SansBlogue  
Sunday, November 26, 2006
 

Write good? AKMA on writing with pictures ::

AKMA's post Very Good and Write rightly focuses on focus, but (to my mind at least) carries good advice too far.

First the good advice, which I'm summarise as cave canem! Beware of the (shaggy) dogs. Everyone must agree that "just putting something out there doesn’t imply that it will contribute to getting a message across". Focus on the message to be communicated is indeed vital. When crafting words, I know I should follow his advice "don’t confuse and distract your readers with pointless, vague, superfluities" more than I do. (I am addicted to digression.) Indeed these wise words from a preacher (from the start of the following footnote) might beneficially be engraved on every screen:
We should, however, assess such indulgences with a pretty rigorous criterion of whether they contribute to communicating the greater message. (I’m looking at you, preachers who include irrelevant shaggy dog stories in your sermons.)
Yet, AKMA is not primarily writing about writing, or about speaking, rather the focus of his post is the use, in writing, of images. With this focus, I find myself less agreeable to the direction of AKMA's advice:
If what you write, or if the images you use for graphical communication, do not contribute to expressing clearly and precisely the message you’re hoping to convey — then don’t confuse and distract your readers with pointless, vague, superfluities.
What he says is true, but a partial truth. And partial truth is more dangerous, or in this case more stifling than arrant fiction. Certainly, images should not be added willy nilly, nor be pointless or superfluous. And yet the tenor of the advice is to resist strenuously the visual equivalent of a digression, to focus on images whose communication coordinates closely with the words'. How much depth and richness is lost when this advice is followed!

An image which "connects" to the text, yet connects obliquely, can so often encourage the reader (and all readers need such additional courage) to create new and added meaning of their own. While narrow and tightly controlled focus seeks to constrain readers to paths prepared in advance by the authoritative author!

So, for example, in my notes on the Genesis class' session on "Abraham's children (16 & 21)" I included in the sidebar images and text of Ishmael (see below) found from a Google search on the name. What exactly a reader makes of the implied connection between these modern Ishmaels and their ancient namesake I do not know, cannot know, but I suspect that their reading is richer for the side trip.

This Ishmael was (I believe) Technical Assistant in the Journalism Dept at Technikon Pretoria
http://www.techpta.ac.za/
I suspect there is a personality difference here, Barbara (and some of my colleagues) like (I suspect AKMA) prefer more ordered and orderly communication. They may be infuriated by my Ishmaelite style, but others (like me) delight in such invitations to imaginative play.

Labels:



SEARCH Tim's sites
Posts listed by topic
My academic CV



Write to Tim

archives:
January 2004 / February 2004 / March 2004 / May 2004 / June 2004 / July 2004 / August 2004 / September 2004 / October 2004 / November 2004 / December 2004 / January 2005 / February 2005 / March 2005 / April 2005 / May 2005 / June 2005 / July 2005 / August 2005 / September 2005 / October 2005 / November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / June 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / June 2007 / July 2007 / August 2007 / September 2007 / October 2007 / November 2007 / December 2007 / January 2008 / February 2008 / March 2008 / April 2008 / May 2008 / June 2008 / July 2008 / August 2008 / September 2008 / October 2008 / November 2008 / December 2008 / January 2009 / February 2009 / March 2009 / April 2009 / May 2009 / June 2009 / July 2009 / August 2009 / September 2009 / October 2009 / November 2009 /

biblical studies blogs:

other theology/church blogs:

x


Powered by Blogger


Technorati Profile

Yellow Pages for Auckland, New Zealand