Monday, January 15, 2007

Less is More, Except When It's Not

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

There's a blaze of light
In every word,
It doesn't matter which you heard,
The holy or the broken hallelujah.

("Hallelujah," Leonard Cohen)

Consider this,
The hint of the century...
("Losing My Religion," R.E.M.)


sub·tle·ty (sŭt'l-tē)
1. The quality or state of being subtle.
2. Something subtle, especially a nicety of thought or a fine distinction.

The quality of being difficult to detect or analyze.

"The virtue of justice consists in moderation, as regulated by wisdom." ~Aristotle

"To go beyond the bounds of moderation is to outrage humanity." ~Blaise Pascal

Sometimes I'll go back over my work and suddenly get hit with a lightning bolt -- "TMI, girlfriend! You're explaining too much." I then realize that if I had written it more effectively to begin with, there would be no need to "explain" to the reader, so they'll "get it." People are quite capable of reading between the lines. On the other hand, if it's too subtle, some shoring up may be necessary. After all, readers don't want to have to also be code-breakers. But they also don't want to have everything laid out before them, negating their need to think. There is a fine balance to be struck between the subdued and the overt.

There's nothing wrong with moderation. Or subtlety. Subtlety and moderation have much the same meaning when viewed in the context of taking it easy. It's not necessary to beat people over the head with an idea, a thing, or a concept. To do so is boring, and potentially irritating to those being overwhelmed with it. Small doses will get the job done much more effectively than a steady diet of any one thing, or of drowning people in one's ideas. Or of repeating an act to the point of redundancy and saturation, which is extremely annoying to those it is inflicted upon.

Once again, my gmail account was swimming in spam -- also quite redundant, suffocating, and annoying. I can, of course, simply delete it all sight unseen. I thought I'd take a look at a few of them, though, and maybe have a little fun with them.

Daisy Gonzalez,, wants to sell me top quality Replica watches. Yeah, I'm sure that's got to be a real bargain. wants to sell me orgasms. Hmmm. I admit, I kind of wonder how that works. would like to peddle FDA approved medications to me at 80% off prescription costs. Oh, sure, I'd be real smart to swallow those. would like for me to try his enhancement pills. They might fare better peddling that to those who have the proper equipment for enhancement. to jray96 would like to gain access to my Paypal account. Well, of course he does! Dream on, dude.

Danny Martin,, would like to peddle some cut-rate Cialis, Viagra, and/or Levitra to me.

Eli Gray,, writes me to say, "Over a several millions men have been helped with the potent ingredients in Penis Growth Patch - men have experienced bigger size, deeper penetration, more action, and super-satisfying results for themselves and their partners.

Don't be left behind! Take advantage of price specials going on now.."

Well, damn, if had myself a penis, I'd sure enough jump right on that. Penis Patches. Who knew?

I'd be embarrassed to admit I had nothing better to do than spam peoples' mailboxes.

Words Gone Wild might also be embarrassed, if they possessed the capacity to recognize themselves. Instead, they just go downhill and end up in 12-Step Programs for Twisted Linguistics.

vacinity - The empty lot where bad novels go to die.

copywrited - What the writter did with what he writted.

freeked out - What happens when Words Gone Wild get their freak on.

spirir filled - We don't know what a spirir is, but you'll be the first to know when we find out.

raoyalties - Dividends paid on new designs made with rayon.

listners - People who can't stand up straight.

vaires - Vampire fairies.

What cereal are you?

What kind of cereal are you???


some might describe you as a plain Jane or an average Joe. You are a honest person with many friends.

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Kanrei said...

I'm not getting it. Can you explain a bit more about the value of being subtle? I have the same problem quite often to be honest. I tend to write in this "Kanrei-ism" and then must translate. Most often my translations go beyond explaining and into their own Kanrei-isms that require explaination. Soon, I have two pages explaining a single point. Kind of like this post to be honest.

Serena Joy said...

Well, that's it in a nutshell. Sometimes I spend too much time explaining before realizing that with a few well placed clues, the astute reader probably already "got it" a couple of pages back. I'm still learning not to overdo, not to rub it in, and that writing is not bling where less is NOT more.

RexZeitgiest said...

Cheerios Mate...

I want acess to your paypal account too....

Make sure you check out my PWZ editorial on Chucky Hagel.....Its about time I start shaking off the 'writing rust' a little....

Scary Monster said...

Me really digging what you be writing here SJ. Me never truly worries about iffin people gets me point or not. For some of them subtlty is a frying pan upside the head. Often mistake in interpretation lead me to an interesting aspect of me ideas that Me hadn't realized befor.
P.S. Could you forward that spam about the patch to me mailbox?
Might do me some good when Me be stomping around LOL

JuJu Martini said...

Lucky Charms the cereal I am!

I have a tendency to over-explain, but I guess I do that so that whoever I'm talking to really either gets it...or me. I go off on tangents a great deal.

I have been "subtle" before only to be told that people don't get it..and that's not my problem they don't get it! If I have to explain certain things, it takes the fun out of it. I guess you never know what you're gonna get with me, I keep them guessing!

Serena Joy said...

Rex, how'd we both come out Cheerios? I don't think we're such Plain Janes. LOL. Trust me, you don't want my Paypal. It's like a pauper account.

I never know whether people get me or not, either, SM. Sometimes I think the tone is too subtle, then I can look at it an hour later and think I've practically drawn a road map. I misinterpret other people a lot, and they misinterpret me. Some days I feel like the only answer is the frying pan you mentioned. If I'd known you needed some help with your stomping, I'd have saved that spam for you. LOL.

JuJu, I adore Lucky Charms! Sometimes I even eat them for dinner. Shoot, I go off on tangents, too. I figure anybody who doesn't get it, it's their problem. Other days, I just feel like throwing myself on the mercy of somebody with some sense and begging them to FIX ME. I find that a long, hot, very good smelling bath pretty much takes care of that. Bottom line, it's all trial and error. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. There are martinis, rum and coke, and Lucky Charms for the days when nothing works.:)

Roxan said...

Trix are for kids, you silly rabbit!!!

Serena Joy said...

Roxan, did you get Trix? I haven't had those in years. Now I want some.:)

Rain said...

I'm trix silly rabbit.

Serena Joy said...

LOL, Rain. I'm gonna go buy some Trix tomorrow.:)

Southern Writer said...

Good post. Sorry I missed it when it first appeared.