A Good Thing

Whoever gets a wife gets a good thing, and has the approval of the Lord.

Proverbs 18:22

It’s easy to take the person you love for granted. Sometimes all the things they do go unnoticed, or, at least, unacknowledged. Sometimes we get downright hostile to the people who care for us the most. That’s usually because we know we’re not living up to the love they’ve invested in us.

Continue reading “A Good Thing”

There are no tricks in good writing

Here’s a link to the article under discussion today: Apple Is Getting Desperate in the Mobile Arena – PCWorld Business Center (via Gruber)

“In short, Apple may always have its share of fans among consumers who don’t mind living in its “walled garden,” but there’s no way it can compete in the market as a whole with the diverse, compelling and powerful platform that is Android.”

Okay, anyone who knows me will know how wholeheartedly I disagree with this statement. I think iOS is the most advanced computing platform on the planet. And I consider my iPhone the most important piece of technology I’ve ever owned.

But that’s not what really bothers me about this quote. What bothers me is the closing phrase “… platform that is Android.”

Oh, nothing gets my hackles up quite like lazy and uninteresting writing. And phrases like “that is X” just epitomize lazy, uninteresting writing.

Inverting the sentence structure isn’t necessarily grammatically wrong. And I wouldn’t really be coming down with my grammar hammer if it was a faulty construction. What bothers me about this construction is that it uses a cheap trick to add unmerited weight to a statement.

If, in this example, Android is a diverse, compelling and powerful platform (which, I’ll grant, it is), simply state it. If you want to state it forcefully, do so. But when you are making your argument, fight fair. Use the real tools of the writing trade — imagery, metaphor, well-chosen words and turns of phrase.

The primary goal of all writing is communication. Playing with sentence structure is a shortcut that ultimately undermines communication. When I take the time to read someone’s writing, I’m making a commitment. What I ask in return is that the writer engage, entertain and inform me.

Reading and writing are ways that human beings connect with each other. We exchange ideas, share passions and debate points of view using these written words as our instruments.

Writers must respect this connection.

Absolved, not pardoned

It seems silly to say out loud, but I have a fear of the present.

Everything in my life is centered on what’s going to happen. I’m putting everything off. What am I waiting on? I don’t know. Every idea I have, every hope and dream is simply something else that’s waiting.

For.

What?

There’s no guarantee any of the things I’m planning will ever come to pass. And, for the most part, I have no control over whether or not they do.

What I can control is me. Myself. My reaction to this very moment. And what am I doing? Predominantly nothing.
Because nothing is happening yet. So I’m absolved from acting. But this absolution doesn’t pardon me.

I should suffer no self-delusion, nor abide any excuse for the utter waste of time my life is becoming. Free-will, squandered in the meaningless pursuit of entertainment, is a far worse fate than predestination. To squander opportunity is to murder your dreams.

Even in the moments between the moments that change our lives, there’s a germ of opportunity waiting to be exploited; time remains at its post, waiting to see if I’ll use every second I’m granted to inch that much closer to a destiny, a calling, a dream.

So what am I doing right now? Am I waiting for life to happen, or am I actively becoming the person I was meant to be?

Letters of Note

A fascinating new site devoted to letters, notes and other correspondence of historical or cultural significance. Initial entries include a letter from FDR to the commissioner of baseball, the Lindbergh ransom note and an achingly beautiful note written by Churchill, to be delivered to his wife in the event of his death.

Letters of Note