The Perfect Sentence AKA The Ramblings Of A Lunatic

Words should be spritely upon the page. They should dance, cajole, shout and mourn, festering in the emotions and ambience of the setting and scene around them. Why is it then, that even if I intimately know what I wish to capture–what I dream, what I feel, what I see in front of my eyes, the words themselves not the action!–they never appear on paper the way I expect? What is this elusive craft that forces its makers to question themselves, their skill, their talent, their ability? Is that what they mean by the tortured artist, the one that suffers? That a writer who is in pain from their words not being good enough… the one that constantly challenges themselves…?

When do you know if you should give up? Yes, yes, one should never give up–but let’s be sensible. Some writers cannot evoke the emotion within or without. Some writers will never ‘get it’. Some writers, with lots of training, will end up acceptable or competent, lost in a world of mediocrity. (Some of them are or become best-sellers). Nobody wants to be that (except the best-seller part, almost all of us want that), nobody wants to be mired and stagnant. We all want to move forward, to improve, to be the person who wrote the book that moves a person to tears (or to laughter, if that’s your thing, but damnit, I want to world to cry).

Sometimes I look at my work and know that it is good and at the same time know where it could be exceptionally better. Like a double negative, I see both of these things… the actual and the potential. I look at Femme and I see a soft-serve of romantic idealism coupled with naivete, I see a character who looks away from the dark, I see a digestible marshmallow that doesn’t really challenge anything or anyone, it’s pure entertainment. I am not ashamed to produce something like this but if I had explored the story that was lurking beneath the surface… I could’ve been proud. I am genuinely considering rewriting a different version of the same story, without the shiny.

But let’s get back to business, why I’m here, why I’m even writing this monstrous blog post. The ramblings of a lunatic. If I could write the perfect sentence, the sentence that encapsulates the emotion perfectly for a character, the one that describes the action most deftly, the one that implies more than what is said… if I could do that, then I would do it over and over. One perfect sentence is not enough.

And in saying that, would one perfect book be enough? Imagine the horror of producing the most brilliant piece of literature that has been set upon the world and then being set with the task of following it up. As terrifying as that would be, as insane as I would likely become with the impossible errand before me, I would want that for myself. I would want at least one, infinite thing that proves to me, myself, that I did capture the words exactly as I imagined, that it is possible to recreate the kaleidoscopic and animated vision of the written story in my brain. The one that I can see and smell, that imaginary fingers can touch and feel, flavours and emotions that I can taste, and those other senses, the ones that are lesser known and the ones that have yet to be named. Anticipation is a sense, is it not? Doesn’t it tingle in your body? Doesn’t it make muscles clench or flinch?

I anticipate that one day, I will finally write a perfect sentence… and when that happens, I might truly go mad.


One thought on “The Perfect Sentence AKA The Ramblings Of A Lunatic

  1. I think writing is all about practice and improve, improve and practice, and repeat ad nauseum. You have to believe you are good, and to see potential in what you write, otherwise you’d get fed up and give up – but at the same time you always need to see how to move forward and improve, and be committed to that. It sounds like you have an appropriately realistic view of what you do, and that’s good.

    One more thought: it seems to me that the ‘perfect sentence’ is one that reads like it jumped out of your mind fully-formed, completely spontaneously, but it was actually revised, redrafted, and painstakingly crafted. Rare is the perfect sentence that’s perfect first time. And how do you judge that anyway? Tricky.


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