writin' on the wall
everybody knows it
I love Paul. ~ Annette With The Afterbeats, "Tall Paul"
CommunicatingFirst, there were words. Then, there was language.
Then clay, and papyrus, and paper for recording ideas. Then Johnnes Gutenberg's movable type, and finally the computer. Communication comes in many forms.
Despite using a computer for much of my communication, I still have this fondness for fountain pen, and ink, and paper. It's almost antique, but it is what I like.
And I recall even more simple communication form — chalk on sidewalks. "Johnny Loves Sue." Or Hopscotch Designs — the perennial children's game. An invitation to play, perhaps.
I recall a couple of other uses of chalk on sidewalks.
One was during the rise of the "Occupy" movement a year ago. Chalk messages on sidewalks were easy ways to tell the world about why Occupations were taking place. Some were cryptic; some, more literary.
The other was with the death of Canadian politician Jack Layton.
Layton, the son of a Conservative cabinet minister, had become the leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP) — Canada's Social Democratic political party. A significant political leap.
The federal election of 2011 saw a political transformation. For generations the NDP has been the "Third Party" in Canada, always well behind the Conservatives and the Liberals (the so-called natural governing party).
But when the election was over, the NDP, led by Layton, was the second party, well ahead of the Liberals.
Layton, recently recovered from cancer, and a broken hip, had led his party into new political territory.
But almost immediately after the election, a new cancer invaded Layton's life. And it killed him, less the four months after the election.
When he died, the whole country seemed to go into mourning. The nation had lost a Great Canadian. Layton, despite his Ph.D. in politics, was very much an "ordinary Canadian." He had the "common touch." While people may not have agreed with him, many felt an attachment to Jack Layton.
The Prime Minister even allowed a full state funeral for this political foe.
But aside the formalities, there was an opportunity for Ordinary Canadians to share in the public grief. Sidewalk chalk. On the square before Toronto's city hall. The city hall in which Layton had served as a municipal politician years before. And so the place was slowly covered with heart-felt messages from people, many strangers, who felt a heart-to-heart connection with the amazing politician.
More than MechanicsThe late Roy Currie, veteran broadcaster and teacher of broadcasters put it this way, "First you make sense, then you make sounds." Meaning, have something to say before you say something (or anything).
At it's heart, communication is the sharing of ideas, a "meeting of meanings" (to quote Reuel Howe, in his book The Miracle of Dialogue). Indeed, the Latin word communicare means "to share."
While we might be caught up in the technology of communication — particularly of television advertising — there is an underlying story that is being told, being shared.
Blogging the StoryBloggers are communicators. Pure and simple. But instead of chalk on sidewalks, we use pixels on screens. Pixels on screens tell our stories.
But we still face the question: What are we saying when we blog? What are we sharing? Is it what way we want to share, what we intend to share? Or something else?
ConclusionWhat am I communicating with my blog? Ultimately, that is the question we need to ask ourselves.
The A - Z Challenge offers us a chance to do some analysis of our work, in comparison to the writing of others. Don't ask the question "Am I as good as other writers"? Ask the question "How are other writers telling their stories"? "What can I learn from them"?