Last night, we decided that, if we can have an in-person reading at Café POW, we will! Kelly will be checking with them today about how that works and getting back to me and then I’ll get back to you and you’ll get back to me and I’ll get back to Kelly, and she’ll get back to POW and and and in circles like that until we’ve turned into butter, which is a reference to a highly racist children’s book from the 50s, but which was nonetheless read to me as a child in the 70s, and despite the racism, I still think the idea of tigers running themselves into butter is pretty fantastic, but let’s not do that to ourselves, and instead wait for word from Kelly about what we can and cannot do at POW. I’ll let you know. The tentative date for this hootenanny is Tuesday, 20 July @ 19:00.
Last night, I rambled on (and on) about the sentence, only to find, in the end, that I was still actually just talking about the paragraph. That’s not entirely true. The two most important things we learned about the sentence last night came from two places: Brian Kiteley and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Kiteley says (in the 3 a.m. Epiphany) is this: “What I’m after, when I try to build interesting paragraphs, is a complex pattern of variations, not only of rhythm and timing but of sense and logic.” These “complex pattern[s]” are of course built with sentences. Rhythm and timing are created by sentence length and complexity. Sense and logic are built not only within sentences themselves, but also in the ways sentences sit next to each other (one might also talk about the metaphoric space between sentences). What we learned from Merriam-Webster is that there is no decree in the base definition of the word sentence that a sentence has to make sense to be a sentence. This is despite the fact that the word sentence comes from the Latin sententia, meaning “feeling, opinion,” and from *sentent-, *sentens, irregular present participle of sentire, meaning “to feel,” and that one can find more etymological information under the definition of the word sense, though in this case, that’s “sense” as in the senses and not “sense” as in meaning making, but really, how do we make meaning out of the world if not via our senses, and, quite honestly, the definition of “sentence” is a many-forking rabbit hole down which we have now fallen and at the bottom of which we will nearly drown in our own tears until we are washed through a keyhole, but this seems to be previously trod ground, I mean, ‘twas brillig, and the slithy toves etc.
We also used exercise #131: Repetition from Kiteley’s Epiphany to write some sentences that were connected to each other in a way not normally used when writing “fluently,” but which then still managed to create some very full, very beautiful, and very sense-making paragraphs.
Could I interest you in everything all of the time? Everything, of course, meaning everything, absolutely everything all of the time, and not a bit less, and if you’d like to take issue with the word on a philosophical level (EVERYTHING cannot possibly be encompassed and therefore . . .) be my guest, but I’m also not kidding and won’t back down. I’ll ask again, because I am deadly serious: Could I interest you in everything all of the time? In fact, let’s look at my seriousness: You think my offer is for snake oil, but if you consider the actuality of the offer, you’ll understand that every kind of snake oil and also ever cure is contained within. And what does that have to do with my level of seriousness, you ask? I’m so glad you asked, because I couldn’t possibly be offering you EVERYTHING in seriousness, could I? But it is not mine to offer, you protest rightfully. I respect your protest, and repeat my offer. I find that repetition is the best way to create myth. I find that creation repeats itself endlessly. I find that endlessness is one of the hallmarks of EVERYTHING, and how, again, could I possibly be offering you EVERYTHING ALL OF THE TIME? I must somehow be lying, must somehow actually be offering some Hallmark Card version of the TOTALITY OF THINGS, some rhyming, pithy extract which actually only makes us feel worse about whatever it was someone gave us the card for in the first place. Why didn’t they attempt to express their own thoughts instead of relying on the boiled, tasteless version of reality presented in a card? . . .