Archive for Brevity

Aftermath by Elane Johnson

Posted in favorites with tags , , , on March 17, 2010 by Editors

Elane Johnson weaves a tight narrative about a horrific accident, but it is her skillful use of a lowly preposition—the word “after”—that powers the story arc and illuminates the story’s unexpected central crisis.

After the skies broke open with a stunning crack about two o’clock in the morning, brilliant flashes of blue flooding the Winnebago like strobe lights; after the rain cut rivulets through the sand, long scratches of some malevolent creature obviously displeased with the earth…

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Swerve by Brenda Miller

Posted in favorites with tags , , , , on March 14, 2010 by Editors

Not every addiction involves chemicals. In “Swerve,” Brenda Miller offers a lovely example of a relationship that’s not quite right in tight, tense, beautiful prose.

A  pound of marijuana in the trunk and a faulty brake light—any minute the cops might have pulled us over, so you were edgy already, and then I ran over that piece of stray lumber without even slowing down. Thunk, thunk, and then the wood spun behind us on the road. Your dark face dimmed even darker, and you didn’t yell at first, only turned to look out the window, and I made the second mistake: What’s wrong?

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