As a writer I have an abiding annoyance with the phrase ‘that’s close enough for jazz’ – meaning ‘close enough is good enough’.
It isn’t. Not in jazz, which has some of the most precise and complex rhythms known in music. Ever tried to play a piece in ‘Thirteen’? It’s a jazz time signature –5/8 and 4/4 on alternate bars to create the rhythm one-two-one-two-three/one-two-three-four. If you haven’t, try tapping it on your desk. Go on, I double dare you. The first bar and last have to be tapped in the same number of seconds.
The same’s true of writing. Rhythm counts when it comes to word pace and phrasing. So does the selection of the words. Why? Because words are imperfect vehicles to convey the meaning of ideas. And close enough just isn’t good enough if you have a particular meaning in mind.
Precision counts – and time put into getting that precision counts a great deal.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013