Letters – Issue 31


Dear Sir/Madam,

I just want to write to offer my congratulations for your brilliant article on page forty-three of your last issue.

The prose was lucid and succinct, and the content was suitably right-wing to express the zeitgeist. Keep up the good work.

Yours sincerely,

Lord Lardass of Daventry

(Eds: We think this was submitted in error but let it be known that we accept praise however misguided.)

Dear Verbosities,

What exactly do you have against punctuation? Henry James would blanch at your worryingly growing sentences. In one article in Issue Thirty, the verbiage was so sparing with full stops that I felt I was serving a sentence without remission for good reading.

If, as it appears, you want to persuade us to become good communists, please display better brevity, be more or less perfunctory, and, above all, use a  punctuation repair kit. Otherwise you will lose all the air in your tiresomes and be left on the rim of politics. You want to be a rational, measured politics-shaker, not an anachronistic boneshaker.

I find writing as if compiling a telegram works for me, stop.

Yours fraternally,

Joseph Comrade, no relation.

(Eds: Message received and understood, stop.)

Dear Big surs,

Although I usually enjoy your pot-pourri of satirical etchings, I am compelled to lodge a complaint: your sentences are simply too long. And I use the term ‘simply’ ironically.

Recently, I was engrossed in reading your latest issue, when, on reaching the far end of an epic paragraph, I smelled smoke. As it happened, I had allowed my lemon meringue pie to burn to ashes. I lay the blame squarely on your doorstep: the length of your sentences mean I can begin in the light and end reading a modest paragraph in darkness.

However, though we live in a feeble-minded, infantile compensation culture, I will not be asking you to refund the cost, or indeed arrange a replacement for my cremated lemon offering. I know you mean well. However, please try writing your articles in the time it takes to produce a soft-boiled egg. It works for me.

Yours in support of ideas and grammar,

Cedric N. Donne

(Eds: Thanks for not being a bitter lemon, as when all is said and done, one man’s sentence is another man’s paragraph. We’ll strive to produce sound byte-sized articles in future.)

Dear editors,

I am appalled at the profligacy of your prose. Just when I think I’ve got to the nub of your argument, I find another clause. How long do you need to say something. I am not asking for emoticons but really, stream of consciousness sentences are so old hat. Get tight or you’ll lose your readers in Caracas.

I find writing tight – seventeen whiskies sans water – works for me.

Yours critically,

Santa Ana – no relation.

(Eds: Yep, will do.)

Dear Long and the short,

Please find, enclosed with this letter, a small book called The Art of Brevity. I advise you to read it.

It will help with your current problem of seriously overweight clausal sentences.

When you have read it, please return it to me in the provided padded envelope before the time stamped on the inside cover. If you fail to return it before or on the date, you will be liable for a fine for it being overdue.

Enjoy (and learn from) reading it.

Yours fraternally,

Sam Day-Late (Chief Librarian, Cornwall)

(Eds: Thanks Ms Day-Late, we’ll have it back to you in no time.)

To whom it should concern,

I normally enjoy reading, but you are making it so difficult to continue my hobby with your tortured prose.

Could you please release the monkeys you are keeping hostage in the room with the typewriter in it.

Yours concerned for the future of writing and reading,

Francis Saint of Assington

(Eds: Actually, we allow the monkeys to use our computer to compile their articles, using a combination of desktop publishing applications. They seem very happy with the arrangement but we will do more prose coaching in future. Thanks for the constructive criticism and concern for fellow primates. You are a credit to our readership.)

Dear psuedo-communists,

We’ve had a hard enough recent forty years without your off-putting clumsiness adding to our problems. We’ll never get any credibility if you keep banging on about capitalism and corporatism. Lighten up.

Yours maternally,

Hilary (second name withheld for security reasons)

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