UPDATE: Look at this wonderful piece by Constance Hale Scribe on the crafting of sentences. It’s chock full of fine sentence examples, some of which I could add to my list! -ed. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/28/sentences-crisp-sassy-stirring/
Sometimes, I am astonished at how much vocabulary I lack. I want to describe things and try to think of words other than “thing” or “whatever,” and I often fail, pathetically. This is not to say that I don’t recognize words when I read, because I do. But it seems that in the moment that I need to procure a word, an apt description, my little brain fails me. I pick up a book and marvel at that author’s ability to craft a sentence using the most appropriate words. I wonder to myself, did she sit there for a long time trying to find the words or did the words just come spilling out?
I am reading a fantastic book, Blood Bones and Butter, loaned to me by my friend Alison. It’s a memoir by Gabrielle Hamilton, the owner of the restaurant Prune in New York City.
This sentence, I love: “It caught, like an emotion, at the back of my throat.”
Seriously, now. What a perfect description of a feeling that I have all the time. And I never would’ve thought to describe it that way.
And there are countless other well-crafted sentences that I’ve run into, in the 20-odd years that I’ve been a reader. I should be writing them down! And so I will. While I’m reading a hardcover of Blood Bones and Butter, I’m in the habit of reading ebooks these days. What’s neat about ebooks is that I can highlight and annotate whole sections of text as I read, without having to stop to pick up a pen to record my thoughts. (Does that make me lazy or efficient?)
You can find the sentences I’ve captured here: Well-Crafted Words
ETA: As I was walking to pick up Alice from school (in the pouring, pouring rain!), I remembered a phrase that I wrote, in a college paper about a novel (Which one? Not sure…). Even my professor was impressed.
…the languid dawning of day.
I should really give myself more credit. I come up with good stuff sometimes. Why don’t I do it more often? (Also, while I was walking in said rain, pushing a stroller, I embarked on a mental tangent about giving ourselves more slack but since I couldn’t write it down, the profound thinks I thought have vanished into the ether. Damn it.)
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