Tag Archives: clarity

“There Once Was a Nice Lady…”

Okay, fellow writers, enjoy the following story, and then I’ll meet you at the end for a few sentences of application. Someone gave me this story many years ago, and I like to share it when I can. It’s moving. Uhhummm.

There one was a nice lady who was a little old-fashioned. She was planning a vacation at a particular popular campground, but first she wanted to make sure of the accommodations.

Uppermost in her mind were the toilet facilities. She couldn’t bring herself to write the word toilet in a letter, so she settled on bathroom commode. But when she wrote that down it still sounded too forward, so she rewrote her letter to the campground director and referred to the bathroom commode as the BC. “Does your campground have a BC?” she finally wrote.

The campground director was baffled by this euphemism. He showed the letter to several people and they couldn’t decipher it either. Finally he decided that she must be asking about the location of the nearest Baptist Church, so he say down and penned this reply.

“Dear Madam, I regret very much the delay in answering your letter, but now I take pleasure in informing you that a BC is located about nine miles north of the campground and is capable of seating 250 people at one time. I admit this is quite a distance away if you are in the habit of going regularly. However, you will be pleased to know that a great many people take their lunch along and make a day of it. They usually arrive early and stay late.

“The last time my wife and I went was about six years ago and it was so crowded that we had to stand up the whole time. It may interest you to know that there is a supper planned to help raise money to buy more seats. This will be held in the basement of the BC. I would like to say that it pains me very much not to be able to go more often, but it is surely no lack of desire on my part. As we grow older it seems to be more of an effort, particularly in cold weather.

“If you decide to visit our campground, perhaps I could go with you the first time, sit with you, and introduce you around to all the other folks. Remember, this is a friendly community.”

Okay, my writer friends, how important is it that we be clear in our writing? Do we really need to offer concrete descriptions, discernible character development, and understandable dialogue? If we are writing Christian fiction, can we afford to be misunderstood or to have our message (if we have one) lost along the way because we did a poor job of communicating clearly? Let me know what you think. By the way, I’m going to Blue Ridge in a few weeks, should I check to see if they have a BC at the conference?


Filed under Christian Fiction, editing, Larry W. Timm, reading, Writing