... COMMITTED TO THE CAUSE OF GOOD WRITING
‘Men will forgive a man anything except bad prose‘.
Winston Churchill is not my idol by a long shot but this is one quote of his I would love to highlight here in the context of my work. Often we find it the most arduous of tasks to write a simple, uncomplicated sentence! And more importantly to make it convey our message as succinctly as possible. We all know of the power of the perfect catchphrase, the sledgehammer effect of the quick-witted repartee and the zen mystique enclosed in the compact haiku poem.
It is not so much verbiage as the optimal play with the twenty six letters of the alphabet that makes the difference – the difference between business wins and setbacks, professional advancement and stagnation, intellectual stimulation and a bitter taste in the mouth. A well-written story, whatever be its length, is a work of pristine art. It is, to borrow from Keats, a thing of beauty and a joy forever. It informs, it entertains and it leaves a lasting impression on the reader. And it brings in its construction a whole cornucopia of reading and worldly wisdom into play.
Let us celebrate the marvel that clean writing epitomizes.
PS: Any aspirant writer would do well to check out the American Nobel Laureate Ernest Hemingway’s simple and terse writing style. I remember my first English teacher in college, Mr. P. Vijayakumar, telling the class about the vigor that the maestro brought to his prose by using incredibly short sentences. It nipped in the bud my misconceptions about effective writing.
One of the best books on writing I have come across is the prolific horror writer Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.
Translation is the most profound way of reading a work. Gregory Rabassa, one of the greatest practitioners of the craft, talks about it here.