Jump to content, Jump to navigation.

Amber Paulen

More Sentences

This summer has been a strange one, stranger than last summer for very different reasons, though the most pronounced of them being it doesn’t feel like summer at all. Besides from the heat, of course. The heat is there, but there’s also a breeze, and then there’s the reassuring normality of Rome emptying to a shell. It’s comforting, in a strange way, the desertion of the city for the mountains or the sea. I wish I could flee with the deserters, but an empty city is also a pleasure for it gives me the illusion that I know it better. And compared to the majority of the population, at least in this area near the Colosseum, I do because they are mostly tourists.

My reading life is continuing as usual. At night I’m currently poring over Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus, a great escape into fantasy. Carter was a wonderful wordsmith with a vast vocabulary and veritable bins of verbs and metaphors used in surprising ways. Though the content of the following sentence is morose, the sentence itself is amazing:

And, more than the marks of fresh bruises on fading bruises on faded bruises, it was as if she had been beaten flat, had all the pile, the shine banged off her adolescent skin, had been beaten threadbare, or as if she had been threshed, or beaten to the thinness of beaten metal; and the beatings had beaten her back, almost, into the appearance of childhood, for her little shoulderblades stuck up at acute angles, she had no breasts and was almost hairless but for little flaxen tuft on her mound.

Reading that first independent clause is like getting a beating. The play of the f’s and b’s, then b’s and th’s give alternate punches on the beats of the b’s, laying off with f’s until “flat,” picking up again on the b’s.

Bypassing sentences to the complexities of character, here’s a quotation from E.M. Forster’s Aspects of the Novel.

And now we can get a definition as to when a character in a book is real: It is real when the novelist knows everything about it. He may not choose to tell us all he knows—many of the facts, even of the kind we call obvious, may be hidden. But he will give us the feeling that though the character has not been explained, it is explicable, and we get from this a reality of a kind we can never get in daily life.

Sounds like sound common sense for the writer.


·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·