Re: Blue Collar Tech Writers

Subject: Re: Blue Collar Tech Writers
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 01 Jan 1998 07:26:25 -0800

"Anthony Markatos" <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com> wrote:

>Don't plan writing - just do it you lazy #$ -at- *$&! Faster,
faster, faster!
>- Such summarizes the opinion of a very frequent commentator to
>listserv. Is this what TW is all about?

Maybe this is a good place to introduce a rhetorical term:
engrossement. Engrossement is an exaggeration of a point, often
for humour, in order to communicate it more effectively. I should
add that it's a rhetorical strategy that North Americans often
fail to understand (even if they do love the dead parrot skit, a
classical example of engrossement).

I don't know if Andrew Plato knows the term, but he definitely
knows the strategy.

Stripped of the effect, his point remains valid: many processes
that are supposed to aid tech-writing (or any writing, for that
matter) can become ends in themselves. In fact, they can even
become industries: entire book divisions and scholastic programs,
to say nothing of dozens of conferences are evidence of that.
Yet, in the end, all these processes are secondary to the act of
writing itself.

I believe that these processes are only useful to a writer in the
same way that a knowledge of symbols is to psychiatry. If you
want to interpret dreams, Jung is supposed to have told his
students, the first thing you have to do is study everything you
can about symbols and rituals. The second thing you have to do,
Jung continued, is to forget everything you studied. In other
words, these processes are background material that can be useful
for you to know, and may even be tools that help you, but they
aren't an end in themselves.

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Vancouver, BC, Canada
bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com (604.421.7189)

"But the backdrops peel and the sets give way,
And the cast gets eaten by the play....
And the patrons and actors are uncertain if the show is through"
And with sidelong looks await their cue."
- Alan Moore, "V for Vendetta"

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