Writing That Takes My Breath Away

Often when I am struck by a powerful gathering of words I feel compelled to share. Here is one such example:

“While we were in Midland, Mom painted dozens of variations and studies of the Joshua tree. We’d go with her and she’d give us art lessons. One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight.

“Mom frowned at me. ‘You’d be destroying what makes it special,’ she said. ‘It’s the Joshua’s tree struggle that gives it its beauty.”

Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle (Scribner, 2005, 38).

Have you read anything lately that takes your breath away?

4 thoughts on “Writing That Takes My Breath Away

  1. Joe Pineda says:

    There are some passages in Mario Puzo’s Fools Die that are filled with the most brutal kind of honesty you’ll ever see. It’s almost as if the writing was deliberately trying to tick someone off.

    That being said, one time I read a book titled “Yakuza” by David Kaplan that narrated the history of Japan’s modern criminal underworld. There wasn’t one paragraph but a whole section that floored me, and it was the account of an incredible ecological disaster where the government and the mob plotted to keep it under wraps. It’s called the Minamata incident, if you’re interested.

    • hamblett says:

      Thank you, Joe, for taking the time to comment. I write about issues related to grief, and it was that last line of the excerpt I posted that spoke to me so directly, that our beauty comes from our rough places. I will look into the Kaplan book; thanks for the recommendation.

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