Sunday, February 14, 2016
Writing to bring out my thoughts. . .
I was recently reminded of some very good advice from none other than John Henry Newman. The Victorian divine and convert Cardinal was full of good lines. Newman eventually wrote 40 books and 21,000 letters that survive so he is something of an authority on writing. I did not consciously consider him or his words when I began writing but I think his advice is good and solid:
First, a man should be in earnest, by which I mean, he should write, not for the sake of writing, but to bring out his thoughts. He should never aim at being eloquent. He should keep his idea in view, and write sentences over and over again till he has expressed his meaning accurately, forcibly, and in few words. He should aim at being understood by his hearers or readers. He should use words which are most likely to be understood—ornament and amplification will come to him spontaneously in due time, but he should never seek them. John Henry Newman in a letter to a student. . .
I have thoughts. Too many of them for my own good. Too disorganized to publish much more than paragraphs. Too inconsistent for me to be called an ideologue. Too diverse for me to be called an expert in any one thing or more than one. And so it has been. Thank you for reading. Thank you for agreeing and thank you for disagreeing. Thank you for challenging me. Thank you for allowing me this little hobby. If it has done nothing for you, I do think it has contributed something to my sanity (if it can be said I am sane).
I am no John Henry Newman. I have no desire to swim the Tiber. I am not a person of consequence. I have no place in history. But some folks say I am beginning to resemble the old man (minus the cardinal's red, or course). It could be worse. I could be looking more and more like CFW Walther, I guess. In any case I am just me. Pretty ordinary and mostly unmemorable. But as Newman put it and my blog exemplifies: A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault.