TITLE: Takedown AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: February 19, 2011 9:55 AM DESC: ----- BODY: As a blogger who sometimes worries that I am a person you've never heard of, "writing uninterestingly about the unexceptional", and that other people have already written about whatever I have to say, only better, I really enjoyed William Zinsser's recent takedown of a New York Times Book Review editor on the subject of writing memoirs. His paragraph that starts
Sorry to be so harsh, but I don't like people telling other people they shouldn't write about their life.
and ends
The Times can use its space more helpfully than by allowing a critic to hyperventilate on an exhausted subject. We don't have that many trees left.
is one of my favorite paragraphs in recent memory. I admit a juvenile fondness for hoisting someone with his own petard, and Zinsser does so masterfully. One of the great beauties of the web is that anyone can write and publish. Readers choose to give their attention to the work that matters to them. No trees are harmed along the way. In reading and writing together, we can all become better writers -- and better thinkers. ~~~~ I recommended Zinsser's On Writing Well, among several other books, in an earlier entry on reading to write. It remains at the top of my suggested reading list. -----