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Writers aren't people exactly. Or, if they're any good, they're a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person. It's like actors, who try so pathetically not to look in mirrors. Who lean backward trying - only to see their faces in the reflecting chandeliers.
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald


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Picture Books


When I was very young, the notion of reading a book without pictures was absurd. Pictures delighted me. It added to the experience. It made the characters more real to me.

When I got older, pictures books were a childish thing. I read the long tomes, pages of endless black and white, letters left to right and top to bottom, all neatly aligned in the correct margins.

The older I get, the more I crave picture books. It's probably prompted by the re-awakening of my right brain after years of left-brained programming activity. But I suspect there's more to it than that. You see, you like picture books too.

Oh sure, you can hike your nose in the air at the my belief but I will prove it to you.

Answer this: at work, would you rather have the white paper discussing the project at hand or the PowerPoint presentation with pictures and flowcharts? ("Neither" is not a choice...)

Okay okay... so your project is not fiction (well, maybe it is, depending on how many milestones the project has missed). I'll give you that a comparison of a child's picture book to the Nyquil-equivalent technical white paper from work are not on par with each other, but look at the image above...

If I looked at you and said the word, "pleasure," would you have thought of well-worn blue jeans and bare feet in the cool grass on a summer day?

Nope. Not a chance.

But that's what I was thinking. That was how I wanted to convey "pleasure" to you. And I did it in a fraction of the time that words would have taken.

Bloggers routinely put images with their blog posts to "spice it up" - to make their words more attractive. Let's face it - most blogs are picture books.

So c'mon, admit it. You're among friends here. You can say that you like picture books, too.

I think we emphasize verbal vocabulary over visual virtuosity. Verbose v. visual. In the marketplace, verbose wins. Look at all the books on expanding your word power.

So my question to you: what's your mental image for "pleasure?" (Trust me - I have one like that too, but this is a family-friendly web site.) How many ways can you convey "pleasure" via pictures?

Me, I paint and that has helped me quite a bit reacquaint with this part of myself. You might not be an artist... but everyone has a digital camera. Why not think up how to best convey "pleasure" and then arrange the shot and take the picture?

Really... why not?

Practice building your visual prowess in addition to verbal prowess. Both are ways of communicating. But I guarantee, you'll have a much surer audience if you can get some measure of skill with creating images. You'll hold the attention of your audience longer for the time that it takes to communicate your message.

So once a week, pick a word and build the scene and take the shot.


by Brett Rogers, 10/8/2007 9:04:08 PM


Brett, I really think you hit on something here. The work I do is pretty much text only. I always thought I wasn't creative enough to do anything artistic and I was really bad in art class. In fact, I had an art teacher yell at me in 1st grade for the colors I chose. So yeah, I can't draw or paint but I can take pictures. In the past year, I've become a camera nut and though I'm not good at taking photos yet, I'm working on it. I love looking at and sharing my photos and looking at other people's photos. I plan on treating myself to a new Nikon D40 and some photography classes for Christmas.



Posted by Annette (, 10/9/2007 1:15:35 PM

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