How to write: words, sentences, and other delights
Every writer hopes to grab your attention by the end of this sentence. Next is the second sentence—here—whose aim is to build on what came before. While this is one of the earlier sentences you’re reading in this piece, it’s actually one of the last things I wrote for you. The words you’re reading right now were not arranged this way at first. For example, this word here used to show up earlier in this piece, but I found a better home for it. You’ll see what I mean.
Writing words is my way of inviting you in, and if I’ve done my job, the invitation is accepted. By ingesting this sentence, you might even join my short list of friends. Although you’re probably already looking ahead and thinking, how much longer is this? I’ll tell you: after this sentence, there are 54 sentences to go.
Speaking of sentences, read this one: I merrily marinated the meatloaf with mustard. Read it again. I merrily marinated the melancholy meatloaf with mustard. I know with absolute certainty you’ve never read that sentence before; I Googled it. So, with that silly alliteration, you read something not yet printed on the internet. And because our minds recycle samey experiences, I added the word melancholy to the second sentence to ensure you received a double dose of something new. I hope I’ve demonstrated why words in silly arrangements can be powerful tools.
Sentences can be short. Or, sentences can be so long that you might wonder to yourself, why would someone write a sentence so long, when the meaning of the sentence could’ve been conveyed in only four words? Some sentences serve no purpose, like this one, that begins with “Some” and ends with “with.”
And then there’s the knob. What’s the knob, you ask? I’ll turn the knob now. I will presently elucidate the scintillating minutia of the knob, with its intrinsic ability to obfuscate the comprehensible yet demystify the problematical, thereby rendering the fugacious indelible. Oops, I turned the knob too far. The knob is useful because sometimes the phrase “bad year” doesn’t quite do the job. But a simple phrase is like fresh socks. I hope I’ve demonstrated how words—a lack or abundance of them—can be powerful tools.
Why do people like me write down words like this one here? (By the way, that bolded word is the one I talked about earlier, the one I said I’d moved elsewhere in the piece. I hope you’re satisfied with its new placement.) It’s because words sometimes do an outstanding job of explaining things. If I need to explain what hemorrhoids feel like, I might say, they’re a pain in the ass. That juvenile phrase accomplishes two things. You might recognize that phrase as an aphorism (oops, the knob) that means something is unpleasant. I’m making a note to remove this sentence because it’s wildly out of place in this paragraph. But because hemorrhoids are a painful affliction of the anus, the phrase also works when taken literally. I hope I’ve shown that words are both useful and fun when they serve more than one purpose.
Your attention is precious to me, more than any currency in the world. See what happened there? You winced because that sentence was wince-inducing. But it accomplished the goal that I set for this paragraph—to cause you to wince. Don’t worry; I won’t intentionally make you wince again for the remainder of this piece. By the way, when I said the word currency back there, which form of currency were you thinking of? Isn’t that strange, how words are transmuted into new objects or concepts in our minds? Okay, I’m done for real now. I hope I’ve now shown that feelings are at your disposal when using words.
If you’re still with me, I want to take a sidebar and say thank you. I recognize that there are far more pleasant things to place your eyeballs on than words like this one. Your eyeballs are appreciated because this is more fun for me than it is for you. Come, right this way… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …hello again! Your eyes were once elsewhere, but now they are here. I hope I’m clearly explaining why words and the spaces between them can be powerful tools.
(If you’re listening to these words, hello. I hope you’ve enjoyed the audio presentation, even if it’s read by a computer pretending to be a person.)
You’re nearing the end, and if you’ve come this far, I’m sure you won’t turn away now. I always hope to end these journeys having written some words you’ll remember later, or better yet, feel compelled to remark on. “Those were great words,” you might say, or “Those words displeased me greatly.” Both outcomes are the same.
Here we are, the moment I fear most—crafting the ending. Only 3 sentences to go. You did great, by the way, though one might say you were merely passive in this exercise. Go on now; be active again. The ending is now.