Wednesday, July 3, 2013


A long time ago, I read a description of a character in a book by Calvin Trillin, and I’ve never forgotten it. Well, almost. I may not have the words exactly right, but I think they’re close enough to give you the idea.

“He was dark and swarthy, with oily black hair, and looked like someone who would sell fake passports on a street corner in Istanbul.”

Now that I need it, I can’t remember who wrote these:

“He carried his weight like a weapon instead of a liability, had stiff white hair you could land a 747 on, and a handshake just short of causing paralysis.”

“He walked so slowly an arthritic centipede could have passed him.”

“Bad economic times resulted in lots of travel. When the going got tough, the tough packed the U-Haul.”

“He wasn’t much of a man, more like a moist robot.”

“She strutted as if she knew her bank balance was the equivalent of the GDP of Belgium.”

“He kept an army of lawyers around him like some women keep cats.”

“She had obviously cornered the market on pointy chins.”

And then there’s mine. I never thought I was very good at clever descriptions, but I like this one that I put in a recent book:

“Looking like a young Clint Eastwood, he appeared at her side again. Dirty Harry, with a 200-dollar haircut, wearing Armani.”

Have you written or read some clever descriptions?

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