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grain

I'm currently using the word “grain” to generalize over the different types of small things that appear in print: stories, essays, poems, and so on. The usage is similar to “atom”, except that I wanted to emphasize smallness, not indivisibility. After all, grains do have components, such as figures, paragraphs, words, and letters.

The reason I wanted to generalize over these small things is that the distinction between the different types is orthogonal to the size of the work—if I distinguish between, say, stories and essays, I ought also to distinguish between fictional and nonfictional books, and I'm not ready to do that yet. Maybe later.

 

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@ March (2000)