Family Portrait by Sherman Alexie, 1993
The magic trick:
Writing so well that certain sections of a story sing like a tight, little poem
Simple trick today, folks.
Sometimes all you need to write a good story is a nice way with words. Simple to say. Harder to do. In “Family Portrait,” the first four sentences are more powerful than the story that follows. In essence, they form a lovely little poem. And that’s quite a trick on Alexie’s part.
The television was always loud, too loud, until every conversation was distorted, fragmented.
“Dinner” sounded like “Leave me alone.”
“I love you” sounded like “Inertia.”
“Please” sounded like “Sacrifice.”