He has a long, square-chinned face…

Word count: 235 words

Reading time: About 1 minute

A great way to improve your writing skills is to emulate the work of others. That’s why, every week, I present a sentence that I’d happily imitate. Today’s comes from Ian Parker.

I hadn’t heard of the American writer, director and independent filmmaker Noah Baumbach, until I read the April 29/13 New Yorker. It turns out, however, that I had seen one of his movies.

Squid and the Whale, which was semi-autobiographical, tells the story of story of two boys in 1980s Brooklyn dealing with their parents’ divorce. The film is named after the squid and whale diorama in the American Museum of Natural History, which is shown in the film.

The New Yorker piece, by Ian Parker, which charts Baumbach’s relationship with the actress and writer Greta Gerwig, is almost as charming as Baumbach’s film. I particularly liked the way Parker managed to deal with Baumbach’s (attractive) appearance. Here is what he said:

He has a long, square-chinned face whose handsomeness he is said to recognize but not overprize. 

I’m showing you a photo of Baumbach, above, so you can decide if this description nails it. I particularly like Parker’s turn of phrase, “is said to recognize but not overprize.” Basically, he’s saying the guy isn’t conceited, but I relish the way he does that. Neat. Succinct. Stylish.

Much like Baumbach, I suspect.

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