“HEAR YE, HEAR YE! VICTOR VAN DORT SEEN THIS NIGHT ON THE BRIDGE IN THE ARMS OF A MYSTERY WOMAN! THE DARK-HAIRED TEMPTRESS AND MASTER VAN DORT SLIPPED AWAY INTO THE NIGHT!”
Anyone seeking employment as a personal town crier? Not only will I pay in scotch and hardcovers, but I can also assure you that this household has plenty of tears to go around. (Are you having that??) For now, I suppose I’ll just do it myself.
“TALES OF CASSTASTROPHE HEREBY RECOGNIZES THE MONTH OF MAY AS NATIONAL SENTENCE WRITING MONTH!”
Right. Anyways… Hello, dear reader.
On a daily basis throughout the month of May, I decided to focus on some concept, word, song, movie, visual, et cetera (and the brain association journey that it / they dredged up) in hopes of writing a sentence. Yes, correct: a single sentence.
If you’re of the creative writing persuasion, you may be familiar with National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it is so affectionately termed. I won’t be going into the details of NaNoWriMo or my past experiences with it in today’s post, but I might address that in the future. Participating in NaNoWriMo can be incredibly grueling and, in my case, can burn you out for months afterward. 50,000 words in 30 days is no joke, especially when you have college classes or a full time job or families and friends to care for.
What I will be going into is how I commandeered the Black Pearl and picked up a crew in Tortuga to pillage the seven seas.
Kidding, just kidding! Somebody rewatched Pirates of the Caribbean yesterday and I won’t say who.
What I will be going into is how I took the spirit of NaNoWriMo and distilled it down (!!) into NaSenWriMo. This introduction isn’t going to take very long, and I think you’ve gotten the gist by now. Short story even shorter: I wanted to play around!
There is a lot of fear that goes into writing. If you’re a writer and you’re not afraid of it, then I envy you and I’m skeptical of whether or not you’re doing it right. Oftentimes, I sit down and find myself paralyzed by the mere thought of writing a sentence, or worse, by the mere thought of trying to write a sentence. I become so absorbed in writing the best damn sentence ever written that I end up writing nothing at all. That’ll happen when you’re a conditioned perfectionist. (Truly one of the most harmful personality traits, especially for the creatively inclined, but we’ll save that diatribe for another day too.)
Books aren’t made up of the best damn sentences ever written. Neither are short stories or essays or short prose or poetry. Yes, a good number of them include some of the best damn sentences ever written, but there’s a hell ton of other stuff going on in those paragraphs too – to provide exposition and character development and scene setting. Not every sentence is The Best.
It takes a lot of work to face the fear, accept these things as fact, and write. A lot of that work still remains ahead of me, but for now, most importantly, I want to have fun with it. Writing as a means of creating something can be really, really fun. No one else is living the exact same life that I am, existing in my head, listening to that song, or watching the world around me. No one else will be able to create the things that I will from living and breathing those experiences.
So NaSenWriMo was my exercise in having fun. Picking something to inspire, then sitting and thinking and watching the sun set and pulling out the thesaurus or dictionary or my beloved copy of Cuddon’s to learn whatever I needed to learn for that inspiration to bob and flow and weave itself into a sentence. A single, solitary sentence.
I will admit that not every day felt like fun. There were days when I didn’t want to pick up the pen, or my job crushed every ounce of energy that I might have had left to give to it. But in the end, we made it.
I give to you 31 single sentences, and an insider view into the scratchpads that helped me create them (good luck trying to read my handwriting, suckers). Feel free to stop and depart here if you’ve been struck by a sudden inspiration to go off and create on your own, as often happens to me when I watch or read someone else talking about their respective crafts. Otherwise, read on! And maybe, when you reach the end, tell me your favorite from the list. Or rearrange a few to make me a poem (or two).
5/1 – Hopelessness heeds to helplessness, and then the inevitable occurs.
5/2 – Dregs of red wine dripped like blood, the stem its only shard left clean.
5/3 – A sickness of mud and dirt caught in the corner of my eye, my breast, my pact, my words.
5/4 – As she stared out the window at the vast planes of blue grey clouds, she was reminded of flaking nails
5/5 – The sensation of warm lips on cold steel, her fingers gripped it tighter.
5/6 – You don’t think of lungs as porous until you hear breaths bespeckled with fluid.
5/7 – She had never felt a heat like this before, buzzing up her arms and legs.
5/8 – Time blots out the evidence, his reversion either begged or committed depending upon proclivities.
5/9 – It’s been a long while of lying alone, but don’t you worry, I’m coming home.
5/10 – The man in the green t-shirt had a perverse pattern of movement: pace, lick, lift, scratch, pace.
5/11 – Tendrils of steam wove their way up into the cool cabin air in loose braids, and the flakes of tobacco packed tightly under his fingernails served as a reminder for why he kept this morning routine.
5/12 – Drowning does not feel like falling asleep, it feels like drowning; which is to say, we neglect how much openness the human body is in possession of until we’re entirely full, and that fullness is entirely pain.
5/13 – I have a theory that you can tell how crisp a white wine will taste by how much it sweats the glass.
5/14 – She speaks in starts of feminine rhymes.
5/15 – To be in a state of complete cogency with your body is to wish you were no longer within it.
5/16 – Free association led to rotation, which, ironically, led to nowhere.
5/17 – Birds will only fly this high because there’s bugs up here, but why?
5/18 – Silence, like a ghost, can be a violent invocation, even host – possession.
5/19 – Spiders disappear into the wind and here their webs remain; so tell me, world – what is the web I’ll weave you yet?
5/20 – Perception isn’t everything; it changes with perspective.
5/21 – There’s something that doesn’t sit well with me about how we use the word “accident” for bumps and scrapes and loss of life.
5/22 – The wind wrecks its web every day, and yet the spider returns to reweave it.
5/23 – The deepest point and the lowest point are not synonymous in loss.
5/24 – Eyes closed, even exhaustion could not bring peace.
5/25 – I fell asleep in moonlight.
5/26 – It came to me with a cracked spine.
5/27 – The way it rolls and tumbles from soft lips, there is no sweeter sound.
5/28 – Spoken as a clipped exhale in such a way that, if you repeat it fast enough, it will incite the emotion; panic, panic, panic.
5/29 – As he moved higher so too did the sound, chasing through every square inch of the glass.
5/30 – Dried roses, like static underfoot.
5/31 – They lived in a world of nightmarish ideals, perpetually abstracted.