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Writing teacher Roy Peter Clark took to Poynter with an essay entitled, "What I learned about writing by listening to Jimmy Buffett."

An excerpt:

"Buffett produced the kind of music where you could hear and understand those lyrics clearly. That made them easier to remember and sing along with, something I have been doing since I heard the news that the Pied Piper of his fans, called Parrotheads, died. It seemed weirdly inevitable that a man so devoted to the sun and the sea would die from a rare form of skin cancer.

"I’ve spent the week listening to the work of Buffett, reading the lyrics, and playing his music on my piano, guitar and ukulele. One effect of this is that I can’t get the songs out of my head, as it turns out, not an unpleasant soundtrack to my dreams.

"To my ears, Buffett’s songs fall into several categories:

The nostalgic, as in 'Pencil Thin Mustache.'

The anthemic, as in 'Volcano.'

The reflective, as in 'Come Monday,' the writing of which, he has said, saved his life.

The playful, as in 'Cheeseburger in Paradise.'

And whatever category 'Why Don’t We Get Drunk (and Screw)' falls into.

"From a writer’s point of view, these categories are most instructive, and get us closer to the mystery of the writer’s voice. Shakespeare sounds like Shakespeare, whether he is writing histories, tragedies, comedies, or romances.

"Buffett, too, whatever the mood, sounds like himself.

"I am going to use a phrase that may sound too highfalutin for a writer who thought of himself as a modern-day pirate, but here it goes: To fully appreciate Buffett, we have to understand the 'power of the particular'."

Which might also be described as the poetry of the specific.

Clark goes on:

"When we take the Who (from the 5 W’s) and put it in a story it becomes a Character. And the way we make a Character in a story come to life is to create a constellation of particular characteristics, details that reveal the status, personality and motivations of a protagonist.

"In 'Margaritaville,' Buffett offers listeners or readers a buffet of details that define a way of life that, despite its seemingly carefree rhythms, is sung by a narrator in a dark place. That he can find a poetry that helps him, and all of us, escape the pit of despair feels like a kind of magic."