I’ve been thinking lately about how brilliant writers are able to communicate complex ideas or deep emotions concisely. My thoughts have turned numerous times to the apocryphal story about Ernest Hemingway being challenged by friends in a bar to write a story in just six words; he grabbed a napkin and scribbled ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’ Then this weekend, the Starters Q&A in the Guardian‘s Weekend supplement featured author Ann Patchett, whose beautiful response to the question ‘What or who is the greatest love of your life?’ made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end: ‘My husband. Finding him remains the great astonishment of my life.’
These two statements may be short, six and eleven words respectively, but they speak volumes. They stir the depths of my soul. So why do we often feel obliged to write a lot when these literary greats have shown that brevity has strength and power too?
Inspired by these examples, I shall explain my absence from and return to this blog briefly. I’ve agonised for too long about what to say! It is enough to tell you that February saw a resurgence of my mental health issues and it is only now, the beginning of May, that I am properly back at my desk – or should that be ‘Got worse, struggled hard, improved now’?