Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day Eighty-Seven: "In the Fifties" by Leonard Michaels


This story was all about rhythm, the line by line movement of a decade of a man's life. With strong and uniquely personal imagery, this story keeps the reader engaged and it also forces the reader to re-read passages just to feel it, to get caught up in it.

Passages like the following are good examples of how this story "flows" and why the flow of it works to keep the reader hooked:

"Eventually I had friends in New York, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Berkeley, & Los Angeles"

"I knew one who, before picking up his dates, ironed his dollar bills and powdered his testicles"

"I had a friend who was dragged down a courthouse stairway, in San Francisco, by her hair"

Any of these lines, if read aloud, not only read well, but the cadence of the line literally pulls the reader along, through the sentence and onto the next one. There's an urgency to this rhythm that I find refreshing and mesmerizing. It says, take me with you. Take me with you. As the reader, there is no hesitation.

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