29,000 feet above a sere west Texas landscape I read the first few pages of Verlyn Klinkenborg's book The Rural Life, about what he wants to record in his journal, and I realize that specificity is key to good writing—not just who/what/when facts, but the tiny diamond stud in the nose of the high school girl napping by me in seat 16B, brown puppy-eyes closed behind long lashes and too much makeup, streaky blonde hair pulled back tight, on her way to Puerto Rico while I head for home and my daughter crosses the stage in her graduation ceremony without me, becapped and begowned, red tassel for honors.

^z - 2009-05-31