Simple is better. For food.
Shorter is better. For writing.
But deceptively, simple and shorter is hard. Very hard. Both in food and in writing.
Can’t go wrong with fat-laced beef ribs, boiled for hours on end, succulent, tender, moist. My wife – Chef de Cuisine and Saucier of our household – literally spent an entire day with those ribs. First draining excess blood in ice cold water, boiling the ribs once to rid of “some” of the fat, marinating the ribs in a masterful blend of soy sauce, garlic, green onions and black pepper, re-boiling the ribs until the delicate meat is ready to fall off the bones.
In the end, this is what it “boils” down to.
A bowl of hot broth that will send your favorite pho joint scurrying away. Chunks of tender ribs, melt-in-your-mouth like Land-O-Lakes butter. Radish, oh that radish, so flavorful after soaking up the beef juices and fat for hours. And a lot of fresh, chopped scallions.
Simple yet a product of one painstaking process.
Twitter is the same way. The 140-character limit for each tweet forces you to extract everything of your writer’s brain, down to the last nibble. Writing ten-thousand word blahs are relatively easy, filled with fluffy fillers and endless jargon. But expressing the essence of what you want to say, in a way that intrigues followers, is damn hard.
As the great Thomas Jefferson once said, “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”
For me personally, editing is dreadfully tougher than writing. Editing – mainly, making shit shorter – takes a surgeon’s meticulous yet crude skills, cutting away of all unnecessary excess, one morsel at a time. Blood spurts, nerves are shocked, but in the end, that one masterful tweet, is one of purity.
So before we curse Twitter’s word limit, let us choose our words carefully.