Since then his On Writing Well has become one of those books that I return to almost yearly as a reminder that "writing improves in direct ratio to the number of things we can keep out of it.'" His Zinsser on Friday essays cover a broad range of subjects from baseball (one of his great loves) to jazz, from his WASPishness to his waspishness - and you'd be hard pressed to find an extraneous word - like extraneous - in any of them.
What brought Mr Zinsser to mind - and has me eager to unpack On Writing Well as soon as possible for another (much needed) read - was an e-mail from my friend Charlie highlighting some interesting facts about writing.
|Pythagoras' Theorem:||24 words|
|Lord's Prayer (King James version):||66 words|
|Archimedes' Principle:||67 words|
|Ten Commandments (KJV):||179 words|
|Gettysburg Address:||286 words|
|American Declaration of Independence:||1,300 words|
|US Constitution including all 27 amendments:||7,818 words|
|EU Regulations on the sale of cabbage:||26,911 words|
Having just gone through the EU export procedures for "live" animals - heaven only knows what they would be for "dead" animals - I am going to write Mr Zinsser and suggest that a book on writing policies and procedures is long overdue. And I want the concession for sales in Brussels!
23 agosto/August -Santa Rosa di Lima