My name is Brenda Huettner, and I’m a technical communicator. Also a bit of a vagabond!
Vagabond: vag·a·bond n. A person without a permanent home who moves from place to place; a wanderer; a rover.
“Prince of Vagabonds” n. (Colloquial) The nickname for Harry A Franck, a popular and prolific travel author who published over 30 books during his lifetime.
As a contract technical communicator, I move around alot from company to company. I also find that I’m constantly moving around in other related fields (usability, project management, public relations, training, web design, accessibility, and more.) I’ve got a tiny publishing company (2 titles so far!) and I sometimes write books for other publishers. I participate as a volunteer for several organizations, including the STC and the IEEE/PCS. I’m principal, owner, writer, editor, and chief gopher for my company, P-N Designs, Inc. in Tucson Arizona.
The one unifying idea behind all my projects is communication–we are all trying to connect with one another (with varying levels of success!) and I am generally fascinated by the mechanisms we use to do this.
One of my favorite authors is Harry Franck. He published books in a time when people didn’t often stray far from their homes, and his books had two primary distinguishing features:
- He worked and lived and talked to the people of each place he visited, not just the tourist places and not just the rulers.
- He took a ton of photographs along the way, a huge innovation for the times! There’s a picture of a wood turner in Damascus in 1908, photos of the Panama Canal as it was being built; a portrait of an Eskimo mother and child from 1938; and thousands more spanning almost 50 years.
The lesson here for me? He used both text AND pictures to communicate, a lesson we’re all learning again as the World Wide Web becomes a dominant means of communication, and even things like cell phones and hand-held toys are increasing their capacity for multimedia delivery. Plus he was my husband’s grandfather, so I am lucky enough to have a large collection of his books, articles, and memorabilia. For example, here’s the “Royal Order of a Million Elephants and a White Parasol” given to Harry A. Franck by the King of Luang Prabang in 1924. A fine honor!
The Order of A Million Elephants and a White Parasol
See? Just in this short peice I’ve wandered all the way from technical communication to elephants and parasols. I’ve usually got a lot of projects going at once, and I hope that this blog will help me keep track of those projects and the other interesting things that pop up from time to time.
Sorry, comments are closed for this post.