I love good writing. Whether its lines delivered by characters in TV and movies, or inside the covers of a seemingly ordinary novel. When we open Leaves of Grass, you expect excellent word usage….it’s Whitman for God’s sakes! There best be some good writing. But I love reading books (i.e. book club!) that just seem like a good tale and you discover hidden gems of complete writer’s brilliance! And not everyone would agree with me on some lines or passages, there have been many of times I re-read a passage to a member of my family only to get the look of “yeah I guess that’s good.” But where one sees only ‘good’ writing, another may see it as ‘profound’. Maybe it’s where we all are in our lives, and what is going on at that moment when you read that specific nugget of brilliance, and it resonates with you. How amazing are we humans to somehow gain the ability somewhere along the line to create such beautiful strings of words that can give someone the chills either by their meaning or even sound when spoken! Humans are awesome (or some of the time, I’ll try to put my cynical self on a shelf for a bit here).
I keep a journal of amazing writing. I should do it more often with TV/movies too, since there has been some amazing writing from screen/script writers, such as Breaking Bad! Come on, the several speeches from Walt were priceless and chill inducing. Who can ever forget “say my name” speech or “I am the one who knocks” dialogue? There are many more, and from many other shows. Maybe that will be a topic I’ll explore later. But now I want to share a passage from an amazing author, Cormac McCarthy. Now I know I said earlier it’s great to find those nuggets of writing from unexpected sources, and in my opinion Cormac McCarthy is anything but ordinary. He pens such great stories that resonate, whether you get a good feeling or not. His writing is so somber but pensive. It really makes you think, which I consider the best writing of all. I love reading between the lines, I love exploring just what maybe the author intended with his/her word choices. It’s such a personalized discovery for the reader from a very fixed experience for the writer.
Anywho, The Road. Cormac McCarthy. Amazing. Now I read this as a book club book (my choice) with my mother (remember we are in a 2-person only book club). This book spoke to me. To my mother, at the time, not so much. She thought it was written weird, and in her opinion there was too much walking and not enough action. In my opinion the writing was brilliant. To me it felt like watching a story through small snippets of photographs. It reminded me of old silent films. How one scene faded in sepia to the next. And what a perfect contrast to a book that was written about the end of days. So here is the passage we all have been waiting for:
“Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in it becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”
And even though this nugget of brilliance, from an already brilliant author, comes at the end of the book, it didn’t detract from the other amazing moments experienced earlier. Maybe it was the time of my life that I read this, I myself at the time was going through some major life changes and decisions. But even reading as I copy it here, the chills are still there. It gives me the sense that life persists, that no matter what occurs in your everyday life, the magic and mystery of the universe will continue. This is such a profound feeling that I know as a writer myself I try to tap into that mind-blowing thought.
If you happen to actually read through my rambling and enjoyed what I had to say, please leave your own thoughts on this passage. Do you have your own opinion or passages that spoke to you from The Road?
Until next time.