When I told my Chinese friend I read The New Yorker, she said she knew it was a very good magazine. A famous writer she knew of had written for it for 50 years. He was dead now. She didn’t remember his name. One of his books was Shallows Net.
She meant Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White.
A well-read and influential writer, she said.
Well-read, yes, influential, no, I said.
The Elements of Style might have been influential had its advice been good. Alas, it wasn’t. “Omit needless words.” “Be clear.” How to form the possessive. Please. I once took a short-story-writing class. When typing your story, the teacher said, put two spaces after a period.