Log in

No account? Create an account

Something Particularly Fine

Samuel Johnson once said "Read over your compositions, and where ever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out".

Like many people, I have had a lot of trouble swallowing that. In fact, I believe that the only people who have no problem with it at all are people who have never written anything particularly fine.

On the other hand, people who immediately dismiss it probably don't appreciate Samuel Johnson's stature as a man of letters. And they probably don't blog.

Blogging has given me a greater appreciation of Johnson's admonition. Long blog posts tend not to get read. I've had a hard time digesting that lesson myself. I have and probably will in the future make entries that are longer than the average web surfer wants to read. But I have learned to leave out things that I really want to include. The entry I made after Barbara Billingsley died comes to mind. There were a couple of nifty tidbits of Leave It To Beaver I wanted to include, but didn't. The point of the post was to compare her to Benoit Mandelbrot, whose death was relatively close to hers. The trivia would have just diluted that point.

There have been lots of other posts like that. I've left out interesting material either because it didn't fit or because the entry was getting too long.  So I am, in a way, following Johnson's advice. Actually, I'm following a modified version of that advice. I don't take out the well written parts. I leave out the interesting parts because they don't belong in that post.

But there is still a part of me that wants to rebel. I still want to write that interesting stuff. So during the month of November, I will be making posts I call "outtakes". They will contain links to earlier posts, and the material I wanted to include but feel like I couldn't. I've  allowed myself that rebellious luxury once before.