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Gumption

May 8, 2009 - Meg Alexander
"I like the word 'gumption' because it's so homely and so forlorn and so out of style it looks as if it needs a friend and isn't likely to reject anyone who comes along."

Robert M. Pirsig

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I love this. To me as a reader, listener and lover of prose, individual words have their own personalities. Writing a good sentence involves not only basic grammatical syntax but also making sure each word's personality meshes with the others, and in following, each sentence gets alone well with its neighbors.

Pirsig goes on to write:

"If you're going to repair a motorcycle, an adequate supply of gumption is the first and most important tool.

"... Gumption is the psychic gasoline that keeps the whole thing going. If you haven't got it there's no way the motorcycle can possible be fixed. But if you have got it and know how to keep it there's absolutely no way in this whole world that motorcycle can keep from getting fixed."

 
 

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