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Ingrate, that I am, I cannot help it.  I loathed their incessant pedantic demands, their rigid structures, their skewed sense of perfectionism. It rankled. Their bastard form of flayed to the bone English, skeleton-like passed off as a prose supermodel.

If only they could be reasonable: accept that a 5 word point made with a 6 word sentence was not an abomination but ordinary. That preferring the full stop over the comma, passive voice over active, not blasphemy. It  fulfilled effectively the primary goal of language: communication.

I had little success in persuading them. One can’t persuade an ideologue.

I had to imbibe their model. The model required exorbitant precision. Don’t qualify anything; nothing is ‘most likely’, ‘ordinarily’ or ‘usually’ what happens. It either happens or it doesn’t. Unless we need to qualify something to cover our backside. In that case qualify everything.

Never use an adverb. Every noun has equal value. We have thought about the  client challenges to the same degree, and with the same clarity, as Einstein saw energy tied to mass and God envisioned all creation. Never let him feel like he got an iota less of consideration. Even if he asked for your off the cuff opinion in a conversation.

Above all else, remember that truths are simple. Complex arguments are a failure to understand that simplicity. Nothing, nothing, is complex. And don’t suggest otherwise. Even if you can hear Einstein’s psuedo-voice (I don’t know what his real voice sounded like) echoing in your ears “[e]verything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

And after a while, since it was my duty to do, and not question why, I learned to do. I tried to see it in a positive light. I tried to be grateful. But you can’t be grateful by striving to be grateful.

I am confident that my hard-edged style, my crisp prose and my precise choice of words is appreciated. And my skill as a writer has grown: there is power in forging pure words. Exact words, require exact thinking, and I know that my chain of reasoning, the link bound to each previous link scrupulously is now much stronger, both in my head and on the page.

So I should, you see, be grateful.

I resent their imposition. It’s taken me a year to reclaim my style. It’s taken me a year to find my voice again. To understand that the logic and flow of my style are mine, for better or for worse. That writing like someone else, in someone else’s voice, makes writing a burden.

My instinct is to be complex. To weigh the full factors before the reader and offer a firm opinion. Not a hedged qualified quasi-truth. If the reader needs false platitudes or cubic zirconium certainty, then he should find someone else to lie to him. There are plenty of hacks out there.

Bitterly, I also learned this: you can sincerely and deeply appreciate your teachers. You can imbibe deeply from what they teach and you can recognise their essential contribution. You can look at the changes they wrought and say ‘these changes are good.’ But that will not stop you loathing them. Loathing runs deep.

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