Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Today's Deadline

I got nothin'.  I have nothing to write about today.  I refuse to write stream-of-consciousness details of my day. It would sound like some sort of Amish tweet. "I wast holy and gracious to the English this morn."  So  if I can't think of something interesting to write about.. I will just miss my deadline.  Really can't even think of one sentence to write.  I guess that is a sentence and I did write it, so you can probably disregard the first part as well.  

The trick to writing is writing, the physical act of coordinating your fingers to touch the correct computer keys to form this code we call written English language.  Most of the time a reader will assume you have something to say just because you made the effort to type it. A skillful writer can suck you in with the turn of the phrase and use of clever vocabulary. The juxtaposition of pondering and the integral nature of the alphabet can turn mere configuration of letters into an eloquent resonance of seemingly immense cerebral magnitude. It lets readers confuse talent and observation with the use of a good thesaurus. Another trick is to quote other people and piggy back on their intelligence by repeating it.  Like the penultimate gambler Amarillo Slim used to say, "Never explain as intellect what can be dismissed as stupidity."  It doesn't even matter if what the person said has any relevance to the thesis of your writing. It doesn't really matter if you even quote the source correctly. A good quote is worth a hour of trying to write something yourself. Or as Ben Franklin said, "A penny earned is minimum wage."

Another cunning device is the use of paragraphs.  The paragraph to a reader is like a squirrel to a dog.  It is a momentary distraction which hints that something exciting is about to happen when it is not.  And the paragraph is easy. It is just space, a couple of taps on the return key and you have added a line to your document. Longer documents are better documents.  Poets try to say it in the fewest words, to say it in the longest form is what people regard as writing. To a reader the number of words and the space they occupy on a page convey the notion that some thesis has been thoroughly worked out. 

The Peanuts musical taught us that when an essay is graded by the word, repeating words is a good idea. This is still a good idea even if you are not graded on the number.  The more words the better and repeating again and again is a great way to add words . Let me repeat that, repeating words is a good idea, a very, very, very, very good idea. Just try to space them up and not write the same thing over, and over, and over in the same sentence. The reader will catch on to that.. they will know that you are just trying to fill the space with repeats.  There is nothing more important to a writer than to remember never, never, never  and I mean never repeat your writing.  That is so important I will say it again, There is nothing more important to a writer than to remember never, never, never  and I mean never repeat your writing. 

If everything works like it is supposed to, the reader becomes involved in the devices you have used to sucker them in. The reader keeps waiting for the words to actually form a complete thought, to develop a thesis, to state a case.  But alas, by the time the reader realizes that they have been tricked into reading something with absolutely no meaning, it comes to you. The writer's "got nothin" just like he claimed in the beginning... but by then.... It is over.  
As you were,


Tom Crowl said...

"Because the hook brings you back..." John Popper - Blues Traveler

Aaron said...

Well this "sucker/reader" enjoyed today.

Bob Conrad said...

For somebody who had nothing to say you sure used a lot of words to it.

Gerry L said...

Just stopping in to say 'hi.' I've been watching Soap on Netflix streaming -- 2-3 episodes at a sitting. As I get near the end of the 4th season, the writing is not as sharp and the jokes are getting more slap-sticky, but I'm still laughing out loud at Chuck & Bob. Thanks for making me laugh all those years ago and again this year.