THE LETTER B
“Quidquid praecipies, esto brevis.”
(Whatever advice you give, be brief.)
~Horace, Arte poética
But, I’m a writer, and stopping (or being brief) is against my nature. Still, what is there to add that hasn’t already been stated in the above paragraph? I’ll admit, I had to dust off my ol’ thinking cap for this one, but when I started considering what brevity means in our lives, it came to me. Brevity is a lot of things. It’s the brevity of time. How much of that do we waste? In my life, too much. I get distracted easily. By cats, and books, social media, music, my cracked fingernail,
blue skies out my office window, recipes...the list is interminable. Yet, when time is so brief, why
do we allow distractions? Granted, some distractions, like reading and cats, are necessary for mental health. Others, such as family, are life priorities. But what about the rest? What do they do to us, when we are allowed a mere 604,800 seconds every week? Have you ever stopped to wonder how many of those seconds you waste? Even if you waste a tenth of them, that translates into 16.8 hours. Given the brevity of time we're allowed, wouldn't you like to have those nearly 17 hours back? Or, maybe you could find better ways to spend some of those 544,320 other seconds that round out your week?
and live well into the rest of our allotted seconds, but that’s not for us to determine. So with whatever we’ve got, doesn’t it make sense to take advantage, live life to the fullest, fill that brevity with quality?
There’s also the brevity of a single moment in time. In one instance, so much can happen. A child is born. A last breath is drawn. A smile makes a difference. A tear conveys a story. A winner crosses the finishing line. A photographer snaps the perfect picture - the instant a butterfly lands on a thistle.
|Photo by Joel Despain|
Brevity of innocence is one of the saddest brevities, because living in innocence is an ideal we are given at the start, but is taken away from us much too soon.Certainly, we all have those things that bombard our lives we wish we didn't know about. Innocence of cancer would be wonderful. Innocence of all the cruelties in the world would be bliss. Innocence of reality, a gift sometimes. Innocence of heart would probably be the best of all because in that innocence, the heart never gets broken. I love to look into the face of an innocent child because that’s a place I would choose to live, if I could. Wouldn’t you?
Another one of the sad brevities is the brevity of memories. So many of them get lost to us. Some through the fading of years, some because they simply disappear. Aren’t deemed important. Aren’t particularly noteworthy at the time. Yet, we are a collection of memories, everything we know, everything we stand for, everything we believe in comes from a memory of something. Because so many memories are brief, it’s easy for bits and pieces of ourselves to diminish when the memories do.
|The memory of my 1st birthday captured|
Of course, the writer in me demands I address the whole brevity of words situation. Poets have mastered that skill, because they can say so much in so few words. Novelists, such as myself, not so much. The longest novel ever published was Artamène/Cyrus the Great by Georges de Scudéry/Madeleine de Scudéry. It logged in at a whopping 2,100,000 words, or 13,095 pages. The shortest novel was...well, no one knows for sure. Some say it’s Heningway’s For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn. But a lot of controversy
surrounds whether or not he actually wrote that, or what it even was. It’s a good myth, though, and a good example. And I’m sure, as a reader, I’d get more out of those six words than I would out of de Scudéry’s 2,100,000. As a writer, my novels clock in at around 55,000 words, which seems about right for me, because I can get my story told in that brevity, although I know I do have some wasted words in those pages. We all do. In our writing. In our lives. In writing though, brevity is good. It engages the reader more, holds his/her attention longer. As Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.” If only...
So, brevity. There are so many more of them out there. Brevity of friendships or relationships,
|Bosom Bunny Buddies|
Now, comes the blatant promo. Yes, a new book out. The Nurse and the Single Dad from Harlequin Medicals. Available online, at all the usual places.
Next time I’ll be grappling with the letter “C” so I guess I’d better start thinking about it, or I might end up with something ungainly like calculation or coherent. Or, heaven forbid, corm (not corn). And honestly, does a plant's storage organ deserve a blog? Anyway, in the meantime, wishing you health & happiness...
|Out 1 February, 2017|