Authors, Novelists, Norm Green, Norman Green, Shooting Dr Jack, Angel of Montague Street, Edgar Award, Shamus Award, Brian DeFiore, Mystery Writers of America, Brooklyn, Alexandra Martillo,Tommy Bagadonuts, American Writers

Minimum Effective Dosing

Watched an interview with David Foster Wallace, in which he went to great lengths to impress on the interviewer, I’m Smart! I’m Smarter Than You! I Write Shit So Dense Nobody Can Read It! Okay… I get it. You’re a bright guy. But I see no particular virtue in density. And, sure, be proud that you bothered to learn how to solve quadrilateral equations in your head, very cool, good job, but infusing one’s prose with quadrilateral-ish opacity is not helping anyone. It seems to me that if he had lived, Wallace would have had the opportunity to discover that once you work your way through the complexities, on the far side you find that the most transcendent work also tends to be the simplest. A work where you read until the flash bulb pops in your head and you walk around blinking for an hour, to me, that’s as good as it gets. The Tao comes to mind, not the commentaries but the real thing. Another one is Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, by Rovelli. Or, This Is It, by Watts. Okay, I’ll stop. But you get the idea. I have always thought that if you understand something sufficiently well, you ought to be able to explain it to me so that I can grasp the essentials, and ipso fatso, if you write something too hard to read just for the sake of proving that you can do it, you haven’t done your job. Challenge me, sure, but show me something. Take me someplace that you’ve been and I haven’t. If you can’t do that, you’re wasting both your time and mine.

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