For several years in the mid-2000s I collaborated with two teachers and a librarian on a writing and research module at a local high school.  The four of us taught the basics of scholarship to a group of Advanced Placement English and History juniors.  The final assignment was a five-six page paper.  I continually stressed the importance of writing clearly and concisely.  We kicked things off each term with a reading and discussion of George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language.” One school year, when the budget permitted, we distributed copies of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style to each student that were theirs to keep.  Most students eventually “got it,” but I was always struck by how tenaciously some clung to the belief that pretentious, ornate prose was the way to the teacher’s heart and a good grade.  In his most recent “Zinsser on Friday” posting, the incomparable William Zinsser recounts a challenge once posed to him by an editor: submit a travel piece not to exceed 300 words.  Not wanting to stray too far from home, he selected a certain island “a mere subway and ferry ride away.”  Read the results.