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Monday, March 31, 2014

Two Good Readings

The first is short but I couldn't resist. It comes from a speech Gov. Chris Christie gave this weekend at the Republican Jewish Coalition. In that speech, Christie said, "In New Jersey, nobody has to wonder whether I am for them or against them." Granted, the speech was about pandering on Israel, not about Bridgegate, but still--as they used to say on Archer, phrasing!

The second is slightly more serious. Through Arts & Letters Daily, there is a nice compliation of tributes to Daniel Kahneman at Edge.org. The contributions are mostly interesting, but for the writers among us I wanted to offer this quote from Jason Zweig, a journalist and one-time collaborator of Kahneman's who offers a difficult but bracing lesson he learned from Kahneman:

To most people, rewriting is an act of cosmetology: You nip, you tuck, you slather on lipstick. To Danny, rewriting is an act of war: If something needs to be rewritten then it needs to be destroyed. The enemy in that war is yourself.

After decades of trying, I still hadn't learned how to be a writer until I worked with Danny.

I no longer try to fix what I've just written if it doesn't work. I try to destroy it instead— and start all over as if I had never written a word.

Danny taught me that you can never create something worth reading unless you are committed to the total destruction of everything that isn't. He taught me to have no sunk costs.

 

Posted by Paul Horwitz on March 31, 2014 at 08:19 AM in Paul Horwitz | Permalink

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