What do YOU like?

Jennifer Schaffer of BuzzFeed has selected some of the most beautiful sentences in literature (below), and that made somebody ask me about what I like in my own works.

I must have written five or six million words in my lifetime so far, published two million or so of those, so finding “a favorite sentence” is something of a challenge, and I don’t know if my readers would respond to the same things. But here are some of my favorites:

I looked at her and I saw an ocean; I looked at myself in the mirror and I saw a suburban fishpond with a couple of tired koi swimming around in circles. ~ Random

For every color there was a dark twin, a shadow, and it  came to him in hues and nuances, just as he had dreamed, but he could not close his eyes to any of them, could not unsee. ~ Color, Human Tales anthology

And, since I don’t write sentences so much as paragraphs, there is this from my novel, Midnight at Spanish Gardens:

The passageway between a couple of blank brick walls widens abruptly into a courtyard. There is a doorway, dark now, with some sort of gilt writing on the glass. An accountant, maybe, or a dentist – i forget what it was,and maybe it even changed once or twice during  my time here. And across the courtyard, dimly lit, a coy sign above the door, there it is, the Spanish Gardens. It does not look very Spanish. it certainly does not look anything like a garden.
Tuck EverlastingSuggested by Emily W., via Facebook Creative Commons / Flickr: michael_wacker

51 Of The Most Beautiful Sentences In Literature

She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together. ~ —J. D. Salinger, “A Girl I Knew”

We cross our bridges as we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and the presumption that once our eyes watered. ~ Tom Stoppard, Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead

At the still point, there the dance is. ~ T. S. Eliot

See all the sentences HERE

Read. Write. Rinse and repeat.

I’ll be be a guest lecturer at the Odyssey Writing Workshop this summer and during an interview at the website I was asked: What do you think is the most important advice you can give to developing writers? My answer:

Reading is the primary education for any writer. You need to have an inoculation of language in your writerly stream before your own words can take form. People who don’t read never develop the love and the reverence for the written word–and how, then, can they hope to tease out its wonders?

Beyond that, if you are serious about pursuing this as a craft, as a vocation, as a career… well… Write. Practice. It comes only with practice, this inner instinct about whether something you’ve just written is good, or if there is something wrong with it, and what, and how it needs fixing.

I wrote a page and half of something once and stopped and stared at it — it was a literary neutron star, a very dense summary of the thing I needed to actually write. When I did what needed to be done, it turned into nearly three chapters of the book. But without the millions of words of practice I had already put in… I would not have known this, recognised this, figured out what I needed to do to fix it.

So–two very obvious pieces of advice. Read. Write.

Rinse and repeat.

Read the whole interview HERE

16 of the creepiest snowmen who ever existed
Too many of them“You may have never realized Frosty was a horror film,” Chelsea DeBaise says at Dose, “but you will now.”

See the other snow monsters HERE

WOW. Just *WOW*.

Beautiful dark twisted fantasies: the world’s most ancient trees

From 4,000-year-old pines in California to Welsh yews carved into pulpits, photographer Beth Moon has spent 14 years traveling the globe in search of exquisite trees.
Heart of the DragonHeart of the Dragon, Yemen, 2010, Beth Moon


Living in a tree

Forget staying grounded, I want to live amongst the trees in the most epic tree houses ever built, Beej Rudd says at Dose.

Me too.
Three Story TreehouseThree Story Treehouse – British Columbia, Canada

Other great tree houses HERE

I’m glad Dian Fossey is included in this list. She’s always been a heroine of mine.

Women of National Geographic
Jane GoodallJane Goodall touching hands with a chimp – Photo by Hugo Van Lawick  

Jane Goodall’s story of a young girl who loved animals and dreamed of going to Africa—and who found a way of making that dream come true-is also one of the great scientific sagas. Goodall’s longstanding study of chimpanzee behavior at Gombe Stream, Tanzania, demonstrating how closely chimpanzees resemble humans-and humans chimpanzees-has caused a revolution in how we understand ourselves.

Other Women of National Geographic HERE

These 17 Places Hold Millions Of Secrets That Have Yet To Be Discovered.

If you think libraries are just for nerds and librarians telling you to “shhhhhhh”…. well, you’ve never been to these libraries.Trinity College Library of DublinTrinity College Library of Dublin

More libraries HERE


At Bustle, Caroline Goldstein offers great writers’

Pieces Of Writing Advice To Pull You Out Of Your Lonely Black Hole

Read them all HERE

Quote of the Day

I know you’ve heard all your life, ‘Write what you know.’ Well I am here to tell you, You don’t know nothing. So do not write what you know. Think up something else. ~ Toni Morrison

Alma Alexander      My books      Email me

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