George Orwell’s Six Rules for Writing Clear and Tight Prose

George-Orwell

Orwell claims that bad writing results from corrupt thinking, and often attempts to make palatable corrupt acts: “Political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.”

Pay attention to how the next article, interview, or book you read uses language “favorable to political conformity” to soften terrible things.

Orwell’s analysis identifies several culprits that obscure meaning and lead to whole paragraphs of bombastic, and empty prose:

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

But Orwell does preface his guidelines with some very sound advice: “Probably it is better to put off using words as long as possible and get one’s meaning as clear as one can through pictures and sensations. Afterward one can choose—not simply accept—the phrases that will best cover the meaning.” Not only does this practice get us closer to using clear, specific, concrete language, but it results in writing that grounds our readers in the sensory world we all share to some degree, rather than the airy word of abstract thought and belief that we don’t.

These “elementary” rules do not cover “the literary use of language,” writes Orwell, “but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought.”

You can find Orwell’s books here

 

Opportunism : A Love of Fate

One popular belief system of the ancient Stoic philosophers known as ‘Amor fati’, or ‘love of fate’ is of great importance during these current times, especially for millennials.

The philosophy posits that every event is discerned as fated to occur. When one complains and strongly protests against circumstances, one falls out of balance with the natural state of things; one wishes things were different.

We’ve been told that one of our greatest human resource is our willpower, our decision-making => our discipline.
Most of us wouldn’t be where we are without hard work or the ability to change our circumstances.

And so, we come to expect that the world will always respond in kind. That it will do what we want. That things will more or less go our way.

To the young and ambitious, Acceptance is the hardest piece of advice to follow. A bitter pill to swallow.
It is hard because it means tolerating things we don’t like, it feels weak, it feels like one has quit, it feels like defeat.

What am I supposed to do, just let things be?—YES!

The tendency to adhere to this faulty and damaging belief that things must be the way we want them, or must be the way we expected ultimately accomplishes very little to nothing at all. Energy/life is wasted!

More importantly, it prevents the acknowledgement of a crucial paradigm shift: Working with what actually is, seeing things as they are, converting all circumstances into opportunities, making the best of every situation, being fluid in our approaches, free in our thoughts, listening to demand and creating supply, willing to take new directions without fear of failure.

Amor fati => Love of fate => The art of acquiescence => what can’t be cured must be endured.

THE MESSAGE: One doesn’t have to like it to work with it-to use it to one’s advantage. It starts by seeing it clearly and accepting it unconditionally. Amor fati – a love of what happens, because that is our only option.

The world around us is what it is. The events that happen are what they are. The people in our lives do what they do.

Accept them. Understand them. Empathize with them.

A man or woman who believes this cannot be hurt by anything or anyone.

realist

Special Faces: A Big Thank You

 

I just want to thank all the readers of ‘Greener On The Other Side’. Stay Blessed!

 

What Could Be: A Letter to my Younger Self

Dear Lionel,

I wish to properly introduce myself first:

I am you in twenty years in the future from your vantage point. You must be wondering how all this is possible; this letter – you, me, writing to you, to me, in the past, at this moment, in the future. Nevertheless, do not worry too much about the plausibility of all this for now. This ‘one-time’ opportunity could pass. This letter might be the only chance for us to finally meet, because amazing occurrences in life rarely happen twice.

I know for a fact that you think a lot about yourself in the future, of what could be, and I particularly love dwelling in nostalgia, reminiscing about myself in the past. With this letter, our opposing parallel lives have finally merged; your present is now my present. So pay attention because I write from the future.

There is so much I would like to tell you, details of what lies ahead, the kind of man you will become, the choices you will make and their aftereffects, the amazing moments you will experience, like the time your friends will throw you a surprise birthday party, the hardships you will endure, like the time when you will be persecuted for your skin color during your internship in Europe, the mistakes you will misapprehend, like the time when you will over-speed and crash your car and your ankle, the moments of courage you will weather, like the time your girlfriend will be drowning and you will save her, the moments of solitude you will discover, like the time you will decide to write your first novel, and everyone around will be mocking you, the comradery you will share, like the day your best friend will defend you during the political crisis, the carnal desire you will be tempted with, like the day you will be taken to a brothel, and you will be tongue-tied and ashamed, the romantic love you will feel, like when you will first meet Kelly, the moments of duty you will be committed to, like when dad will lose all his money, and the betrayal you will not see coming, like when Ari will take your business from under you all the while smiling in your face.

All this might sound strange as you read this, and no, I will not give you any more details for I want you to learn to dwell in the euphoric, impetus of present life. I want you to consider hope as a life motto, and believe in ‘what could be’. For I know too well what is disturbing you at this particular time in your life. You are very anxious; fear is at the center of your being. Trust me, trust you, trust yourself, but more importantly, trust your instincts. Instinct is something which transcends knowledge. We somehow have a God-given ability enabling us to perceive truths when logical deduction or any other willful effort of the brain is futile.

I hope I was not too preachy, but these are aspects of life that will align everything you are yearning to understand. But then again, I do not want to give you enough details that will in turn make you completely alter the future, your future, my present. Rest assured I am content with my life as I write this letter; moreover, it could be better. So the ball is in your court.

I suppose you are still young at heart to fully grasp all that is written in this letter at this particular time in your life, and I am quite relieved to know this. I hope you keep this letter in all your adventures, and hope you re-read it over the next few years as it will all make sense as the years pass. Give yourself time to grow. You do not need to be serious all the time.

In any event, I hope it strengthens your belief in yourself.

 

Yours Truly,

Lionel ‘Love Jones’ Ntasano

Silent Love

Silent Love

Quietly

You were there

Watching me attentively

You are an answered prayer

I can only wonder

The depth of your thoughts

Lightning flash without thunder

You are a silent juggernaut

Still waters run deep

Faithful and righteous soul

Love is never lost, but words are cheap

As we saunter, holding hands on a peaceful stroll

A life of silent love

For you were the one, who cared

Cuddling in the summer alcove

For you were the one for who I was unprepared

The Critic

The Critic

My job is to find fault

Like this beef steak I am eating which lacks a pinch salt

I can’t do, so I point out all your flaws

I feel better when a strong man stumbles and crawls

I know too well the long hours required

To achieve the goal that is so much desired

I have calculated the cost

To acquire the bragging rights to boast

It is really all about the blood, sweat and tears

For all these things feed my innermost fears

Therefore, I resort to finding fault

As the strong man’s struggles come to a deserving halt