The highest level of writing, in my experience, is that which takes my breath away. Literally--the words, sentence, idea makes me gasp and forget to breathe for a moment. It doesn't happen often, so I thought I'd share a paragraph that did it for me. It's from an essay in the New York Times' Sunday Magazine by Bernard Cooper:
"The only story I know is the one about Brian dying....It’s as if we met so we could be together when he dies, paid the mortgage so we could be together when he dies, sustained ourselves with food and love and hard work so we’d one day come to the realization that everything up to this point was a prologue. The story has started here, now, when time is finite."