I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Cyberspace Letters

"As simple as it may seem, we must pick up one word at a time, clean up each of those words as we go and set them one by one on a true foundation, in a context where people will actually take the time and the thought to read them. This must be the business of the authentic communicator of the 21st century. It will be gritty, necessary work."

This is the advice of Scriptura (a 40-something year-old former sportswriter), as written in a letter to Skateboard (a 20-something year-old sportswriter) in a novel called The Cyberspace Letters, written by Allen Palmeri, who is a good friend of mine.

The first third of the book borrows the format of C.S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters." The mentor and mentee discuss theology and psychology and a number of other meaty topics, but early on in their communication Scriptura wants to make sure they are speaking the same language, so they can, in turn, communicate with each other and their audiences more clearly.

One of the words they discuss is "beauty." Here is a portion of the way Scriptura defines it for Skateboard:
There is beauty in sports. I find it in those tightly contested games where defense, or the art of countering one's opponent, is elevated to a place of prominence that is normally reserved for those who get rewarded so handsomely for creating movement on the scoreboard. In other words, I like games of baseball, hockey and soccer that finish 1-0, and the occasional game of football that ends 3-0. We are talking about the beauty of pitching, goaltending and punting. In this I find true art.
Do you see the irony in this? In an age when someone, anyone, can sit down before his or her home computer and fire off hundreds of words in a series of e-mails to friends, we still have the 1-0 baseball game. Is that delicious or what? As much as the fan would want to come up with all kinds of fantasy methods to generate more excitement, it still comes down to a summer night in Yankee Stadium with two of the better pitchers in the American League taking care of the hitters.
Scriptura goes on to say:
When games turn out like this, it brings to mind the axioms that less can mean more, that subtraction can mean addition and that one is sometimes all it takes. In other words, in a general sense, it is not necessarily true in our culture today that more communication, or more information in its various forms, will mean more success.
I love this idea of discussing words -- one at a time, mining each one for gold. As I read the book, I found myself wanting to mine words I've been thinking about, such as "simplicity," "silence," "love" and so many more. Don't be surprised to see a post about each of those words in the near future. And, in the spirit of The Cyberspace Letters, I'd love to get your take on each of the words.


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