Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Too Many Words

'Axe, cut, compress, condense, decrease, delete, drop, eliminate, eradicate, excise, hone, lop, pare, prune, reduce, remove, revise, rewrite, sharpen, slash, streamline, tighten, trim, whittle. … Two dozen words to remind us that we almost always write too many words.'
-- Theodore A. Rees Cheney, author of Getting the Words Right: How to Revise, Edit, and Rewrite

6 Comments:

At 8:40 PM, Blogger steveg said...

Came across this Bukowski poem and I thot of this post.

defining the magic

a good poem is like a cold beer
when you need it,
a good poem is hot turkey
sandwich when you’re
hungry,
a good poem is a gun when
the mob corners you,
a good poem is something that
allows you to walk through the streets of
death,
a good poem can make death melt like
hot butter,
a good poem can frame agony and
hang it on a wall,
a good poem can let your feet touch
China,
a good poem can make a broken mind
fly,
a good poem can let you shake hands
with Mozart,
a good poem can let you shoot craps
with the devil
and win,
a good poem can do almost anything,
and most important
a good poem knows when to
stop.

 
At 9:53 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks, Steve. This made me smile. And by the way (I meant to write about this but haven't yet), did you see that movie they made of Bukowski's life? It's called "Factotum." I happened to catch it in the fall at the Cedar-Lee, and found it interesting, if depressing. The guy certainly was messed up, but it all made for a not uninteresting movie. Unfortunately, I don't think Matt Dillon's modest acting abilities were quite up to the complexity of the material.

 
At 10:20 AM, Blogger steveg said...

I missed it at Cedar-Lee. Was supposed to check it out with MilesB. However, it was just released on DVD and I'm number 23 on the Cleveland Public Library que.

 
At 10:46 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I figured you might be on top of that, Steve. Drop me a line after you've seen it. I'll be curious about your take on it. Not to bias you, but I found it almost comically dark. But then, the guy certainly did live quite a heavy life.

 
At 7:27 PM, Blogger steveg said...

Not to beat a dead horse (tho I think I may fancy beating dead horses since they won't move much, they won't suffer, and as my arm gets tired, the softer blows would be as effective as the full brunt; but I digress). Found yet another appropriate Hank Chuck Buk poem called "As the Poems Go."
Just the last stanza:

the best writers have said very
little
and the worst,
far too much.

Picked up Factotum book yesterday and finished last nite. Not his best work, but I have copied a couple portions for my journal.

 
At 10:28 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I dig that last stanza. How very true that is...

 

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