This is a continuation of my attempt to write short, "Twitter-like" columns.
This is a continuation of my attempt to write short, "Twitter-like" columns. Tweets those little bursts of communication offered by Twitter are a maximum of 140 characters in length. By "Twitter-like," I mean to write columns that are 140 or fewer words.
If I were to write a true "Tweet-sized" column with a maximum of 140 characters, at an average of, lets say five to six characters per word, my column would be fewer than 25 words. I have already admitted in a previous column that writing with any meaning any real value in 25 words or less is very difficult.
I may give the 25-word column a true Tweet-sized one a try someday. But for now, limiting myself to 140 words (vice characters) is challenging enough, hence the term "Twitter-like."
Can information or opinions of any real value be disseminated in so short a number of words, whether theyre 140 or 25? You be the judge.
Writers spend a lifetime honing their skills and attempting to get across to their readers what they intend in the fewest number of words. Many writers have spoken on the topic of efficient and at the same time effective writing. (Oops. Those six dots separating clauses just added six to my character count.) I aspire to achieve, one day, the goals of the below authors:
-- "I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter." Blaise Pascal, in his Lettres provinciales.
-- "Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short." Henry David Thoreau.
-- "If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter." Marcus T. Cicero.
-- "I am never satisfied until I have said as much as possible in a few words, and writing briefly takes far more time than writing at length." Karl Friedrich Gauss
-- "It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book." Nietzsche
-- "The more you say, the less people remember. The fewer the words, the greater the profit." Felelon
But until I can achieve those dizzying heights of authorship and "profit" described above, and write with meaning in a Tweet-sized 25 words or less, Ill have to settle for attempting to get a point across effectively in 140 words or less. So here goes my next attempt at a meaningful 140 words:
Stepping onto the back porch for a breath of fresh air, I looked into the late night sky. At the moment I shifted my gaze south, a bright flash of light streaked straight down and was gone.
While no star was visible through the clouds, a "shooting star" had revealed itself to me. I saw the meteor only because I was outside at that exact moment and chanced to look at that exact spot in the sky where it burned up below the clouds. Quite possibly, I was the only person in the world to witness the biggest meteor I have ever seen.
I wish I may, I wish I might. Wishing on a shooting star might not achieve anything. But seeing that meteor reinforced the truth that being in the right place at the right time sure can.
Barry Fetzer is a columnist for the Havelock News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.