Archive for November, 2013

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Dad’s Tips

November 20, 2013

Today would have been my dad’s 84th birthday. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss him. Dad died three and a half-years-ago and left a legacy of lessons. He suffered a massive brain aneurism while delivering Meals on Wheels with my mom, offering an example about the importance of community service even in his final moments.

If I wrote about all the lessons Dad taught me, I’d fill a book not a blog. For this piece, I’ll focus on what he taught me about writing.

Dad graduated from the University of Michigan with an MA  in business, not English. However, he earned the honor and job as Editor in Chief of the Michigan Daily. It was through journalism and editing that he became a gifted writer in his own right.

Here are a few of his choice nuggets slightly edited with my own thoughts:

  • Write simply
  • Offer details, but not overdone adjectives
  • Be direct
  • Provide an opening for the reader to question
  • Convince the reader of your point like you would in a debate
  • Offer examples and back up your viewpoint
  • Never lie
  • Always check your sources
  • Edit your work
  • Controversy can be good
  • Write like you mean it
  • Words matter, especially your own

Not bad. Thanks, Dad.

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Dragonflies

November 2, 2013

Did you know that the dragonfly has two sets of 16,000 lenses? I didn’t.

Imagine being able to sense things in 16,000 different ways. Impossible. Or is it? I absolutely believe that we stifle our senses and often “see” things in a much too limited direction. Animals can detect storms without watching the weather channel, and I’m sure, if we tried, so could humans. It’s easy to cite the reasons for our lack of awareness—busy lives, technology, laziness, fake flavoring et al.. But if we could find five minutes to slow down and sit, we might be able to tune into our own radar. We might not notice 16,000 differences, but maybe we’d notice one.

Try it in your writing. Sit outside and listen. Smell. Touch. See. Breathe in flavors. Taste them. Hopefully you’ll notice something you didn’t before. Add it to your writing. Add it to your life.