Samuel Johnson and his baroque constructions gave a big push to my literary ambitions after high school. Let me just say I’ve loved the clarity of Mozart from my adolescence on, and Bach and Handel have risen in my estimation in the years since. The brash English master fell right into that, though I now see again just how irreverent he was, despite all of his professed orthodoxy.
What it means it that I’m comfortable reading and writing certain kinds of complex sentences that are foreign to modern readers. Perhaps I should apologize? At least it’s not the only way I put sentences in line. Still, there’s a richness that’s missing in Hemingway and his progeny.
And here I am, drilled in the newspaper journalism Papa Ernie claimed was his inspiration. Think again. (Ernie? Makes me think of Pyle, and his big desk at the Indiana Daily Student, where I once worked.)
My wife has noted the dichotomy between my fondness for many Old Ways and the rule-breaking, experimental edge of my writing and thinking. She can point, for instance, to my fascination with the fiery writings of early Quakers in the mid-1660s placed in contrast to wild hippie extremes.
Are they really that different, though? I feel they enrich and deepen each other.