I used to hide or miss making my own point — sometimes inadvertently, and sometimes because I wanted to be clever. I would do it because I was taking for granted that everyone had, more or less, the same knowledge base. Or, if they didn’t, then they would be so dazzled by my cleverness that they would spend their extra imagination divining my obscure purpose.

Yeah, I think I get what you mean.

I’ve got pieces that address that very phenomenon.

Things about how what I just wrote … which was incredibly obscure, even by my own standards … is too clever by half and I’ll get myself into trouble one day, you just see if I don’t.


It relies upon your having seen the movie Educating Rita and, furthermore, remembering the ‘getting the rhyme wrong’ moment … or else bothering to l ‘google’ “Rita Frank Bryant Assonance” — and who’s gonna bother to do the latter?

Yeah … I think I know what you’re saying there and, yeah, you’re right — you can’t rely upon people having the same reference points.

I don’t know to what extent having lived in different countries/cultures/languages made to my own writing because I started living there at such a (relatively) young age that I have spent my entire adult life aware of the dangers of making cultural assumptions and assuming common ground and shared knowledge — would I have been even clevercleverer without it?

But even within my own culture(s) I’m aware of generational differences as well —like things that younger generations are entirely ignorant of even though they are directly impacted by them.

Being aware that I am writing for an international audience helps, I suspect — although, even if I’m prepared to adopt a few americanisms (like ‘movie’ instead of ‘film’ or ‘guy’ instead of ‘bloke’) I draw the line at American spellings.

But, like you I suspect, I do so love clever use of language and concepts and am fortunate to be as widely read as am and, therefore, have so many reference points to fall back on — I do so hate to labour the point … to spoonfeed.

There are a couple of books by Ben Elton that are well worth reading … if you’re ignorant.

In one of them he actually repeats whole chunks of material … literally word for word … every few pages.

It’s not because he can’t write — I know he can.

It’s because the people he’s trying to get the message across to need it hammered home by repetition before it sticks and they can get hold of enough to latch onto the ideas.

It means I can’t read a lot of his books though, because they are … necessarily … badly written — in one sense … not if you ask yourself whether they are written in such a way as to achieve the desired intent.

But I’d be too proud to write that way myself … too embarrassed — I’m too much of an aesthete ;)

Intervening in the recursion of my instinctive self-reference

I’ve actually written a piece I’m really very pleased with … and how often do we achieve that!?!

But I can’t post it until I’ve written a lot more other stuff, because it’s a self-referential pisstake and, without the supporting material, the joke will fall flat.


I like to tell accessible stories, though. I like people to read them or hear them and feel something

You do … your stuff is very conversational … personal.

I occasionally approach it with some of my more ‘anecdotal’ pieces but your tone is consistent in that regard … and it works very well.

I really enjoy reading your stuff — and, as soon as I can find a way to pay for membership without giving away any of my own personal or financial details [1], I’ll be able to read more of it and make it pay for you.

It helps me to say, “No — don’t use that word — I like it, but it’s distracting from the story.” Or to say, “These sentences are too long.” Or to say, “No, we can leave that world-building till later.” Or to say, “You know, the world is overshadowing these characters.”

Yes … I like my … almost conversational … flow of consciousness style (although it’s anything but uninhibited, ‘no re-takes’ stuff) … but I’m trying to find ways to cut down on the number of ellipses — even I have trouble reading it back as often as not.

And the fact that I find I need more ways to emphasise than bold/italic is probably telling me something as well. But that’s the way I speak … and nobody misses the emphases (is that even a word?) there. It’s a timing thing and, unfortunately, short of overly liberal use of ellipses (which don’t really work for that purpose), it just isn’t possible to lay it out visually without losing the very impact I’m striving for <sigh>.

If I think, “I’ve got to write this one for the Fearful Angel,” then it helps me keep on the point in a way that, as far as I can tell, best makes my point.

I’ll have to give that some thought.

I don’t know.

Clearly it works … I can tell it does because at no stage would I imagine that something were written with any specific individual in mind rather than, as I attempt to do, a one-to-many-but-each-reader-should-feel-it’s-one-to-one approach.

I just don’t know how I might integrate it into my own approach.

It might be interesting to try though, so thanks for the explanation.

That helps and answered my question exactly as I hoped you might.

I’ve always liked your persona.

Now you’re making me blush.

But I’m glad — thanks for telling me.

You do what I always thought I wanted to do

What changed?

Why don’t you now?

which, as far as I can tell, is establishing a dialogue with the Message — with the Point — and letting anyone who comes to listen make their own judgments about it


Dunno ‘bout that so much … that’s high-fallutin’ talk, that is.

I just writes what comes into me ‘ead, guv’nor.

Then I repeatedly edits the fuck out of it until I can’t tell if it wasn’t better to begin with, get all upset and vow never to embarrass myself by writing again …

… only to fail to get even that right.

I’ve toned my style down a lot in the last year or so and, for various reasons, have presented similar character types … similar voices … to previous incarnations but less extreme versions.

And inevitably a bit of the real me will creep in from time to time — although I try to avoid it [2] I do occasionally write serous stuff … and not in character either.

I do however, occasionally worry about people’s reading comprehension skills and their taking my stuff out of context — yesterdays remark that “I enjoy stabbing bitches as much as the next guy”, for instance, could be used against me in a seriously discomforting manner.

So, yeah, I want people to draw their own conclusions … but I do worry that I sometimes make it all too easy for them to draw the wrong ones.

The Socratic method is all well and good but … on the other hand … look what it did for Socrates!

[1] Paranoid? Me?

No … I’ve just been involved with I.T. for a long time and know what’s going on.

I don’t drop my trousers in the middle of the street and grasp my ankles with a a sign around my neck bearing the legend “Come And Have A Go If <strike> You Think </strike> You’re Hard Enough” either.

[2] It’s far too revealing. [3]

[3] Unless I’m winding Aura up about sex, that is — in which case I’ll all but give her a full-frontal from under a dirty raincoat ;) [4]

[4] Yes, Aura, I mentioned your name … and sex, yes … but I’m talking about you, not to you, so there’s no need to go getting excited — back in your box [5] with you.

[5] Heh … I mentioned your ‘box’ [fnarr, fnarr].

But I digress …

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