Elements of Style_onthresholds

Starting the workweek with inspiration from a classic, which is really a conversation about writing between three very interesting people (and, I suspect, very different people) who all care about language and composing and creating. The conversation began in a college English class in 1919 where Professor Strunk taught the not-yet-famous writer E.B. White using his own “little book” titled The Elements of Style. Sometime between E.B. White becoming a prominent writer for The New Yorker and the celebrated author of the beloved Charlotte’s Web, he wrote a second part to his professor’s book—thus we have Strunk and White. Now, years later we have Maira Kalman’s illustrations that add a whole other layer—warm, witty, and smart—to this timeless book (I don’t know whose idea this was, but it was brilliant). On slow going days when writing a sentence is tough, I find myself looking to this book—for rules (yes, we all have our issues), but for much more than that…because often I imagine the three—Strunk, White, and Kalman—sitting in a café having a wonderful time (even if they don’t agree on everything) and there I am too in such good company.

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