Conversations of Nanko and Konan

Conversations of Nanko and Konan
Nanko: Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Nanko. Talking with me is my colleague and friend, Konan. Say hello, Konan.

Konan: Hello, Konan.

Nanko: No, I mean say hello to the reader.

Konan: Hello to the reader!

Nanko: Perfect.

Konan: Thank you.
Nanko: Prior to your arrival (your meaning you, the reader,) Konan and I were having a little discussion. In reality, I was doing all the discussing in this conversation because I was, to put it bluntly, complaining vigorously.

Konan: Most vigorously.

Nanko: Yes, thank you for the affirmation, Konan. As I was saying, my complaining was the reality of the discussion. What was the reason of these incessant complaints, you might ask? An English professor from whom I am taking a course entitled ?Expository Writing.?

Konan: Yes, that was the basis of your complaints.

Nanko: Of course, these complaints are in no way directed at the professor himself. No, no, no. In fact, he seems like an affable man. Rather, these complaints relate to his latest assignment given to the students of his ?Expository Writing? class.

Konan: I would have to agree that you are in no way slighting this particular professor, only his expectations held for you.

Nanko: Yes, I like the first half of your statement, but what is meant by the latter half?

Konan: In saying expectations I refer to the assignment he has given you.

Nanko: You have confused me. By using the term ?expectations,? do you mean the professor?s expectation that a paper will be handed-in to him on this exact due date of December 16, and, if not, this paper will go down in its score with every late day thereafter? Or do you refer to a ?higher form? of expectation, such as a teacher to a student and the process of learning and gaining knowledge through stimuli, created by the teacher, of thought?

Konan: I, uh, would have to agree.

Nanko: Let us return later to this; now, let me tell of this assignment. This professor is asking for a paper written unlike any I, personally, have ever written before. He wants us, as writers, to do away with ?themewriting? altogether and write in a different style or form. However, as you can see, I have started to panic. I have never written an essay or paper in any form other than ?themewriting.? I have no idea where to begin, how to continue, or where to conclude. What made me panic even more was the realization that everybody else in the class was as clueless as I. You would have thought this realization would have comforted me, but not in the least. It only made me think this project all the more impossible.

Konan: So, where and how did you begin your paper?

Nanko: That, my friend, is the most frightening part of the situation. I have not been able to get past my own incomprehension of the assignment itself to begin actually working on it.

Konan: What do you mean, your ?incomprehension of the assignment??

Nanko: I question the value of this assignment. Why? What is the professor?s purpose for making me write in a manner I have never had to before, in a manner that makes me uncomfortable and unsure of myself, and for an assignment that I have probably already logged twenty man-hours just thinking about ? let alone putting one word down on paper.

Konan: I believe you have just answered your question.

Nanko: What do you mean?

Konan: The professor has given you an assignment to make you do all the things you just complained about, and to make yourself cognizant of them.

Nanko: So you are saying the paper really doesn?t mean anything to the professor, what matters is all the processes involved in approaching the assignment and completing it.

Konan: No, of course the final product, the paper, has value. It becomes a tool by which the professor can measure your understanding and success in the assignment. It, however, is not the tool by which you have learned and matured as a writer. The daily discussions in class and online, which cause you to have to think on your feet, and the struggle to approach, understand, organize, conceptualize, and realize your paper is where the learning has taken place.

Nanko: I believe I see your point and, more importantly, the whole concept and reason for this assignment given by this professor.

Konan: Tell me.

Nanko: Contrary to the majority of all other assignments given by professors and teachers everywhere, this particular professor focuses all his energy and creative powers to motivate us to think. And he is successful. This process of thinking, which many of us have not had to do in quite a while, makes us learn something both about ourselves and the world and the others in it. The professor?s motive is to make us struggle, to make us question our learned (?themewriting?) form of writing, and also to make us venture into new, uncharted territory in the world of writing. He sets a standard, both for himself and his students, of that ?higher form? of expectations. That uneasy and anxious feeling about writing this paper is ?supposed? to happen, in that it is good for me (and the others) to be forced to try something new. If you have never tried something, how do you know if you are not any good at it? This assignment has given me the opportunity to realize this, at least in some small area of my life and education, namely my writing. I will try to apply this great discovery to all aspects of my life.

Konan: Well put.

Nanko: I believe that now I am ready to begin my paper

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