A fountain of money that shot out of the ground…

Word count: 229 words

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

A great way to improve your writing is to emulate the work of others. That’s why, every week, I present a sentence that I’d happily imitate. I write today about one produced by Canadian novelist Don Gillmor.

I’ve  been a longtime believer in the magic of three. It always knocks my socks off the way a list of three things can feel so complete and whole. It almost seems Divine, really.

But there’s the occasional scribe who can seduce me with the wizardry of a list of eight or nine. Don Gillmor (pictured here) is one of those writers and, in his very fine novel Mount Pleasant, he produced this sentence-of-the-week:

He’d grown up here, surrounded by the nation’s bankers, brokers, politicians, fixers, touts, lawyers, industrialists and heirs, a fountain of money that shot out of the ground, and in the gush of afterbirth came the nannies and cooks and gardeners who made multiculturalism such a success.

Even though the list is long (eight items) and the sentence even longer (46 words — not a length I typically endorse), I love this string of words. Of course, it is burnished by an action-packed verb (shot) and an unusually powerful noun (gush) and a couple of terrific metaphors (fountain of money and afterbirth.)

Just noticed: I’ve created another list of three without even trying.

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