You couldn’t believe the people who believed that not mentioning sadness was a kind of magic that could stave off the very sadness you didn’t mention—as though grief were the opposite of Rumpelstiltskin and materialized only at the sound of its own name.
—Elizabeth McCracken, from “Property,” in Thunderstruck & Other Stories

About

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
—Stephanie Grant, Guest Editor
Full of effective repetition ("believe," "believed," "mentioning," "mention"), this sentence gets at two sets of rules for grief—the set that people follow when speaking to someone grieving, and the one the grieving person uses to deal with everyone else. Attaching the fairy tale name Rumpelstiltskin to this behavior invites the reader to reach for the next level of meaning: behind this sentence is the door to another one that says, “Grief—grief—grief!” with great empathy and compassion.
—V.V. Ganeshananthan is the author of Love Marriage