Here is a nice take on my take on shitty first drafts. I like the way Thomas frames my words and makes me look smart.
I was citing something from Jerome McGan in my introduction:
“Within that general field of dynamic reflection we might usefully distinguish two kinds of interpretive action: a mode oriented in performative models, of which translation and parody are perhaps the master types, and a mode oriented in scholarship, which is our customary exemplar of interpretation” (The Scholar's Art 137).
I really like what this quote says, but I don't particularly like it from a prose standpoint. I'm sure it is the way he wants it to sound, because he is a guy who knows what he wants. It is not an accident. But if I wrote it I would take out some of the qualifiers and hedges to make it sound less clunky. Anyway, when Thomas cites me, I am glad that my own prose holds up to his. You can cite someone who writes worse than you do; if you cite someone who writes a whole lot better, then watch out! I first experienced this in grad school, where I quoted something by Jonathan Culler and the prof. noted how much more gracefully I was writing compared to him. Of course, this is relative to one's own taste. The clunky style is probably just a matter of comfort, like wearing an overcoat two sizes too big.