Thursday, August 13, 2015

the last book I ever read (The Speechwriter by Barton Swaim, excerpt seven)

from The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics by Barton Swaim:

The governor once received a request for a letter congratulating a young man for gaining acceptance to venerable boys’ choir. What you’d want to say was “That’s a remarkable honor for you, and I wish you the best of luck as you sharpen your talent.” But you needed more verbiage to fill out the paragraph, so you’d write, “That’s an incredible honor for you, and I do wish you the best of luck as you sharpen the remarkable talent you so obviously possess in spades.” (The governor was always saying people had qualities “in spades,” and he liked to make sentences trail off into superfluous phrases.) One sentence gives you only six or seven extra words, but if you do this for five or six sentences in succession, you’ve turned a perfunctory note into a heartfelt letter on which some time was spent.

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