What a writer can do, what a fiction writer or a poet or an essay writer can do is re-engage people with their own humanity. – Barbara Kingsolver
I’ve been reading Barbara Kingsolver’s wonderful – and sometimes wrenching – Pigs in Heaven, a great example of what she says above. Kingsolver has a gift for taking an ordinary scene and adding magic to it with her creative and descriptive writing. Here are a couple short examples from her remarkable Pigs in Heaven:
“She’s the first woman he’s ever known who doesn’t give a damn how she looks, or is completely happy with the way she looks, which amounts to the same thing. Usually women are aware of complex formulas regarding how long the legs should be in relation to the waist in relation to the eyelashes – a mathematics indecipherable to men but strangely crucial to women.”
“Mr. Crittenden holds her accountable for every bead. In the morning he puts on his jeweler’s glasses and counts the beads in every piece she’s brought in, to make sure they’re all there. It must be hard work, she thought, this business of mistrust.”
“Alice breathes a little deeper. Sympathizing over the behavior of men is the baking soda of women’s friendships, it seems, the thing that makes them bubble and rise.”
Good writers must first be good readers. Even if you are a very fine writer already, if you read Barbara Kingsolver, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll only get better.
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