Picking this thread—how individuals can care as much about their art as they do for the craft of writing well—leads me to briefly unroll the ball of yarn some more. My basic premise is that there exists a profound nexus between (software) code and prose: While the English language, or any other spoken language, for that matter, is clearly not Turing complete—I’ve heard, though, that COBOL occupied a fabled place somewhere between spoken and programming languages 🙉—the simple fact is that rewriting (spoken languages) maps directly to the programming notion of refactoring, which its originator, Martin Fowler, describes succinctly as To segue a bit, my late father, a chemical engineer by profession, and a man of uncommon decency and integrity, was a big fan of books by the prolific American author, the late James A.
Michener, widely regarded for his meticulous research behind his books.
It’s like hacking a new pathway through the jungle of the day when you were used to strolling down a well-established trail or like breaking up scar tissue and retraining your muscles when your body developed bad compensation techniques after an injury….
Ultimately, though, strengthening simple routines leads to a life where you consistently achieve more success with less stress.
The author could have written “Tomas Aguilar became my best friend, and I his only friend” but if he had, separateness would replace oneness; the way Zafon uses language pulls the reader not only into the book but into himself.
Individuality and oneness become a single entity in the act of reunion.
The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as poetry (italics mine).
To this I add the seemingly anachronistic case of this observation by top-notch writer and Lisp hacker Peter Seibel.
At the top of my list is Cal Newport, who is just about the most clear-eyed thinker I know of.
Cal teaches at Georgetown University in Washington, D.