In addition to the reading list I'm still struggling to finish, I've always got other books partially started. Maybe that's why I have so much trouble completing the books on my reading list. Okay, it is the reason. It's one of those inefficient habits I've got to break. But I digress...
One of the things I've endeavored to do as I've gotten older is take time to read the classics. I remember hating this in high school and college because I saw these books as work I couldn't get out of, rather than literary pieces of art to be appreciated. Funny how a few years and a desire to write changes your perspective. Speaking of writing, every great writer I've read about giving advice about how to write says that part of great writing is great reading. Or better stated, reading great writing. Hence my pursuit of classical writings, even if it's fiction, like Of Mice and Men.
Of Mice and Men is a rather short book and it's easy reading. But one of the things Steinbeck does well is he uses descriptive language to set each scene or location. For instance, here is a sentence from the very first paragraph: "The water is warm too, for it has slipped twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlight before reaching the narrow pool." You get a picture in your mind's eye of the Salinas River, which this is a description of. Another thing Steinbeck does is he uses the language befitting his characters. As a result, you get a sense of each one based on how they talk. It makes for a clear identification of each character, even in a relatively short tale.
So this got me to thinking about my own writing. What about it is memorable and captures the imagination? Even in technical writing, this should be possible. Now the descriptive language may be over the top, but the way I write should leave a favorable impression on the reader. Part of that is about developing a writing style, but it's more than that. It's also about the way I choose words and constructs and examples. Do my examples accurately and clearly illustrate the situation I'm thinking of? Do the words I choose flesh out that example and bring a focus to the right aspect? Those of the kinds of things I need to think about as I write.