Sunday, 17 March 2013


by Colin Bloom

One of my favourite writers is Eric Arthur Blair; known by his more famous pen name George Orwell. For me his 1940's books Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four remain penetrating and sagacious examples of the power of words.

Ironically, I first read both books in 1984 and every Easter I re-read both novels with increasing enthusiasm. Why? Because without fail I learn something new and am reminded again of why I hold many of my political ideologies. I think people like me should read these books as warnings; sadly it feels like too many people of influence must be reading them as guide books. In my musings to come, I daresay these points will be revisited.

Over the years I have given away so many copies of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four that I have taken to buying up second-hand copies from charity shops. Knowing that with all the fervency of an end-times preacher, they will be pressed into the hands of some unsuspecting dinner guest, relative or window cleaner with the exhortation to "Read this! The end is nigh!"

Last year a friend suggested that I flirt with breaking the duopsony of my Easter reading trysts and add Orwell's 1946 book of essays 'Why I Write'. This literary beauty immediately caught my eye, seduced me, and is now beckoning me into her chamber for a second time. Time to musk up...

So as I start my own journey into inking my fingers some more, I wanted to set down the six rules that Orwell gives in Why I Write with the hope that I can stick with his advice.

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Obviously the views expressed on this blog are my own, they might not always accord with organisations I work with or friends and loved ones that I break bread with. But so far as it depends on me, I will try and live at peace with everyone.

Feedback and comments are welcome and encouraged, but this is my blog, so I will remove anything I think is unhelpful. 

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