Sunday, October 23, 2011

Just Sayin'

A review from one of the heavyweights:

“Stout, who edits the annual volume of “Best American Sports Writing,” takes as his subject not Fenway today. . . but Fenway as it came into existence in the winter of 1911-12 and as the scene of five games of the 1912 World’s Series (as it was then called), one of the most thrilling in the long history of what sportswriters call the Fall Classic. It’s a fascinating story, and Stout tells it very well.” - Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

Yardley - a past winner of the Pulitzer Prize in criticism - makes you earn it, and doesn't often give such an unbridled thumbs up. I'll take it.

In fact, I love the fact that Yardley writes "It's a fascinting story and Stout tells it very well." For as I told Alex Belth in a recent interview [http://http//]: "In prose, I aim for transparency. In many instances I almost want my actual writing to be completely invisible, so submissive to the story that you don’t notice it. I want the readers’ first reaction to be “great story” and then realize that it was the writing that delivered that experience."

That's exactly what Yardley recognized. It doesn't mean that I don't try to write without style, but there are times you just have to stay out of the way and let the story speak. I like to think there is some artistry in that.

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