I didn’t start appreciating quality writing until well after the conclusion of my formal education. I met most of my required reading through school with zero enthusiasm. Someone could put exquisitely creative language in front of me and I would respond with little more than recognition of its existence. Typically, if there was any interest at all, it was centered around the plot – and even my plot awareness was shallow. I remember thinking that the Great Gatsby was a fun book about a really happy guy who liked parties.
I’m not sure when this changed, but my current respect for language couldn’t be more opposite from what it once was. I am extremely envious of those skilled persons who can craft the perfect combination of words to perfectly describe anything: emotion, experience, action, inaction.
Recently, I was exposed to David Foster Wallace’s “This is Water” commencement speech. Shortly thereafter I came across this Rolling Stones article telling of his life and last days. It talks about the origin of some of his brilliant phrasing skills. The Rolling Stones article linked me to his Cruise Ship Piece which communicates so cleanly David Foster Wallace’s absolutely refreshing perspective. And this article is just that: An article! I have to try my hand at Wallace’s books. I can only imagine the vibrancy captured in their pages.
I know there’s more amazing word craft out there. I need to find more time to read beautiful language. It inspires.