I'm beginning to compose my list of "goals" for 2007. Among them is a resolve to reread Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, a practice strongly suggested in one of the many books on writing I've read in the past year or so (naturally I can't remember which one). It's one of those self-improvement goals, kind of like saying I'll go to the gym three times a week (which I'm not saying because I don't belong to a gym).
It also seems like a good time to reread that manual in honor of the editor who revived and revised Strunk's original "little book". Here's a tidbit for you to throw into New Year's Eve party conversations to sound well-read or cultured or something: the White of "Strunk & White" is none other than the author of Charlotte's Web, now showing in movie form at theaters around the U.S. The background story goes something like this: in 1918 Strunk, a Cornell University professor, privately published a forty-three page book containing elementary rules of usage and composition. E.B. White studied under him in 1919, but didn't recall the book until 1957. As editor of the New Yorker, he decided to write a piece on Strunk and his rules of writing. Two years later White was commissioned to revise the "little book" for publication by MacMillan & Company. So the revised and expanded edition is what we commonly know as Strunk & White's Elements of Style. Learn something new? Don't let a discussion of Charlotte's Web go by without mentioning this fun bit of information (then again if you're not a writer geek like me, maybe you should).
And now I'm wondering just how many of those elementary rules I've broken in this blog entry alone. I've definitely got to get my hands on a copy of that book soon.