Kevin (who does not have a blog or webpage, because he sucks) linked me to the blog of a friend of his, Jake Zigler, who is staying in Japan for a month. I’ve been enjoying reading about his trip this afternoon.
The writing here is not art, per se. He rambles, and there are grammatical and spelling errors, and the only organization seems to be chronological. This is fine, of course. I’m interested in the content and can therefore forgive a lack of polish.
But I was reminded that even the most haphazard writing can yield powerful prose. During the post describing his anxiety about suddenly being alone in a country where no one speaks English fluently, Jake writes the following:
I’m pretty sure I spelled Caucasian incorrectly and I felt like an idiot and it was in pen.
It’s its own paragraph, following some general situational descriptions. And it works, profoundly.
It’s short and simple. The lack of commas to separate the three independent clauses adds to the effect of feeling overwhelmed. Ending with “and it was in pen” is so much more powerful than starting with that fact; you get the mistake, you get the emotion, and then you get the “oh shit, he can’t fix it, either”.