Sunday, February 07, 2010

Mostly odd ends

I had a years-too-late realization that I don't have to work on the weekends. Meaning, it's okay not to touch my email, or other "action items" on my computer. And it's okay not to open the computer. So this weekend I finished reading a book that made me laugh aloud at this point:
Many years ago, when I was writing editorials for the New York Herald Tribune, the editor of the page was a huge and choleric man from Texas named L. L. Engelking. I respected him because he had no pretense and hated undue circling around a subject. Every morning we would all meet to discuss what editorials we would like to write for the next day and what position we would take. Frequently we weren't quite sure, especially the writer who was an expert on Latin America.

"What about that coup in Uruguay?" the editor would ask.

"I could represent progress for the economy," the writer would reply, "or then again it might destabilize the whole political situation. I supposed I could mention the possible benefits and then--"

"Well," the man from Texas would break in, "let's not go peeing down both legs."

It was a plea he made often, and it was the most inelegant advice I ever received. But over a long career of writing reviews and columns and trying to make a point I felt strongly about, it was also probably the best.

--William Zinsser, On Writing Well

1 comment:

  1. I laughed out loud too! Thanks.


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