You may have noticed that along with sidebar issues, I am now having paragraph issues. I used to have lovely paragraphs on this blog surrounded by white space that gave you room to breath, and not get overwhelmed with dense thickets of text. But some peculiar technical thing has happened and no matter how many spaces I make, the whole post gets lumped together into more or less one indigestible paragraph. (If anyone has advice please send it on.)
The idea of white space is fairly new as writing goes. If you look at the opening pages of Henry James or some of the Russians you’re greeted with paragraphs big as boats. But modern readers like short bites of paragraphs. I think it began with MTV. We want entertainment, news, life in short doses, bite sized. Whether this is good or bad, I have no idea, but I realize I like white space a lot and I’ve heard editors ask for more white space. Right now I’m reading a gorgeous book, winner of the Booker prize, The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. Among many things in the book, I love the way she breaks up her chapters. Even the scenes themselves get broken with double spacing, and you can breathe, take a break and contemplate what you've read.
A quick writing exercise: write what you see out the window at this very moment. If there’s no window, write what’s on the wall opposite you. (No more than a paragraph. Surrounded by white space!)