DailyAfirmation (dailyafirmation) wrote,

Outside of one's self, and the technical writing profession...

There she goes, off on a Tangent™ in halycon_sting's journal, reminded me that just the other day (I wish I could remember where and when), I observed myself from outside of myself. This is so important to do, and do often. But, it's hard to get out of the moment to get started.

Robert read this in a "preview" version of my blog, and wasn't sure what I meant by it. Really, it's just a technique to enable, or facilitate, self-awareness.

An example comes to mind from a "scene" at the bar last night. (Of course, it's always easier to see how other people can do these things. The challenge is to do it for yourself, on yourself, which I try to do. But like I said, it's hard to think about getting out of the moment when you're in it.)

So this guy, we'll call him, well, "Guy," is talking to my friend Joe. For an hour, every time I look over at them, Guy is talking - and very animatedly at that -- and my friend Joe is smiling and nodding, and sometimes laughing.

After about that much time, I start wondering if my friend Joe needs "rescuing," as it looked like he was never getting a chance to talk.

So I stand in a place where I can "catch Joe's eye," and once I finally do, I curl my finger at him, intimating, "Come here when you get a chance."

I then observe for just a few more minutes, until it's obvious it isn't going to happen, while Joe searches for an opportunity to interrupt Guy and say something like, "I'll be right back. My friend just summoned me over."

Even when I go to say goodbye to Joe, and tap him on the shoulder to get his attention (while being in the line of sight of Guy), he does not stop talking. Joe has to finally just turn away from him, while he's still talking, to acknowledge me.

So, if Guy was practicing this "observing one's self outside of one's self," he would have been having a conversation something like this one going on in the back of his head:

"How long have I been talking?"

"Oh, he just looked away for a moment. I wonder what that means."

"I asked a question, and Joe responded, 'Yeah, when I was in x situation I did that,' and I jumped right back in and said, 'Oh, I've been in that kind of situation, too,' and took right off for another 10 minutes of talking."

"Oh, Joe just looked away again. I wonder what he was looking at. That's the second time. I didn't check to see, though. Didn't the last time either." (And had he, he would have seen me motioning to Joe to come over.)

"Joe's nodding and smiling, and sometimes laughing. I must be interesting. Or, maybe, he's just polite. Maybe I should stop talking for a little bit, and see if he picks up the conversation, or if he needs a break from me or something."

"Oh, his friend is trying to say goodbye, and I'm still talking."

One of the reasons this self-observation is difficult is that it requires two conversations going on at once in your mind. It can be very interesting and educational, though.

I wish I could remember where this happened to me the other day. It was something to the effect of "I wonder what this (what I'm saying or doing) looks like (or sounds like) to other people when I'm doing (saying) this. It could mean this, or it could mean that. I wonder if there's a way I could do it differently that would make it clear that it means what I want it to mean."

Anyway, it made me think about how I was coming across, and if I could be doing it more effectively.

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure
A year in the life?

In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights
In cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.

How do you measure the life of the Technical Writing profession? I can't quite put my finger on it, but the fact that an 82-year old technical writer has died, and technical writing is so noted in his obituary, says something about the profession -- something about it having history, about it being established, and about it being recognized.

REALTOR, Technical Writer Robert Coppedge, 82, of Raleigh, passed away Thursday, January 19, 2006, at Mayview Convalescent Center.
Bob was born in Wichita, Kansas, to George Luther and Mary Falls Coppedge. He graduated from Newton, KS, High School and attended Emory University for one year before enlisting in the Army Air Corps where he earned both Bombardier and Navigation Wings. Bob served as a Bombardier Instructor in B-24's, training over 250 bombardiers and achieving the rank of Captain.

At the end of World War II, he returned to Emory University and graduated with a degree in journalism. After graduation, he worked for the Augusta Herald as editor in charge of the Aiken County, SC, news bureau. He then joined the Atomic Energy Commission, Savannah River Plant, SC, and later was transferred to AEC Headquarters in Washington, DC. While at AEC, he wrote technical and non-technical speeches and articles about the development and operation of reactors for civilian nuclear power plants; nuclear power for maritime ships, naval ships and submarines; the possibility of rocket propulsion by nuclear power; and auxiliary power for satellites.

After retiring from AEC in 1976, Bob owned his own real estate company in Potomac, MD. He later joined a major real estate company as a trouble-shooting manager for their 57 offices and retired again in 1994.

Bob was active in the Potomac, MD, and Raleigh Rotary Clubs and was a member of the Edenton Street United Methodist Church.
He is survived by his wife, Winifred Walker Coppedge; a daughter, Caryn Coppedge McNeill and her husband, Dr. John W. McNeill; grandchildren, John W. McNeill, Jr., Alexander W. McNeill and Jane T. McNeill, all of Raleigh; daughter-in- law, Lisa Kimes Coppedge of Hagestown, MD.

He was predeceased by brothers, George L. Coppedge and Raymond L. Coppedge and his son, Craig Robert Coppedge.

A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Sunday, January 22, 2006 at Edenton Street United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends in the church parlor after the service. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA, at a later date.

Memorials may be made to the Edenton Street United Methodist Church, 228 West Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC, 27603, or to the charity of one's choice.

Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, Saint Mary's St. Condolences may be made through wwwbrownwynne.com

Robert and I ate at K&W tonight. It seems I get a yearning for that place when I'm not feeling well. Sort of like a place to get a "home cooked" meal.

Dancing was okay tonight. Not feeling well, I had to beg off dozens of hugs, and I ended up dancing most of the dances, but only half of most of them.

Van had our Bake Sale poster ready, and it looks great!

At home, we had a bowl of ice cream, and did a crossword puzzle before lights out.

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