Writer’s note: tag cloud as metaphor

He Said ~ She Said
He Said ~ She Said

Relationship Descriptor: His internal dialogue (and monologue) and hers are imagined as tag clouds, with individual words and phrases sized according the frequency that they appear in each (if not both) of their personal narratives of Life, the Universe and Everything. The largest words are those interests or concerns that are most often and importantly at focus behind the veil, if not in the conversations or attempts at consensus between these two characters.

What would it mean if the most prominent and therefore the largest words of his Tagcloud of Consciousness and Personhood are very very tiny on hers. Or missing entirely? This is really about “sets” of interest and importance. What if there is almost NO overlap between these importance-circles?

See dashed-line tagcloud as thought balloons, his and hers.

Related item concerning inter-gender communication: Gary Larsen cartoon, what we say to our pets versus what our pets hear.

“Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah TREAT!”

Husbands or wives: ever get the feeling…

ALSO SEE: Fred’s “Wordle” tag cloud for What We Hold In Our Hands: a Slow Road Reader

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. What it means is you learn to live with the fact that it’s only the love you have for each other that seems to be really shared…everything else is just conversation. At least as far as I can tell.

    And each of you ends up thinking you’ve made more changes than the other…But so what. It’s still the love that keeps you together.

  2. What an interesting post and concept! Thinking over what the tag clouds of my wife and I would look like is at once a sobering and confirming exercise.

    We have always been independent people, each pursuing our own interests, while at the same time sharing our relationship and family. We would have many big words in common, but many more different ones for each of us.

    It’s also interesting to think of what the tag clouds would look like for our children, particularly our 20-year-old daughter, who still lives with us. I suspect that all the things we say to her would be relatively small in comparison to what we think they are.

    I know there is plenty of mind-mapping software out there. Is there any to make a personal tag cloud?

  3. Wordle.com will let you paste any text you want, or enter your blog url–in your case, preferably some combination of writings that you hope my typify your center of focus–and process that into a tag cloud. I’m experimenting with entering 3-4 of each of my “varieties” within the new book to use as headers for excerpts from each topical area (garden and woodlot, children outdoors, sense of place, and such.)

  4. I fear that an exercise like this would be somewhat worse than walking on glass while drinking tacks and listening to Yani as an asteroid falls into the atmosphere heading directly for my jon boat.