Short:Sweet (and a little Shakespeare, at the very end)

Today, I’ve been thinking about brevity. Brevity in writing and in speaking. It’s a continuation of yesterday’s thought, the one about how it is more effective to show than to tell. It’s also true that it is sometimes more effective to say something once, and with wit and brevity, than to repeat yourself or twitter on about something you’ve already said. If you want people (here I am referring to readers and to children) to follow you up the steep hill, you have to make it look like an easy hike.

Metaphor Switch, for those who do best when food is invoked: We cannot eat Thanksgiving dinner every night of the year. Nor can we survive on evening meals that consist of nectarines, yogurt and raspberries. We need both sorts of nourishment.

This is today’s:

The container I keep my yogurt in has a little bit of Shakespeare on it (I’ll leave you to guess, along with Edwin, whether the reference to oranges and fruits is Shakespearean or not). But in tiny writing underneath the oranges and fruits, you’ll find this, which is more assuredly Shakespeare:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

And if you’re curious, here’s the rest of this sonnet:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Enjoy your day, or your evening, depending on where in the world you are.




5 thoughts on “Short:Sweet (and a little Shakespeare, at the very end)

  1. “Fresh orange!!! fresh fruits!!!”, that’s from Shakespeare as well? The man never ceases to amaze me… On a more serious note: I’ve just finished a book an hour ago and was wondering what to read next. Now you’ve pointed me in the right direction: The WInter’s Tale I think, maybe it will refresh me in this hot summer.

  2. Edwin, Edwin!!! You didn’t know about the brief period when Shakespeare fell under the spell of the exclamation mark??? When one piece of punctuation was not enough??!! When he sold fruits on the street because not enough people were going to see A Winter’s Tale????

    I hope your winter’s tale helps. Isn’t there a frozen woman in that one? A Herminone, but not a Hermione Granger?

    “Exit, pursued by a bear” might be in that play also, I envy you your winter’s tale.

  3. I have a sneaking suspicion the yoghurt jar is Japanese or Korean. It reminds me of a water container I “inherited” the second time I lived in Japan. I loved that container. Not only was it Japanese, it was 70s Japanese. I shipped it to Australia, only to idiotically assume it was made of pyrex and crack it by pouring boiling water in it. I’m still annoyed at myself for doing that.

  4. I think brevity in speech is to be striven for and admired. I loathe being bored by people who refuse to edit in conversation, and give you every minute detail of a story or an event. I love a witty, well-told tale, and it can be long, but spare me the excruciating minute-by-minute detail. The ability to edit is a quality I value highly in my friends!

  5. My dear Helen, You are a whiz! Yes indeed, it’s Korean. I do so like Korean glassware — and Japanese thermoses. I have the feeling we’re both members of that particular obsessive little society.

    Hello Charlotte — I’ve been feeling guilty about doing such long posts — and here I find that even my post on brevity goes on and on. No, that’s not quite right; it’s Shakespeare who keeps it going and really what’s wrong with that? I know what you mean about that kind of real time conversation (and then I, and then I, and then I….) Yikes.

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