My honor demands I pick up that glove and give satisfaction

So in response to the last post, a certain member of my family *hacking coughs that rhyme with IT guy’s name* rather insensitively pointed out that a writing exercise whose main edict is “make longer sentences of these shorter sentences” is pretty much my perfect homework assignment.

Challenge accepted. The following is a self-inflicted assignment to make shorter sentences of these longer ones.

Mrs. Bauermann’s obituary would later say she had been a pillar of the community, an officer in her neighborhood association and the kind of person who volunteered countless hours at the nearby school, but when the students at the nearby school in question first heard about the old bat’s sudden demise, it was from an article on page two of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, under the headline “Local Woman Dies on Roof.”

  • Old bat dies on roof.


But Teddy’s grades swung between A’s and D’s with no discernible pattern, his entire academic career could be summed up by the running theme in his report cards since kindergarten (“Great enthusiasm but he needs to learn how to pay attention!”), and the only time anyone had asked him if he was “Gonna go to the big city and fight crime?” he had answered “Sure!” and then leaned into Jeremiah to whisper, “I’m probably just going to stay here for the rest of my life.”

  • Teddy’s an idiot.


[The sound of stifled giggling] wasn’t coming from the football team (good thing; besides the fact that he had no desire to find out what a giggling fullback sounded like, he had them under strict orders to treat Cynthia and her cohorts with respect; they were welcome to mock him about his harem of octogenarians, so long as they left the octogenarians themselves alone), nor from the girls, who had made room at their booth for four of Jeremiah’s guys.

  • Holy crap, learn how to use semicolons sparingly.


When he came back from the confab (they were apparently having trouble hunting down a jack, though Mr. Grady thought they had a bead on one over in Stanton; as to Dr. Murphy, she was taping up another injury from some kid who’d jumped into a downed fence post, but she’d be by as soon as she was done), he retightened the poncho around Teddy’s arm without bothering to relay the information.

  • Andrea suddenly realized that the scene was already 4,373 words long, and subsequently summarized a boring but necessary conversation leading in to the end of the chapter.


School had been canceled for a grand total of one day, and though the rest of the Banner High Heroes (as the papers had dubbed the kids who had stepped in to save their town – most of whom missed their fifteen minutes of fame, having slept long and hard through the moment that someone over in Megalopolis realized that Banner, NJ had actually done something interesting for once) felt more insulted than gratified by the one-day vacation, Jeremiah didn’t mind getting back to his normal routine.

  • This sentence is 86 unalterable words long.


As always the image was so badly pixilated that Friday couldn’t make out the zits on her face or her eye color (blue, and the only thing she liked about her looks now that her hair – dyed red and cut into what she had recently decided was an ugly A-line – didn’t count), but the reflection moved like her, reacted like her, and Friday’s every movement matched what her reflection had done without her even trying.

  • A description of the main character, shoehorned into the opening scene.


Father thought it a good joke, and did not know how it stung me to hear that his advisors approached him with the estimated costs of building a door-less tower and hiring some sort of beast to guard it (giants, for example, demand deep pockets; Father apparently suggested a dragon, which are notably cheaper – though of course one must take into account the inevitable damages in setting one loose on the kingdom), versus the suggestion that he simply drive me from the castle with nothing but a dress packed into a walnut.

  • King Dad is genre savvy.


There could’ve been racially charged fights—there were enough differences in skin shades in the public schools to fill a crayon box—but it was more likely the school would close because Godzilla had attacked the city or some megalomaniac was threatening utter destruction or the keys to the city now if you please, and that tended to curb gang-related activity.

  • Godzilla is unhindered by ethnic diversity.


Smart and aggressive – the most naturally gifted caster the family had seen in nearly a century – Adam had brought crows streaming into the house as his mother pushed him, squalling, out of her womb, drawn maggots out of the mud as he pulled himself, half-drowned, back on shore when he was six, and two years before, in a fit of screaming rage, the nine-year-old had called his mother’s corpse out of the swamp.

She hadn’t been the only thing that had come: half eaten deer carcasses, the rotting remains of a crocodile that had dragged itself onto land, trailing toes and leg bones like the blocks on a toddler’s pull-string toy, hollowed-out birds, sodden rodents with their eyes gone, and the white vertebrae of hundreds – perhaps thousands – of fish. The swamp regurgitated everything it had swallowed with flesh still on its bones, and the banks had crawled.

  • Remember kids: “nine-year-old” is one word.


And there you have it. Absolute cakewalk, IT Guy.

Fun fact: this entire post, from opening line to final footer (but not counting the title), is made up of 955 words broken into 26 sentences.

MORE boring stuff

I’ve created that “For Sale” tab I threatened you guys with last week – even put up some darling little dollar signs, in case anyone was confused what the words “For Sale” meant. I’ll probably mess around with the opening paragraph later, but as lunch is calling, it will have to wait. So will a better post.

Actually, you know what? Here’s me seriously scraping the bottom of the barrel*: an old homework assignment from college.

Page 184, #3: make longer sentences of these short sentences, using sensual details.

The old man sat in the park.

The old man, his eyes full of years, the cracks breaking from their corners to his cheeks, filled with laughter and old salt, sat with his hand rubbing softly against the planks of the seat, dipping in and out of the crevasses, fingers pattering along the grain, as though the old wood bench had grown as slowly and majestically as the rest of the trees in the park.


She was crying.

She was crying, but there was more to it than that, like the dull color of her hair when she was sad, the glittering clearness of her eyes, and the tears as they dripped down her chin and pooled into the soft dip above the bones that made up her smooth, pale collar.


He loved everything about the woods.

He loved—and how he loved, with softly brown curls that shook with the turn of his head, with a mouth that pinched in the corner just like his mother’s had done—but unlike his mother, who loved the scrape of building on sky, he loved everything, from the deep green of the shadows in the trees and the muffled, carpeted floor that smelled of tangy pine, about the woods.  And that was his father’s gift.


I’m terrified of                        .

I’m terrified of failure, of rejection, of knowing I could not do anything to succeed, of proving to myself that I should have never put myself forward, let them see what I had and what I didn’t, bare me open to my breastbone, and I fear this all, the terror boiling deep in the back of my throat, until the day I wake up and realize I should have feared never trying.


It was a beautiful day.

It was the shadows, swallowing themselves under the stones along the shore, making a sound almost like the water that rolled in quiet waves onto the lake edge (except that there is no sound quiet enough to truly describe the deepness of it), making the reddish swirls of the pebble themselves streak like precious metals, that made it a beautiful day.


*You’ve never seen me do that before.