Monday, July 9, 2007

writing for not just at your audience

Another excerpt from What Do I Do Monday? by John Holt.

Self-expression is only part of good writing and talking. What we want is communication and change. We must therefore be sensitive to the effect that our words are having on our hearer, we must be aware of and be able to hear and understand what he shows and tells us, in his words, or simply by his gestures and expressions, about the feelings and meanings he is getting from what we say.

I once heard a prominent American educator talk to a large group of teachers, to whom I was to talk next. Waiting for my turn, I sat in the audience, and looked around me, to get a sense of the people I would be talking to. While the expert droned out his mimeographed speech, teachers all around me slept, talked with their neighbors, read, drew pictures. They and the speaker might as well have been in different rooms. To talk to people in this way is not only arrogant but stupid.

How often do the arrogant comment on blogs, typing to see themselves type? Refusing to explain what they are writing? Refusing to descend from their ivory towers to answer a direct question? Oh sure, they will critique the word choice you may use in questioning them. Or disect an example you have provided as inept or inappropriate. Yet somehow, at the end of it all, you realize that your questions remain unanswered and it is as leaves blowing on the wind. Nothing changes because of their passing.

If your writing is not understood or worse misunderstood what have you communicated at the end of the day but confusion?

The beauty of a blog is the dialogue that can be created between the blogger and the readers. The chance to turn a "monologue" into a discussion between friends where each learns something of the other. Whether the learning is the shock of an alternative point of view, the stretching of ourselves to explain something in an alternative fashion for better comprehension, or the delight in finding like minded individuals and exploring subtle nuances within an idea.


Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

You are being very reflective today Fiery.

Fiery Ewok said...

Maybe I should have called this series, "Ode to a Blog".


I think my natural reaction to big events is to become reflective. There have been several in my life just now.

Attila The Mom said...

LOL Sometimes I feel weird about responding to comments in my blog.

I mean I feel like I've written my view in my post, and writing in my own comments section makes it more about me me me!

Hope everything is going ok with you!

Fiery Ewok said...

and writing in my own comments section makes it more about me me me! But Attila- that's why I read your blog! I want to know more about you!


I selfishly imagine that the reader's of my blog feel the same. They certainly receive that sort of treatment here. lol And strangely they put up with my idiosyncrasies.