Tag Archives: writing

George Orwell on writing: Six little rules…

George Orwell on writing, from Politics and the English Language.  Good rules to write by for everyone, including Waubonsee students:

(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.

(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

George Orwell on writing: Johnson: Those six little rules | The Economist.

The Great American Novel: We’ve been looking for one since the 1860s. Why?

The concept of the GAN (Great American Novel) seems to have been born in the late 1860s. In an 1868 TheNation essay, Civil War veteran John William DeForest—himself an aspiring GAN-ist—described the GAN as “the picture of the ordinary emotions and manners of American existence,” a work that painted “the American soul.”

The Great American Novel: Fitzgerald, Wharton, Morrison on the search. – Slate Magazine.

Guilt Through Algorithmic Association

 

 

You’re a 16-year-old Muslim kid in America. Say your name is Mohammad Abdullah. Your schoolmates are convinced that you’re a terrorist. They keep typing in Google queries likes “is Mohammad Abdullah a terrorist?” and “Mohammad Abdullah al Qaeda.” Google’s search engine learns. All of a sudden, auto-complete starts suggesting terms like “Al Qaeda” as the next term in relation to your name. You know that colleges are looking up your name and you’re afraid of the impression that they might get based on that auto-complete. You are already getting hostile comments in your hometown, a decidedly anti-Muslim environment. You know that you have nothing to do with Al Qaeda, but Google gives the impression that you do. And people are drawing that conclusion. You write to Google but nothing comes of it. What do you do?

This is guilt through algorithmic association…

via danah boyd | apophenia

Writers and their Libraries

 

 

There’s a long tradition of writers writing about their libraries. Some of the first modern essays—by Michel de Montaigne and Sir Francis Bacon—are on that very subject. Among more recent publications, you might enjoy Anne Fadiman’s collection Ex Libris or Larry McMurtry’s Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen. The trouble with people writing about their libraries is, well, every writer has one. It’s like writing about your left hand. Or your M.F.A. program. But McMurtry is a special case. If he had never written Lonesome Dove or The Last Picture Show, he would be famous—at least among collectors—as one of the country’s most respected dealers in used and rare books. When he writes about his library, he always has something interesting to say.

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via Paris Review Daily