Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Let Me Be Brief...

I was recently introduced to a website called http://brevitymag.com/.  This website is a collection of nonfiction essays.

If you are anything like me, you find it exceptionally difficult to write "short" things.  (That's why I write novels and not short stories.)  This is a great collection of masters of the brief, but meaningful, writing.  I know I will refer to it frequently as examples of ways to improve my own writing.

As Shakespeare said, "Brevity is the soul of wit."  (I always appreciate the joke that the character who spoke this line is a pompously over-talkative individual.)

Perhaps that is one of the reasons I struggle with creating effective humor in my writing...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mind Your "e"s and "i"s

A phenomenon has been circling around the globe the past few years that I find rather amusing.  I'm talking about the overusage of "e" and "i" before words.

It all started with a couple of new terms that came into regular usage maybe a decade or two ago. With the advent of the Internet, suddenly we could receive e-mail -- a useful term to describe the notes and messages directed to us electronically.  Then a few years later a company named Apple introduced a new product called the iPod  that utilized a music program called iTunes (notice -- lower case "i," upper case next letter).  I have no idea, but I am assuming Apple used the "i" because it sounded near to "my" but was catchier. Or a more "official" answer might be this one. It makes sense, but I know better than to believe everything I read on the Internet too.

Now I can e-file my taxes while perusing the e-text of the world's e-commerce. I can also find out how much e-money my e-business is making.  And if I need a little R&R, I can always catch up on the latest e-book in my EZ chair.


But the funniest one to me is how many companies are trying to link themselves to the Apple branding. I can appreciate how Apple, Inc., has continued to set itself apart with its "i" use, such as iPhone, iPad, etc.  But lots of non-Apple companies are trying to jump on the band wagon. Now I can search my iGoogle for iSAFE products, while listening to iHeartRadio with my iLogic headphones.  And iLuv that I can use my iEraser to clear my iTV of iDocs. (Alright, I realize I didn't refer to all those "correctly," but my point is still the same.)

So since when did "i" and "e" become the cool new kids on the block? Companies believe that if they throw an "i" or an "e" before their product name, suddenly their sales will triple. It's unfair to Apple and ridiculous for the rest of us.

Pretty soon iWill be e-ating e-meat with an iFork, while iWrite my e-girlfriend/e-boyfriend an iLetter with an e-keyboard about iSchool and e-babies.