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...includes the following, which I quote:

"There are no rules for communication that can't be rules-lawyered.

"Sometimes it just feels to me like some people are awake and others aren't. The ones who are awake know that communication is difficult, interpretations vary, and feedback is useful. The ones who're still asleep think that the meaning of their writing is the feeling they had while writing it, or that a description that seemed perfectly satisfactory to them must be universally adequate, or that the validity of a point is in direct proportion to how strongly they feel about it, or that the purpose of the exercise is for other people to understand them. Or some other error entirely; they're very good at generating them."

-- Teresa Nielsen Hayden, August 4, 1998

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
tnh
Jul. 30th, 2012 11:12 pm (UTC)
I wasn't sure who'd written that until I reached the end, though the suspicion had been growing on me that it was mine.

Language is a fallible and cooperative undertaking. Accurately conveying meaning is an everyday miracle. Elegance and clarity are varieties of grace.
gerisullivan
Jul. 31st, 2012 08:58 am (UTC)
So true.

There are other gems of yours in that email. It was the beginning of a collaboration on some rules of engagement for convention committee discussions. I'd written, "My difficulty in trying to spell this out is that it's so easy to see how any rules we establish can be quickly turned and used as justification for still more toxic behavior. The 'But the rules say to be specific, so I was being specific' sort of whiny defensiveness when one is called on for unacceptable behavior."

That said, I'm still rather proud of "Don't complain; collaborate."

I'd be curious to see what we'd come up with these 14 years later. In our Copious Free Time, obviously. It's the main reason that email remains in my in-box.

fredcritter
Jul. 31st, 2012 02:04 pm (UTC)
Hm. I miss you, Teresa. Hope all is well with you.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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