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Two examples of exceptionally vivid writing.

I happen to be blessed (or cursed) with the sort of imagination that enables me to create a vivid interior world inspired by words. I can crack open a book and be absorbed into the story to the point where everything else ceases to exist. But not only that. The images created linger, to be savored again in memory. Like a surprisingly delightful flavor. Descriptions ring like bells in my head if well done. Hence, excellent writing is meaningful to me.

Inside my skull, stories get converted into movies. When I read, that interior theater projector starts up.

I’d like to share two pieces of such writing with you.

First up is a paragraph about the effects of a giant wildfire in Northern California’s wine country, which appeared in the LA Times, written by Maria L. La Ganga:

And whether the wine country’s carefully cultivated image can survive year after year of increasingly destructive fires, which are reshaping how the world views this region of rolling hills, orderly beauty, popping corks and clinking glasses.

“…rolling hills, orderly beauty, popping corks and clinking glasses.” Wow. Bells rang in my head. My reading skidded to a halt with that description; I knew I had to share it in this blog.

Next up is from an article in Car and Driver, written by John Pearley Huffman, about how vehicles have lost distinctive personalities with the advent of worldwide manufacturing:

My grandfather drove a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 180D–the W120 “Ponton.” It was a bolt upright sedan that looked like it was parked even when it was going 50 mph. I’d sit in the car with my grandfather as he inhaled a Kent and waited for the glow plugs to heat up. Then the four-cylinder diesel would rattle to life, my grandfather would shove the column-mounted shift wand into gear, and we’d be off with 42 horsepower giving it their all. It was an inexpensive Mercedes for its time, but built so well the doors would close like a slab of Monterey Jack hitting a marble cutting board. I remember the steering wheel as white Bakelite. The only way the leather covering the seats could have been thicker is if there was still a cow beneath it. It was so German.

Car and Driver has always been known for its vivid writing, but…just wow! When he mention the slab of cheese hitting marble, that precise sound occurred between my ears. And I knew what those seats felt like.

It’s reading and how it made me react that turned me into a writer.

 

Michael McKown

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

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