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.

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