Writers hunger for understanding and appreciation (as well as readers).

A few readers of this blog, besides disagreeing (often vehemently) with my point of view, as reflected in some of my posts, have also critiqued my writing.

I have been accused of “braggadocio” and pomposity in my posts and of defects in writing such as trying to impress readers by using big words and a weakness for overly complex wording/sentence structure. And, of using arcane scholarly references in what is deemed an effort by me to show off my learning (such as it may be).

But others with whom I have shared my writings or have discussed this say that, on the contrary, my writing is the opposite in many respects: that it exhibits humility of spirit (“sure!” my detractors would say), honesty and sincerity, and a desire to make myself clear (read simplicity; of course, my detractors would say that my writing is NOT clear).

I was going through and cleaning up old papers today. I found that I had made a note of a remark my former boss at a consulting firm where I was employed for over twelve years made to me on August 11, 1990. He told me that his wife (a retail executive who became CEO of a large department store chain) had said to him: “He writes better than you.”

Whereupon my boss said to me: “You write with a clarity of expression that takes complex issues and makes them understandable.”

Like most people, I’ll take compliments wherever I can get them.



— Roger W. Smith

   August 20, 2017







My wife read this post today. She emailed me as follows:

Roger —this is not the first time that someone has said this about you. Don’t let it go to your head [meant jocularly].

She reminded me of a remark a friend of hers, an English teacher, once made to me. Her friend said she had enjoyed published writing of mine that my wife had shared with her and made a statement to the effect that I could write well and convincingly about anything and make it interesting. I recall the words she concluded with: “You could make a doorknob interesting.”

Am I full of myself, or what?





note: I intend to complete another post or two in which I will discuss issues related to style (did Strunk and White write the last word; is there another way?), vocabulary (are big words verboten?), and voice in writing.

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; classical music; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1) rogersgleanings.com, a personal site, he also hosts websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin.
This entry was posted in general interest, writing (the craft of writing; good vs. bad writing; my training, experience, and lessons re same) and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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