08 December 2007

Synchronicity, Serendipity.

It doesn't qualify as synchronicity; it hadn't yet happened when I last posted here.

But it is a very agreeable thing, discovered purely by chance, and highly relevant to the topic; therefore, without question, serendipitous.

Suzette Haden Elgin, Ph.D. is a writer whose work I have admired from the moment I first read her science fiction short story "For the Sake of Grace", more than 30 years ago.

I still have my original copy of the anthology in which it appeared. It has lost none of its power in the intervening years ....

She is a linguist, poet, songwriter, fiction writer, the author of "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" [now a series] and How to Turn the Other Cheek and Still Survive in Today's World" - among many many other books, short stories, and professional articles.

She is also a woman of faith and courage, intelligence, perception, wit and grace, and, in my opinion, one of this - and the last - century's most insightful teachers regarding the use of language as a tool of manipulation and abuse.

She does not merely know, she feels the connection between language and thought, rhetoric and manipulation, emphasis and distortion in all types of verbal interactions; and all that she perceives is clearly and thoughtfully explained.

What she writes, when you read, you remember.

Dr. Elgin, in fact, is the primary influence on my own thinking in this area. She is the mentor I have never met, the teacher I have never seen, writing about the very things that most confused and concerned me. For my own understanding of the machinations of abuse, I am indebted first and foremost to her.

She taught me how to recognize and understand presuppositions, hidden messages, subtle verbal 'baiting', the Satir modes of communication [Blaming, Distracting, Computer, etc.]. Her writing gave me a conceptual framework into which I could fit what I learned from other authors on abuse and codependence, and thus helped me demystify my own experiences.

She has not only a Web page, but a blog. It's a symposium, in the original sense; a true open-air market of ideas large and small.

There, at this moment, people are discussing how one deals with rudeness in cyberspace.

Serendipity indeed.


Anonymous Jordie said...

WOW, thanks stormchild for posting these links. I was not at all familiar with this author, although I had seen some of her fiction in our local Christian bookstore.

As a survivor of religious/spiritual abuse I am very interested in her take on language and its use in power plays and manipulation. I must get hold of her book on verbal self-defense. Boy, do I need that at the moment.

Thanks for this post.


12 December, 2007 20:16  

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