Boring? Naaaah! (long)

Subject: Boring? Naaaah! (long)
From: Kat Nagel/MasterWork <katnagel -at- EZNET -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 1995 10:02:51 -0400

Willard Brooks wrote:
>I am wondering if this boredom does not
> reflect the field of TW itself. Please do not be offended by this
> (snip)
> desparate to talk about SOMETHING interesting.

George Allaman responded to Willard:
>I would say that if you don't feel
>just an eense of a thrill and a knee-jerk
>to go for the kill when somebody
>writes, "No, NO NOOO, you imbecile,
>you must ALWAYS hyphenate compound
>modifier structures!!", then perhaps you
>are in the wrong profession.

Yesss! There is a particular kind of joy in finding those little suckers
--- not just typos and punctuation errors, but all the ambiguities and
awkwardnesses that interfere with understanding --- and killing them dead
<delete redundancy>. And I love the give and take of the discussions, even
if I find the specific triggers (to hyphen or not to hyphen) a bit trivial
at times. I usually learn something from them. If nothing else, I learn
how readers may interpret or misinterpret -my- work, and that makes me
more careful.

George continues:
>It's not a preoccupation with minutiae.
>It's a love of the language, in
>all its wonderful, convoluted, contradictory,
>myriad manifestations. I
>find this list at once thought-provoking,
>fun, and extremely informative
>for my chosen profession.

I find a kind of satisfaction in most technical writing that I -used- to
find in my previous incarnation as a chemist. At times it can approach the
level of religious fervor: the devotion to Truth, and the responsibility
to make that truth evident to others. The variety in topics and potential
audiences (I freelance) stretches my ability to express complex truths in
different ways for different readers.

TW has another attraction. It give me permission to play with language ---
to tug it and tease it until it conveys exactly what I want it to convey.
It's like working a jigsaw puzzle: take 11 diverse concepts and fit them
gracefully into a coherent document that is -useful- to someone (and
finish it on time and under budget and in a format the client's brother's
quikprinting business can handle and...).

TECHWR-L gives me colleagues who share both my love for language and my
passion to get it -right-.

George concludes:
>Mind you, I would have to grant you that there are
>definitely some anal types hanging around here.

I find that my level of anal-compulsive behavior varies considerably. Most
of the time I am pretty laid back. If a rule interferes with my ability to
express something clearly, I ditch it. If a reviewer wants a change that
results in a potentially confusing or less accurate statement, I find a
rule that 'forbids' the change. If I'm overruled I shrug my shoulders,
document my reasons in a memo, and put a copy aside for future
reference/revenge (heh, heh, heh).

But catch me on a day when I've been dealing with a Client From Hell, or a
printer that insists on re-typesetting everything and won't let me
proofread, and I can be truly vicious to some poor clod who misplaces a
comma or verbs a noun.

@Kat_____ Kat Nagel
MasterWork Consulting Services Rochester, NY
LIFE1 (techwriting/docdesign) katnagel -at- eznet -dot- net
LIFE2 (vocal chamber music) PlaynSong -at- aol -dot- com

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