Great Writing Comes As a Result
Of Great Thinking & Observation
In a review last Friday of a new Kate Winslet movie, Little Children, which opened on the coasts last weekend, New York Times reviewer A.O. Scott showed why great writing has the ability to stop us in our tracks and take notice, even when it occurs in a mere movie review. Well into the piece, after the jump to inside pages (at least for readers of the print edition), he offers this glittering little observation:
Sarah has been to graduate school, and though she never received a doctorate, she did acquire the habit of living within the protective quotation marks that the postmodern academy hands out in addition to (and sometimes in lieu of) substantive knowledge.
That's flat-out gorgeous writing, built on first-rate observation of an otherwise-elusive truth. It seemed all the more impressive later that same day, after I came away from lunch with an aquaintance who's a career academic. His apparent inability to say what he really meant seemed merely annoying, until, driving back after lunch, it suddenly occurred to me that he lives life between those protective quotation marks. Good writing has an ability to do that: to make us see our experience in terms of the words these writers offer up in vivid explanation of that experience. Between the winsome Winslet and this lovely prose, that's a lot of beauty happening in one place.
Anyway, to read some other reviews by Scott, click here.