Discussion Questions for Track Changes

Hello all! I will be leading discussion on Kirschenbaum’s Track Changes tomorrow, so I wanted to post a few potential questions to be thinking about as you finish up reading and construct your blog posts for this week. There is SO MUCH in this text to discuss, so I’ve tried to pick out a few main ideas to give us a sense of direction. Even so, please feel free to bring up other concepts in the text that interested you!

1. In my reading of this text, I kept seeing echoes of the other texts we have read so far in this class:

  • Where do we see some of the ideas about writing and technology  brought up by Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore echoed or challenged by Kirschenbaum’s narrative?
  • How does Kirschenbaum’s narrative challenge or support the narrative about writing that Flusser put forth in Does Writing Have a Future? How does Kirschenbaum’s notion of the relationship between history and writing contend with Flusser’s?
  • Where do we see hints of Brown’s “thing theory” coming through with all the discussion about word processors and other writing tools as “things”? What does the “thing-ness” of the writing process contribute to our understanding of it?

2. Kirschenbaum seems very invested in the tools used and environments inhabited by different writers while they write, but concludes: “We don’t exactly why it is important to know these things, but we know we would rather know them than not” (7). Why is this discussion important? How do you think different writing tools affect our writing? What tools do you use? Why and when? Why do we have an interest in the processes of prolific writers? Why is it important to know the tactile and spatial particulars of our writing process? What does your writing process look like in relation to your editing process? How do you think this impacts your final product? What happens when you stray from these habits?

One thought on “Discussion Questions for Track Changes

  1. “We don’t exactly why it is important to know these things, but we know we would rather know them than not.” I absolutely loved this part of the text and it instantly drew me into my own writing.
    Personally, I type most of my work, including all my essays and stories, whereas the two things I save for longhand are note-taking for classes and journaling. At first, the two longhand forms seemed to lack any connection, but then it dawned on me that they (my notes and my journal entries) are the two things I wish to remember and reflect on most. I don’t know if this connection would have been made without Kirschenbaum, and I am curious to see what everyone else finds within this text and their own writing. Looking forward to your discussion!

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