12 March 2012

To My Adoring Public

Our 100th post.  Our first feedback!

A reader commented.  She likes our blog.  She said so.  She looks forward to reading it.  One thing, though.  She thinks some of my sentences are too long.  Or too many of my sentences are too long.

As someone who enjoys writing and takes it somewhat seriously, I am always grateful for feedback.  Perhaps it should go without saying, but, it's hard for me to know how my sentences sound in someone else's head, so it's very helpful when others tell me how they sound in theirs.  In my own defense (I told this reader), I sometimes make sentences that are purposely long, especially if I'm using their length as a literary device intended to reflect the sense of frustration and exhaustion expressed by the sentence's content, such as when I go on (ad nauseum) about our water heater, specifically about how no matter how many times I try to rig up something, ANYTHING, just to get it to hold long enough for us to get back to the States to have it fixed permanently, it is an exercise in futility wherein I end up throwing good time after bad because I can't help but be galled at being defeated by a stupid little bit of hardware.  But sometimes I don't.

I appreciate feedback.  I do.  And she's probably right.  My sentence length does get out of hand sometimes...maybe...I don't know...it's possible.  If so, it does at least confirm a theory I've long held regarding karma.  To wit: We are destined to become that which we most disdain.  It is The Universe's way of saying, "Damn not, lest ye be damned."  It would seem, though, that The Universe is sometimes too impatient to mete out justice across multiple incarnations or else It thinks we (and here I confine my suspicions to my own species; I'm not in a position to remark upon others' karmic protocols) are too dim to connect the dots of cause and effect if they occupy more than a single lifespan.  Hard to say.  I have been testing my theory for the past couple of decades.  I have been engaged in an ongoing experiment to determine if I can intentionally leverage my karma to my advantage.  In summary: If it is true that we become that which we most disdain than the group of people it would most behoove me to disdain are multi-gazillionaires.  To ensure that The Universe be clear about my intentions, I have publicly disdained the world's wealthiest people at every possible opportunity.  I have berated, castigated, chastised, chided, decried, derided, disparaged, excoriated, lambasted, rebuked, reproached, reproved, ridiculed, scorned, scourged, upbraided, and vituperated  them to anyone who would listen.  I have even gone so far as to seek out members of this elite demographic for the express purpose of saying uncharitable things to their faces, the better to clue in The Universe as to my stance (though not to the experiment behind it), in the hopes of hastening my karmic retribution in order to spend the greatest possible percentage of my remaining years enduring their fate.  Well, good luck finding those folks.  I don't know which tiki bars they're hanging out in, but we definitely move in different circles.  As for the cumulative results of my experiment: mixed, but not impressive at least not compared to the level at which I'd set my sights.

I may have to consider the possibility that The Universe is on to my scheme, the more so as it appears I have become a different sort of someone I disdain; not the sort of someone who has memberships at the world's most exclusive resorts and leaves the full-scale amusement park on his property to hop into his private jet and tell his personal pilot which one to fly him to.  No, the kind of  person, in fact the specific person to whom I refer, to whom I must with the deepest chagrin compare myself is none other than that Olympian of the run-on sentence, the object of MY disdain, the novelist, Thomas Pynchon.  It is a well known fact in literary circles that his classic, Gravity's Rainbow, a tome running to 784 pages (in the 2006 Penguin Classics edition) is constructed of just 5 sentences.  English Literature doctoral candidates have diagrammed a single Pynchon sentence as their dissertation projects.  It is only, I contend, by dint of his own karma that he has failed to capture the Guinness World Book record for longest English sentence.

Could it be?  Is this my karma, my fate?  But, no!  I am free.  I have free will.  I am not destined to  construct sentences so dense, so hefty, as to unduly tax, when I would not have it so, the sensibilities of my readers such that they falter over the topography of my prose, trying futilely, futilely to trace the contours of my conjunctions, to navigate the labyrinthine corridors of nuance contained therein only to come away at last worn and weary and bereft of hope, sore in mind and spirit and determined, perhaps, never again to inflict such pain upon themselves.  I'm not.  I am in control of my pen--well, keyboard.  I can stop anytime I want to.  Karma be dammed!  Ditto Thomas Pynchon.  Brevity, as they say, is the soul of wit. So, brief I will be.  Rather than write (or perhaps I should say "wright" alluding to my engineering tendency), sentences which each encapsulate within themselves a main point and all possible tangential thoughts, I will "share the wealth," as it were (a particularly apropos metaphor, I think, given the foregoing discussion), that is, I will spread my thought out over several manageable "companion" sentences, each one a complete entity unto itself, of course, but yet crafted so as to be dependent on its neighbors to together convey the full scope of my meaning and intent.  It's not a problem.

So, in conclusion, I want to extend a "thank you" to you, gentle reader, for helping me to see the peculiarities of my writing style from the reader's perspective and to know that I welcome your feedback and take it to heart, as I welcome all feedback I receive with humble gratitude and in keen awareness of the effort expended on my behalf in the hope of guiding me to be a more readable author.



  1. What did you just say???

    Elif Allenfort

    P.S. Will you still adopt me?

  2. Of course we'll adopt you. And we work especially hard on getting custody of you when we get to the Med. Just hang on.

  3. I like sailing. I like science-fiction. But i had never thought i would hear of gravity's rainbow in a sailing blog.


    1. Well, thank you. If there is another author of whom you are particularly fond, I'm sure I could work something of his or hers into a future post. That is unless, of course, it has anything to do with any aspect of actually sailing and/or cruising and/or living aboard.

  4. I like sailing. I like science-fiction. Both of them in your blog... priceless