It took us awhile, but Sophie and I finally completed “Charlotte’s Web” tonight. Ironically, I leafed through “The Elements of Style” (3rd Edition) by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White (illustrious author of “Charlotte’s Web”). In it, I came across a passage in the chapter “An Approach to style” in which it is written:
“The volume of writing is enormous, these days, and much of it has a sort of windiness about it, almost as though the author were in a state of euphoria. ‘Spontaneous me,’ sang Whitman, and, in his innocence, let loose the hordes of uninspired scribblers who would one day confuse spontaneity for genius.
“The breezy style is often the work of an egocentric, the person who imagines that everything that pops into his head is of general interest and that uninhibited prose creates high spirits and carries the day.”
Boy, I wonder what Mr. White would have though of the blogosphere. Still, it did give me pause to think about what I write on thunderbolt and exactly why I do it. Is it to be a part of a larger community of writers and readers? Is it the thrill of knowing that someone is actually looking at something I’ve written? Lately, I feel like I’m doing this for your approval. I’m 37 and still trying to get an ‘A’.
I shouldn’t let Mr. White’s text get to me so much. I’d rather think about this passage that he wrote in “Charlotte’s Web”:
Charlotte is dying and Wilbur is having his last true conversation with her.
“Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.”
“You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”