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.
- Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- Never use a long word where a short one will do.
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
- Never use the passive where you can use the active.
- Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
- 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.