Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Garage, the Public Library

Not much in the way of research today. I had to have something done on my car, and it took quite a long time. While I was waiting, I had a trip to the public library, and got several books. One of them was on blogging, and it wasn't a great help to be honest, so I won't name it because I don't recommend it. I also got Clueless in Academe. I can't remember what one is supposed to think about it, so I'll see what I think on my own. I got a couple of books about painting, including Betty Edwards's Drawing on the Artist Within. I suppose it's a bit dated, and maybe been repudiated in the years since it was published. But that's all right. There must be something useful in it.

I rather liked this bit, to start off with. It's actually from Strunk and White's The Elements of Style (1955), cited on page 130 of Edwards's book:

Omit needless words.
Place yourself in the background.
Revise and rewrite.
Do not overwrite.
Do not overstate.
Do not affect a breezy manner.
Be clear.
Write in a way that comes naturally.
Work from a suitable design.
Make sure the reader knows who is speaking.

Not all of these things are easy to do, especially when you're trying to do them all at once. But it's a very good ideal for which to strive.

N.B.: I don't know if this actually is in Strunk and White, as described. Must get a copy, at some point.