TiaTalk











{Wed 16 December 2009}   When Orality met Literacy…
When Orality met Literacy…

I’m trying hard to articulate for my new business site (still under construction) what exactly it is I do for a living. My clients will be glad that this whimsical meditation probably will not end up on my Home page, but, for some reason, this is what filled that space today!

One day, young Taran was hunting lizards and rats in the desert with some friends. They trod softly and whispered as they walked, so as not to startle their prey. With practised ease, they stalked and circled, wasting no motion as they whirled their slings and released precise, stony death upon their unsuspecting lunch. The sandy crags were abundant with surprising life and by midday their belts were bulging with enough fresh meat to feed their entire tribe that night. With time on their hands, they ran eagerly to where they knew they could find water and shade, to sit and sing until the sun retreated from its ravaging.

As they approached the glistening desert lake, Taran spotted a woman sitting in the shade of the only tree at the oasis. Their tree. Their oasis. Her silverine hair rippled in the breeze as she bent forward. She was making strange marks in the sand near her feet. He confronted her:

“Who are you?”
She smiled, “I am Shanaya. I am a writer.”
“What is a writer?”
“A writer is one who writes. As I am doing here… writing.”
“What is writing?”
“Ah. Writing is …. the rendering on a surface of symbols representing sounds or words.”
“Hmmm. That’s… interesting… I suppose. What is writing for?”
“Writing is for communicating!”
“Communicating what? To whom?”
“Anything! Everything! To anyone! Or even to a machine!”
Taran did not know what a machine was, but he tried to make sense of what she said. “So if I make some marks on a surface to represent some sounds or words, I’ll be communicating?”
Shanaya smiled mysteriously. “Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that!”

She went on to explain about sentences, paragraphs, spelling, grammar, punctuation, reading, target audiences, lexicons, assumed knowledge, style, translation, record-keeping, letter-writing, creative writing, technical writing, analytical writing, history, plays, poetry, novels, short stories, newspapers, film, TV, computer programming, e-mail, blogging, online networking, texting, e-poetry, hypertext writing, video games, multimedia stories, cross-media narratives, Alternate Reality Games and transliteracy.

It was a long day.



[…] that overwhelmed feeling—that there is still so much to learn. This story (first published on Tiatalk) helped me to gain perspective and accept that I will always be on this […]



[…] that overwhelmed feeling—that there is still so much to learn. This story (first published on Tiatalk) helped me to gain perspective and accept that I will always be on this […]



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