Monday, March 9, 2009

Moving Prose

Since beginning this writing workshop, I've been on the alert for examples of excellent writing. Today, I came across one such example: an essay called "Fatal Distraction" by Gene Weingarten for the Washington Post.

Weingarten tells the moving stories of parents who have inadvertently killed their children by forgetting them in cars that later overheated. He balances analysis and interview, public policy and private agony, questions of law, mercy, and compassion. Above all, Weingarten makes an important point: this could happen to anyone.

In less skillful hands, this story might have inspired smug self-congratulation in judgmental readers. Instead, he evokes heartfelt compassion without writing an apology.

It's a wonderful example of great writing. Read it if you have a chance.

p.s. Weingarten is also the author of "Pearls Before Breakfast" — a piece I think of every time I hear a musician on the T.

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