Malcolm Gladwell

Slide Show

Writing Inspiration

I appreciate the persuasive tone in all of Gladwell’s work. He takes the simplest of ideas, things that we believe to be true for so long, and flips them on our heads. This is my attempt at emulating his style:

Time bends back on itself when you want it to speed up as fast as possible. It seems to do the exact opposite of what should be done, stretching like an elastic band and snapping on our skin and in the most painful way. It has been felt and understood for millennia, and many peoples have tried to measure it. From sundials to calendars, society has liked to keep track of our life span, and how much time we have left in this world. It gives us a sense of false comfort. Don’t we all look at people older than us and think, “Thank God I am not that old yet.” One day, regardless of how hard it is for us to believe, our time will run out just as fast. 

Back in the day, however, age was never calculated. People would pass their days, with the change of the seasons, the waxing and waning of the moon, with lived dictated by sunrise and sunset. They didn’t notice if summer was too long, or it winter was too short. Sometimes, the ambiguity of time allows for more sanity than what is imaginable in modern-day society. 

Then, came Einstien, suggesting that time was flexible, that it passes faster and slower depending on the situation. He famously said, “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute.” Suddenly, we became conscious about the speed of time, and it gives us the illusion that time doesn’t move for us but continues for those around us. Thus, death is almost always a surprise. 

Now, we try to freeze time, as if looking at the clock at every moment makes the second-hand pause for us to catch up. Or, we completely neglect it, caught up in living, but time does not like to be ignored. So it runs at the speed of light, and you wish you gave it more attention. 

In conclusion, not even the strongest men can win the battle against time, for they, like the rest of us, are confined by its merciless laws.

Writing Inspiration from Other Writer’s Seminar

We were introduced to Han Kang, a Korean writer that wrote the following quote in her book, “The White Book”, “When long days finally come to a close, a time to be quiet is needed.” This is my response:

When long days finally come to a close, a time to be quiet is needed. But what is needed, is not always there. Sometimes, the exact opposite is there, waiting at your doorstep to overcome. But your limbs are weak, tired from all the battles fought. Your arms grow weary and a simple punch becomes a hug. You embrace your adversary, while they crack your rib cage with each blow, crumbling and sinking into your intestines, like eroded sand on the surface of a marshy lake.

These particles are your tears, and darling, know that you are still a standing figure without your bones. The entities with all the lives you have consumed and lived hold you up, and you fight like an animal with a mind to complex for anyone to understand.

Your enemy punches you, but you turn the other cheek and ask them to continue. You yearn for the comfort of submission, the certainty of failure, the impossible possibility of life after death, and your heartbeat may stutter and mute altogether, failing to convey all the sorrows that you have faced – but don’t forget the spirits inside of you. Herbs aline your intestines, a wall of protection against the pesky flies and vultures. Your blood is comforted by poison ivy, and the animals fail to feast on your flesh.

You are just one step outside of your doorstep, so close to a house, but so far from a home. The wooden beams creak forward, trying to take you into its embrace, but the spirits pull you into the bush. After all, when long days finally come to an end, a time to be quiet is needed.

In the forest, there is peace.