Among Johndan's Texts

Among Texts
Michael J. Faris

drawing of a boy lying down and reading

I like to think that Johndan had a different orientation toward texts than most folks in our field do. He taught us to think differently about texts, about our encounters with texts, about what texts do and work, and about our own practices with texts.

My relationship with Johndan was mediated mostly through texts. I don't think I ever met him in person, despite him being a longtime friend and collaborator with my advisor, Stuart Selber. I first interacted with Johndan early in my MA program when blogs were becoming "hot." I had had a conversation with my mentor, Lisa Ede, and she suggested a book by him but couldn't remember the book's title. I wrote a note on my blog (I wrote down everything on the blog in 2005), and Johndan actually responded, providing me the title: Nostalgic Angels (Johnson-Eilola, 1997). It came to be a touchstone book for me.

What happens when we experience texts as the spaces we're within? The spaces that are moving within us? (Johnson-Eilola, 2012)

Hypertext was merely a metaphor, a set of suggestions for thinking about communication, for living in the world, of the necessity for (and unavoidability of) making and living with the consequences of connections among disparate forces. (Johnson-Eilola & Kimme Hea, 2003, p. 419)

Nearly 20 years after its publication, I still find Johndan's "Relocating the Value of Work: Technical Communication in a Post-Industrial Age" (1996a) to be one of the best ways to introduce graduate students to technical and professional communication (refer also to Johnson-Eilola & Selber, 2001).

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