A New Life in Seattle

A New Life in Seattle
August, 2018

Sunday, October 25, 2015

On Writers and Stylistic Nudist Camps

I came up croppers in my search for a leading photo: something that would prove my point that some writers should be banned from attempting stripped-down writing...just as some nude bodies should steer clear of public beaches. Or at least the internet.

Oh, there was no shortage of nudist photos. And, though none were shocking, some were far more graphic than I want to display on this blog: men and women playing with genitalia too common to call even average. I salute their lack of inhibitions. I salute their respect for what their bodies have become. But I flip the bird at the notion that all bodies become lovelier when they are shown in the buff.

Nudism may be a wonderful thing. But I'm no friend of the phenomenon when it comes to writers who disguise a lack of talent in a style that's stripped to the bone.

Let me perfectly clear here. I don't care if writers pose in the nude or semi-nude--though I'd really rather not have seen this shot of Ray Bradbury:


Or this one of Ernest Hemingway:


My sights are firmly fixed on stylistic nudists, those who march buck-talent talent under banners emblazoned with idiots' rules:

Avoid all adjectives.
Avoid all adverbs.
Avoid anything resembling fine writing. 

And so on and so on and so forth. Just as skinny high school girls ridicule the curvy Prom Queens ('Her boobs aren't real.'...'She must be an idiot if she's got a body like that.'..), so writers lacking a stylistic wardrobe insist--as they must--that it's best to go nude. After all, they'll tell you, it's more honest to go nude than parade in a stylistic wardrobe like this:

Or this:

Or one that reads like this:

"Once in the hands of Duncan Nicol it was translated, as by consecration in the name of a divinity more benevolent than all others, into pisco punch, the wonder and glory of San Francisco’s heady youth, the balm and solace of fevered generations, a drink so endearing and inspired that although its prototype has vanished, its legend lingers on, one with the Grail, the unicorn, and the music of the spheres.”
(Columnist Lucius Beebe, Gourmet magazine, 1957; quoted by M. Carrie Allan in "Spirits: Pisco Punch, a San Francisco Classic Cocktail With Official Aspirations." The Washington Post, October 3, 2014)

The answer, though, may lie between the purple and the overwrought. As Paul West said in his essay 'In Defense of Purple':

A writer who can't do purple is missing a trick. A writer who does purple all the time ought to have more tricks.

A great writer's style may wear a white suit. Pristine and bold, but with the jazz of the pocket square and tie.

Or his style may show in muted colors and classical lines with counterpoints of texture:

Calvin Klein Out in New York

His style may blend the quietly formal with the laid-back casual:

I'm open to almost any style as long as it's simple, with class and pizzazz. My favorite writer, Lawrence Sanders, had the style down to perfection:

Some days lasted forever; some were never born. She awoke in a fury of expectation, gone as soon as felt; the world closed about. Once again life became a succession of swan pecks.

Join me in my plaintive plea to all writers of buck-naked books:


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