Don’t Be Grand: Fewer Words Mean More


The other day, I heard the above quote while watching a television show. It stuck with me. A lot of words stick with me. These words not only stuck with me, they stuck out.

As I am sure I have said before, I love classic novels, especially from the 20th century. Nowadays, it takes a lot for a book to stand out. Barnes and Noble stores are filled with hardback after hardback. I don’t think the problem is getting a book published. I think the problem is making it memorable.

I think this century of writers and readers alike aren’t as fine-tuned anymore. Everyone considers themselves a lover of books and tea or coffee without really knowing what it means. Reading is not as honest and true as it used to be. Just as the writing is not the same.

I think what sets apart writers in the past from writers in the present is accessibility, resource, and most of all, talent. Nowadays, it seems like more people get offers to have books written about them than they do to simply write on their own.

This is merely speculation. But, I think it is a worthwhile topic. We live in a world where people simply talk and write to be heard. Not to make a point. We live in a word where attention matters more than authenticity. We live in a world where that same attention cannot last more than 15 minutes at a time. Yet, others continue to fight for it and prevail.

No longer are words of the few important. Now, it’s how much can you say and how many ways can you say it. This above quote can be interpreted in many ways, and that’s okay. But, I think Kerouac had a point.

We are constantly trying to find the right words to say this or that in this amount of time, rather than simply saying. Writing and communicating with others can be hard, especially when we are fighting so many distractions in the world.

Writing and speaking should be simple. Yet, we have overcomplicated it. I am sure Kerouac had some unspoken thoughts he needed to express when he said this. But, I don’t think that was his point. I think he was trying to show that even writers have trouble finding the right words, in a distracting world.

He wrote in a troubled time filled with a lot of change. He himself had his own faults and setbacks. One thing is certain, though, when Kerouac committed to saying something, he gave it his all. He wrote one of his novels in 48 hours.

He did so not because he had a pressing deadline. No. He was inspired. He did not hold himself back. As one of his fellow writing cohorts, Ernest Hemmingway said, he wrote until he bled. I know I just talked about writing last week.

But, this quote stuck out to me. And writing is a passion of mine, no matter how hard and unfulfilling it can be at times. Sometimes, I will continuously hit walls of creative nothingness. Other times, I simply have to find the right words.

It’s just that simple.

My call to you is simple: Don’t be grander than you ought. Say what you want to say, how you want to say it, when you want to say it. I am not saying do not ever have a filter. I am saying don’t have such a thick filter you forget what you are trying to say in the first place.

Time and word count are not of the essence. Genuinely honest thoughts are.





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