After an hour or so reading The Collected Essays of Leonard Michaels, I realised that I’d read something like 5 or 6 distinct essays. Al of them were actually fascinating, small vignettes into a thought on a biblical story or reminiscing about his father.
What struck me though is how short these stories were. Many of these essays carried over maybe 3 or 4 short printed 12 point font pages, and made their points, or lack of points, succinctly and quickly. It struck me that this is probably what hurt my enjoyment of writing as a kid.
I remember writing for school projects, and always bearing in the back of my mind the expected word count from the teacher – 500 words for this essay, 800 words for that story, Etcetera. And then always knowing the short cut and obsessing over the “Word Count” feature from WordPerfect or Microsoft Word. What pains they were. I felt like I was being measured on the quantity of what I was writing, rather than the quality. Often I’d find that I’d written everything I wanted to write about something, only to find I was a dreaded 200 words away from the needed length. Oh no! The horror! Or worse, when you’d write 500 words more and have to spend hours pretending I was Hemingway writing The Old Man and the Sea
All this comes about from the commercial practice of writing – where magazines and newspapers would push their authors to write a certain number of words, so that advertising can fit in allotted spots, and that paper print runs can fit in a certain number of pages, and the associated costs. Also, educators need to be able to estimate the amount of time marking and reading their students papers.
As for me though? well, when I’m done nowadays, I’ll just stop writing.
I’m going to start an investigative story today. It’s going to be fun. A lot of the time people have a “lets do 1 thing a day” but this is going to be… better.
See you in a week. I think it will be interesting for anyone in tech.
a little over a week ago I was flying from Singapore to Sydney; It was an overnight flight, leaving singapore at the uncivilized time of 2am. You know you’re on a late flight when the shopkeepers are shutting shop as you arrive to the airport.
I managed to get a little bit of sleep—after all, it was an 8 hour flight. I was jolted awake at some point, and when I woke, for some unknown reason, I decided to open the blind. That moment, that minute, was when the plane was about to cross over to the mainland of Australia. I could see rivers, peninsulas, beautiful nighttime vistas lit by the moonlight, and 3 beachside shacks, with a little light. From kilometres up. In the distance, a small town.
I got a little bored in Sydney, so I figured out that I had seen a little set of cabins in remote western australia, called Nature’s Hideaway at Middle Lagoon . How do I know? the flight path is public domain. They advertise themselves as a secluded getaway for families, 2 hours north of the already remote town of Broome.
Will I visit? who knows. I just liked the fact that I was there for such a funny moment. It’s starred, as a destination in Western Australia now.