Stepping outside the literal

Writing with another person is a wonderful thing to do when thoughts match across space, time, personal background and experience. It takes care of a lot of the ‘how is it possible to write’ need to reflect out loud – which has been a purpose of this blog. But one can’t speak to one’s co-writer whenever one wants because we all have the rest of our lives to get on with. And sometimes both of you need to go elsewhere to sort things out.

Writing this blog therefore now has an extra audience – everyone out there who might be interested plus my co-writer. It’s like showing to her what I am writing to others. All these different levels and types of sense making.

So here I am – and I get this phrase from my co-writer. Here I am, still stuck in a paragraph, having moved something from one place to another, and having worked out that there are very different alternative interpretations of a particular piece of data, and that part of the important thing to write is that there are two interpretations, at least, and why these are important to write about.

What makes writing particularly difficult is leaving behind the literal meaning of things. Nothing is accepted at face value. In this case there is an interview, and it’s no longer even clear that we the interviewers can just look at them the people we are interviewing and summarise what they say. This is not just ‘political correctness gone mad’ but a genuine desire to get to the bottom of what’s going on between people.

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