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The day Beirut, Lebanon, blew up: An example of outstanding writing.

 

 

Here is an example of wonderfully descriptive writing. This is part of an article about the gigantic port explosion in Lebanon, written by the Washington Post’s correspondent Sarah Dadouch that appeared on August 5, 2020.

‘I have no idea how I’m not dead’: A Post correspondent recalls doomful night in Beirut

All I could think about was finding the cat.

It was an irrational sentiment, but I kept thinking: If I could find Sunday, then everything would suddenly be okay.

I don’t even normally like pets and have no idea how, during lockdown, I fell in love with this ginger cat who’s constantly swishing her bushy tail. I kept imagining that dramatic tail lying flat, her eyes glazed over, dead under a beam.

But if Sunday was alive, I decided, then maybe my close friend, a fellow journalist, was too. Normally, I would have been with him, speeding to the scene on his motorcycle like we often do when news breaks in Beirut. So when I saw him tweet that the city’s port was on fire, I grabbed my helmet and changed into a pair of jeans.

My boyfriend asked why I was going. He said the fire didn’t seem like big news. “Why are you wasting your time?” he asked as I walked into the living room. Then everything blew up.

Every door inside my apartment, hinges and all, was ripped out of the walls. So was my air conditioner. My big fan split right in half. My massive living room windows flew at me. The glass didn’t just shatter; the windows themselves flew clean off. I genuinely, even now, have no idea how I am not dead. I stood in a whirlwind of nails and glass and splintered wood. I saw Sunday for a split second. Then we heard loud humming that sounded like planes, and within moments, the second blast hit.

I was barefoot and had glass in my feet. My legs were bleeding, but only at the bottom because I luckily had changed into my jeans. We lunged at the front door, then hid in the intact bathroom, not knowing what to do. When the humming stopped, we dashed into the rubble and started throwing passports and cash and anything valuable into bags to leave. Then we paused, took a moment to look at each other caked in dust and decided there was no point. We didn’t know what might come next.

You can read the entire article here. Her cat was found alive and uninjured.

 

Michael McKown

Journalist and specialty magazine editor/publisher for 22 years and co-founder of Ghostwriters Central in 2002.

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