Minimalist website about me

Posted   –  1 minute to read

Jerome Bruner says hi

Originally posted on my personal Tumblelog in 2016.

Jerome Bruner died this week aged 100. He was an elegant writer with an insatiable curiosity and intellectual openness. His thinking influenced (even shaped) cognitive psychology, education, law, narrative theory and more.

Check out his obituary in the New York Times and the Washington Post as well as this piece at The Atlantic to get a better idea.

I was introduced to his writings on narrative and cognition while working on a now abandoned thesis. In particular, I really liked his book Acts of Meaning and an essay called “The Narrative Construction of Reality”.

At the time (2007 onwards) I was looking at how narratives presented in Twitter and if they could be used to pull together related conversation threads. Mostly I was excited about Twitter as an autobiographical machine.

Anyway, in 2009 I saw that Bruner was still on the faculty at NYU. On a whim, I sent him an email with a splurge of poorly formed ideas based around his writing.

On the very same night, he replied back to me (he was in his 90s at this point!) with the following kind words:

From: Jerome S Bruner
Sent: Tue 21/07/2009 2:17 a.m.
To: Andrew Long
Subject: Re: Life is tweet.

Dear Mr. Long:

Thanks for those thoughtful reflections on self-defining narratives. It’s a rich topic and I hope you’ll go on pursuing it. I’m delighted that my writings have been of some help to you.

Best wishes.

I printed this out and stuck it on my office wall for inspiration. Sadly it wasn’t quite enough to get me there.

Next time!