I like words. Not just for the obvious ease of communication they provide. I like using words for the sake of using them. I've always been the one to write four pages when the assignment called for two, the one with the long text messages and the overblown emails to the teacher. I try to limit my wordage, but there's always so much to say that requires so much explanation.
I've been told that less is more, and I do see the truth in that. But I want to ask: is there anyone else who loves to use too many words? Is it harmful or hurtful to use words just because they sound cool? How bad is it to describe something three different ways just because you can?
(I do realize that this is a relatively short post for a self-proclaimed word lover, but I also have a test I should be studying for and am trying to be a responsible semi-adult)
There's something beautiful about being able to succinctly explain something complex in a single sentence that gets lost in translation when you take that sentence and turn it into an essay that is so excessive and overblown all of the useless words you cluttered in there are suddenly finding themselves getting shoved off the page by the more important and more meaningful ones who are trying to give your work the breathing room it needs.
Limits exist for a reason
I didn't speak about this in my response but that's so true. I really hope you don't turn in four pages when the limit is two. That's just obnoxious for your teacher/professor to have to grade.
I have to say I love words too...it is kind of a requirement when you want to write for a living. Though I have a slightly different view on the use of words. I have learned that one great word is better than ten OK words. And one beautiful sentence is better than pages of words. When you read something like Stuart Dybek's story "The Palatski Man" and find:
"The Palaski Man handed her a part. Honey stretched into threads from its torn edges. She put it in her mouth, expecting the crisp wafter and honey taste, but it was so bitter it brought tears to her eyes. She fought them back and swallowed, trying to to screw up her face, not knowing whether he had tricked her or given her a gift she didn't understand."
That is when words become beautiful. I read that and was stunned by the beauty of the words. That is what words should do, they she stop you in your tracks and make you read them over and over. Words should be beautiful, and sometimes they are a terrifying beauty, one that shakes you to your core and changes the world around you while you sit on your bed, but it is a beauty nonetheless. The one thing I will always remember from my creative writing classes: break the rules, if you must, but always be beautiful.
I like what I'm hearing. Essentially it's what I've been forced to learn as a writer, and am still learning. I was the annoying kid who wrote too much, though funnily enough, also the kid who barely ever spoke. (Maybe that's why I've had a hard time letting go of my fluff. It's a good way to release my inner chatterbox.)
But yes, I absolutely agree on the beauty and utility of the succinct phrase. I notice when a writer is giving me too much detail. Then I try to cut my own fluffy, useless writing and I freeze up. It's something on which I'm still working.
Only then I look at writers such as Neil Gaiman who can throw in these long tangents and somehow make it sound excellent, or read Leaves of Grass and love it because it's so rambling. I can't deny my love for wordiness. But I guess, like most things, it's really about dosage and circumstances.
I do love words, and I love losing large words, and I ESPECIALLY enjoy sentences that get tagged run on sentences, simply because I use so many commas, as they allow me to best explain exactly what I mean. But in school, and especially in short answer questions, it makes life much easier to simply explain something, strip down all the extraneous adjectives, adverbs, and subordinate clauses, and teachers love you for it. I think being able to explain things simply is one of the best gifts a person can have.