Good progress on Thanksgiving. Since my first post, I’ve reworked several chapters, finished two that were half done and wrote a new one. I’ve been totally immersed from early morning to late at night. Tomorrow I have two classes to teach at Queens College, so I’m needing to pull my head of out this book. But I want to note that my experience these past few days has reaffirmed several writing truism, at least for me: 1. writing requires thinking, deep thinking, hard thinking; whenever I’m stuck it’s because I am not clear about what I want to say or where I want to go in a piece and I need to do more thinking; 2. Writing is really hard and takes time, then when it comes it seems so obvious, so easy! and it is exhilarating! 3. It’s all about words, one word at a time, just the right word; 4. clarity is crucial.
I went to the New York Public Library last Saturday to read a book that I had ordered from an offsite location. It was a 1890 book compiled by George Bainton–The Art of Authorship. I was double-checking a quote by Mark Twain. In the process I found this advice from Celia Thaxter, a poet who lived in Maine: “One rule I laid down for myself, to keep religiously–one or two, perhaps I should say–but this one is especial: Never to use more words than I can help to give my full meaning; never to speak a sentence that was not as crystal clear as I could make it; never to sacrifice anything to the allurement of melodious rhyming; to be perfectly direct and clear as daylight is absolutely necessary to my peace of mind.”

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