You Got Style
· Pointed Takes on Style Delineated ·
April 28, 2004
· Math and Lit By Artful Dodging ·
I'm in such a quandry because, as Mr. Buchanan claims, the rational world of math and the analogical world of lit are together cut from the same pattern, with technology and text — ratio and analogy — being "necessary reciprocals." Although I'm in fact a bit skeptical, I understand his point — one even made implicitly by his rivals.
Take James E. Miller, Jr., for example:
Now Miller has it right, of course — and we shouldn't really encircle his odd numbers — but it is ironic that in defending linguistic imprecision he leans so on the language of music and mathematics. It's as though of necessity his textual substance here begs for support technological style. What he really needs, maybe, is the more artful linguistic aid of my helpful friend Odd, The Norwegian Mathematician.Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
April 21, 2004
· Laughter and the Love of Friends ·
It's just that Saturday night we had a special evening, a feast hosted by long-time friends of our future in-laws. The memorable image of the enduring love among couples there we might someday recall as the presence in microcosm of the wedding itself.
Here's what we found ourselves writing to the feted couple:
What I think we really meant to say was better marked in Hilaire Belloc's famous "Dedicatory Ode":
We think all might be glad to learn today that the pair have just bought their first home. May friends and family fill it now with love and laughter.Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
April 13, 2004
· Good, Better, Best ·
With those words, I have long asked my English students to pass critical judgment on three short passages included below. A colleague years ago introduced me to the helpful classroom exercise, and my mother — everyone should have one so judicious — to my chosen criteria: "Good, Better, Best," she said: "Never let it rest, till your good is better and your better best."
Good, Better, Best Since La Rochefoucauld once remarked that "everyone complains of his memory, none of his judgment," my students typically disagree on their styleful choices, but after brief discussion they come at last to some agreeable consensus. Today I thought to share my exercise. You might even be willing to share your own opinions:
Naturally, Mom — paleo-matriarch that she was — could have nixed my final pronoun here, but she might also have overlooked, I think, such obviously politically-incorrect behavior. Of course, I'll leave that substantive judgment to you. It's judicious style I'm after now.Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
April 7, 2004
· The Art of Solace ·
Last Friday night at her latest opening she drew many who declared, over wine and hors d'oeuvres, how she'd hit the artistic equivalent of a grand slam. She sold all but one of her new art works. But as the title of her show makes clear, "Solace" is in fact her larger interest, and I thought to say so here by sharing her "Artist's Statement":
"Broken and Mended" is but a sample of her art, yet more to the point is the quiet substance of her style. Note how in three short paragraphs she moves deftly from a personal to impersonal vision, from "My works" to "one finds." Then focusing on elemental things inbetween, she gives precise meaning to the subtle use of the passive voice: "are intended," "are juxtaposed, cut or torn, layered and reworked," are assembled," "are woven." We feel wrapped in the warm embrace of truth and beauty, goodness, solace, and (perhaps) soul.
As I was saying, if baseball just doesn't work for you today, maybe give art a chance tomorrow.Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
April 1, 2004
· My Foolish Old Baseball Passions ·
Yet here, alas, I'm somewhat off in my old swing and stance — for opening-day baseball at least. I mean April 1st seems already that day to me, so I'm just waiting foolishly for my real baseball passions to appear.
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Math and Lit By Artful Dodging
Laughter and the Love of Friends
Good, Better, Best
The Art of Solace
My Foolish Old Baseball Passions
Figures & Tropes
Grammar & Syntax