Noir Review

Can you remember the last review you read? What do you remember of it?

When we go looking for reviews, there’s a very specific piece of information we as consumers are looking for: we want to know if the writer liked the thing in question, and why. We get in, get what we need, and leave with an impression of either positivity or negativity. Beyond that, reviews are forgettable–they’re information for the moment.

If a review is written such that you don’t forget it, though, and instead recall it for days or weeks, that’s not only going to improve your view of the product, it’s also a huge boon to the reviewer. In my attempt to decide whether to buy an iPhone 4, I found just such a review. It’s innocuous and starts off simply, but I drank it in. This review has been on my mind for days.

What sets it apart is the style of writing. The author didn’t just tell me what he thinks. He invited me into his life and shared personal moments and interactions that reflect his thoughts on the iPhone. He showed, rather than told, and it created a lasting impression.

I wonder what other styles we could experiment with, toying with form and function to communicate in startling, inventive, and memorable ways. I’m not generally a big fan of noir, but a review written in this style is as fantastic as the crafty stories that often accompany Woot sales. They catch my attention, surprising me with their originality and creativity.

Is it too thin? Is it too delicate? I’m afraid of holding it. I never used to be.

I go to play with my bunny. When I pick him up, he squirms as if I’ll never let go for all eternity. I try to lower myself to the ground as much as possible before he scratches my arms and jumps out of my hands. He can adjust his body to land on his feet, absorbing most amount of impact in the least damaging areas.

This iPhone cannot. The iPhone 4 is not as drop resistant as a rabbit.

Read more at Gizmodo.

Writing for Work

A large part of my job is related to writing and communication. It’s one of the things I was hired for, and it plays to my strengths, both of which are Good Things. I’ve noticed recently that it seems to be changing my writing style, though. Both at home and at work, my sentences have become shorter and more stuttered, and my transitions in particular are lacking. I’ve had trouble describing things eloquently, to the extent that even my work communications seem lesser to me than they once were.

One of our student workers complimented me on my writing yesterday, but since I’d already been thinking about how little I liked my day’s work, it didn’t make me feel a lot better. By the end of the day, I had spend about 7.5 hours solid writing guides and documentation that had to be done before a number of things go live on Monday. It wasn’t so much that I had put them off as I had been so busy I hadn’t had time until yesterday. Also, two or three of the guides I wrote were only assigned to me two days ago.

The point is, it’s not that I’m not writing. I’m writing a lot these days, but a lot of it is at work, and that seems to be stunting my writing elsewhere. It’s like exercise: if you only exercise one muscle group all the time, the rest will suffer. I need to be exercising other writing muscles more frequently.

It comes to my mind as I look at that last sentence what the answer is, or might be: I need to return to writing poetry. I’m currently re-reading Kushiel’s Dart, one of my favourite books, and the author is clearly a lover of poetry. Most of the great fiction writers were, and the ability to briefly but beautifully describe something is a goal to which I aspire. I haven’t written much poetry since I met April and found myself becoming happier, but it would certainly exercise muscles long left dormant.

Can you recommend particular poems you love? Not books or authors, but individual poems you find remarkable enough to remember the title and tell others about?