You Got Style
· Pointed Takes on Style Delineated ·
May 24, 2005
· Wherein Some Administrative Rubber Meets the Pedagogical Road ·
So here's a draft of a memo I edited some time back, one marking the score in a classic game between school administrators and college teachers. It happily suggested itself to me just now. You'll see its point in the end, but note first my play among dark words (text originals),
Just imagine what I can still hear in these dialectical alternatives to what our committee in fact discussed. Unfortunately, that old dialogue — as you might now guess — is almost wholly unprintable.Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
May 16, 2005
· For the Mind's Ear: On the Harmonies of Style ·
In "The Harmony of Prose" from his book Style, F. L. Lucas focuses on the topic. He denotes it, musically speaking, in heard stresses. As Lucas claims, "the sound and rhythm of English prose seem to me matters where both writers and readers should trust not so much to rules as to their ears." He cites even Flaubert to the effect that "a good style must meet the needs of the respiration."
In illustrating as much, Lucas focuses on word order, "which concerns both rhythm and clarity alike. . . . Just as the art of war largely consists of deploying the strongest forces at the most important points, so the art of writing depends a good deal on putting the strongest words in the most important places." As Lucas claims, they are often at the end. To illustrate, he cites a short passage from Alexander Bain, revising it for better, more pointed stress. His improvements are marked in this
Lucas's stresses give marked, italicized substance to Swift's famed dictum about "proper words in proper places," and with that in mind, consider an example I've just made, one adducing, on a separate page, the still subtler stresses of my own recent music teaching. Do enjoy.Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
May 8, 2005
· Nature's Double Bill, Locally and Stylishly Displayed ·
It's of course the old life-death theme; for you should have seen the dog-fight of a Merlin chasing a small Western Sandpiper Friday. Even at telescopic distance, it was like no aerial ballet I had seen. Much like the mother-birders on our boardwalk, I was rooting, myself, for the sandpiper.
But then Saturday night, hearing the often-paired productions of Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci, I knew that death's cold knife can pierce human life forms, too. Those sopranos, I mean, knew what they're doing, but, oh, what glorious singing!
Then today, in celebrating Mother's Day — happily the Seventh Sunday of Easter this year — to be having, along with Stylish, a breakfast courtesy of a loving son, well, it doesn't get much better than that, does it?
Best of all, both of us shared blue cheese and champagne at lunch before heading to a nearby nursery for our pick of summer plants. Indeed, we're going to have ourselves a pleasant, colorful place this year.
Come and see things for yourselves.Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
May 2, 2005
· A Belated May-Day Post — Olds Folk at Home ·
I begin this way because I don't want to make that mistake now, surely not in describing my old Oldsmoblile. The thing's a fine 1963, a Holiday 88, sadly banged up a year ago in the neighborhood. Though it's somewhat crippled, it still has style. I took it out Sunday to our family rest home up north, an old barn, where it'll have to continue rusting unobserved. I mean, there's a time when everything has to go.
But I can still get sentimental. On Sunday I thought again about us Stylechoices, all four of us, indeed driving off across the country in 1982. Stylish and I read Huck Finn aloud to our sons Smart and Suave, a fresh breeze whipping around as old Pap — our two kids loved him — came stepping along with that cross in his heel. Again, in 1989, in Detroit, only Stylish and I heard that big black truck dude remark one evening, "Where'd you get that thing? I think I made it." Such music to American ears!
I got it, in fact, in North Hollywood in 1977, for only $450. It had 23,852 miles on it. Though it needed valve seals and new paint, it was like the sixties all over again. I've had to rebuild the engine since and paint the body twice, and I've put several sets of brakes on and even stitched some new seat covers, most recently, two years ago. I could almost think I made it all myself, but that's, of course, something of an exaggeration.
In any case, it's not your daddy's Oldsmobile any longer, but it's maybe ready now for organ (I mean part) donation since son Smart has another one much like it.
As I say, we Stylechoices (short of auto-resurrection) do trust in family values.Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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Wherein Some Administrative Rubber Meets the Pedagogical Road
For the Mind's Ear: On the Harmonies of Style
Nature's Double Bill, Locally and Stylishly Displayed
A Belated May-Day Post — Olds Folk at Home
Figures & Tropes
Grammar & Syntax