Thursday, January 25, 2018

I know it when I read it...

I have, in the past, done a run down of the books I have, and haven't read. The books that get rejected, often after less than one chapter, are deemed unreadable because of bad writing, and that includes bad editing. Once I come across grammar, spelling and punctuation errors, over and over, in the space of 20 or so pages, I just shut the book. I know I should overlook these and just immerse myself in the story but I can't.

So often in the recent past some of the best writing I've come across has been in newspapers. Often the subject matter is of no great import, such as lifestyle articles. The Washington Post has a fashion editor, Robin Givhan, whose way with words and a story, pulled me in and kept me interested, to the point where I thought "Don't really care about fashion but this is really well written."

So perhaps, good writing is what draws you in and keeps you there regardless of how interested you are in the topic or the story.

This morning as I was separating out the sections of the newspaper, an article on the front of the sports section caught my eye. I am not a regular reader of the sports section. It usually gets put immediately in the recycle pile.

But this morning I read, was drawn in by the subject matter, yes, but the writing kept me reading. I can't tell you specifically what about the writing was good, only that it kept me reading. The article elicited, I want to say outrage, thought better of it, tried for another word/description but find outrage works, which I am sure was the writer's intent, at least I hope so. 

I don't know whether you have been following this story in the news. You may have become inured to the subject matter, institutional sexual abuse, #MeToo et al., but after reading this article this morning, my first reaction was anger, and my second reaction was "good writing"

The article can be found here. There are numerous other articles in today's paper on the subject, I haven't read them yet, and may not. This one may be all I need.