From “The State of Nonfiction Today”, the opening chapter in Phillip Lopate’s To Show and To Tell, a piece whose insight has saved me from having to write at least two different essays so far. This graf comes right after a lengthy one summing up George Steiner’s “Ten (Possible) Reasons for the Sadness of Thought”:
I’m not trying to be more demoralizing than necessary. My point is simply to suggest that in the larger culture, as well as in the specific subculture of nonfiction, we may be moving away from the complexities of thought or consciousness for understandable if ignoble reasons. If thinking on the page makes us sad, why do it? If all those semicolons, ideas, and oppositional clauses slow us down and keep us from the more tactile pleasure of sense details, speedy dialogue, and cinematically imaginable scenes, get rid of them!