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  1. #1
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    For sentence geeks only...

    ...an interesting read if you like [and write] sentences--by Prof. Gary Lutz:

    http://www.believermag.com/issues/20...d=article_lutz
    THE SENTENCE IS A LONELY PLACE
    A LECTURE DELIVERED BY THE SHORT-STORY WRITER GARY LUTZ TO THE STUDENTS OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY’S WRITING PROGRAM IN NEW YORK ON SEPTEMBER 25, 2008

    [yow--sorry about the caps, but this was a copy/paste...]



  2. #2
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    Re: For sentence geeks only...

    Yes, indeed it is. Whew! though, I have to say I kept one eye on that blue bar to the right of the screen; it seemed to take forever to trek its way to the bottom. Not only is this for (long) sentence geeks, it's also for those who get a charge out of commas and adverbs.

    I'll bet the guy could write volumes about the art of butt scratchin' -- and twice is much regarding those that actually itched.

    What a switch from the short and semi-sweet sentences in the James Ellroy memoir I'm now reading. Here's what he writes about his very own dad:

    "He had a sixteen-inch schlong. It dangled out of his shorts. All his friends talked about it. This is not a whacked-out child's reconstruction."

    (Oh that James!)

    *_*

  3. #3
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    Re: For sentence geeks only...

    Robin,

    Great article. I'm reading it slowly and only in snippets but am enthralled. The author is putting to words so many things I've thought vaguely, without language. Thank you.

  4. #4
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    Re: For sentence geeks only...

    C K Wrote:
    -------------------------------------------------------
    > Robin,
    >
    > Great article. I'm reading it slowly and only in
    > snippets but am enthralled. The author is putting
    > to words so many things I've thought vaguely,
    > without language. Thank you.

    I never paid much attention to the aural quality of words and sentences--alliteration, assonance, consonance, euphony in general--until I read Prof. Ben Yagoda say that the reader "sub-vocalizes" when she reads, silently sounding and hearing the words. This explains why/how skillfully used euphony creates a pleasing sensation, often subliminal, below conscious noticing.

    It also helped me understand why I get irritated when I read French terms and phrases I'm not sure how to pronounce. Why care about the pronunciation of a word I don't have to speak? Because I "hear" it, and want to say and hear it correctly!

    Here's the book in which I read Yogoda's comment:
    The Sound on the Page: Great Writers Talk about Style and Voice in Writing by Ben Yagoda
    http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Page-Gre...5385184&sr=8-5

    Prof Lutz appears to have an extra-acute aural sensitivity. This guy gets *into* it! The lecture is definitely for serious students. Probably best read/studied on hardcopy, slowly. I printed it, sometimes study it when I go the bathr....err, to robin's reading room.

  5. #5
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    Re: For sentence geeks only...

    Several years ago, I decided to become a speed reader and got a couple books, did the exercises. I did, indeed, become a much faster reader, but I wasn't enjoying reading anymore. I realized that reading so fast was like listening to a favorite song played in double time -- icky. I could no longer hear the words and everything was about content. I ditched the speed reading and went back to my slow ways.

    One of my favorite bits from this article that reminds me to feel free to write as slow as I want, too.

    A lot of writers—many of them—unfortunately seem to stop there. They seem content if the resultant sentence is free from obvious faults and is faithful to the lineaments of the thought or feeling or whatnot that was awaiting deathless expression. But some other writers seem to know that it takes more than that for a sentence to cohere and flourish as a work of art. They seem to know that the words inside the sentence must behave as if they were destined to belong together—as if their separation from each other would deprive the parent story or novel, as well as the readerly world, of something life-bearing and essential. These writers recognize that there needs to be an intimacy between the words, a togetherness that has nothing to do with grammar or syntax but instead has to do with the very shapes and sounds, the forms and contours, of the gathered words....A pausing, enraptured reader should be able to look deeply into the sentence and discern among the words all of the traits and characteristics they share. The impression to be given is that the words in the sentence have lived with each other for quite some time, decisive time, and have deepened and grown and matured in each other’s company—and that they cannot live without each other.

    Robin, I hope you post more of such links you come across.

  6. #6
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    Re: For sentence geeks only...

    CK, here's a challenge regarding that last long paragraph....the one that begins with "A lot of writers": Would you be able to sum it up in one sentence?

    *_*

  7. #7
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    Re: For sentence geeks only...

    Sure.

    The plagiarism attempt:

    Many writers seem content if the resultant sentence is free from obvious faults and is faithful to the lineaments of the thought or feeling that was awaiting deathless expression, but other writers know that it takes more than that for a sentence to cohere and flourish as a work of art, know that the words inside the sentence must behave as if they were destined to belong together, as if they shared an intimacy that has nothing to do with grammar or syntax but with the very shapes and sounds, the forms and contours so that a pausing, enraptured reader can look deeply into the sentence and discern that the words in the sentence have lived with each and have deepened and matured in each other’s company and could not live without each other.

    My attempt:
    When a noun rubs up against a verb, you've got a sentence; when the rubbing is slick with sound and charged with nuance and rhythm, you've got a good sentences.

    Okay, I know I'm cheating with the semicolon.

    You got one, Kitty?

  8. #8
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    Re: For sentence geeks only...

    Ooooh, "rubbing" conjures up all sorts of delightful images, CK! Nah, you didn't cheat with the semicolon; you did good. :-)

    (Apologies to Debbi for the did good.)

    I'll see what I can come up with. Anybody else want to try? robin?

    *_*

  9. #9
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    Re: For sentence geeks only...

    Speaking of rub, what always rubs me the wrong way is seeing "each other" in a sentence when it should be "one another." From that article:

    "The impression to be given is that the words in the sentence have lived with each other for quite some time, decisive time, and have deepened and grown and matured in each other’s company—and that they cannot live without each other."

    http://www.lousywriter.com/grammar_m...ne_another.php


    *_*

  10. #10
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    Re: For sentence geeks only...

    Did he write in his own secret language?

    forlornities?

    My dictionary says its not a word.

    I've not yet read the rest of it.

    RW

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