Maybe I am old school but I firmly believe in the principles of the essay. The whole clear opening / beginning, facts in the middle and a nice tidy summary at the end. Something to bring together the thoughts and stats that have been put together for public perusal. This was drilled in to me from grade 2 across two different countries. That tells me it’s universally accepted as the way things should be written. So why, in the name of all that is formatted correctly, don’t people wrap it up when they are writing an article, a blog post, or whatever tickles their keyboard ? I can only imagine what their teachers must be thinking if they come across these unfinished odes. ” Where did I go wrong ?”, they must wonder.
There is nothing more aggravating than reading an article and having it suddenly end with no wind down. I recognize that for some research-based publications that this might be the standard practice. Why ? I’m not so sure. I’ll bet there are scientists out there who appreciate a good spy novel just as much as the latest article on the genome sequencing of arachnids. A good novel follows the essay approach and doesn’t leave you hanging unless there is going to be a sequel. Why shouldn’t the same principle be applied to the recitation of how the spider can help us become super-human wall crawlers ? Don’t you want to know how it turns out ? Wouldn’t you like to be left believing that it’s possible ? Some proof that a future filled with spider powers is within our reach ? I know I would.
As part of my ongoing job search and the strategy to keep my education fresh, I’ve been doing a lot of reading and web crawling. Now this in itself is not unusual for someone who devours books and magazines like candy at a kid’s birthday party. However, I expect a certain level of skill from some of the publications I am gobbling up. I am by no means infallible when it comes to writing, and I have a lot to learn from the professionals whose work I am reading, after all they are already in the industry I’m trying to break in to. I am surprised at the number of times I get to the end of an article and feel like I missed something. It just suddenly ends. No connection, no summary, no nothing. It feels that like old saying “don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out”. A literary bum’s rush of sorts.
This little formatting issue is worth investigating for me. For now, I will continue to embrace the three-part harmony of essay writing that was passed down to me in the hallowed classrooms of public, secondary and post-secondary educational institutions. Putting that summarizing bow at the end of a written piece is a point of pride for me and one that I enjoy coming up with. It tickles my keyboard if you will. So on that note, in the grand tradition and with due respect to my instructors, I will leave you with this: when you have a point to make and have taken the time to write it out, don’t forget to wrap it up. Your readers, and your teachers, will thank you.