August 6, 2014

'Look at This!'


I love this idea: storytelling is nothing more than a collaboration between two people, one pointing something out and the other looking.  It changes the way you think about what you include.  Setting becomes more important, and you think about pointing to the outside versus the inside. 

Pinker's answer builds on the work of two language scholars, Mark Turner and Francis-Noël Thomas, who label their approach "joint attention". Writing is a modern twist on an ancient, species-wide behaviour: drawing someone else's attention to something visible. Imagine stopping during a hike to point out a distant church to your hiking companion: look, over there, in the gap between those trees – that patch of yellow stone? Now can you see the spire? "When you write," Pinker says, "you should pretend that you, the writer, see something in the world that's interesting, and that you're directing the attention of your reader to that thing."

 And there's a lot more interesting stuff he talks about. Read the whole article here.

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