Category Archives: criticisms of my writing (my responses to same, and what can be learned therefrom)

kudos

 

 

Writers hunger for understanding and appreciation (as well as readers).

A few readers of this blog, besides disagreeing (often vehemently) with my point of view, as reflected in some of my posts, have also critiqued my writing.

I have been accused of “braggadocio” and pomposity in my posts and of defects in writing such as trying to impress readers by using big words and a weakness for overly complex wording/sentence structure. And, of using arcane scholarly references in what is deemed an effort by me to show off my learning (such as it may be).

But others with whom I have shared my writings or have discussed this say that, on the contrary, my writing is the opposite in many respects: that it exhibits humility of spirit (“sure!” my detractors would say), honesty and sincerity, and a desire to make myself clear (read simplicity; of course, my detractors would say that my writing is NOT clear).

I was going through and cleaning up old papers today. I found that I had made a note of a remark my former boss at a consulting firm where I was employed for over twelve years made to me on August 11, 1990. He told me that his wife (a retail executive who became CEO of a large department store chain) had said to him: “He writes better than you.”

Whereupon my boss said to me: “You write with a clarity of expression that takes complex issues and makes them understandable.”

Like most people, I’ll take compliments wherever I can get them.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

      August 20, 2017

 

 

 

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addendum:

 

My wife read this post today. She emailed me as follows: “Roger —this is not the first time that someone has said this about you. Don’t let it go to your head [meant jocularly].”

She reminded me of a remark a friend of hers, an English teacher, once made to me. Her friend said she had enjoyed published writing of mine that my wife had shared with her and made a statement to the effect that I could write well and convincingly about anything and make it interesting. I recall the words she concluded with: “You could make a doorknob interesting.”

Am I full of myself, or what?

“pure naturalness and truth”

 

 

“[P]ure naturalness and truth, in whatever age, still find their time and their place.”

— Michel de Montaigne

 

 

So do I believe.

And earnestly wish.

I myself have strived to achieve “pure naturalness and truth” in my writing. Here and elsewhere. In writings and communiques, public and private.

Some narrow minded, mean spirited critics, who feel it incumbent upon themselves to keep an eagle eye on this site, feel otherwise. They are always carping and finding fault. They never have a complimentary word for my writing. In fact, incredibly, they find me to be pompous and feel that I pay fast and loose with “the truth,” as they see it. This, they feel, makes them entitled to correct and scold me, instead of offering constructive criticism.

My most admired writers, those whom I wish to emulate, include, along with Montaigne, Samuel Johnson and (in various works, including prose) Walt Whitman. It’s unlikely that my detractors are well acquainted with their works.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

     September 2017

Roger W. Smith “my writing; a response to my critics”

 

 

‘my writing; a response to my critics’

 

 

In this post, I have tried to consider and respond to criticisms of my writing which have been made by readers of writings of mine (chiefly blog posts) from time to time. In responding, I have used my own writing and writing of acknowledged masters as a basis for drawing conclusions about matters such as verbosity, big words versus little ones, simplicity versus complexity in style, supposed pomposity, when one is entitled to have an opinion, and so on. By explaining what I feel are legitimate reasons for writing the way I do, I hope to be able to shed some light on the writing process.

This post is in the form of a Word document.  (See above.)

 

   Roger W. Smith

   December 2018