Thursday, April 26, 2007

Maybe I Just Ain't That Smart

I get some interesting mail sometimes. Recently a friend of mine in California, who has been reading my blog, sent this note:

“Enjoy your thinking - How come you don't sound that smart when we are together?!

My answer to him was that (a) maybe he’s not listening or (b) he’s talking so much I can’t get a word in edgewise.

Or, I could quote from Goody’s book, The Logic of Writing and the Organization of Society, “In the context of both intellectual and practical developments, it is important to stress that a significant attribute of writing is the ability to communicate not only with others but with oneself.” Maybe that’s what blogging is all about, talking to yourself.

Probably my best defense is in the old saying that good writers are seldom good speakers, as good speakers are seldom good writers. I don’t have a speech impediment, but I do process things differently when at the keyboard than before a microphone. I would never be good in a debate and I hate being a keynote speaker. The other day I was viewing a video of me speaking to a large delegation in Korea. If you think I’m tedious in person magnify that by going through an interpreter!

In my own defense as a tongue-tied spokesman, I’m in pretty good company. Moses told God he wasn’t articulate enough to speak for the people of Israel but he did a pretty good job as a technical writer in penning the Pentateuch (I realize scholars are divided on how much he did write, but he no doubt had a part). Paul was criticized for not being a polished orator as Apollos, but he churned out some rather heavy tomes in the New Testament. I may not be in their league, but they allow me to justify my writing as having influence through the written word. Though I do wish I could verbalize my thoughts better before a crowd, I’d rather be a quite writer than a big talker. I am much more comfortable in a classroom setting as prepared lesson notes are kin to writing.

My answer to my friend was also (c) maybe I just ain’t that smart. Either way, Rick, keep reading and I will keep writing.

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