Wednesday 26 May 1999


Pic of the day: Another Daggerpicture. The kingdom of Daggerfall consists mainly of wilderness, much of it lightly forested. (In other provinces, other terrains may dominate.) For convenience, the player can click on any human habitation or known ruin, and instantly move there without using real time. Nice as this is, sometimes I like to travel through the forest, enjoying my micro-vacation in a virtual world that has its own "painted realism". Seeing through the eyes of my character, I can look around freely, following the falling snowflakes with my eyes and run zigzag between the trees. -Of course, you can do that in Real Life too, and the graphics are better. I do that too. But I like the vacation element of this game. I never play to win it, only to enjoy it. Oh well, I'm probably not going to win Real Life either. At least not until the reload feature is implemented.

At work today, we barely managed to get the big file ready on time. Beat the clock by less than ten minutes, which is probably more luck than skill, since we had never run this actual program before. I do have some feeling for these things, but not so accurate. Anyway, one more milestone passed.

Lately, I've been pondering my language. Or rather, my use of it. My writing style. When I write fiction, I often use an active and fluid style: Personal pronouns abound. Short sentences change with long ones, and the same goes for words. I build my sentences on verbs, and write simply in past or present. Mostly. However, when I write non-fiction, or world-building chunks of fiction, I assume a quite different style. Now my sentences run on and on, often convoluted by branching thoughts contained within larger ones, all in the same statement. Additionally, I tend to flex my vocabulary muscles, substituting unfamiliar or even archaic synonyms at the slightest opportunity. Not to mention polysyllables. I wonder how this all must look for people who don't have a particular Talent for reading.

Yes, there is a Talent for reading. Just like some people seem to be born to dyslexia, or word-blindness, some of us are cut out for hyperlexia. It may be part of a larger talent for language, or something in the way our eyes move. But we easily parse not only sentences, but also compound words. We can retain different details of meaning at the same time, so we keep the larger picture while we pick up the details. It helps to be highly intelligent, but it is not the same thing.

So, lately I have wondered: What would happen if a normal reader somehow happened to find my web journal? Would he or she be able to make sense of it at all? What about people who do not have English as their first language? Perhaps I scare people off because I like to play in my bath of words and kick up a lot of foam. For I am not writing just to satisfy my writing urge. I do that too, a lot, but not here. Trust me, I would not use Internet File Transfer Protocol to satisfy myself. There are easier ways.

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