Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The long and the short of it

It is not hard to make it seem as if you know that of which you write if you use long words- in the mind of some, they are signs of truth. Can all life be shrunk to words of one short sound? I'm not sure. The Word of God is, for the most part, a short one: Thou shalt not kill; Let there be light. Which is not to say that long words are just used in Hell. They turn up in board rooms, schools, blogs- in fact, all sorts of place where, as the quote says, one man speaks in the sleep of the rest.

It used to be good style to go to great lengths to find terms so that you did not use the same word twice on the same page. Such tricks are taught no more- most would choose to call a spade a spade, not a tool to dig soil with (or a tool with which to dig soil, as some would say was right). But this has a price- the clang-clang-clang of the one word can drive you mad, or at least take your mind off the sense while the sound grates and pounds.
Some who take up their pens will not mind. But those who read will!


Ariel said...

Martin, you definitely should have submitted an entry in the Chesterton Challenge. The seeming tension between lucidity and brevity is one that continues to haunt me.

martin said...

Well, I did, but Blogger ate my comment. Who'd have thought it?