I've got a Pinterest board called "Good Writing and Storytelling."
My description: "There's great storytelling and/or writing on this board, and there's
some that borders on dreadful, but there's a reason to examine each of
these. I found them interesting in the way they fulfilled their
purpose... or didn't."
Here's my latest pin on that board: "'Atlanta's Turner Field is
dying -- and American Sanity is Dying With It' by Will Bunch at philly.com. Good Storytelling. The writer's passion and indignation
are front and center along with impressive statistics and a fresh way
of showcasing them. The quality of the writing lags behind the
impressive persuasion, but the persuasion trumps the writing here. Well
Here's a link to the story itself.
I started this board on Pinterest as a way for me to examine what makes writing good -- it's what I teach, and it's what I'm always trying to learn. I'm very selective about the links I pin here, so the board has grown slowly. Looking at it now, though, I smile at my own remarks (click on the links below that will take you to each individual Pinterest pin, and then click on the image if you want to read the article that I -- ahem -- assess):
-- Overwriting at its finest. Superlative cliches. Still, I appreciate all
the information about Osage Farms in Rabun County, Georgia, as I want to
go there soon, and at least this writer's report is thorough.
-- I like this piece in The Atlantic by Michael Agresta, because it's
enlightening and informative in its assessment of the failure of The
Lone Ranger this summer as well as its tie-in to the Western genre, and
the Western's place in American film, myth, dreams, nostalgia. Nicely
-- Washington Post to be sold to Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon - The
Washington Post. Very well-written in that it gives the reader solid
background about both Bezos and The Post, and puts the history of the
Post and its sale into context. It also presents the facts of the sale
in a cogent, readable fashion. Well done, even though I am bereft....
-- "You kids today have got it too easy. You’re spoiled rotten! You guys
wouldn’t have lasted five minutes back in 1980!" hahahaha. 1980. sheesh.
But I like the comparisons and the voice. It's not great writing, but
the voice and energy carries this little piece about how good kids have
it now, compared to the '80s, written by a thirty-something.
And on and on. I hadn't realized that I'd gathered such an eclectic mix on this board until I looked at it of-a-piece today. You can see them all, right here, along with each pin's description, from"Meeting Joan Didion" in The Paris Review to a review of the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics in London, to a video clip of Petula Clark singing "Fill the World With Love" in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (and my assessment of how this is great storytelling).
I guess I'll keep it up. Every time I find one of these gems, I learn something. And that's the whole point. I am ever the student.