Archive for March 2009

On Writing the Perfect Paragraph

What is it that makes the human being desire the dramatic, that last time to wave goodbye and off into the night? the sunset? Metaphorically, he rode off into the sunrise that morning. Literally, the sun must have come up over his left shoulder, window down, the heat baking the top of his forearm, his elbow. Nothing dramatic about this, unless he was leaned back in the seat, a little grin on his face, and unless his head opened up and the confetti of what he was leaving behind exploded all over the inside of the car, flew out the window and onto the highway, all those mistakes and all that misery, littering Florida, that long, giant sand bar, where, mysteriously, there would be no one else on the highway.

This is what I’m starting with, and my goal is to create the perfect paragraph. There’s a man out on his own for the first time in his life, and he has said goodbye to his brother. My attempt here is to try and convey a simple bit of plot while exploring the need for the drama. I hate questions in text. I really do, but I typed the first thing that came into my mind, so perhaps it has to be reconsidered anyway. Even as I type this now I’m getting ideas about a desire for the dramatic, riding in a car alone, and the window next to the driver’s face serving as the screen through which everyone watches. My original thought was hating the question, so I’ll change it:

Human beings desire the dramatic (desire drama?)


Human beings desire drama, that last time to wave goodbye and ride off into the night, the knot that comes from oblivion and nestles snugly into the throat, and the feeling that if that knot were to unravel, the tears would come in torrents.

I don’t like the alliteration at the end of the sentence, but I’m leaving it for now to continue the paragraph:

They love riding in cars and feeling the television screen, through which the world is filtered, on their left. They perform from their seats. Cars will come up from behind and gather first impressions So Many Pedestrians, So Little TimeIf You Can Read This, You’re Too CloseMy Other Ride is Your Mother, and the cars need to come up on the left to see who it is, and he wants them to see who he is so he lets up on the accelerator. His channel is on, again. He can look over and give his audience what they want, or he can take a hand off the wheel, lean back, purse his lips, and pose for them.