Words are alive

Emerson was reportedly speaking of Michel de Montaigne, a sixteenth-century Frenchman and his literary idol. “The sincerity and marrow of the man reaches to his sentences. I know not anywhere the book that seems less written. It is the language of conversation transferred to a book. Cut these words, and they would bleed; they are vascular and alive. One has the same pleasure in it that we have in listening to the necessary speech of men about their work, when any unusual circumstance give momentary importance to the dialogue.”

A great writer appears on the page in a voice as individual and distinctive as his or her thoughts. Relax into your voice. Be your unique self, open your heart and let your voice shine.

Omit every spare word

This quote reminds me of an elderly friend who complained to me about a book she had read. Although she really enjoyed the story, she doesn’t like reading certain scenes. Yes, those scenes. However, when she skipped them, she found that she had missed something crucial and had to backtrack and read them.

From her description of the plot, I recognised it as a book written by an author friend of mine. However much as I sympathised with my elderly friend for having to read the scenes she had no desire to, I had to congratulate my author friend who did her job well.