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.
Suggested 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
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.
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 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.
I’m glad Dian Fossey is included in this list. She’s always been a heroine of mine.
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.
These 17 Places Hold Millions Of Secrets That Have Yet To Be Discovered.
THIS ‘n THAT
At Bustle, Caroline Goldstein offers great writers’
Pieces Of Writing Advice To Pull You Out Of Your Lonely Black Hole
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
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