A Way to Prepare Papers for the National.
Selected writings of A. Jackson Howe.
The following advice, though seemingly unnecessary, is exactly what some physicians need to assist them to prepare for society meetings. Facts are what are wanted in papers, and by recording them early and then putting them into simple and direct form, the writer has the best kind of a society paper. At the most interesting scientific meeting the writer ever attended, the essayists limited their papers to three minutes, giving in concise language the conclusions arrived at by their studies of the subject in question. The reading of some of the papers did not consume over one minute, yet the papers were pregnant with valuable suggestions and entirely satisfactory as society papers.—Ed. Gleaner.
A WAY TO PREPARE PAPERS FOR THE NATIONAL.—It will be observed by looking at President Stratford's circular that many members are named to prepare papers for the use of the National at its coming convention. The list is so large that I thought at first little would be done, for usually where many are called few are chosen. But it occurred to me that a few hints might hit and help those who excuse themselves from literary work on the most trivial provocation. They put off and delay till everlastingly too late. They don't feel well to-day—had an obstetric case last night, or expect one to-morrow—have a "cold" too, and the weather is bad. Besides, the topic assigned me is not interesting—not easy to write upon.
To such as make excuses I presume politely to suggest that they go to work at once—not to-morrow, but to-day. Make note of a thought, expand and modify it to-morrow, look up the topic in medical literature at command. Think over illustrative material in the volume of experience. Arrange material in a way to make ideas carry force with them; re-write several times, generally improving each revision. Erase now and then, boil down, simmer, skim, filter, and set aside to cool. Steam up again, stir, add a little sweetening, then a little vinegar to make the mess tart and palatable. Don't repeat the same idea, but hunt for a new one. Avoid having the same word occur too often—seek a synonym. It requires downright labor to write a readable piece of composition. It is well enough to pray for inspiration, but better to knuckle down and engage in honest labor. Labor omnia vincit. Genius is a pauper, a beggar. Industry is the purest gem in the crown of Fortune. At the close of the late International Medical Convention, held at Copenhagen, a distinguished scientist was cordially invited to visit friends on his way home. The reply was that he must hurry back to engage in preparing a paper for the meeting to be held in Washington two years hence.—HOWE, Eclectic Medical Journal, 1885.
The Biographies of King, Howe, and Scudder, 1912, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M. D.