In The Writer magazine (6/12, p. 15), my favorite novelist, Pat Conroy (The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini), writes that “Good writing is the hardest form of thinking.”
He continues: “It involves the agony of turning profoundly difficult thoughts into lucid form, then forcing them into the tight-fitting uniform of language, making them visible and clear. If the writing is good, then the result seems effortless and inevitable.”
This sounds nice, but do you buy his claim that good writing is really the hardest form of thinking? I think for most people, the hardest form of thinking is mathematics.
My youngest son is a freshman at Carnegie-Mellon. He took a course in “calculus in three dimensions.” I would wager that calculus in three dimensions is more difficult for most students than English composition.
What do you think?