Omit Needless Words.
This phrase hangs in my office as a reminder while I’m writing. Lately, I’m thinking Strunk and White didn’t just write The Elements of Style, they wrote The Elements of Life.
Place yourself in the background. Write in a way that comes naturally. Do not overstate. Do not explain too much.
It’s all in there, a veritable life guide disguised as a writer’s bible.
I’m working on simplifying these days, so maybe Omit Needless Words is taking on a grander meaning. My office, like my mind, is a tiny space and sometimes I’m in a hurry. I toss things, drop things, stack things, and then before I know it my space is full.
It’s overlapping and things get lost.
I can’t light my favorite candle for fear of setting piles of paper on fire. Dust settles on my shelves. Pictures become covered up with important bills that must be paid or phone calls that absolutely, can’t wait one more minute, have to be returned. Urgent strangles things.
Rush, hurry, and “have to” takes over and I become cloudy. I invariably hit a point where I can go no further. I can’t spend one more moment in it. It must be cleaned. As I trudge through days, sometimes weeks, of clutter. I find counter space.
I notice my details, my treasures. Books, words, ribbon, flowers, smiles and memories. My huge, totally impractical, dictionary. When the stuff is pushed back to where it belongs, I can see…my life.
The candle is lit and the essence of who I am spills back into the space.
I’m working on keeping the clutter and the frenzy to “do,” “be,” “entertain,” out of my life. It’s a long term project, but maybe it’s time to re-read Strunk and White.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Sleep.