Recovered from the Wayback Machine.
I’m finding it difficult to respond to Steve’s earlier posting on ‘learning to read’, because there’s so much to say about it that I find myself stuck at the gates, not sure which way to respond. In particular, he’s raised an issue I’ve found myself sensitive to lately: the constraints audience expectations can have on what we write, and how we write.
While working this through, I explored other weblogs and saw Jeff’s post about the feedback he’s been getting with his extensive writing project at University. This feedback has been more on the outline of his work rather than the content, which he offhandedly equates to CNN’s quick captioning of a soldier’s statement about chemical weapons. The Scooby-Doo mystery he calls it.
Towards the end of the post, Jeff writes:
Of course, the actual content of the pieces is never mentioned, only the layout. The content is uniformly assumed to be “brilliant.” I hate that word. I have no illusions about what I am doing. I am really stuffing twenty pounds of theory into a ten pound bag. It oozes out around the edges. It is sloppy. But it is ambitious, and in America it seems that ambition is everything. At least I wasn’t greeted by the usual tech-writer comment: “needs bullet points.”
What a wonderfully evocative statement. But will it evoke? Or will the reader see ‘chemical weapon’ earlier in the writing and focus on this, instead, because chemical weapons are the loci in so many other weblog postings?
There is more to the writer/reader interaction in blogging than ‘truth’ or ‘technique’, but the good of it depends on the degree to which we write to a weblog because we want to tell people about ourselves; and how much, or how little, we want to insinuate out weblog writing into the greater collective of all weblog writings.
I was on a roll into my own essay, but then I say Jeff’s newest posting and lost it completely, thereby losing my train of thought.
More tomorrow. Good night fair readers, whoever you are, and why ever you are.