Reshaping Technical Communication: New Directions and Challenges for the 21st Century

By Barbara Mirel | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
11

Tales of Brave Ulysses
RUSSELL BORLAND
Microsoft Corporation

“There are no truths, Coyote, ” I says. “Only stories. ”

—Thomas King, 1993, p. 43

Let us sit down together and tell each other pretty stories.

In the beginning there was nothing. Just the paper.

First Woman was walking along. That one walked among many trees. First Woman saw all that paper in those trees. She walked until she came to a tree that had been scorched by lightning. “Poor tree, ” mused First Woman aloud. “Yes, ” said that tree, “I've been turned into charcoal. ” “Charcoal, ” wondered First Woman, “Maybe I could mark some paper from those other trees with this charcoal. ” First Woman took a piece of charcoal from that scorched tree. She took some paper from a paper tree. First Woman began to write on that paper with that charcoal. She wrote about all the features of the forest, about all the rocks, about all the streams, and bogs, and high points.

First Woman looked up from her writing and saw a man dressed in a forest ranger uniform. “Who are you?” asked First Woman. “I'm Mitch, the forest ranger. I built this forest. It's mine, and I deserve all the credit for it. ” “Boy, ” said First Woman, “you must have no relations. You have bad manners. ” But Mitch just shouted, “What's that paper!” Then he grabbed the paper from First Woman and read it, about all the features of the forest. Mitch scowled and said, “You left out the sky. You left out the fish and the birds and the insects and the forest animals. I went to a lot of trouble getting these features developed. Unless you describe every feature in every detail, advanced foresters will never see what a wonderful achievement I've had. This is all wrong!”

-189-

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