Friday, January 14, 2005

Be Longer, but Without Spam

Today tastes like . . . toad. And moldy leaves. And kaolin clay. And rock salt. Going to the doc's this afternoon to get sorted back out. I can't go on like this.

“A short letter to a distant friend is, in my opinion, an insult like that of a slight bow or cursory salutation – a proof of unwillingness to do much, even where there is a necessity of doing something.” Samuel Johnson

Just thinking plus ca change when I ran across this quotation. My friends and I stay in touch via e-mail, ditto family, and then there’s all the lists I’m on. And the new way of things is that we cut to the chase, get to the point, make if brief. The new e-mail etiquette says to trim posts you’re responding to, and make your own point brief to the vanishing point. Don’t drop “me, too’s”—sit there in silent agreement, or add a little bead of your own to the discussion, but don’t write a long multi-paragraph post. Save that for your blog.

But at the same time, Blogger and some of the “How to Blog” books and articles warn about writing lengthy posts that alienate your viewers/readers/audience. Just a paragraph—maybe two. And make them pithy.

But if the writing is good, like Tequila Mockingbird or Gaping Void, I want to see more—I want to see not only what inspired the author to write the post, but to see around the edges and how the person is thinking. I’ve been known to go all the way back to the beginning of a particularly good read, and then write notes on a post-it bookmarking my stops so I don’t miss a thing. Hopefully I’ve provided some of the same quality of entertainment to you as I’ve opened up Pandora’s box and let the words come tumbling out.

I feel like I should close this post by taking off my wig and mask to reveal the simple actor on the stage, and turn, and recite some eloquent Shakespearean apology to you, the audience. “No, we’re not a bunch of mystical beings, we’re just poor slobs doing a job, and if you liked it, please give us some applause. Or better yet, money.”

I’ll try to be longer next week.

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