Archive for January, 2009

Ventilated Prose

January 1, 2009

In the 1930s Buckminster Fuller (he of the domes, but also of many other things) was doing research for the Phelps Dodge Corporation. His boss could not read Fuller’s reports, but found them perfectly intelligible when read aloud by the author. Fuller thought he remedied the problem by breaking up the text in the same way he read it aloud. Though this made the written text readable, it was not acceptable: it looked like … eh, well, poetry, and the Phelps Dodge Corporation was not into poetry. As a compromise, Fuller called his text format “ventilated prose”. In this article I show examples of Fuller’s writing and report how I use it to get over “writer’s block” in my own practice.