Sunday, February 1, 2015

On Writing Well

     Every so often the Lord speaks loudly to me in his still small voice. One ear is always tilted in his direction, but I'm generally preoccupied with the "here and now" rather than "hear, and then..."  As I continue writing, working on several projects -- while others wait in the wings -- the Lord whispers through a book I'm savoring: On Writing Well.

     My recent "find," On Writing Well, by William Zinsser is, of course, on writing well. Zinsser taught writing (non-fiction) at Yale back in the '70's.  I stumbled on one of his audio cassettes and after listening to it several times, bought his book. It's invaluable. Zinsser, in his 90th year, now blind, is still teaching, talking to students, and expounding on his theme:

4 Principles of Good Writing:
1.) Clarity
2.) Simplicity
3.) Brevity
4.) Humanity

One of Mr. Zinsser's favorite books is Walden;or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau.  I just  checked it out of the library. Having been a huge Ralph Waldo Emerson fan (did you know Walden's Pond was on Emerson's property in Concord Mass.? Neither did I.) I had resisted reading Thoreau because he seemed too 'wordy.'

While preparing snacks for watching the Superbowl, I stopped to look for something casual to wear. I couldn't find a thing! Bruce said, "Why don't you wear the tee-shirt you bought at Radnor Lake?" Great idea.  So, I pulled the Radnor tee out of my drawer,  and what do you suppose was written on the front below the Lake scene? A quote from Henry David Thoreau's book Walden....the same quote I just finished reading in his book...the one William Zinsser suggested as a study in On Writing Well.  "We need the tonic of wilderness, - to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow - hen lurk..." ~ Henry David Thoreau.

The Bible says "He who dwells in the secret place of the Lord Most High God abides in the shadow of the Almighty"(Psalm 91.) I need the spiritual tonic of the Most High God, and God's natural wilderness on which to feast my eyes and refresh my mind.  I'm inexpressibly relieved to know I have both along the trails of Tennessee and, through it all, still hear God whisper loudly and clearly telling me I'm on the right trail... a happy trail!

Now, back to those chicken wings :)

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