I Wish I Could Quit You, Thomas Hardy

    I am in love with Thomas Hardy–and from that love, a conundrum is born.
    It all began with “Far From the Madding Crowd”. I’ll be honest, the guy had me at hello:

        When Farmer Oak smiled, the corners of his mouth spread
    till they were within an unimportant distance of his ears, his
    eyes were reduced to chinks, and diverging wrinkles appeared
    round them, extending upon his countenance like the rays in a
    rudimentary sketch of the rising sun.

    That, ladies and gents, is the opening paragraph. Note that it is one sentence–five lines long. Naughty little thing, isn’t he?
    The affair continues as I read, “Tess of the D’urbervilles”. In this–dare I say masterpiece?–each sentence is a poem of it’s own. I almost feel foolish going anywhere near the stuff. Bloggery? Are you kidding? Thomas would never approve.
    The complex characters, even those in existence for but a page or two, possess unique, detailed, constantly undulating perspectives. Their musings, which often contradict their actions, seamlessly guide the story along, without dragging it through a thick fog of rambling introspection.
    Hardy employs whimsical, animated prose; the words dance off the page like cartoons, yet the severity of his subject matter remains intact.
    Beneath this colorful rhythm hides a deceptive subtlety. Much of what happens is left to reader interpretation–particularly the important, plot-changing events. Clues are there, and plenty of them. Only they are hidden; sprinkled throughout like Easter eggs.
    My literacy drive is all revved-up. I’ve discovered a nasty little fetish for big, wordy sentences–long as the page itself and infested with semi-colons. I don’t care if it isn’t natural, dammit!
    I have this tendency, you see–I rush into relationships. If a literary love affair so much as hints at longevity, I immediately devour the writer’s entire bibliography. These discoveries are rare, but when they do happen, they happen hard. My apologies, John Irving; Mr. Hardy and I need some alone time.
    How did this love, so intense I shelved “A Widow for One Year” until “Tess” can be finished, give birth to a baby conundrum? In all honesty–and I mean this in the truest way possible–it’s not him; it’s me.
    My re-writes are taking too long, and the number of miniscule adjustments I make to each sentence has reached record highs. I’m sorry to be blunt, but I just don’t have time for all that drama.
    I tried to convince myself that nothing was wrong; told myself I was just insecure around literary deities. I took a little “me” time, to sort things out, and I’ve since come to realize the full complexity of the situation. Naturally, understanding has only led to harder questions. Aww, the baby conundrum is growing so fast!
    Hardy’s sentences, so flourishing with language never uttered in conversation (even in the late 1800’s), are making my prose look fat. My initial drafts are weighed down by such high syllable counts, I’ve been forced to punch an extra hole in my belt. What’s worse, I’m holding myself back. With handcuffs fastened to my wrists, navigating a creative flow becomes quite a struggle.
    Hey, I’d love to be a full-time writer. If I had all day, none of this would be a problem. However, as it stands, I have a very limiting schedule. If the opportunity to work on the book comes around, then use of that moment needs to be effective as possible. I’m talking maximum efficiency, here.
    So what’s a guy to do? Read machinery instruction manuals all day? I’d really rather not, because

        WARNING! Prose may look like this.
        ADVERTENCIA! Prosa pudin lucir como esta.
        Varning! Prosa kan se likt denna.
        警告! 散文如下所示:。

Published in: on April 7, 2011 at 5:31 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: