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· Pointed Takes on Style Delineated ·
December 2, 2003
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· Some Simple Secrets of Longevity ·
But a long sentence — one able to rise to the complicated challenge of a new journey — merits clear regard if without sacrificing speed it happily sweeps us along over the last bumpy road toward home, like riding with John Wayne as he pulls into Dodge City, gets down, casually ambles over to get a bourbon, and says, "Howdy, boys. What do y'all do here for fun?" I mean old Texas tumbleweeds really do roll.
I got to thinking as much Thursday in view of the wide stretch of ocean reaching in long relief westward from the south-facing windows of my house. You might recall my description of my Thanksgiving dinner: "We're all a happily diverse bunch," I said, describing my guests at length. Stripped of add-ons, here's what I actually said — "We're all a happily diverse bunch, with Tom, Nancy, and Savvy; Seppo and Rick; Pirjo; Tracy with Katri, Brett and Kaycey; Smart and Soulful; Suave; Matt and Marsha; and Stylish."
Now in thinking about that sentence, I suddenly recalled the secret — grammatically — of its construction, this in a classic British sentence by Sir Herbert Read:
What Read has in mind, really, is the stuffy old grammatical saw about simple, compound, and complex sentences, tempered by this helpful rhetorical tip, "Keep It Simple, Stupid."
I mean — returning to my Thanksgiving post — it turns on just five simple sentences, here ellipitcally stripped for easy reading:
William Bradford had three others:
Bradford's last sentence is but a fragment, of course, and brings me to the logical reason for today's post: to say happy birthday to my own older brother Styleshort, who turned seventy last Sunday.
He hasn't as yet made his own longevity disreputable by any untimely persistence in it.
And I hope I haven't either.Permalink
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