Monday, April 5, 2010

Cairo Tunnel: Amanda Fields

Brevity magazine is an online publication that publishes only nonfiction of 750 words or fewer.

Another friend of mine, the excellent writer Amanda Fields, has a piece called Cairo Tunnel in Brevity's 30th issue about riding the subway in Cairo in a crowded "women's only" car. It begins:
I nudge through the turnstile, putting the stiff yellow ticket in my pocket and crossing a footbridge to the other side of the tracks, where I head toward the cluster of women on the platform. It’s rush hour. Morning salutations compete with beehive intensity. I scoot forward and back. Soon, the Metro barrels up, and the women’s car, painted with a red stick-lady in a triangle skirt, sighs open.
As always I'm telling you about this essay because it's great, and part of the purpose of this blog is to present you, the reader, with essays. But I also really enjoyed Amanda's discussion of her writing process on the brevity blog. Amanda talks about how the word count limit made her cut, which usually (but not always) makes writing better. In her post, you'll see the gorgeous and disturbing nugget that she had to leave out, and you can judge whether that made the piece better or worse. You'll also see the difference in conveying the intensity of a moment, the way Amanda does in her essay, and stepping back to evaluate and discuss the moment, the way she does in the blog.

Amanda's blog on living and teaching in Cairo is available at

No comments:

Post a Comment