Archive for September 2013

On Writing the Long Sentence

If you’re going to write a long sentence – a really, really long sentence – you’re going to need some tools to aid you in the process, because you can’t just say, “I’m going to write a lot of words and not use any periods and call it a long sentence” and think you’ve satisfied the requirements of this assignment; things aren’t ever that easy, and I’ll contend that this is a worthwhile undertaking (because let’s be honest: this is kind of a cool assignment isn’t it? I mean, how many classes will you have this week where you’ll be allowed to let your mind wander, snatching thoughts from the wrinkles of your mind as they occur to you, attempting to give shape to them as words on this page, without regard for theses or topic sentences or supporting textual evidence and MLA style in-text citations and rubrics and revisions, which will seem like a daunting task all the same, but look what I’m doing with this parenthetical aside, with its question marks and commas…), although it isn’t something that necessarily caters to the sensibilities of a student in this school, who might be used to objectivity in his or her assignments (in other words: being told exactly what to do through explicit instructions and a definite end-product) rather than something so open-ended and creative, but I’ll argue this kind of assignment requires precision and constant re-reading (for example: I’ve looked back over this about four times already, printed it twice, and it’s given me a headache trying to figure out if I’ve cheated, like really cheated in accomplishing this, because I’m always mindful of being real and doing things – all things – with as much authenticity as possible) and revision and attention to not using the same punctuation all the time, like eight parenthetical asides, or the same conjunctions over and over, although there’s not an infinite number of conjunctions (and, or, but, nor: I don’t want to write them all here because you can just look them up) or an infinite number of punctuation marks like dashes and quotation marks and commas, but wow, how great is the comma, but forget the comma for a second because there’s something more here I’m thinking about, sitting here at my desk, basking in my abilities to use the comma better than a lot of people in this world (I mean a lot of people) and the fact that it’s way more than use of the comma but being smart, maybe even being way smarter, than seventy-five to eighty percent of the people in this world, although that has gotten me into trouble in my life, because when I get on a kick that I’m better than everyone else, I become a lonely lonely person, which came to a tragic climax a few years ago, when I sat on a futon, alone, eating a pizza that tasted like moist cardboard in a studio apartment on Grace Street (with a ridiculously psychotic neighbor, who would pound on her ceiling if I got up to get a drink of water in the middle of the night), but I’ve completely digressed and shown you what I think is the most important part of this assignment: to get to a place with this sentence that actually matters, something that goes beyond an assignment to see how many words you can write without using a period (this one contains 575 words, by the way.)