Brevity

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It has been unintentional, but on several occasions here in the Rabbit Room we’ve discussed the use and power of words, and eventually someone (often this guy) steers the conversation to musing about the difficulty and discipline of brevity– using fewer words for greater impact.  Clearly, I’m only talking a good game here.  Still, I’m fascinated by the discipline of forcing myself to be selective with the words I use.  Here are a few fun links which are committed to the discipline of brevity.

Twentytwowords.com— This is Abraham Piper’s blog. (John’s son)  He calls it an “experiment in getting to the point.”  Each entry is exactly twenty two words long.  The others I’m listing here are ones he listed on his site which I think are super cool.

coolthingsinrandomplaces.com– Just what it sounds like.  (Laura P, commenting below, indicated this link may carry with it some viral badness.  So I took the link down, but the site is still cool.  Thanks for the head’s up, Laura.)

The Big Picture— News, events and oddities from around the world told mainly through images.  Right now you can find one entry dealing with the International Space Station and another dealing with super-microscopic images.  Check them both out and tell me if they both don’t leave you feeling dwarfed by God’s handiwork.  There’s one image of an ice crystal that I can’t get over. (Also, they have a Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar where each day leading to Christmas they post a new image from deep space.)

And last, onesentence.org— true stories told in one sentence.  This is sometimes heart-warming, sometimes incredibly sad, sometimes hilarious, and sometimes a bit, um, PG-13 (but nothing too rough.)  You’ll find moving little gems like: “I had never thought about the importance of my uterus until I was told it had to be removed.”  And this one that made me nod as one who understood perfectly: “During a romantic dinner away from the kids, I looked down at my hand and saw that there was poop on my diamond.”  Okay, one more. “The day my Mother accidentally left my little brother at the dog pound gave me the only self-esteem boost I would ever need.”

Enjoy.

Russ Ramsey and his wife and four children make their home in Nashville, Tennessee. He is a pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church and the author of Struck: One Christian's Reflections on Encountering Death (IVP, 2017), Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative (Rabbit Room Press, 2011) and Behold the King of Glory: A Narrative of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ (Crossway, 2015). He is a graduate of Taylor University (1991) and Covenant Theological Seminary (MDiv – 2000, ThM – 2003). Follow Russ on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram.


12 Comments

  1. Amy

    In a creative writing class in college, my professor had us condense a story from a full page of writing down to a half page, then a quarter, and then finally a poem. What an exercise in finding the best words to communicate the best images. My other favorite activity was writing short short stories and the beautiful, haunting images students created. Somehow though, when I recreated those activities with high school students, most failed to see the power and impact of shorter pieces. There is comfort and ease in rambling!

  2. Dan White

    I have believed for some time now that the best songwriters (or poets, or plain ol’ writers for that matter) figure out a way to communicate the most content with the fewest possible words; which is why I’m a preacher and not a songwriter.

  3. Christopher Hopper

    Russ,

    Once when getting schooled by former keyboardist for Three Dog Night, Randy Cutlip, he taught me something I will never forget. “Always make sure to leave space in your music. The Holy Spirit ministers in the holes.”

    CH

  4. LauraP

    Hey Russ,
    I went to visit the link in this post for “coolthingsinrandomplaces’ on Jan. 1 and got hit with a bunch of viruses, Trojans, and assorted ugliness. Maybe that site was hacked, or maybe everyone else uses cool Macbooks and were not affected, but it might be a good idea to take out that link. Just wanted to spare my fellow rabbitheads a pain in the ears…..

  5. SteveB

    My wive used to get on me for how long and detailed my stories were, now I get in trouble for how bried they are. Still working on middle ground.

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