Share wrote: 'So Xeno, now that you've been corrupted into writing short posts, 
would you deem them also thin?' 
Because the universe may be perceived in pieces, all is corruptible; no thing 
is immune from being demeaned, truncated,  belittled, debased, degraded, 
despised, disparaged, abased, and detracted from. Those that that think they 
are incorruptible (Judy comes to mind) are not aware of their own human nature 
and the nature of the world.
A single brief post many does not make, Share. If you look at most posts by 
Fleetwood, they tend to be short. Barry on the other hand sometimes writes 
quite a bit. He may even write more than Fleetwood, but he normally collects 
his thoughts together and arranges them instead of shooting from the hip. The 
post count limit we used to have tended to force people to be a bit more 
coherent in their output. Whether or not you like what Barry writes, his output 
is more coherent and well thought out than Fleetwood's, because he is less 
impulsive. Fleetwood is also more dismissive, preferring not to delve into an 
issue he cannot be bothered with, and so he writes a quick dismissive note 
ignoring any points made. While Barry can be dismissive too, after all he does 
not read a lot of posts here, but he often goes into some detail why he thinks 
something is nuts.
The master here on FFL of often lengthy but usually irrelevant posting is 
Richard. When he gets going, no one can match Richard for pointless quantity 
and number of posts. It always seems to me that Richard is seeing what goes on 
FFL out the corner of his eye, but his mind is elsewhere with a different 
agenda (i.e., trolling) so the posts look as if they have something to do with 
a particular discussion but really do not have that much relevance. In my 
e-mail I have a Richard folder, and from time to time just mark them 'all 
read'. When I post, because I am a slow writer, and tend to length, I do not 
have time to read too many posts, maybe because I take too long to write them, 
and so cannot remain in any particular conversation for very long most of the 
time.
Thank you heartily for noticing that I am corruptible. There is a wonderful 
grit to corruption and graft, ill will and misunderstanding. It is the spice of 
life, and the greatest moments are when we can smooth over that roughness with 
a bit of harmony. Life then is not thin and drawn or empty. I do think before I 
write.
But if you are interested in brevity, take a gander at the following:
The Lost Art of Brevity by Mike Myatt
Do you ever grow weary of listening to the verbose, or reading the work of 
those that have issues with clear articulation? I certainly do…but fear not; 
the lost art of brevity is making a comeback. Those of you that know me have 
come to understand that I prefer to cut to the chase. I like to get to the root 
of an issue as quickly as possible. While I appreciate the great oratory skills 
of those who communicate using wonderful word pictures, or the academics who 
can wax eloquent while always using the best form of prose, I prefer my 
business communication to be quick and dirty. In the immortal words of Jack 
Webb: "The facts ma'am…just the facts." In today's post I'll look at the 
benefits associated with the resurgence of brevity.
Let me begin clearly stating that it is not my goal to be perceived as a 
word-basher.  I appreciate anyone who has command of a great vocabulary, but I 
don't have time for a 30 minute explanation of something that could have been, 
and should have been, communicated in 2 minutes. Brevity is rare because it 
takes both skill and effort to simplify the complex. It's easier to remain 
ethereal, vague and ambiguous than it is to communicate with purpose and 
clarity. My message today is a simple one – refining your communications skill 
is well worth the effort. Don't be the person known for rambling on, be the 
person known for being articulate and to the point.
Probably the greatest example of the power of brevity comes from what is widely 
considered to be the greatest speech in American history: "The Gettysburg 
Address." President Lincoln's speech was only 10 sentences long (272 words), 
and lasted less than a mere 3 minutes in length. Contrast Lincoln's brilliant 
example of the power of brevity with the keynote speech that day. The renowned 
orator Edward Everett preceded President Lincoln on the podium at Gettysburg. 
Everett's speech was an amazing two hours in length. He was after all the 
President of Harvard, but I digress…My question is this: which speech was more 
effective, and more memorable? Ah, the power of brevity…
The good news is that there are two big trends emboldening those of us who 
prefer brevity over other more irritating forms of communication. First is the 
time pressure for our attention. People simply don't have the time to listen 
to, or read, unnecessarily long forms of communication. The second trend is 
technology's recognition of the first trend. Emails, voicemails, instant 
messages, text messages, blogs, Tweets, Facebook updates, etc., simply don't 
lend themselves to the indulgence of pompous grandeur.
If you think I'm joking when I mention Twitter, think again. If you want to 
become a better writer and refine your sense of brevity, all you have to do is 
to start Tweeting. Regardless of how you feel about Twitter as a platform or 
practice, it is brilliant in its mandate of brevity. Twitter requires that all 
your communication be conducted in 140 characters (including punctuation and 
spaces) or less. Even given this stringent requirement, some of the most 
intriguing, complex, savvy, and sometimes ridiculous thoughts are being 
expressed at a rapidly growing pace. In 140 characters or less, elections are 
influenced, news is being broken, relationships are being created and expanded, 
brands are being built, trust is being build, influence is being generated, and 
products & services are being sold. Don't underestimate the power of brevity.
One of my favorite lines from Shakespeare's Hamlet is "Brevity is the soul of 
wit," and if you examine those people in your life you respect the most I'm 
certain you'll find they do justice to Shakespeare's ideal. If you require one 
last example of the power of brevity, let me ask you to examine the incredible 
influence that something as brief as a simple quote can have. Think about how 
often a sentence or two written down in the form of a quote has created a 
legacy long surpassing many more complex and lengthy works. Most people can 
cite several of Mark Twain's quotes, but only a few of his books.
So, how do you know if you're guilty of contributing to the destruction of 
brevity? If you exhibit any of the tell-tale signs below you may want to seek 
out some help:
If your tag-line is more than 4 words in length;If the most frequently used 
words in your vocabulary are "and," "um" & "but;"If people are consistently 
dozing off during your keynote;If the bailout rate on your webcasts are high;If 
use of the scroll bar is a requirement for reading your email;If you run out of 
time leaving a voicemail message….If you kill your cell phone battery with one 
conversation…If your PowerPoint slides need to be read instead of viewed;If you 
URL is so long that it confuses people, and;If you need a teleprompter to 
deliver a speech.Bottom line…I'm in awe of those who have mastered the art of 
brevity, and after looking back at this post I must admit that I still have 
some work to do…

Keep it Short by Danny Heitman
In my first daily newspaper job some 25 years ago, I learned a few lessons 
about brevity that I'm still using today. Back then, among other editorial 
chores, I contributed to a weekly feature called "Books in Brief." Each review 
could be no longer than 200 words — less than a fourth the length of a usual 
article. Imagine a slender column of type slightly taller than your middle 
finger, and you'll get some idea of the word limit.
As a recent college graduate accustomed to discussing books in 12-page term 
papers, I chafed at writing in miniature. But I tried to think deliberately 
about my reviews as a form of quick conversation. If I were briefly summarizing 
my opinion over the phone, for example, how would I shape my argument to nab my 
listener by the collar before he hung up? What I was reminding myself, I 
suppose, is that writing is a kind of talk, a discourse that must eventually 
answer to the clock. In writing, brevity works not only as a function of space 
on a page, but the time that an audience is willing to spend with you. Even if 
the Internet has made infinite texts possible, the reader's attention is not 
without end.
To shorten my articles, I often worked through several versions, and with a 
merciless finger on the delete button I could surgically reduce my first draft 
by half.
The exercise taught me that successful economy of expression often depends on 
vigorous revision. Perhaps no one exemplifies this principle more vividly than 
E.B. White, the magazine essayist and children's author celebrated for his 
deceptively simple style. White excelled in a number of forms, including "Talk 
of the Town" items for The New Yorker — graceful editorials that derived much 
of their charm from their compact scale. Although White's gift for saying much 
in a few words looked effortless, he often achieved his pith by distilling one 
draft after another to its elegant essence. At the conclusion of his White 
biography, the author Scott Elledge lets readers look over White's shoulders as 
he hones a New Yorker commentary on the first moon landing in 1969.
White begins his first draft with some wry comparisons of a moon launch to a 
picnic at the beach, but by his sixth draft, he's jettisoned all the 
preliminary repartee, beginning with his true subject, international unity, and 
dropping about 100 unnecessary words in the bargain. Here's the first paragraph 
of the piece he finally turned in to The New Yorker's editor, William Shawn:
The moon, it turns out, is a great place for men. One-sixth gravity must be a 
lot of fun, and when Armstrong and Aldrin went into their bouncy little dance, 
like two happy children, it was a moment not only of triumph but of gaiety. The 
moon, on the other hand, is a poor place for flags. Ours looked stiff and 
awkward, trying to float on the breeze that does not blow.
White's handiwork reminds us that writing economically also means getting to 
the point. Such urgency can be a blessing, helping a writer achieve the kind of 
clarity that sustains all good composition.
The late economist John Kenneth Galbraith, who wrote wisely and well about his 
chosen field, once recalled the relentless winnowing of his prose at the hands 
of his former boss, Henry Luce, the founder of Time:
In his hand was a pencil; down on each page one could expect, at any moment, a 
long swishing wiggle accompanied by the comment: "This can go." Invariably it 
could. It was written to please the author and not the reader. Or to fill in 
the space. The gains from brevity are obvious; in most efforts to achieve it, 
the worst and the dullest go. And it is the worst and the dullest that spoil 
the rest.
Refining a draft is a process of elimination that, like any contest advancing 
the survival of the fittest, tends to dramatize what's left standing when the 
competition is complete. Like passengers in a lifeboat, all the words in a 
concise text must pull their own weight. That's why good poetry, which places a 
premium on brevity, stakes such a claim on a reader's attention.
Consider how much William Carlos Williams manages to convey in his tiny poem, 
"The Red Wheelbarrow": "so much depends / upon / a red wheel / barrow / glazed 
with rain / water / beside the white / chickens." In only a handful of words, 
Williams gives us a lot to think about: the tension between beauty and 
function, the boundary between man and nature, the interplay between what we 
make and what, in a sense, makes us.
I frequently hear champions of brevity advising writers to cut their word 
counts by scratching all the adjectives or adverbs. But "The Red Wheelbarrow" 
would be radically diminished if that little modifier, "red," had been left on 
the cutting room floor. In coloring his wheelbarrow, Williams transforms it 
from an abstraction into a tangible object of reflection.
The point of brevity isn't to chop a certain kind of word, but to make sure 
that each word is essential. And brevity, whatever its virtues, must be 
balanced against a multitude of other needs in composition. If extreme brevity 
were the only goal of writing, after all, we wouldn't have "Moby-Dick" or "Anna 
Karenina." Not every piece of writing requires a Spartan word limit.
"The Elements of Style," coauthored by White and William Strunk Jr., shows us 
how to strike the right balance:
Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a 
paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should 
have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not 
that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and 
treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
I tend to have longer word limits for my work today than those bite-size book 
reviews I wrote many years ago, but the basic imperative of brevity remains. 
Which is why, I suppose, the essay you're reading now has been cut by about a 
third of its original length. #yiv7998324498 #yiv7998324498 -- 
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