I've been told that people on the Internet won't read prose anymore unless it's been cut down into bite-size, manageable chunks for Web consumers. Nuggets. That if you want to grab someone's fleeting attention on this speeding superhighway of information and reach the front page of Digg.com, your best bet is to distill the information you want to convey into a Top 10 List.
I am therefore very pleased to announce that this blog is now less focused on "writing" and more focused on compiling easily digestible lists of things.
Here is my first Top 10 List. I hope very much that you and your short attention spans enjoy it.
Top 10 Most Recent Paragraphs I Have Written Today
1. From a Letter of Recommendation I Was Asked to Write
Mr. Ryder has been a colleague of mine for more than two years (we share opposite sides of a desk), and what he lacks in creativity he more than makes up for in boisterousness. In Charles, you will find an employee who is never at a loss for words, which he adeptly strings together at all times and in no particular order. It is my great pleasure to recommend him for employment in your organization – not just because I will at last have an entire desk to myself (I am not so shallow!) but because I genuinely believe that he will thrive in an environment where his garrulousness is allowed free reign and his intellect is not overtaxed. If your office is such a place, then I am wholly convinced that he will fit right in.
2. From a Post-It Note, to Remind Myself of Something
Don't forget! When you're in a bad mood, the combination of gin, painkillers, and uppers can sometimes ruin a friendship! :0)
(Also, lunch with the Andersons is off this Sunday.)
3. From a To-Do List
Prepare To-Do List
Decide on Items to Include in the List
Write List in Entirety
Read over List
Mentally Separate Those Items That Have Been Completed From Those That Have Not
Cross Off Completed Items
4. From an E-Mail to My Mother
Dearest mother – thank you for your kind and forceful invitation to come and visit you in St. Catherine's. Sadly, I fear I must remind you that my engagement on this latest archaeological expedition has been extended into the indefinite future. I assure you that as soon as I return from Kharkhorin, it will be my first priority to stop by with news of my travels and to investigate the unfortunate incidents with the staff in your ward that you have so diligently enumerated in your latest e-mails to me. Goodbye for now, or as they say here in Mongolia, Bayartai!
5. From a Response to a Judicial Summons
I would also like to complain about the language used by the arresting officer during our encounters. On both occasions, Sgt. Wooster stated that "anything I say can and will be used against me in a court of law". If it is indeed true that everything I say will be repeated in court, then I should like to take this opportunity to state for the record that Sgt. Wooster is an ass and a cretin, who wouldn't recognize a tautology if it knocked him down and read him his Miranda rights. I am aware that a restraining order is a restraining order, and that – as you have astutely pointed out – ignoring one brings appropriately dire consequences. But must the violation really be met with such willful vapidity?
6. From a Shopping List
1. Sandwich Fixin's
2. Picnic Basket
3. Magazines (New Yorker, Harpers, The Economist)
4. Wool Sweater (Black)
5. Ski Mask (Black)
6. Camouflaged Treestand
8. Digital Video Camera
9. Change of Underpants
7. From a Sympathy Card
What I remember most about your son (and my dear neighbor) is not that he owed me 15 dollars from our bet that he could not jump from his balcony to mine, nor that he had just consumed half a bottle of my very best rum, nor even that he tragically landed on my brand-new Schwinn touring bicycle. What I remember most is his youthful vivacity, his tender nature, and the fact that he could always be counted on to pay his debts. Shall I send the bill to your address or to his executor?
8. From a Note Left on Someone's Car
So sorry – I think I accidentally broke your right front headlight when backing out of my parking space! Please do not try to find me, or I will be forced to come back and break the left one as well.
9. From a Posting in the Personals Section of Craigslist
m4w: SWM seeking d/df, hwp SF who also likes acronyms.
10. From a Discarded Blog Entry
Top 10 Best Things About Being Alone
1. Having lots of time to yourself.
2. Not having to go out because no one has invited you out and you don't want to go out anyway.
3. Spending time with the cat.
4. Cats are unable to file restraining orders.
5. They just scratch.