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Just another ICM blog

The status of good writing

As I was reading this week’s Module 2 blog entry, I was struck by this portion:

There are many, many people writing lines and lines of material online that will be forgotten. But in this vast sea of texts and links and tweets, the individual voice that writes to edit, writes to discover what he or she knows, and writes to speak clearly to the larger audience, will rise above the chatter every time.

That made me think of a friend’s status updates on Facebook. This one in particular:

PWhelan has been informed by his daughter (who is his consultant, and but for the age inversion would be his guru on all things Facebook) that for historical reasons “statuses” should be written in the third person. PW regrets this breach of decorum.

Being a professor of literature, I’m sure he’d agree with the point made in the blog post. I know he’s better spoken than most, but it’s still clear this post was more crafted than 98 percent of what you see on Facebook. It was written nearly a year ago, but it stuck in my mind despite the thousands of status messages I’ve read since then.

Here’s another one:

PWhelan has noticed that not all his fellow citizens care about their mailboxes. Recently he has seen rusty, battered, unpainted, mildewed boxes, boxes whose doors no longer shut, boxes that lean at crazy angles, plastic boxes made to last a million years in landfills. . . . Seldom does he see a mailbox worthy of the attention of a Federal Agency and protection by Federal Statute.

And another from a family trip to England:

PWhelan wonders if a bit of climate change wouldn’t do England good. The temperature is around freezing, and the wind howls across the Winchester watermeadows. Where wandered Jane Austen and John Keats in warmer weather, there wended the Whelans yesterday on an icy footpath.

Not your run of the mill recap of the day’s events.

I don’t write this way on Facebook; it wouldn’t be my style or voice. But these examples should be a lesson that we can raise the level of writing anywhere with a little effort.

Category: #506DE

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