Bitty Ruminations #36

Posted on January 23, 2011


JAN 23 – Here, from this article irresistibly titled “How To Write a (Good) Sentence” (and who doesn’t want to?), the line that made me fall off my chair clutching my amply upholstered sides:

“If the history of the American sentence were a John Ford movie, its second act would conclude with the young Ernest walking into a saloon, finding an etiolated Henry James slumped at the bar in a haze of indecision, and shooting him dead.”

And here, the line that made me a tad bit misty-eyed (yes, this clearly is the “you’ll laugh, you’ll cry” of print pieces):

“The writing of complete sentences for aural pleasure as well as news is going the way of the playing of musical instruments—it’s becoming a speciality rather than a means most people have to a little amateur, unselfconscious enjoyment.”

PS: In ten years, who, I wonder, is going to have the patience for the written word! Other than, of course, students of literature and academics who sign up very specifically for reading. Lots and lots of it.

PPS: Or should that be five years? Maybe the good people attending the Jaipur Literary Festival can tell us.