One of my very earliest story mentors was Jay O’Callahan. He was fond of saying,”Choose! Choose! Choose!” What were we choosing? Words.

To Jay words were like precious drops of water offered to a parched man’s tongue. Don’t waste them! If you have 5 words, choose 3. If you have 3 words, choose 1.

Even in a time of war Winston Churchill understood the need for clarity of thought and speech. He railed against sloppy writing from his staff. “It is slothful, he said, not to compress your thoughts.” [Winston Churchill]

Perhaps today we begin anew to regard words with concise and cogent care.

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