On Writing Well CH1-2

一 小词&表达

1.arduous

Coming home from an arduous day at the hospital, he would go straight to his yellow pad and write his tensions away.

arduous指费力的,需要花费很多时间、精力等。比如说写论文,办手续。书中指的是在医院的一天工作很多很累人,Dr. Brock一回家就直接拿起了黄色便签本开始写字,把白天工作的焦虑感一写而空。

2.drudge

I said that professional writers are solitary drudges who seldom see other writers.

drudge一般作名词,指做着无聊、困难工作的人。作者就说专业作家的工作是无聊的,困难的,是单打独斗的。他们不会去和别的作家见面聊天,就像Dr. Brock那样。

3. Revelation

It was a revelation to all of us

revelation:something that is surprisingly good, enjoyable, or useful: 出乎意料的;令人大开眼界

 revelation to

Alice Walker's novel was a real revelation to me.

 revelation about 揭示.揭露

These are revelations about his private life.

revelatory .adj

His playing has many moments of revelatory insights.

4. emotional baggage :情感包袱

What emotional baggage did he bring along.

Baggage:luggage or beliefs  行李;既有的信念

5. strangle

We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon.

strangle:to kill someone by pressing their throat 扼杀; 或:to limit or prevent the growth or development of something:妨碍,阻碍,束缚

同义:hamper, halter, cramp

Mills argues that high taxation strangles the economy.

6.assail

The reader is someone with an attention span of about 30 seconds—a person assailed by many forces competing for attention

assail:v.

①  worry or upset you:为...困扰

be assailed by/ with

Carla was suddenly assailed by doubts.

to attack someone or something violently 

a novel assailed by critics

to criticize someone or something severely:

 assail somebody for something  质问,攻击

He was assailed for gross misconduct.

He was totally assailed by implication of strike.

7. catch

But, as always, there's a catch.

catch:[可数且通常单数] 非正式 a hidden problem or difficulty:

This deal looks too good to be true – there must be a catch somewhere.

 the catch is (that)

The catch is that you can't enter the competition unless you've spent$100 in the store.

仿:The catch is that those children don't realize the implications of smoking.

But there is a catch: once the compensatory changes have occurred—new muscle fibers have grown and become more efficient, new capillaries have grown, and so on.——PEAK

8. drawn into

How was he drawn into it?

 to make someone become involved in something, especially when they do not want to be involved 

9. bring along

What emotional baggage did he bring along.

to take someone or something with you when you go somewhere

10. hang out

Let it all hang out.

to relax and do what you like

11.convert into

 ...when he tried to convert into English his own government's  memos

(to change into a different form that can beused for a different purpose or in a different way)

12. move in

 piecing it out like an ancient rune, making guesses and moving on.

to start talking about a new subject in a discussion, book etc

13.avocation/ˌævəˈkeɪʃən/

N-VARYour avocation is a job or activity that you do because you are interested in it, rather than to earn your living. 业余爱好; 嗜好

14.panel/ˈpænəl/

a group of specialists who give their advice or opinions about sth; a group of people who discuss topics of interest on television or radio专家咨询组;(广播,电视上的)讨论小组

15.glamorous/ˈɡlæmərəs/

If you describe someone or something as glamorous, you mean that they are more attractive, exciting, or interesting than ordinary people or things. 富有魅力的

16.vaguely/ˈveɪglɪ/

Vaguely means to some degree but not to a very large degree. 有点儿

17.circulate:

 " A student asked if we found it useful to circulate in the literary world."一名学生问我们是否觉得多交往文学界的人很有用。

此处指:(在聚会上)周旋,往来应酬。circulate原意有应酬的意思,此处指余人交往、往来。

You circulate at a party, you move among the guests and talk to different people.

a piece of writing circulates or is circulated = copies of it are passed round among a group of people.  (文章等)传递、传阅、散发

18.Not if I can help it:

- 我尽量避免

19.gusto

 " He described with gusto the joys of weaving them (symbols) through his work."

Doing something with gusto = with energetic and enthusiastic enjoyment.(做某事的)热情、兴致、精力

20.  weave

weave symbols through his work:

将(素材等)编入(故事或设计中) weave details into a story or design = include

21. occur to sb

-“At the end Dr. Brock told me that he was enormously interested in my answers - it had neveroccurred to himthat writing could by hard.”

22. bewilder

使困惑;使糊涂;使不知所措。 something bewilders someone

= puzzle, perplex, mystify, confound [= cause bafflement(阻碍、迷惑) or confusion]

23. on the side 兼职,同时还有秘密的,暗地里的意思

24. a broader glimse 更广阔的的视野

But in fact we gave them a broader glimpse of the writing process than if only one of us ha talked.

25. a spell of (持续的)一段时间

持续某一个事件或情况:

I lived in London for a spell. 我再伦敦住过一阵子。

She had a brief spell as captain of the team. 她曾经当过一段时间的球队队长。

持续某一天气:

a spell of dry weather 一段天气干燥的日子

The weather broadcast is for dry, sunny spells.天气预报说是持续干燥的晴天。

二、摘抄与感悟

1 This is the personal transaction that's at the heart of good nonfiction writing. Out of it come two of the most important qualities that this book will go in search of:humanity and warmth.

2 But the secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components.

3 Franklin D. Roosevelt's translation section:

"Tell them," Roosevelt said, "that in buildings where they have to keep the work going to put something across the windows."

4  But all of them are vulnerable and all of them are tense. They are driven by a compulsion to put some part of themselves on paper, and yet they don’t just write what comes naturally. They sit down to commit an act of literature, and the self who emerges on paper is far stiffer than the person who sat down to write. The problem is to find the real man or woman behind the tension.

5. Ultimately the product that any writer has to sell is not the subject being written about,but who he or she is. I often find myself reading with interest about a topic I never thought would interest me—some scientific quest, perhaps. What holds me is the enthusiasm of the writer for his field.…It’snot necessary to want to spend a year alone at Walden Pond to become involved with a writer who did.

This is the personal transaction that’s at the heart of good nonfiction writing. Out of it come two of the most important qualities that this book will go in search of:humanity and warmth. ...

6.Clutter is the disease of American writing. We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon.


其实,写作的形式、过程和方法并没有固定标准。不同的作家不同的习惯。文中作为职业作家的William Zinsser 和外科医生兼职写作的Dr.Brock就给出了我们不同的看法:

It was hard and lonely, and the words seldom just flowed.(William Zinsser)

The words just flowed. It was easy. (Dr.Brock)

Rewriting is the essence of writing.(William Zinsser)

Let it all hang out.(Dr.Brock)

Establish a daily schedule and stick to it.(William Zinsser)

Just stopped writing and put the work aside for a day when it would go better.(Dr.Brock)

Professional writers are solitary drudges who seldom see other writers.(William Zinsser)

Writing will be affected by unpleased emotion.(Dr.Brock)


 Zinsser认为好的作品应符合如下标准:

Personal transaction that's at the heart of good nonfiction writing

②Out of it come two of the most important qualities that this book will go in search of: humanity and warmth

③The secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components

④Clear thinking becomes clear writing; one can't exist without the other


三、书单推荐

Eric老师推荐给大家的几本中文书:张大春的《文章自在》,舒明月的《大师的写作课》,村上春树的《我的职业是小说家》


四、Eric精选的字词

1. His was seemingly effortless style -- achieved, I knew, with great effort -- that I wanted to emulate, and whenever I began a new project I would first read some White toget his cadences into my ear.

cadence是“抑扬顿挫”的意思,也就是咱们说的语调和节奏。Steven Pinker在The Sense of Style中说: The best words not only pinpoint an idea better than any alternative but echo it in their sound and articulation, a phenomenon called phonesthetics, the feeling of sound.

phonaesthetics这个词是"voice-sound"和"aesthetics"的合体,我们在赏析语言的时候要注意用词的声音美。例如海明威在《老人与海》中写道:I can remember the tail slapping and banging and the thwart breaking and the noise of the clubbing.

tail, thwart, noise, slap, bang, break, club全都是单音节的词,读起来那个激烈的画面感就浮现了。尾巴四处拍打挣扎,船吱吱地裂开,棒子砰砰作响。这几个词准确、悦耳,一气呵成,非常漂亮。

2. Good writers welcomed the gift of being able to fuss endlessly with their sentences -- pruning and revising and reshaping -- without thedrudgeryof retyping.

drudgery和drudge在全书共出现了5词,一定要掌握它。drudge表示“做乏味工作的人“,drudgery表示“乏味的工作”。我们可以用这个词来替换hard boring work,例如I hated the drudgery of my work.

3. If readersconnect withmy book it's because they don't think they're hearing from an English professor. They're hearing from a working writer. (connect with表示“使某人感同身受”)

4. I've also incorporated lessions I learned by continuing to wrestle with the craft myself...

wrestle是“摔跤“的意思,wrestle with意思和deal with差不多,不过多了一层“这件事很困难”的意思。

5. But as always, there's a catch. (catch在这里表示“陷阱”,口语中非常常见的一个表达。例如What's the catch?有什么猫腻?)

6. Dr. Brock exclaimed, and he described with gusto the joys of weaving them through his work.

gusto这个词就是和with一起用,with gusto表示“有热情“ ”很投入“”有干劲“,例如I run this reading club with great gusto. 我愿意做这件事,我开心,乐此不疲。

7. Maybe I should take up surgeryon the side. (on the side表示“兼职”)

赏析&写作

1. The Elements of Style, his updating of the book that had most influenced him, written in 1919 by his English professor at Cornell, William Strunk Jr., was the dominant how-to manual for writers.Tough competition.

Tough competition. 独立成句的这种写法大家可能不习惯,也不敢这样写。前面很长的一个句子,突然停下来用短句下结论,读起来特别痛快。这样写的前提是要确保在这个语境中不会产生歧义。我暂时想不到更多的例子,在今后的阅读中我遇到这样的写法会分先给大家。

2.As America has steadily changed in 30 years, so has the book.

so+动词+主语,这个写法可以省去好几个字呢!

3. E-mail is an impromptu medium, not conducive to slowing down or looking back.

we sat down to face a crowd of students and teachers and parents, all eager to learn the secrets of our glamorous work.

这里我们可以学习的是:在medium和parents后并没有“which is" "who are",因为没有它们这个句子的语义不会受任何影响,而且更简练。当我们写出who/whic is的时候,要看看是不是删掉也可以。

4.Out if itcome two of the most important qualities that this book will go in search of: humanity and warmth.

这段话运用了倒装的手法。一般运用倒装手法有两个目的,一个是“强调”,另一个是“改变语序,便于修饰”,使得句式流畅、简洁。

Quotes

1. I don't know what still newer marvels will make writing twice as easy in the next 30 years. But I do know they won't make writing twice as good.2. Rewriting is the essence of writing.3. Clear thingking becomes clear writing; one can't exist without the other.

Thinking clearly is a conscious act that writers must force on themselves, as if they were working on any other project that requires logic: making a shopping list or doing an algebra problem.

4. Writers must therefore constantly ask: what am I trying to say?5. Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is had, it's because it IS hard.

推荐阅读更多精彩内容