Liquid Prose

I have to wonder how often someone reads my blog and then goes back later and reads the same entry again. It must be disconcerting. Because I’ll finish a blog entry, go onto Arts Journal and read it, then go back and fiddle with it, correcting typos, changing a word here and there, even adding or subtracting sentences. I get such a different sense of how the essay looks on the internet than how it looks in my word processor that I almost always change something, even a day or two later. Quote me, and someone looking up the quote may find something else. It’s one of those real internet luxuries to be able to write something, see how it looks to the reader (assuming the reader has the same browser you do, of course), and then go back and keep making adjustments in coming days to get it perfect.

Back in the old days of newsprint (God bless ‘em), it took some trial and error to gauge how your writing would look on a page. I was a little embarrassed by the look of my first few Village Voice columns until I adjusted my writing to the new format.

You have to write a little differently depending on the visual aspect of the venue.

Font, column width, art size, and surrounding advertisements and articles have an effect on what you feel you can intelligently get across.

For instance, the Times has narrow columns, and I never quite get used to their tendency toward brief little one-to-three-sentence paragraphs.

I hate to end a paragraph before the eighth sentence at least.

It drives me nuts.

But not as nuts as it must drive someone to e-mail a friend, “That idiot Kyle Gann on his blog today said that Philip Glass was a better composer than Luciano Berio,” and the friend logs on and looks, and e-mails back, “No, that’s not what he said at all.”