“Your tweet was over 140 characters. You’ll need to be more clever”
While many find fault with Twitter and the culture it has heralded, I, a late entry into the maddening party, find immense brilliance in it. Undoubtedly, you need to sift through it all but it is a labour well worth the time. I was fortunate in having found a few to start with and piggy-backed on their recommendations to pick more. Nevertheless, I decided to cap the people I follow to 20 else it would be unsustainable for me.
But logistics apart, what Twitter offers is something vital for the education of writer (and there will be a more elaborate post regarding that, shortly). What it mandates is the need to be terse and clever. Verbosity is, at times, the reflection of laziness. Grandiloquence brings, often, a delayed sigh which economy might usher in sooner. Though 140 sounds arbitrary it does fit well into a breath, leaving just enough room for delight.
How does that help in the education of a writer, you might ask. Very simply in demanding that he inspissate his lines till the essence and effect are retained. A quote escapes me which was about elegant design and removing parts till you can’t remove anymore. I think this is valuable training for a writer. While a writer must know how to festoon words to create a grand celebratory night sky of lights, brevity is a vital skill too. This is so because he might not have the luxury of space, time or, what is becoming rarer, reader’s attention. Since literature can’t be compromised by these constraints, one must learn the art of punching with an inch’s trajectory (Bruce Lee style).
Raised in the words of Saki, Poe and Maupassant effusion was my religion. Along came Nabokov and Shakespeare who had little time for concision or its importance for a writer. They were greats and could be excused. Ms. Woolf ensured we walked long winding corridors of magical words before we paused to catch our breath. How then could I revere the void of words?
I thank my dear one for introducing me to Olivia Dresher (@OliviaDresher). But it was to be several months before I became active on Twitter. Ms. Dresher’s list introduced me to more talented writers and thinkers. The unimaginable joy of picking the best from them! Soon I had a good list of poetical, fictional and philosophical tweets to follow. Somehow faced with a twitter client, words pour in ways I never thought possible. When Ms. Dresher said ” You always surprise me. ” it was an accolade immensely satisfying and unexpected.
Nevertheless, Twitter can get addictive and tempt the writer into short bursts of cleverness. It might soon weaken the muscles which could hold sentences for greater lengths through a dizzying array of emotions. A writer must be both a sprinter and a marathon runner before he forms or meets his style. With that clarity, loads of discipline and an ounce of blessing a writer is definitely on the right path to goodness.
Ms. Dresher also introduced me to Fernando Pessoa who is a genius. He is the true representative of the balance I prescribe above. His fragments in The Book of Disquiet are terse icy splinters which splice open every nerve in your body. They also contain long and melodious sentences which one can waltz with. Study him, my friends and you will have a companion for life.
Some gems I collected from the Twitter-world:
you ask me why / I write / I write because / you don’t fit / in this pen – myearthgirl
skinny-dipping in your eyes / I come up dripping / your eyelashes tickling my toes – myearthgirl
Good old memories tease me in a language i no longer understand. – Shakti Shetty
We abbreviate the eternal. – gammaword
Sullen dusk / broods / in darkness. – expatinCAT
hear the music / it stabs your heart / that melody you can’t shake / like the face of an old lover / or the one you wish for – rasmithii
What is there to say when no one really wants to know? – OliviaDresher
he threw me into the trunk of his madness & tossed in a couple of words so that i could breathe. – LiliacSin
We can’t bear to look at the severe unity. No, we can’t bear to look closely. – SalwaHafiz
swallow lies or suffocate on truth – silence_litost
I give my unasked questions to the wind. The wind knows what to do with them. – OliviaDresher
The haunting company of the past, the sobering aloneness of the present. – OliviaDresher
Leave out the beliefs, and that’s what’s left. – OliviaDresher
Poetry: where words are best friends – OliviaDresher
Not everything is an end or a beginning. Some things just float by. – OliviaDresher
Oh! and just so that you know, no sentence in this post is more than 140 characters long.