Well, as requested, this conference was the conference of facilitative questions. First we each read our essays out loud– or rather, I read mine out loud, and Bonnie read me the plan she’d written up. Then she practiced her finest questions on me– things like “How do you plan to portray the layers of the photographs? Do you have a strategy for doing this?” I said that yes, I did. Because it is true. I do. I chose photographs that came with articles. Photos with histories and stories behind them. This will work for me in two ways– and Bonnie agreed– first of all, it will make it so the pictures cannot be self explanatory. Second, it will force the reader to decide if I am a reliable narrator or not, much like she had to while reading Said. When I asked her if she had any advice on which pictures I ought to focus on in the pool of photographs, though, she seemed a little lost– this was after all, supposed to be about facilitative questioning, and it wasn’t my turn yet to ask questions. So I silently decided I’d just send the whole lot to my boyfriend later and have a nice discussion with him to hash it out, and allowed my conference partner to continue questioning me. I tried to stick to facilitative questions as well, when it was my turn to ask. I asked her how she planned to show the depth of her own photographs, and wondered aloud if there were other scenes she might use from the woman’s rights movement to capture the variety of the conflict, and her connection to it. Once we’d finished working out some ideas together (and took a break to return to the greater group) we worked on going through my essay sentence by sentence, and I explained my intention behind each rhetorical device.
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Alas, as I feared, this sounds as if it was an unproductive workshop. Bonnie didn’t come with a draft, nor was she able to facilitate your own thinking.