2/29/08

Great Writing Online: 1 - Malcomb Gladwell

I stumbled upon Malcomb Gladwell last week, on a rerun of Charlie Jones: Live to Tape and realized that in my frenzy to go paperless a couple of years back, I had deprived myself of more than I'd realized when I cancelled my New Yorker subscription.

Luckily, Gladwell's got a website (gladwell.com) with a nice archive and (yea!) a blog. Sure, this is good news for readers everywhere - but I think it's great news for writers.

You see, one of my hobbies - in addition to searching for the Ultimate Crispy Taco (this is San Antonio, after all) - is studying great writing, not just reading it. I'm sure you do this, too, right? Like Nora Ephron's tremendous use of short sentences, for example. Love that.

Check out Gladwell's work in Dangerous Minds. He starts out giving us details about NYC's Mad Bomber of the 1950s, and right before the profiler comes into view, he writes:

In 1955, he struck six times. The city was in an uproar. The police were getting nowhere.

Uproar. Nowhere. My mind goes to black and white, men in hats, women in floral print housedresses shooing their children inside.

These aren't long sentences, there's no polysyllabic phrasing. He's used "the" to start two sentences right in a row. Hmmmmmm.

Well, you get the idea. I'm such a nerd.

But, I love the way Malcomb Gladwell writes, and I'm excited so much of his stuff is right there, on the screen, 24/7/365 and free, to boot. Thought I'd share it with you.
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