Eventually my turn came, and the words that I had written in silence (an earplug-enhanced silence, as a matter of fact, that amplified the fleeting Chiclety contact of upper and lower incisors, and made audible the inner squirt of an eyeball when I rubbed it roughly, and called to my attention the muffled roar of eyelid muscles when my eyes were squeezed shut in an effort to see, using the infrared of prose, whatever it was that  I most wanted at that moment to describe)–these formerly silent words unfolded themselves like lawn chairs in my mouth and emerged one by one wearing large Siberian hats of consonants and long erminous vowels, and landed softly, without visible damage, here and there in the audience, and I thought, Gosh, I’m reading aloud, from Chapter Seven!
–Nicholson Baker, “Reading Aloud,” from The Size of Thoughts


Poets think in lines, prose writers in sentences; the best of both work from sound to sense, with an ear for the music in their compositions. S for Sentence celebrates lyricism in prose, the play and craft at work in the artful sentence. We post a sentence a month along with comments by a guest writer on the craft that shapes it, on what makes it great. In one or two sentences.
—Pearl Abraham, Editor
The accumulation of clauses in this long loose sentence maintains a rhythm of momentum that catches the feel of lived life, achieved by what Stanley Fish calls "additive style," which flows from a mind rich with noticing and listening. The opening clause, with its reference to a prolonged wait and finally a go (my turn now!) introduces time; the second clause jumps to an earlier time signature, to way back when the words were written "in silence;" the parenthesis that follows brings those past silent listening moments of creation to life with such precision--the juicy eyeball, the roaring muscles--that we too hear the inner bodily sounds that going inward allows. Then we are back in the present of the narrative, at the reading, when the writer speaks his sentences, and the words unfold "like lawn chairs." The fresh metaphors (“Siberian hats of consonants” and “long erminous vowels”) estrange the experience, making the act of reading aloud feel new enough to earn the exclamation: "Gosh, I am reading aloud." The final clause, "from chapter seven" leaves us in a very specific place at a very specific moment, place and time.
–Pearl Abraham is the author of American Taliban and The Seventh Beggar