Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ya don't say!

My favorite book of all time is the dictionary, followed by the thesaurus and a synonym book I had to buy in 1975 for honors English class, long before it became known as “language arts”. Writing may be an art form, but like all good dishes of any kind, too much spice and sauce can’t hide poorly cooked pasta.

My husband knows that I won’t cook something which has a long list of ingredients. I won’t read a comic strip that has more words in the block than picture space, and I don’t like deadwood filler in my son’s academic papers. My high school English teachers were exceptional and our experience with writing and composition far different than what is taught today. With only an electric typewriter, paper, a plastic template inserted to line up footnotes, and some correction fluid, our version of cut and paste meant you wanted to cut your throat and eat paste each time a typo occurred. We learned to say what we had to say in a simple, direct and with a to-the-point perspective because Ms. F had a hundred papers to read and if you had deadwood filler in there…….public humiliation was par for the course. None of this self esteem crap. Red pens ruled!

As I come upon my one year anniversary of this blog, well…okay that would be Nov. 15th officially in case any of you whopping 19 readers even care, it is time to reflect upon what purpose Snarky Art has served to me or anybody else. Since we are all so busy and constantly bombarded with electronic media that mesmerize our minds and demand our attention, my intent with this site was to make what I write simple, direct and to the point just as Ms. F demanded.

Words can be like a Chinese menu, the old cliché of choosing one from column A or one from column B even though (like Mexican food) it is all the same stuff just listed in a different order. So what follows is my version of the expression selection. Decide for yourself which tastes better. I am sure some would consider this a choice between fast food or fine dining, but when one eats to live rather than living to eat, a quick digestion of the facts is all that is needed.

Mundane or sublunary; nice or fastidious; radiant or effulgent; enticement or inveiglement; (these are all synonyms by the way….) learning or erudition; assurance or effrontery ….okay, you get the idea. This is not the ACT’s or the Readers Digest word power page. I especially like inveiglement! Perhaps I can be inveigled into eating that brownie still on the counter. If tell someone I was inveigled today, they might advise me to call the doctor. My point is that as much as we all should and can value the richness of our language, to be overly clement could just lead to a state of confusion. (Which some of our youth probably think lies someplace west of Nebraska).
“It has often been said
there’s so much to be read,
you never can cram
all those words in your head.

So the writer who breeds
more words than he needs
is making a chore
for the reader who reads.

That's why my belief is
the briefer the brief is,
the greater the sigh
of the reader's relief is.

And that's why your books
have such power and strength.
You publish with shorth!
(Shorth is better than length.)"
— Dr. Seuss

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