Thursday, 13 February 2014

Words don't actually help unless

they do the job they are intended to do. Yes? I would have thought that was fairly obvious.
Someone on my time-line put up a "tweet" yesterday saying she had just read something

 "including: ekphrasis, ideologeme, genotext, intermediality. I'm sure it was interesting... wish I'd understood..."

I am sure you did Helen. I would feel exactly the same way. I don't use words like that. I can't. Oh I can read them and I can sometimes work out what they might mean from the context but I can't use them myself.
Interestingly each of those words has appeared here with a red line beneath them - obviously the vocabulary device on Blogger does not recognise them either. No wonder I cannot use them. I have never been able to use those sort of words. Is there something wrong with me?
I used to wonder about this. If I am honest, I still wonder. I have written "academic" papers in my time. I have written more government submissions than I care to think about. I have written many thousands of letters. I don't think I have ever used words like that. I didn't use words like that in my doctoral thesis.
My doctoral thesis was written in very plain English. I intended it to be that way. It was intended to be used.  (It was and it has now been superseded and the words have been consigned to the recycle bin.) My supervisors and my examiners were not happy with the way I had written it. They said it did not sound "academic". I kept all four paws firmly planted on the ground and said it said what I wanted it to say.
Is this what is wrong with the way I write everything? Does a ten year old want a straightforward story or do they want an adult-clever "stream of consciousness narrative" which "explores issues"?
I have been told my writing "won't challenge them". When I asked what this meant I was told that telling a straightforward story was not acceptable. The style has to be "different" - preferably slick and funny or dark and disjointed.
I don't think I can do those things. Words are tools for me. I use them to say what I want to say. It's my way of getting the message across.
And yes, I know I have probably used words here that other people do not know...but I tried not to do that.


Helen Devries said...

When I was working I tried to make everything as clear as possible..

As a child I could appreciate dark in its context - the Brothers Grimm, for example - bit slick and disjointed would have had me putting the book back on the shelf.
Publishers condescend to children too much.

catdownunder said...

Have to agree Helen!