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00:00:10>>From the Center for the Study and Teaching of
00:00:12Writing at The Ohio State University, this is Writer's Talk.
00:00:15I'm Doug Dangler. Brenda Brueggemann is an Associate
00:00:19Professor of English at The Ohio State University, former
00:00:21director of the first year writing program, and a prime
00:00:23force in the effort to create OSU's disability studies minor.
00:00:28She's the author of many journal articles and three books:
00:00:31"Deaf Subjects Between Identities in Places",
00:00:35"Rhetorical Visions: Reading and Writing in a Visual Culture",
00:00:38and "Lend Me Your Ear: Rhetorical Constructions of Deafness".
00:00:42Welcome to Writer's Talk Dr. Brueggemann.
00:00:44>>Thank you for having me.
00:00:46>>Sure. Well tell me about the writing that you're doing
00:00:48now. You've got a book that just came out, The Deaf
00:00:51Subjects book. Tell me about the book and what you're
00:00:54working on in it.
00:00:57>>You want to know about the current project?
00:00:59>> Yes.
00:01:01>>Well mostly I'm trying to work on an expanded
00:01:03biography of Mabel Hubbard Bell that's not
00:01:05necessarily a straight-laced historical biography.
00:01:08It's a work of creative non-fiction as well, so
00:01:13one of the things I'll read from today is an
00:01:17earlier piece from that that's actually in the Deaf
00:01:18Subjects book. I'm working on that and also a
00:01:20project about James Castle, a deaf folk artist,
00:01:24self-taught artist in Boise who grew up in the
00:01:26Boise, Idaho area.
00:01:28>>So the Mabel piece, "Posting Mabel" which
00:01:32comes out of the Deaf Subjects book is addressed
00:01:36to the wife of Alexander Graham Bell, Mabel Bell.
00:01:41She was herself deaf as was Alexander Graham
00:01:46Bell's mother. So tell me about your take on this
00:01:51subject. You're writing it in a non-academic or a
00:01:53different kind of academic writing even though
00:01:55it's appearing in an academic text.
00:01:58It's a series of postcards to her.
00:02:01>>Yeah, really I think that all of the works
00:02:04that I've done, all three of the books, I try to
00:02:07do academic work based on academic research, but
00:02:10also with some kind of creative element in it as
00:02:13well. And that element tends to be essayistic and
00:02:17involves some perspective also myself.
00:02:19So with this piece with Mabel, you know I guess
00:02:21I can say I've long been fascinated with Mabel
00:02:25Hubbard Bell. Most people don't know that Alexander
00:02:29Graham Bell's wife was deaf and that in fact that's
00:02:33how and why he invented the telephone.
00:02:36He was looking for a device that would help deaf
00:02:38and hard of hearing people to hear better so that
00:02:40he could teach them this method of instruction
00:02:43that he and his father had devised called
00:02:45"visible speech." And Mabel was one of his
00:02:49students. And once he fell in love with her, at
00:02:52least he had the good graces to not be her
00:02:56teacher anymore and so we have, just all this
00:03:00stuff and to think about also her life and how
00:03:03she would have negotiated her life, living a life
00:03:06literally through letters and through letter
00:03:07writing herself, which is why I choose to
00:03:09write letters back to her.
00:03:11But to have negotiated what would have been,
00:03:13especially for the six months they always spent
00:03:15in in Washington D.C., a very social atmosphere
00:03:20and how she would have been in that space and
00:03:23given as deaf as she was, and how she would have
00:03:27been his wife and accompanied him in that. I think
00:03:30the story is very different between the Washington
00:03:33D.C. residents and the Nova Scotia residents.
00:03:36When she's in Nova Scotia, she seems to thrive.
00:03:40It's her place and so I want to work on that.
00:03:43What I'm doing essentially is using passages
00:03:48from the voluminous letters that she wrote that
00:03:50they have in the Library of Congress archives in
00:03:52the Alexander Graham Bell Family Collection and
00:03:54often using bits and pieces from those letters
00:03:56plus the historical context... that I know there are
00:04:01four different biographies of Alexander Graham Bell
00:04:05that are out there now. And she's always written
00:04:06into them, but there's never been her story alone.
00:04:09So I'm using her letters to reconstruct her
00:04:12story also based on the A G Bell biographies.
00:04:15>>And you excerpt some in here where she's sort
00:04:18of chastising Alexander Graham Bell for not
00:04:19writing more because she tends to write really
00:04:21long letters, and I guess he didn't.
00:04:24So how did he respond to her writing?
00:04:27>>There are also some pieces from his letters
00:04:30and they'll be in there too, but kind of that
00:04:31essentially irony I guess that sometimes sits in
00:04:34the middle of many marriages.
00:04:37So while he was seen very much - as his
00:04:38biographer said - everything about Alexander
00:04:40Graham Bell was about communication.
00:04:43One biographer Robert Bruce said that was only
00:04:46the summary of Alexander Graham Bell's whole
00:04:53life's work. And Bell himself saw himself primarily,
00:04:55first and foremost as a deaf educator. He thought
00:04:56that was one of the major contributions of his life
00:05:00story. So communication, but yet ironically it was also
00:05:03said that he didn't communicate much.
00:05:06His son in law David Fairchild said he was one
00:05:08of the most reclusive people that they knew, and
00:05:12it seemed to be when they went to Nova Scotia
00:05:14that became particularly the same.
00:05:16And then people came to the Bell estate, but he
00:05:19was gone. He was also gone a lot particularly in the
00:05:22earlier years of their life. And so they're writing
00:05:24letters back and forth and over and over and over
00:05:27again, she does. She chastises him for not writing
00:05:31and while that might seem like kind of stereotypical
00:05:34gender thing, it was the only way that Mabel had to
00:05:38communicate. It was her primary method of communication.
00:05:42>>Is that how she communicated to him when they
00:05:45were together? Or was--he had talked about the visual
00:05:49language that they had created which was a forerunner...
00:05:51>>She used no sign language whatsoever.
00:05:53Sign language already existed in America, it had
00:05:56already been here on American soil for probably
00:05:59about 80 good years, and there were schools all
00:06:02over for the deaf, and in fact Mabel Hubbard
00:06:06Bells' father founded the Clarke School in North
00:06:08Hampton, MA, is still to this day the world's
00:06:11premier best known university for the oral
00:06:15education of deaf people. They don't use sign
00:06:18language and it's always been that legacy. She
00:06:20herself never had anything to do with the school
00:06:24other than attending a few classes there when
00:06:26she was younger. She was asked several times
00:06:29to give graduation speeches there and always
00:06:32turned them down. As she said in one of her
00:06:34letters she did not choose to associate with
00:06:36deaf people at all. So her father also had this
00:06:39connection and built this school. Of course
00:06:42Alexander Graham Bell gave quite a bit of money
00:06:44too. But that...
00:06:49>>Well that's really... there are all these ironies
00:06:54clustered around here. He invents, as the deaf
00:06:58educator, a machine that probably wasn't able
00:07:01to do a whole lot for the people that he was
00:07:03attempting to invent it for, but what were the
00:07:06ways that they negotiated that out? She's writing
00:07:13to him a lot and he's sort of responding.
00:07:16Do you get a sense of what that meant for the
00:07:18marriage between the two people? Her ability to
00:07:22write and his ability to not necessarily communicate.
00:07:24>>I very much see a shift already in her story
00:07:27from the earlier years. The first ten years she looses...
00:07:31she has two daughters and then she looses both
00:07:33boys. Both of the boys lived, died very shortly after
00:07:39their birth. And for both of their births, Alex was
00:07:41not there at the time, he was traveling abroad.
00:07:46So she also, I can't imagine for someone who is
00:07:51very hard of hearing, myself, and who has given
00:07:54birth myself, it was extraordinarily stressful to
00:07:57understand what was going on. The conversation
00:08:00around you in that moment. The seriousness of
00:08:05a hospital. I had one child, there were only a few
00:08:08complications with, but it was quite stressful,
00:08:11not ever feeling you were communicating clearly
00:08:14with them. So she would have negotiated that by
00:08:19herself. It seems that of course her lip reading
00:08:21didn't go. She has a very famous piece that she
00:08:25wrote in an 1895 article in The Atlantic Monthly
00:08:31called "The Subtle Art of Speech Reading." And
00:08:34when she talks about how she learned to speech
00:08:36read and how it's an art and how she uses it.
00:08:39So it seems that it was primarily through lip
00:08:41reading that she communicated with him.
00:08:45Also when they were abroad, trying to ask him to
00:08:48write. I do know that seeing a letter her many mentions
00:08:50that she often communicated with her staff,
00:08:53because they had a very extensive staff,
00:08:56particularly on the big estate in Nova Scotia
00:08:58primarily through writing back and forth with
00:08:59them. So I haven't seen any of that writing, but
00:09:01I'm hoping there are some samples of it at the
00:09:03estate up in Nova Scotia so I could look at that
00:09:06kind of communication as well. She lived in a time
00:09:09when letter writing was a thing to do.
00:09:14What does happen later in her life is that she
00:09:16begins to take over all of his record keeping so
00:09:18he's doing the experiments with the hydro kites
00:09:21and aviation. And she's keeping all the notes for
00:09:23that and she's keeping all the notes for the sheep
00:09:25experiments that he was doing with sheep about
00:09:29raising a stock of sheep and she's the note
00:09:31taker. So she really gets to enter his research
00:09:35rather than standing outside of it.
00:09:37>>This is all stuff that I didn't know he did in
00:09:38the later part of his life. What were the sheep for?
00:09:41>>Alexander Graham Bell was one of the primary
00:09:45eugenic - eugenicists of the day at the time and
00:09:47in fact he also had a famous tract called "On the
00:09:52Marriage and Progeny of Deaf People in the United
00:09:57States." So he studied deaf families in the
00:10:00United States to try to document what level the
00:10:03deafness was transmitted genetically and it was
00:10:06his argument that that's why deaf people needed
00:10:08to not marry other deaf people. And because,
00:10:11and he was smart enough to know that deafness
00:10:15was not all genetic. Obviously Mabel was not
00:10:18genetically deaf. She became deaf from scarlet
00:10:20fever at the age of three.
00:10:25So he's a primary eugenicist of the day and so
00:10:27the sheep experiments were part of eugenic
00:10:30experiments to see if he could raise a different
00:10:32kind of breed of sheep. He believed that having
00:10:35plentiful sheep would be a great advantage to
00:10:38the sheep stock and the raising of young sheep.
00:10:40So he was working on that project and many others.
00:10:43>>Well you've brought something that is from
00:10:46"Posting Mabel" so I'd like to hear some of it if you'd like.
00:10:52>>Sure I'd be glad to. I guess maybe I should
00:10:55say just a couple things before.
00:10:58This is an example of the whole series of works,
00:11:01but what I'm trying to do is use an image from
00:11:04the AG Bell family collection of photographs in
00:11:07the library of congress and using an image as a
00:11:09kind of visual anchor for it and each piece also
00:11:15contains some actual pieces of Mabel's writing so
00:11:17I use it, but I'm writing to her. So it's also historical
00:11:23because I'm basing some of it on historical facts
00:11:26from their life, but it's creative and inventive
00:11:30because at some points I leave the history on
00:11:33the page and I have to imagine Mabel because
00:11:35I don't know all the truth of her life.
00:11:37And the other part that occurs is I inevitably
00:11:40write some of my own autobiography into here.
00:11:43So there are pieces too because as someone who
00:11:46is very hard of hearing, and Mabel was much
00:11:48deafer than I was, I kind of imagine myself in
00:11:51her position, and vice versa. So trying to build
00:11:54that on her. This is also for me, you mentioned
00:11:58one of the books, I have a textbook actually
00:12:00on Reading and Writing in a Visual Culture,
00:12:04which is about teaching students how to
00:12:06understand visual rhetoric and visual communication
00:12:09and analyze it. This in some ways, this little piece
00:12:12is also an example of visual rhetorical analysis on
00:12:16which I analyze an image kind of rhetorically and
00:12:17analyze it from its visual angles. So I guess I'll just read it.
00:12:26>>Ok. This begins, this is the Alexander Graham Bell
00:12:30family portrait--a very famous one from 1885.
00:12:34"Dear Mabel, this image appears, reappears,
00:12:37replicates itself in virtually ever book I have
00:12:41found about AG Bell, about you and Mr. Bell, about just you.
00:12:44It is an official family portrait from 1885.
00:12:47It makes me anxious. Yet I can't stop staring at it.
00:12:50The girls are young here, Elsie at age 7 and
00:12:53Daisy at age 5. You have also recently lost two
00:13:00sons who both died shortly after their birth.
00:13:04Edward in 1881, and Robert in 1883.
00:13:07I think their ghosts haunt this portrait.
00:13:11I have never lost a child, but my youngest
00:13:16sister has lost two, and two boys at that.
00:13:19And even today with her one beautiful daughter,
00:13:21now married and happy with a successful career,
00:13:24my sister's character always seems a bit anchored
00:13:26down, ever on the verge of a deep sigh.
00:13:29And with a slightly dull tinge from the losses
00:13:31that surround her. There is a space in this
00:13:36portrait for Edward and Robert.
00:13:38They inhabit in their absence, the triangular
00:13:40place that is cut between you and Alec, the space
00:13:42behind where Daisy, their youngest older sister
00:13:44sits. It is this space that you are gazing toward,
00:13:47a space of past, or through Alec himself.
00:13:53You are in this portrait, but you are not.
00:13:58Your girls and Alec all face the camera.
00:14:01Their eyes are aimed at one object together.
00:14:03You are not with them. You're smaller even
00:14:07than your daughters. The tight angles of your
00:14:11body match the slant of your gaze which travels
00:14:14in the direction of Alec to your left, but then
00:14:17goes right passed him somewhere into infinity-
00:14:19into ghosts. There are angles everywhere.
00:14:23You predate Picasso's own Weeping Woman.
00:14:25Your eyes angle slightly downwards as if ready to
00:14:28Alec's eyes should they move to meet yours, or
00:14:33perhaps your eyes angle downwards as if to look
00:14:36at subjects smaller than you. The only thing that
00:14:38anchors you in this portrait is your elbow so
00:14:41angular and stiff locked into Elsie's hands.
00:14:46In fact Elsie whose seven year-old form is far
00:14:48more substantial than yours here holds you up.
00:14:52Your fragile slight angular corseted frame edges
00:14:54against her arm. And the corset itself traps you
00:14:59as a triangle. The bend of your arm with Elsie's
00:15:02locks creates a harsh right angle.
00:15:05And the deep V and the gulf of ghost white face
00:15:08between you and Alec actually dominates an
00:15:10angularity the center of this portrait.
00:15:12The inverted triangle from your shoulders to
00:15:16your bound waist reverses the one with your head,
00:15:19with your chin tucked tightly against your neck.
00:15:23And Elsie's legs are crossed at her ankles, but
00:15:25with her knees held tight against each other
00:15:28while Daisy's legs are in a more relaxed pose,
00:15:31less ladylike perhaps, but she was only five.
00:15:33And her knees are wide apart, although her
00:15:35ankles also come to a crossed position.
00:15:37Another triangle then is captured in the post of
00:15:39Daisy's legs and this one dominates the central
00:15:40foreground of the picture. Your right hand extends
00:15:44from the right elbow that is held by Elsie and
00:15:46comes to rest slightly on Daisy's shoulder.
00:15:50Without the girls, you would collapse to the
00:15:53floor, or drift spirit-like up out of the image.
00:15:57They anchor you. They show you up.
00:16:00The three of you, a woman and her children, form
00:16:03your own triangular unit. And Alec alone is square.
00:16:08Alec is alone. And he seems to realize this in 1885
00:16:11as well in a long, anxious letter to you written on
00:16:13December 12th 1885 from New York, approximately
00:16:20two years after you lost David, your second son.
00:16:22He begins by confessing that in your eight years
00:16:26of marriage so far he has largely offered you
00:16:29"words without soul like too many of the letters
00:16:32I have written to you of late years." His
00:16:35letters filled with memories of how he wooed you
00:16:37and then near death proclaims of his debt and
00:16:40respect and love to you he writes, 'All that I am
00:16:42today I owe to you and yours. I love you darling
00:16:44more than you can ever know.' But then following
00:16:47on these anxious endearments, he wonders first
00:16:51whether it is best for you 'that I should return just now.'
00:16:55And then he turns that wonder into his own,
00:16:57pending on the matter and he pronounces,
00:17:00'I do not believe that anything short of our
00:17:04complete separation for time with secure for
00:17:06you that perfect rest that I am sure you need
00:17:07to make you well.' And then in the longest
00:17:09paragraph of the letter, near the end when he
00:17:11declares your complete separation necessary,
00:17:14he comes finally to the real heart of the matter:
00:17:16to the loss of your two sons and his guilt over
00:17:19those losses. He writes, 'and when death came
00:17:22and robbed us of the little ones we wanted so
00:17:25much, you forgot your own suffering and you
00:17:27tried to comfort me. Dear, dear Mabel.
00:17:31My true, sweet wife. Nothing will ever comfort
00:17:33me for the loss of these two babes for I feel
00:17:35that at heart I was the cause. I do not grieve
00:17:39because they were boys, but because I believe
00:17:41that my ignorance and selfishness caused their
00:17:43death and injured you. In the first child case,
00:17:46one cause seemed clear, both to you and me.
00:17:49After his death, I prevented you from fully
00:17:52recovering and I gave you another child before
00:17:55you were well. You have not even yet completely
00:17:57recovered and I believe you never will until you
00:18:00had a complete and prolonged rest.'
00:18:04This is from the 12th of December 1885.
00:18:07In an undated letter then you write to Alec
00:18:09which seems in the same period, you also bring up
00:18:12the loss of your son and in the very same short
00:18:14breath your additional sense of your own lack as
00:18:16a mother." And I want to say here as an aside
00:18:19when I read this aloud. I have to point out that
00:18:21the undating of this letter is really significant.
00:18:23Mabel kept the legacy and she knew very early
00:18:28on, she would always chastise Alec for writing
00:18:32her letters and not dating them. Because she
00:18:34already knew that this was a famous person who
00:18:36was a legacy and she was keeping all of the material.
00:18:38So when she doesn't date the letter herself it
00:18:41is in some ways to me code to real privacy of the
00:18:44moment, that it wasn't really meant to be part of
00:18:46the record. So we have this undated letter and here
00:18:51in this one, here you're hearing Mabel's loss
00:18:53haunts the text and forms a cross of burden
00:18:55that you try to share with him. He writes,
00:19:00"I believe in God, perhaps the reason our boys
00:19:03were taken from us so early was that we have
00:19:04not done our duty by the children that we have.
00:19:05And perhaps we never have wanted till we prove
00:19:08that we are able and willing to give our children
00:19:10proper care." "Why was our wealth given to us if
00:19:14not to give you Alec, time to make up to your
00:19:18children what they lose by their mother's loss.
00:19:20They need to be better cared for, provided by,
00:19:24they will have to act more for themselves than
00:19:26other more fortunate mother's children." And
00:19:30that's the end of that passage.
00:19:34"What they lose by their mother's loss, if only
00:19:37they were 'more fortunate mother's children.' I
00:19:39hardly know what to write now Mabel.
00:19:44This portrait and those words, they drive a
00:19:45wedge through my own heart. You end this
00:19:48letter as your loving but distrust wife and you
00:19:50set down the weeping woman. A sentence that
00:19:54swirls in pain. Alec, I am frightened and I don't
00:19:57see what we are coming to. And in this portrait
00:20:01I can hardly see you Mabel and I am frightened too."
00:20:05>>Well that's a really great passage and it
00:20:07interests me on a couple different levels.
00:20:11One of the interesting things is to see somebody
00:20:14do a reading of an image like this and to say,
00:20:17what is that image mean in the context of the
00:20:21time and the context of the family?
00:20:24But you're bringing it into the context of your
00:20:25own life, which is, I think, an unusual academic
00:20:28move because normally as an academic writer
00:20:30you're supposed to pull back and not have any of
00:20:33that in there. So how far along were you in your
00:20:35academic career before you said, "you know what?
00:20:40I'm willing to take this chance.
00:20:42I'm willing to make that part of the writing."
00:20:44Because there is a camp of writers that do that
00:20:47and then there's a camp that's very against it.
00:20:50>>It was in my first book called "Lend Me Your Ear".
00:20:54In that book which was before tenure - it was my
00:21:01tenure book - the books that you write to get
00:21:03tenure. And to be honest I was in the middle of
00:21:05writing very academic chapters, and the chapters
00:21:08were very much about the ways in which young
00:21:10deaf students negotiate and pass particularly in
00:21:14the age of mainstream, where they are largely
00:21:16mainstreamed. And how they pass as hearing
00:21:19impaired people as much as they can, and to
00:21:22what degrees they give up that passing.
00:21:26So I'm writing about research that I'd done at
00:21:27Gallaudet, the world's only university for deaf
00:21:30and hard of hearing where a lot of mainstream
00:21:33students, they've been very successful, they've
00:21:35been mainstreamed into hearing high schools and
00:21:36now they've chosen to come to Gallaudet
00:21:39University and they're reimmersed in a kind of
00:21:42deaf culture and identity. Many of them have to
00:21:43learn American Sign Language when they arrive
00:21:45on campus. They know a few signs, but they
00:21:47don't know the language per say.
00:21:49So I was interested in part of that study about
00:21:51how they're negotiating learning the literacy
00:21:54skills of the deaf community and American Sign
00:21:58Language while they're also learning how to be
00:21:59college students and perform college level
00:22:01critical literacy. So that was the study that I had
00:22:04gone there to do for my dissertation.
00:22:07So I'm working on these two chapters that are
00:22:09very much about this kind of parallel literacy
00:22:10move that's happening for the students.
00:22:12And one of the chapters was based on a student
00:22:15who used the phrase when she finally passed her
00:22:17English class after three attempts to pass the
00:22:19basic writing class. It took her three semesters
00:22:22in a row and this is very common.
00:22:26At the time she said, "its so hard to believe
00:22:27that you pass it." She is referring to the
00:22:31class, but I took it as a kind of thing about the
00:22:34whole levels of passing with identity and
00:22:36language and deafness. And it echoed throug
00:22:39my head and I thought, "I have this story."
00:22:41My life story is a story of passing.
00:22:44And one day when I was kind of stuck in my
00:22:46office on the 5th floor of Denney Hall working on
00:22:49this chapter, I was stuck, and pieces of my story
00:22:53kept coming back to me. I heard them in this
00:22:55young student's story. I sat down and started to
00:22:57type out this other essay.
00:23:00And I had come into graduate school as an
00:23:02academic actually doing a lot of create writing.
00:23:05I had written poetry, I had written fiction, but
00:23:06I had never really dabbled in essay before.
00:23:09So I wrote the essay called "On Almost Passing"
00:23:12really as a kind of stress relief from the
00:23:18academic work and then I realized how much it
00:23:19actually fit with and answered to the project.
00:23:22So the rest of the book I did that. I'd do two
00:23:24chapters and then I'd do a kind of personal
00:23:25piece that echoed with the academic chapters.
00:23:27So I kind of set up there and perhaps people
00:23:32were willing to go with it because I realized in
00:23:34some ways that my deafness, my hearing loss
00:23:37authorized me to do that. Because most people
00:23:41don't know the story of how people with hearing
00:23:45loss negotiate their lives. I use that word a lot,
00:23:47negotiate, but it really is.
00:23:50>>Do you think it's something that's become
00:23:51more common now that you can create more
00:23:56space for the personal within academic writing.
00:23:58It sort of seems that way to me, but I don't do
00:24:02nearly as much academic reading as I used to.
00:24:06>>I think so. I think I see it particularly a lot
00:24:10in the larger umbrella of the stuff we call identity
00:24:13studies. I see that going on a lot as a viable form.
00:24:16And I think academic writing has, it's not just
00:24:22a form, but it's also about re-conceiving genres,
00:24:27it's a mixing of genres as well. Like I said, this
00:24:30piece that I'm working on with Mabel doesn't
00:24:33have one single generic name for it.
00:24:35>>Because it's not just epistolary. It's something beyond...
00:24:38>>It's not just epistolary. It's historical in a sense,
00:24:40but boy I'm not a historian, which is why I had to
00:24:43do it this way. Because I couldn't do a biography
00:24:45of Mabel because I would never have the patience
00:24:49for the historical work that's needed, but I know
00:24:51how to invent something.
00:24:54So I take, like any good writers of the thing
00:24:58called create non- fiction or literary non-
00:25:00fiction, do the research, but then you invent out
00:25:02from there. And then it's a way to tell her story
00:25:04but also tell some of mine too.
00:25:07>>I'm just interested quickly in the little time
00:25:10we've got left, how do historical writers respond
00:25:13to the kind of writing that you've done.
00:25:15Do you have a lot of people in the history
00:25:19department, or people interested in something
00:25:22like that? Do they give a lot of problem to you?
00:25:25>>I don't know if a lot of problem, but I will
00:25:27say that I've gone out twice to other
00:25:29universities and read this and it does tend to be
00:25:33a historian who comes down afterwards and wants
00:25:35to press me on some points about how I checked
00:25:37out this carefully and how I checked out that.
00:25:39And I'll be honest, my best friend in the world
00:25:42is a very good colleague who is a historian--
00:25:44Susan Birch is her name, she's at Middlebury College--
00:25:48and the Mabel project began because Susan and I
00:25:52were thinking of doing a book on Mabel together.
00:25:55And that's how it started out and we found the
00:25:59historical approach she wanted to take with
00:26:02Mabel, and after two days of looking at all the
00:26:04archival material that we could get our hands on
00:26:08about Mabel Hubbard Bell, I was done.
00:26:10I was ready to invent her. But Susan still wanted
00:26:14to go follow this source and track this down,
00:26:15and get this. I was like, I got her!
00:26:18>>Alright well that's really an interesting take
00:26:21on writing and if we had more time I'd ask you
00:26:24about how that translates to when you used to be
00:26:26the director of the first year writing program
00:26:30because I'm sure it was interesting negotiation
00:26:35for you to go through working with students and
00:26:37working with your own kind of writing.
00:26:40The book again is Deaf Subjects Between
00:26:43Identities and Places from Brenda Jo Brueggemann.
00:26:46From the Ohio State University, thank you for
00:26:48coming onto Writer's Talk.
00:26:50>>Yeah, thank you.
00:26:52>>We appreciate it. And from The Ohio State
00:26:54University Center for the Study and Teaching
00:26:56of Writing, this is Doug Dangler saying, keep writing!
Note : Transcripts are compiled from uncorrected captions