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Friday, August 14, 2015

Caution And Clarity

When the occasional on or offline comment from a reader prompts a re-read of an old post, I've been mostly pleased about how I've avoided revealing details easily tied to specific interactions. Also, unless the humor of an interaction has been at my expense, I've tried exercising caution there as well.

Still, these re-reads have also taught me how exercising extreme caution can sometimes interfere with clarity. Many writers of note struggle with a similar tension.  And when any writer - famous novelist, esteemed essayist, unknown blogger - tries resolving that tension by being less cryptic, things can get ugly quickly. My current battle is trying to decide if avoiding any ugliness is enough reason to be cryptic. That is, where does cryptic end and unclear start? I welcome your thoughts, especially if you refer to a specific post of mine that you found unclear.

Those occasional re-reads have also reminded me how circumspect I've been about protecting the identity of readers. But unlike my concern over clarity, there is no tension - creative or otherwise - about that practice. In his will, Eugene O'Neill specified his autobiographical masterpiece "Long Day's Journey Into Night" not be publicly staged until many years after his death. Good enough for Gene, good enough for me.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think my previous post/comment made it since there aren't any comments. I don't understand the correlation between ugliness and being cryptic and clarity. Can you give me an example(s)?

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