Thursday, August 4, 2011

Little sigh of relief

I just finished writing a paper. It's part of my qualification for candidacy so it has some import; on the other hand, professors and students alike tell me it doesn't really matter and so it might have less import. On the third hand -- the gripping hand -- or whatever noodly appendage is available -- this paper is only one part of my qualification: the rest is a presentation-and-grilling session, for which I now prepare. To quote Parade, "This is not over yet."

The writing felt like pulling teeth. There is something about academic writing that I truly dislike. It does not merely lack poetry; the poetry is bruised, abused, and forcibly expurgated. Sentences are dry and declarative. Words have one particular meaning and that meaning is sharply constrained to the topics under discussion. Having finished this piece of writing (at least for now), I want to write escapist fantasy. I want to be a novelist. I want to be a sculptor. I want to leave my keyboard to cool on my desk, and shortly I will.

But before I go, here's what I plan to do. WHEREAS academia is dessicating my delight in words, phrases, sentences, and constructions, I PROPOSE to begin a project, to be EXECUTED in my leisure moments, CONSISTING of one story, or many stories, using the sentences from the Bulwer-Lytton contests (EITHER as opening sentences OR as sentences appearing elsewhere), THEREFORE reviving my enjoyment of life.

This post's theme word is skueomorph, "a derivative object which retains ornamental design cues to a structure that was necessary in the original." Like copper-coated zinc pennies. That story is only a skueomorph of the inspirational first sentence.

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