I would apologize for my lack of posts recently, but I'm not entirely sure who expects my writing here to be higher on the stack than work and other personal obligations. Maybe I'm apologizing mostly to myself. I promise I have a pile of draft posts piled high, all half finished, so the good intentions are there.
My posting infrequency is related to this post in that I do tend to rewrite longer form posts that land here. That's in contrast to the less filtered copy that flows through to my Twitter account, though even there I am sensitive to flooding my followers with too much personal ephemera.
Rewriting is an underrated commodity in this new age of instant publishing. Most of us have been our own copy editors for years, but with the web disseminating writing further afield, any laziness on that front pollutes a wider mind mass.
That's one reason I find this photo so heartwarming. If you don't recognize it, this is Obama's speech on health care reform to a Joint Session of Congress. The photo is even more fascinating blown up large so you can read the individual edits that I presume Obama sent to speechwriter Jon Favreau. It's a fascinating insight into Obama's communications strategy when you see him replacing "compassion" with "concern and regard for the plight of others" or replacing "character of this country" with "American character." He has a knack for verbal pacing and poetic turns of phrase, as when he flips "This has always been our history" to "This has always been the history of our progress.
If there was any lingering doubt about Obama's writing skills despite the two polished books to his credit, this should serve as an adequate response, though still I hear silly teleprompter chatter from the peanut gallery. Any real writer will tell you how much of writing is actually rewriting, and how much of growing as a writer is a willingness to abandon, at times, entire days worth of work once you've been able to cut the emotional umbilical cord and regard the work with the sage objectivity of a copy editor.
In contrast, I offer you Sarah Palin's Twitter stream. Some of this is the medium and 140 character limit, to be sure, but the prose style is that of a teenage girl. It's not as if others aren't working under the same constraints.