Le mot juste

As you have probably noticed, I haven’t been blogging much lately. But if you’ll look to the right sidebar, you’ll notice I’ve been tweeting like crazy.

Surprised?

Me too. Until recently, I didn’t like twitter. I thought it was stupid and since I’m pretty long winded, I was annoyed with the 140 character limit. Recently, I’ve changed my mind. There’s an art to finding exactly the right words to convey what you’re trying to say. And it’s kinda fun.

That’s where le mot juste comes into play. Some of you may not know this, but I have a degree in French. And a degree in English-language literature.  Both of those degrees play into my love of the the phrase le mot juste. It roughly translates as the right word, but means more than that. It’s the idea that you’ve taken time to find the best and briefest possible way to communicate whatever you’re trying to communicate. My favorite story of finding le most juste comes from the friendship between Alexander Pope and Voltaire. They were great friends but lived far apart so they corresponded by letter. In one multiple page letter discussing philosophy, Pope ends with an apology for the length because he didn’t have the time to find le mot juste.

I know it’s a dorky story to know about, but I really like it. And I really like twitter because it forces me to slow down and find le mot juste.

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