repurposing the dissertation

I sometimes have my writing students take an essay they’ve written and find some creative way to rethink it for a different audience or different context — to “re-purpose” it. I thought about that assignment on a recent camping trip as I found a useful way to repurpose my dissertation…as kindling.

Okay, so these are just printed drafts (what my son calls “sloppy copies”), but there’s something therapeutic about burning words that you’ve spent so much time working on. You know that scene at the end of Return of the Jedi, when Luke torches Darth Vader’s remains on a funeral pyre? It was almost exactly like that.

Also, if you do it right, you can get the pages to burn so that they shrink, but you can still see all the words. It’s sort of like a textual shrinky dink.


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