December 25, 2004

Creative Writing: The Gospels

From the earliest days Matthew, Mark, Luke, etc. have been criticized as inept, uneducated stylists who could not assemble a decorative Greek sentence.

“She wrapped him in his swaddling–clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them to lodge in the house.”

Where are the eloquent details of the cows’ steaming, twitching flanks, the hot stench of bovine breath, the damp straw chafing the baby’s soft skin?

Compare it to the typical contemporary novelist’s 200–word description of light slanting through a window.

Sometimes if you really have something to say, you can just say it.