Friday, December 16, 2005

Thoughts on Writing

One of the parts of my job that I dislike is the requirement that we have that we document all of our knowledge. I guess I just don’t like technical writing. Which is something for me to keep in mind when I look into changing jobs. Technical writing is just a form of writing with about the least amount of autonomy one can find. It always has to conform to some form or another. Personally, I think people in the tech industry get too hung up on that but I guess ultimately it makes it easier for the people who have to actually use the documentation which is, after all, the point of it. I still don’t like writing it.

I do like other forms of writing though. I occasionally write bad poetry full of clichés and such and I really like writing that although I would prefer to write good poetry. I have written only one or two good poems in my whole life. I wrote one when I was a senior in high school and I had a creative writing class. The class went on a field trip to downtown Ann Arbor and our assignment was to write a “catalog poem” where we wrote what we saw almost in a list form. I was out sick that day.

The weekend before, though, I had spent an evening with some friends at a park in Grosse Pointe. And I still remember some of what I saw: Lovers holding hands as they walked under street lights, a freighter’s lights out on the lake, a wedding at the War Memorial building. There were crickets singing and the occasional car going past on Lake Shore Drive.

I remember that wedding the best. We stood outside in our Brooks Brother’s Oxford shirts which were all the rage fashion-wise with my group of friends for some reason. There was a yellow pool of light on the ground to our right. It had crisscross patterns from the shadows of the window panes. Inside we could see people dancing and we could hear the sounds of a very elegant string quartet playing a waltz while the people inside danced and laughed.

And the bride! She was just a dream in one of those fluffy dresses that were common then. She was a Calla Lily waltzing in a bouquet of roses and carnations. Inside, the room was filled with light and laughter and family and love.

Outside, three bored teenagers stood looking.

It is funny how that one moment has stuck with me for so long. I don’t know why really. I don’t even remember the name of one of the two people I was with and lost track of the other over 15 years ago. But that poem I wrote about it was great. Even my mother, who was hyper critical of everything I did at the time liked it. I don’t know what happened to it. When the time came for our class to publish our poems in a teenaged literary magazine, my teacher asked me to bring it back it but it was gone. I never found it and never could remember quite what I wrote. (And part of me knows that is probably a good thing because at least this way, I can remember it better than it probably actually was).


Anonymous said...

what a great memory. i could almost imagine myself there with you, thats how well you described it. technical writing is not for you!

Jessica said...

I agree. Sometimes I hate being a technical writer.