On The Language. I had forgotten the connections blogging makes perhaps even better than reading.  I had been considering Thomas Wolfe’s distinction between “taker-outers” like Fitzgerald and “putter-inners” like himself since I read McGurl’s The Program Era two years ago.  I wonder if the difference comes down to a philosophy of writing – even to what drives different people to write – or to style alone.

After posting about “taker-outers” and “putter-inners” yesterday, I read Shai Gluskin’s post “Embracing Limitation” in which he describes limitation as one meaning of Gevurah – limitation that starts (and ends) with mortality but also encompasses boundaries set by law and custom.  (Peter, how do you encompass a boundary?)  In a comment that followed the post, Shai admitted that blogging was of the opposite genus (if genera have opposites) – “an expansive, thoroughly creative act.”

Steiner’s expansive language and the expanse Shai speaks of; Hemingway’s artful subtraction (“show, don’t tell”) and the limitation of Gevurah and of mortality – real connections?  I wonder at it.  Surely all of life and literature is a pair of lungs, expanding and contracting, but it solves nothing and circumscribes the wonder to say so.

By Peter

After stints as a trial lawyer and a church worker, Peter Stephens has settled in as a Virginia high school English teacher. Peter has read several books and poems. He wrote none of the posts below filed under "Passages." Click the link at the end of each post to see it in the context of the author's original post.