Say It Again Sam

Verbosity by definition is speech or writing deemed to use an excess of words.(a)  While succintness is using a minimum of words and eliminating redundant words or phrases. Laconic is defined by Merriam Webster as being concise to the point of being rude or mysterious.
I think writing and speaking styles are highly individual.  I don’t believe there is a right or wrong, but I do believe it is a matter of taste.
I tend to be more succinct and appreciate that in others.  My husband and I have joked about this often as he tends to be a little more wordy and for a while I would ask him for the shortened version of his stories.  The Cliff Notes version.  A popular sitcom, Rules of Engagement, starring Patrick Warburton as Jeff Bingham, and Megyn Price as Audrey Bingham his wife, highlighted this difference in one of their episodes.  The episode was centered around her tendency to drag stories out and his preference for short and sweet.  One scene showed them discussing this with her growing more frustrated with him.  She finally burst out with, “I want a divorce.”  Without skipping a beat, he looked at her and replied, “Divorce me. Two words.”
We have laughed over this more than once and it is now our own shorthand for “Pare the story down, please.”
I like things short and sweet.  I grow irritated with redundancy, reiteration, and wordiness.  I find it a waste of my time.  I have had to limit my contact with people who do repeat themselves, talk for long periods of time without saying anything new or just like to hear themselves talk.  It’s exhausting for me.  Mentally exhausting.  I’m not saying I’m right.  I find those types of people are usually very generous, caring, people and have many fine qualities and I often take myself to task for not being more patient with them.

The reason I was struck anew with this today is I’m reading a book whose author is incredibly wordy.  And I’m finding it slow going.  Adjectives abound.  Four or five sentences to describe one item and I’m ready to quit.  I have never liked flowery descriptive writing.  If you tell me there were bushes of pink peonies lining the walk, that means as much to me, or more, than verdant, lush, dark green bushes laden with copious blooms of fuchsia and powder room pink.  If I have to wade through a sentence like that,  I’m not stopping to imagine just how it looks.  It’s overwhelming me with too much detail.  Get to the action.  That is what I’m reading for.  The action, the meaning underneath it all, the bottom line.
When I read, I frequently speed read, or skim those descriptive paragraphs and for the most part it works for me.  There are times I miss something and if there were a test, I’d be in trouble, but I read for the meaning, to get the gist of something, not to absorb all the words the author could fling at me.
For me, it is like those styrofoam peanuts.  Packing fillers.  Only instead of a filling a box, perhaps they’re trying to fill a page.

Because I am finding I should be more selective in how I spend my time, I am going to skim through the parts of this book, I’m not interested in and get to the part I bought it for.
Here’s to brevity!

(a) Wikipedia


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