Apr 17, 2009

White's Bird of Thought

by Sarah Albrecht

I just wrote a blog about E.B. White, inspired by an NPR feature commemorating the fiftieth birthday of Strunk and White's Elements of Style. Instead of cutting and pasting it from Word over to here, I managed to delete it.


I'll encapsulate instead of rewrite. The deleted blog led up a to quote from the book, one I'll use to galvanize myself when I feel small compared to a master like White:

"Writing is, for most, laborious and slow. The mind travels faster than the pen; consequently, writing becomes a question of learning to make occasional wing shots, bringing down the bird of thought as it flashes by. A writer is a gunner, sometimes waiting in his blind for something to come in, sometimes roaming the countryside hoping to scare something up. Like other gunners, he must cultivate patience; he may have to work many covers to bring down one partridge."

Another quote from the book: "Omit needless words." So I'll stop.


  1. I like omit needless words. That's what we do in our editing process. It makes a point sharper.

  2. Interesting message. Made me think how sometimes things just flow, and how sometimes you sit, stumped and try to feel and see what it is that you are going for. I am very thankful to live in a time with computers. Typing is faster than hand writing, so a bit easier to keep up with.

  3. Hmmm I like the quote..I've never thought of myself as a gunner....I don't shoot much I think... I try to be acurate and concise. Maybe I should shoot more and see what happens. Hmmm
    Good food for thoughts...thanks for sharing~
    And I liked the 2nd quote too, made me smile... so I'll stop too!

  4. lol...I lost the blog I wrote a couple of weeks ago! so frustrating! Love the quotes. I have a couple of good friends with whom I am going to share them. thanks!

  5. Great post, Sarah! And both quotes are priceless! Thanks for sharing this.


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