Friday, May 09, 2008

So Good You Wanna Cry

Have you noticed how cliched expressions seem to dilute their power? I've heard the expression, "So good you want to cry," probably a million times.

But today, I picked up a book, and it was so good, I got choked up and burst into tears in the middle of Borders. If I hadn't been in the middle of Borders, I'm sure I would have really cried.

I've had a couple students turn a phrase so lovely, that I burst into tears. Certainly a few performers, too.

Being "moved to tears" seems to make more sense in music. "Make your mother cry!" I tell my students.

But you don't really hear people talking about how a thriller made you cry--not because it was moving--just because it was so damn good.

There are some writers who just have a presence on the page. Their skill, their voice, something, is just so powerful it blows you away, pulls you into their world.

Pulls you.

That's power. That's amazing.

So I ducked my head and pretended to have a coughing fit so I had an excuse to wipe the tears from my eyes.

Whenever this happens, I'm usually depressed for a good ten or fifteen minutes. And then I get really excited.

Ever have this sort of experience? Or am I really crazy?

PS: The book is Phantom Prey by John Sandford. Wow. Wow. Just pick it up and read the first page. Wow.

PPS: Thanks to Mark Terry for mentioning it!

12 bonus scribbles:

Heather Harper 5/09/2008 08:17:00 PM  

Love when that happens. And you're not crazy.

If you'd remind me that I'm not crazy, I'd appreciate that. ;)

spyscribbler 5/09/2008 08:39:00 PM  

LOL, I hope you're not crazy, Heather! But if we were, we wouldn't know it, right? By definition?


I love finding a really good book, too.

Edie 5/10/2008 12:36:00 AM  

Spy, I don't cry but I marvel. I want to drink it all in because their writing is beautiful, I want to read on forever. I have a sense of awe. It makes me want to write better.

spyscribbler 5/10/2008 12:39:00 AM  

I totally get that, Edie. It takes me about three to thirty minutes to get to the marveling part, though. Then I get really excited. Really excited that such writing is possible, and then I can't wait to try. (No matter how feeble my attempts may be!)

Josephine Damian 5/10/2008 07:59:00 AM  

Spy, it's a shame the publisher did not opt for a "search inside the book" feature on amazon or we could all read that page online.

Erica Orloff 5/10/2008 11:42:00 AM  

Hi Spy:
Margaret Atwood gives me that sensation.


LaDonna 5/10/2008 11:32:00 PM  

Spy, I love John Sandford! Haven't read this one yet, but will now. Thanks for the heads up! And I'm right there with ya, words move me. And like you, I just want to immerse myself in the beauty whenever I find it.

And Erica, M. Atwood is amazing, I agree!

spyscribbler 5/11/2008 06:01:00 PM  

Oh, Josephine, I should've quoted it. The first chapter is available on his website, though!

I really hate when they don't include that sample on Amazon. I think it's crucial that we're able to preview them online, since we can't pick them up and flip through them, you know?

spyscribbler 5/11/2008 06:01:00 PM  

I really have to check her out, Erica. I do!

spyscribbler 5/11/2008 06:02:00 PM  

Totally, LaDonna. I want to read all the Sanford I can find, now! I just love it when I discover a new author I'm crazy about.

Stewart Sternberg 6/01/2008 09:39:00 PM  

I'm going to admit this, and then deny it if it is ever brought to light in some other context.

I feel that way about some of the writing of Ray Bradbury. I remember sitting up one night, reading a short story from a rather recent collection. Bradbury has lost a good deal in the last several years, his writing isn't as focused as it once was, his vision and ability to communicate it isn't as sharp or poetic. But here, this one story, brought the Old Bradbury back. Here he was again, the old master, the years fell away and as I read his words, I was struck by the truth and poetry.

Tears began to form in my eyes. I didn't want my spouse to see. But this was such a poignant piece of writing that I felt an ache run through me. I felt a connection with Bradbury, I felt the sort of connection that each writer craves when forging a work.

Crying in the middle of Borders? I've never had that pleasure. But I've sobbed in a Disney movie.

spyscribbler 6/02/2008 05:44:00 PM  

Oh, that's a cool story, Stewart. Were you the one that pointed me to his website, where he's got a couple videos in there about writing? Wasn't he the one who suggested writing one short story a week?

I liked what he had to say, but it's been awhile since I read him. (High School.)

I have to read him again.