keep his site available, but I am reminded that nothing is forever, and I would invite you to explore his thinking sooner rather than later.

In addition to immediacy, Dr. Krause couples this inquiry with rhetoric, a discipline that has enjoyed a renaissance and has been a source of inspiration for me. Rhetoric's import for creating music and for interpreting works of art has been a source of discovery and speculation in working with a colleague who, while exploring phenomenology as providing insight into the process of making art, came upon the rhetorical terrain and began to mine its resources as a fruitful instrument of inquiry.

Prior to that, immediacy had occupied my thinking with regard to creative process. My inquiry was embodied in the creation itself rather than writing about it, although I have several unfinished manuscripts lying derelict somewhere in the dusty stacks of the past.

Within the well-mapped exploration that Dr. Krause has forged for us, we can sense a vital, creative energy that underlies his inquiry. In his dissertation he is tethered by the format and the process, although he manages to reveal the emergence of many portions of his text as acts of immediacy. Yet the form forces him away from the poetic vision that might reveal even more.

Applause and kudos to Steven Krause who is apparently a professor of English who willingly posted his inquiry for us to discover and embellish. One wonders if he has created new work since he may no longer be restrained within the formal protocols of institutional research. Despite the formal restraints on "The Immediacy of Rhetoric," a creative vision underlies his work. His inquiry exists as a model of creative inquiry and discovery where we learn more in the process than in the end result. It is this creative energy that needs to be brought to research, much like that of Christa Wolf's Cassandra, the embodiment of art emerging as creative research.

In the midst of my own creative efforts, I welcome the energy articulated in these ideas. To Krause, I am grateful for being reminded of the tremendous efficacy of languaging as inquiry, the reason I began these short blogging excursions in the first place.

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