My favorite, favorite thing is to laugh. My second favorite thing is to read. But not postgraduate writing; no thank you sir. It drowns in self-importance and verbosity and destroys the smooth ride of the eye like hitching eight raging bulls to a small, wooden cart and then looking on as the cart smashed into saw dust.

Naturally not all postgraduate students write like this but for the last two years I’ve had a group of students with noble hearts but murky minds. In the absence of clarity, that murk vomits onto the page in incomprehensible jibber-jabber.

Young minds – especially where the young minds are not writing in their mother tongue – tend to think that complication equals sophistication. Then they exploit Thesaurus to substitute simple, appropriate words for replacements that stretch the sentence beyond understanding and spoil the easy reading of ideas that suddenly hide behind a veil of mystery.

I’m so sick of having to solve riddles of langauge where language is really only meant to be the vehicle. The vehicle should be easy to follow, a white sedan with reliable seat belts. The real focus…the real substance…should be the passangers, the ideas, the investigation, the research problems and solutions.

There is – of course – the underdog possibility that I’m just an idiot.

I remember getting to page 11 of Uncle Fyodor’s Crime and Punishment and thinking: this is the soundtrack for clinical depression. I’ve launched three attempts at the novel, but I’ve never moved beyond page 11.

Somehow literary greats like Austen and Garcia Márquez and Hemingway express themselves just fine without raining down an ass-whoopin’ on my brain. So thanks to them.

I really shouldn’t DWR (Drink While Reading). But I’m 97.6% sure that not only do I deserve wine at this point, but it will make the reading easier.

[Image from: libellule789  on]

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