Sentences

As a reader, I love to feel that the writer is keeping me close, letting me know, in the mere arc of a phrase, that he or she is alive to humor, irony, complexity. I want to do that in my sentences. I try to. I don’t claim I’m successful at it. I don’t want dead sentences that simply service plot, but who does? I don’t want to declare special vigilance in that, but that kind of vigilance is a big part of the experience of writing. The form of the sentence, the cadence, how it looks on the page, is as important as what it says, where it leads to, and from. I have certain chapters whose formal rule was that they started mid-sentence, which made me think more about the sentence’s properties. When I feel I am getting lax, I read those writers who are, for me, the masters of the sentence. It always feels good to see the gap, to know I have to work harder, in order not to fly unnecessarily low, but only as low as my absolute, objective limitations decree.” —Rachel Kushner

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