Consider this: we spend time reading; we waste time if the words we read are unnecessary. Cutting is the act of a friend.
Sorry about the dirge. I’ve been writing a piece for Joe’s funeral and time and words are becoming interchangeable. My first draft is a jewel. I time it: twelve minute plus. An alarm buzzes.
As well it might. Joe’s daughter, Pippa, says the whole service will last a mere twenty minutes. I cut my jewel by a third, down to eight minutes, which proves the original wasn’t a jewel. The result is better. Not good, just better.
The ghost of Joe sits by my elbow. Throughout our professional lives we’ve rendered prose shorter because in publishing there’s never enough space. Joe’s too gentlemanly to comment since I’m writing about him. But he nods his approval as half a sentence is sliced – the words are already implied and I recognise this on the third read-though. Gotcha!
What I’m writing is not an article; it’s intended to be read aloud. Not one of my strengths. I have a lightish whining voice that doesn’t match my bulk. Frequently my nose sounds blocked. I could write something felicitous and have it ruined by my West Riding origins.
Joe’s reading Romain Gary’s Gros Calin and I can’t help feeling it’s his polite way of saying my stuff isn’t good enough. Never mind the subject, the writing is technically poor, it doesn’t glide. Start again?