Friday, January 22, 2016

Countdown to 2016 Topps #12: His Card Inspired a Book

"It was from these brief texts in small print on the backs of pieces of cardboard that I learned not just the background of the players but the rules of the game, its history and traditions, and, best of all, its language and slang. A 'blue dart' was a line drive. A 'can of corn' was an easy pop fly. 'Chin music' was a pitch up and in." From Roy Peter Clark's "How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times"

Until yesterday, I had no idea who Roy Peter Clark is (although the name did sound familiar). But a google search of Don Zimmer introduced me to him through an entry that had caught my attention: "How Don Zimmer's baseball card inspired my book on..." Naturally, I just had to check into this. I mean, how often do you hear about a baseball card inspiring a book on...writing? And so I clicked on the link and read the article by Clark on how a 1994 Topps Archives of Zimmer inspired a book.

In the article, Clark states that he believes whoever designed the back of the cards for the 1954 Topps set would have had much success in the digital age. We are, as Clark puts it, in an age where "short writing is king." (think Twitter) He then goes on to describe how the backs of the cards are a perfect example of a multi-media platform: bio box, text block, data visualization, features and illustrations.
Even the dimensions of the card, he points out, are very similar to that of his mobile device (an iPhone- 3 or 4, perhaps).

Have you read Clark's book? Is there another author whose book on writing you would recommend to your blogging brethren?

"Just a few days ago I ran into Beau Zimmer, a young Florida journalist and grandson of Don Zimmer. 'Please extend to your grandparents my warmest wishes on their sixtieth wedding anniversary,' I said. 'I know they were married at home plate in Elmira, New York." "You must own his baseball card," said Beau. Again, from "How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times"

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