Then Edward Lewine wrote:

> I’m glad if I was of some service, though I fear I derailed you somewhat, for which I apologize. If I may suggest, you might consider shelving Rick for good. I found him distracting. In general, the shortest distance between two points is the best one as far as writing goes, especially about recondite subjects.

> I am happy to look over articles as you send them to me. But I will tell you right off what my main criticisms are going to be every time: too long, too complicated, not well explained. If you want to reach the general reader, you will have to imagine you are writing for Katie, and a version of Katie who does not have you for a father. Most people are innumerate and know nothing about science. So, you need to make sure you are explaining everything as you go. And it is but a mere fraction of readers that will stay with an article that is more than say 800-1000 words long.

> But send stuff along.

Poor Rick. It was so early in his career, he had hardly begun.

I think I can achieve the writing goals that I set out with, without resorting to that literary device, which I now have cold feet about.

-- John, sorry for the change in plans, but see the next message below, we can proceed forward without much loss.

Katy is my fantastic eleven year old daughter. (His choice of her for an example is interesting, because she is very, very good at math -- though she prefers Art.) I had told Edward that I was aiming for a "general audience," but I have been duly disabused of this idea; I will be assuming numeracy and a general affinity for the ideas of science on the part of the reader.

p.s. I like the suggestion, above, that good writing follows a geodesic path.