A Mind Is Another Country

Timothy Kowal, Esq.
July 29, 2022

I sometimes ask our podcast guests their favorite part of the appellate process…other than writing the briefs. Because we already know that every appellate attorney’s favorite thing is writing. So here I try my own explanation why writing is such a fun adventure: because it is a journey to another country. Reaching another person’s mind is a most difficult thing. Done poorly, the traveler is left marooned and alone. Done well, the traveler is met by new friendly company.

William Hazlitt’s observation is what I have in mind when it comes to translating complex ideas to another soul. He said that “the more you really enter into a subject, the farther you will be from the comprehension of your hearers—and that the more proofs you give of any position, the more odd and out-of-the-way they will think your notions.”

In a way, we are all a bit like Whitman: we are untamed, and untranslatable. Usually the most we do is to sound our barbaric yawps over the roofs of the world. Good writing requires we stop our yawping over rooftops and to consider the fact of the other. Good writing is an act of peace, and of friendship.

Watch the clip here.

This is a clip from episode 30 of the California Appellate Law Podcast. The full episode is available here.

Tim Kowal helps trial attorneys and clients win their cases and avoid error on appeal. He co-hosts the Cal. Appellate Law Podcast at www.CALPodcast.com, and publishes a newsletter of appellate tips for trial attorneys at www.tvalaw.com/articles. His appellate practice covers all of California's appellate districts and throughout the Ninth Circuit, with appellate attorneys in offices in Orange County and Monterey County. Contact Tim at tkowal@tvalaw.com or (714) 641-1232.

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