It's been more than one month since we've moved and we're still alive. The lights in our house run only on solar and summer's over--we've lost the sun.
I wake up and my eyes squint through the gray like a vole, like I live under the earth rather than on top of it. I want to write and I do not. It's as if I cannot see, and it's as if I can only feel my way through the day, through the dripping gray sky, through the dishes and the tugging of my children at my leg. I want to write about what this all feels like, but I do not.
This is the unedited product of a writing exercise from Priscilla Long's workshop "The Virtuoso Sentence" at the Skagit Valley Writer's League Conference last Saturday. Instructions: Take a subject you're working on and write about it using only compound sentences. That's two independent sentences joined by and, or, but. Three minutes. Go.
I found it quite difficult to flow within those constraints and felt quite pleased with myself. Until it was my turn to read it aloud and I got six words into my reading when she interrupted me. "That's a dependent clause," says Priscilla. Yes, "since we moved" is a dependent clause. (whaaaaa!?) Okay. Keep reading. Third sentence. Interrupted by, "That's a dependent clause." ("like"... "as if"). Okay, so, by definition, compound sentences can't have dependent clauses? Okay, so, apparently I use a lot of dependent clauses. Is that bad? Is it like having food hanging from your chin, like an extra appendage? Time to study craft - time to study sentence structures of the masters. Ach! I loved this 90 minute class of hers. I want more.
Here's a really cool fact: across all religions, god, in whatever form he/she/it/them manifests, speaks quite often in compound sentences. According to Priscilla this is because compound sentences carry a lot of authority. Who knew.