We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Between online stuff, books, magazines and journals, I probably do as much non-work-related reading each day as anybody does who also has a day job. I am a rapid reader, except when something forces me to ponder or imagine - or to look something up.
I appreciate a good information-conveyor, whether the info is news, opinions, deep-thinking, alcohol-inspired insights, personal musings and experiences, or plain information of all sorts, including the profoundly-informed and most widely-knowledgeable.
The websites which I frequent are all quite competent - or extremely good - at doing this. There is a definite craft to the pithy, linking, mini-essay (or mini-rant) whether the style is graceful, ironic, lyrical, obsessive, humorous, sly, academic, somber, crude, or whatever. We do not claim to have mastered the craft, but we aspire to do so.
However, real writing is a much rarer, God-given talent to which we would not even presume to aspire. Off the top of my head, I can only think of three website folks I read regularly who are true writers: Sippican (an explorer of mysteries and the creator of the felicitous term "intertubes"), Vanderleun (the often world-weary blogger and poet manque), and Iowahawk, the diabolical mimic, satirist and one-time Presidential candidate who skims the surface of reality before rising above it like a swallow chasing bugs over a lake.
I let the Ruger down slowly and put on the safety. Ma Palin was a Northside moll who had worked her way to the top of the Christianist syndicate. She was too violent and stupid for the Ivy League, but she was an expert at the two things that got you made in her gang -- shooting guns and making babies. I had long suspected some of those babies were fakes. If I could prove it, it would spark an internal war among the Christianists -- and bring down their iron-fisted control of the marriage rackets.
"I'm all ears... what did you say your name was?"
"Suit yourself. Now let's hear that nursery story."
Well, whatever kind of writing one produces, every post needs a hook of some sort because the Hook brings you back. Here's my Hook for this post:
It doesnt matter what I say So long as I sing with inflection That makes you feel that Ill convey Some inner truth of vast reflection But Ive said nothing so far And I can keep it up for as long as it takes And it dont matter who you are If Im doing my job then its your resolve that breaks
Because the hook brings you back I aint tellin you no lie The hook brings you back On that you can rely
Of your three picks, I'll agree that Iowahawk earns commendation for writing. One of your other picks copies other writers' styles poorly. The other of your picks is no natural writer as he spends far more time trying to write well than he does trying to think well.
Richard Fernandez is an excellent writer. He is capable of original thought and is equally capable of the effortless transfer of that thought into words. Genius.
Good writing is easy to recognize because it pulls you in and makes you part of the writer's consciousness.
No, I'm right, BD. And if being right makes me harsh, so be it. I've spent half my life teaching, grading, editing, and appreciating good writing to know it when I read it. I am not a fine writer, but I have been published enough times and received a few fabulous awards for writing that you can call me harsh anytime. It certainly is not the first time and I doubt it will be the last time.
I don't understand algebra. Failed it twice. Third time was a pity pass.
It may not surprise, but I agree with Meta. Though I occasionally fall into BD's category of "alcohol-inspired insights," I am aware of it and make no pretense - perhaps the most loathsome element in any writing. I recognize good writing when I see it. I've read too damn much not to. I also feel that I know BD's meaning with "thoughts and information, and something else." It is that 'something else' that is the nugget. Thousands and thousands fall by the wayside when measured against that standard. They pretty, they fancy, they set stages, they play their mind out for all to see, but when the curtain comes down, one claps out of sympathy rather than enthusiasm.