There’s densely sweet fruitcake, and then there’s cheap white bread. Writing can be that different, too. One is delightfully packed with metaphors, clever turns of phrase and words that dance into your ears and evoke surprising emotions or images. Or plain vanilla, gets-the-job-done writing.

To achieve the richer variety, one must read it. Slowly, reflectively, delectably. Soaking-in the way the author has taken ordinary words and made an extraordinary reading experience from them.

We’re not all cut out to be fruitcake writers (hmm, now there’s a questionable metaphor), but I figure the more we dine on those who dish it up right, the more likely we are to improve. And who doesn’t want to improve with each and every writing project?

These thoughts are inspired by a book I’ve just finished: Will Ferguson’s Happiness (international bestseller and three-time winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour).

Great humour is particularly difficult to pull off, so I have a lot of respect for those who do.

Let me share just a few lines from this book.

Buildings without laughter… a veritable showcase of architectural dignity… miasma of fumes… a merry-go-round where the horses have emphysema, the paint is peeling and the smell of halitosis and body odour swirls in oily whirls through the air… the rain is dirty before it hits the ground… a crush of rumpled jackets, damp shirts and groaning attache cases… swilling their swamp of words, churning the muck, breeding in captivity… gone is the cymbal-crash symphony of the city.

Happy reading, and success in upping your writing game.