Friday, 27 July 2012

Letters to the Editor

I like writing letters to the editor.  I must have published dozens, no, hundreds, over the years, and submitted hundreds more over that time.  A sign of madness, I'm told, but there you go.  I like engaging with what I read in the paper.  It's like putting up one's hand and annoying the professor in class.

Today's paper had two letters in it that provoked me a bit.  One was an attack on a defender of religion; this prompted me to respond with a tongue-in-cheek middle ground: since one was defending religion and the other was attacking "organized religion," I suggested that perhaps a good compromise would be to support disorganized religion.

In fact, disorganized anything might be good.  I know, I know, it could lead to chaos, but systems are the death of humanity.  I've been reading Candide, which is all about that.  Not that it's true just because Voltaire says so.

Anyway, I summarize my letter here because I've annoyed the editor to whom I write, and perhaps he won't publish it in the paper.

After I sent it in, I saw another letter which argued from an article on Hemingway's 47 revisions of the ending of A Farewell to Arms to say that this "proved" that great writers need to keep at it; they need "an abundance of persistance [sic]."

I must say, the misspelling of persistence adds a certain piquancy to the argument, but I think the correspondent didn't go far enough.  If it took Hemingway 47 tries to get an ending right, that must prove that every writer must revise every sentence of theirs 47 times, or it just won't be any good.

I am now sitting down to write an additional 46 versions of this blog posting.

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