Writing To Admire and Emulate

It’s no secret that I’m enamored with Janet Fitch’s writing. Here’s another example from White Oleander:

Excerpt: If I were a poet, that’s what I’d write about. People who worked in the middle of the night. Men who loaded trains, emergency room nurses with their gentle hands. Nightclerks in hotels, cabdrivers on graveyard, waitresses in all-night coffee shops. They knew the world, how precious it was when a person remembered your name, the comfort of a rhetorical question, “How’s it going, how’s the kids?” They knew how long the night was. They knew the sound life made as it left. It rattled, like a slamming screen door in the wind. Night workers lived without illusions, they wiped dreams off counters, they loaded freight. They headed back to the airport for one last fare.

My Take-away:
“If I were a poet,” then comes, in essence, a poem about people who work in the middle of the night. I love the humanity of this description that avoids “shorthand” adjectives, such as “disenfranchised” or “fringe.”


Cheat your landlord, if you must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality anymore than you can fake a good meal.

–William S. Burroughs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.