One hundred and fifty years ago, on November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered his now famous Gettysburg Address, a document remarkable not just because it’s so eloquent, but also because it is so brief.
In the interest of responsible writing practices, I’m not going to repeat here what I have already broadcast about this breathtaking and heartbreaking speech. You can follow the link to read and/or listen to The Power of Brevity, my recent commentary on Vermont Public Radio, about the language Lincoln used so sparingly – and to such fine effect.
My contract with the station includes limitations on how and where I can repost or republish anything I’ve written for them. This does not mean my work can’t ever be republished; it is all the time – with permission. And while the freedom and enormity of the internet often blurs those lines of attribution and permission, it shouldn’t.
On a blogging service, such as Word Press, bloggers agree to allow reposting as part of the terms of service. To use a post elsewhere, always get permission. Asking for it is only an email away. That’s for reposting whole cloth; simply quoting a sentence or two requires attribution only: the author’s name, the name of the original post, and the place and date where it appeared. A link to the original piece usually does the trick.
In addition to modeling responsible writing practices, I’m going to model Lincoln’s brevity by following FDR’s prescription:
“Be sincere. Be brief. Be seated.”
Deborah Lee Luskin is the author of the award-winning novel, Into the Wilderness, a love story set in Vermont in 1964. She is a regular commentator for Vermont Public Radio and a frequent editorial columnist. A life-long educator, Deborah now leads writing and revision workshops, and is available as a developmental editor for projects in prose.