Word count: 204 words
Reading time: Less than 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 Nicole Bokat.
I have family members who suffer from clinical anxiety. This was perhaps the reason I decided to read Nicole Bokat’s piece “Separation Anxiety” in the online Opinionator column, published by the New York Times.
Normally, I skip past Opinionator columns unless they’re about writing (as, frequently, they are.) But this one grabbed my eye and I’m glad it did. Nicole Bokat can really write! She offers an attention-getting lede, a compelling story — about the death of a parent — and some finely wrought writing. Here was my favourite sentence:
I curled myself into a snail-shape on the bathroom floor.
She had me at the word “snail.” I don’t know how many times I’ve read about people curling themselves into foetal positions. That image has been so overdone it’s worthless. But Bokat had taken the same idea and fine-tuned it, making it fresh once again. Read her piece. It’s really well written. I’m going to be looking for her novel Redeeming Eve.