Blog Archives

Writing tip of the day: In defense of Strunk and White

Boston.com has an excellent article in defense of Strunk and White’s classic writing text, Elements of Style (read it on Scribd here). After surveying its influence and some key critiques, the author concludes:

Meanwhile, as far as everyday, non-literary writing goes, the book is tremendously useful, especially for writers who are just starting out. If you are still struggling to put your thoughts into words, then The Elements of Style is a godsend. Strunk and White take the same tack as E.L. Doctorow, who wrote that “writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” Simple sentences get you where you want to go, one mile at a time. Haslett suggests, as an alternative, Stanley Fish’s How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One; Fish, he explains, is a world-class literary critic, “a sentence connoisseur” who offers “a far richer introduction to the capacities of English language sentences.” But beginning writers often find simplicity more helpful than sinuosity.

A Dr. Seuss Gnostic Creation Story

Colby Whittaker, a student a Duke Divinity school, has written a fabulous, Dr. Seuss-inspired, Gnostic creation story – Dr. Seuss Does Gnosticism. Here’s how it begins:

One day the first principle was feeling a bit down,
his glumdiferous magnificence turned in a frown.
he pondered and thunk and he thunk and he thought
and oh what a surprise when he saw what he’d wrought
there in the light of his emanated glow,
sat the second principle, the barbelo!

The whole thing is well worth reading if you’re interested in gnosticism, Greek philosophy, or creative writing in general.

(HT David Mills)