… is the clever title Peter Copeland, a geology professor at the University of Houston, has given his forthcoming book about writing well when your subject is geology.

Copeland quotes in that book something UD wrote about good writing many years ago on this blog:

Writing—and speech—are intimately disclosing acts. The real difference between a good writer and a bad writer lies in the degree of awareness each brings to this truth. The good writer knows that, like it or not, she’s going to be giving away many things about the quality of her consciousness whenever she writes anything. She’s a good writer largely because she has some degree of control over what she discloses, over the effect she creates, over the human being that materializes, when she sets pen to paper.

UD‘s flattered to have her thoughts about writing featured in this way, for an audience of scientists. She looks forward to reading Copeland’s book.

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2 Responses to “Communicating Rocks…”

  1. cloudminder Says:

    Dear UD,
    have you used “she” like that before? I just noticed it and wondered.
    do you think the W word
    is the same as saying the N word
    Tom Brokaw said in yesterday’s gubernatorial debate that women think they are equivalent, do you? (btw, not sure how he compiled that data)

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    cloudminder: Yes, I think I’ve used “she” like that quite a bit on the blog.

    On W and N – yeah, I heard that part of the debate this morning … Yikes.

    Let me begin by quoting one of my favorite Monty Python lines:

    “He was a gentleman, Dinsdale, and what’s more he knew how to treat a female impersonator.”

    In these matters, where one goes to an actual woman for a response to a woman-related thing, I always feel like a female impersonator. But let’s trudge on…

    In my humble female impersonating opinion, the two words are not at all alike, the N word having a far greater nastiness and all-’round evil, even if it’s been adopted in all sorts of ironic ways in the last decade or so. The word has a specific history, a specific viciousness and capacity to wound, that whore just ain’t got. Whore, moreover, has taken on an all-purpose, rather innocuous aspect — He’s a publicity-whore, etc. — that I can’t imagine the N word assuming. (Maybe it has – I haven’t heard it.) I mean, “whore” is just sort of dissipating into bland general use, to mean low-down-and-willing-to-do-anything-for. As I say, it’s lost the surgical specificity the N word retains.

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