Saturday, May 23, 2015

William Zinsser and Writing to Learn

Last week I heard that the great writer and teacher William Zinsser died recently. Years ago I bought a copy of his book Writing to Learn. I hadn't looked at it in a long time, so I pulled it off the shelf and thumbed through it. As well as realizing that I have a lot to learn, I came across this passage,

Also notice what a pleasure it is to be in the company of a writer with enthusiasm for his subject. It doesn't matter what the subject is; I want an ichthyologist to be as committed to fish as Mayor is to prints - to make me think there's nothing more important to him. This is the personal connection that every reader wants to make with a writer; if we care about the writer we'll follow him into subjects that we could have sworn we never wanted to know about. The blind attachment of a hobbyist to his hobby is as interesting a life force as the hobby itself.

As I've been reading through everything I can find written by E. L. Moore, George Allen, Raymond Frankenberger, and Bart Crosby it's clear its the enthusiasm that comes through and keeps me turning pages. Writing to Learn is worthing getting, and I'm likely to be re-reading it through the summer.

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