Swedenborgianism

Years ago, on our honeymoon, we shared a  cab with a couple of hairdressers from Boston. The cabbie didn’t understand their instructions to Trelawny Beach Resort.

The tourists, meeting and surpassing every stereotype, raised their voices louder and louder so that the cabbie would eventually understand them.

The yelling did not help.

What does this have to do with swedenborgianism? Every now and then I find myself working with material written by academics. Bless their souls. Their paragraphs are built of concrete. It’s all fine and dandy when they are writing for each other. I assume they all speak swedenborgianism and autochthonous-ism. But even reticulative and antifideism stopped me in my tracks/cab.

An editor once told me that her job was to be the first one to misunderstand. It would be a lovely thought to imagine a reader with the time and inclination to look up those seven syllablers, but most readers don’t care that much and don’t have enough time.

Authors, even the super-smart ones, need to speak the language of their readers to get that cab back to the hotel.

1 Comment

  1. Karen,

    Thanks for being a great editor – “the first one to misunderstand” – and a great writer. And thanks for the reminder that loudness never remedies cloudiness.

    Shalom

    Mark

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