An Exercise in Sentence Length (Going Long)

A few things I learned from this exercise, brought to the world by Sue Black:

1. Long sentences do not mean writing in stream-of-consciousness. I felt just as compelled to edit, to re-arrange, to trim and hone just as with other work.

2. I originally started out trying to capture my thoughts over the course of a day. What does it say about me that my sentence takes me until 8:00 a.m.?

3. I’ve never really felt that a single sentence ever deserved a title, but if anybody can think of one, post it in my comments.

4. I’m in a rut. Mentally, creatively. I can’t deny it. I’ve got to get out of the motherhood is busy thing. Let’s see if next time I can challenge myself to take on different subject matter.

5. Maybe even fiction.

6. Maybe not. But I can think about trying.

7. Here goes.

The day begins before it really begins, dreaming (if I am lucky) of things beyond reality, of flying or driving a car that turns into a paddleboat before entering a museum and losing my children inside, or (if life is busy) an endless recount of one particular scene from one particular day: one particular math lesson or one particular problem that I must keep explaining over and over to one particular child before waking up, welcoming my soul back to my body from its either fanciful or regular dreams as the to-do list begins ticking: walk the dogs, shower, pack the lunches, wake the boys (but do it right or they’ll be crabby), pack my bags, turn my shirt right side out before anyone notices, make sure everyone is fed and dressed (underwear included), pretend that everybody brushed their teeth, and hope (because a girl can dream) that I don’t yell at anybody as I usher them into coats, out the door and into the car which, because it is wintertime and the ice is a good excuse, has replaced both my feet and my bike as a mode of transportation, the guilt of which weighs down upon my environmentally aware and physically fit parts of my conscience even though people (giving me advice that’s easier to serve that eat) tell me maybe that’s just one ball I can allow to drop, just as long as it’s not the patches I need to get for the Tiger Cubs, nor the violin rental payment, nor the slips that need signing nor the books that need returning; I let the car take me across town and turn itself into the school parking lot, gauging how on-time I am by which row I get to park in, and if I’m really allowing myself to (I’ll know because I will have noticed the sky that day) I will give myself time, just a bit, right after I turn the ignition off, to enjoy the sudden shock of silence, that momentary hush that comes right after the engine quits and I hear nothing, think nothing, feel much before shouldering the ungraded papers, ready (not really ready, but I know how to fake it) to start working.

If you feel compelled, I’m passing the challenge along. Can you craft a single sentence, 250-300 words long (or so)? Post it in the comments section. I’d love to have a read.

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5 Responses to “An Exercise in Sentence Length (Going Long)”

  1. Sue Black Says:

    This is such a WOW!!, Lainie.
    I’m so glad you are playing along. Your writing is gorgeous and I’m glad you’re sharing it.
    A creative rut? I don’t think so.
    Frustrated with lack of time? Probably so.
    Glad you’re finding snatches of time? Definitely.
    A title? Mama’s Sunrise

  2. Josifer Cooke Says:

    Word Count: 381(2?)

    She could not be of the human species with eyes that large and an
    electric lime green that seemed to pierce the base foundation of my
    soul entirely and bore a hole through straight to the small of my back
    where I could already begin to feel the fierce burn melting my skin
    from the sheer heat of her gaze, which mirrored the intensity of her
    sly smirk that began to form in the corners of her mouth and curl up
    towards her cheek bone until her whole completion radiated an aura of
    mischief of which I’m sure had to do with what she was planning while
    the gears in her mind clicked together in a figure similar to that of
    a jigsaw puzzle (and probably just as complicated as one) until
    finally her mind sputtered, coughed, and produced a plan of total
    brilliance of how she was to make the very minimal days of the rest of
    my existence a living hell in which I would most likely be tortured to
    the extent of my physical and mental, as well as emotional, ability to
    withstand such a devious yet well thought out plan that would most
    likely push myself to limits far beyond what I was willing to be
    pushed because she was the lion and I was the sheep in this game of
    her against me and I was the prey to her predator instincts as she
    decided when she was going to unexpectedly pounce on my innocent body which gave me such an immense feeling of terror yet I knew, deep down I had to hand it to her, all this, started just from the chilling way
    she leered at me from across the room and now my conclusion was drawn by the fact that I now knew that no, it was not possible for her to be human because no human could harness such a strong feeling of utter
    revenge onto another in a way such as this; the only logical
    explanation being that she is in fact a monster out to get me so I
    would feel the emotions she had felt after I had pulled my stunt on
    her (now for my real conclusion) and I was going to have a very short
    life starting now.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Holy cow. What an amazing piece of writing! You certainly make me want to keep on reading. Stay tuned for more writing challenges. I’d love to see more of what you’ve got!

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