We must never let them fall into the hands of my mother.
—John Kennedy Toole, from A Confederacy of Dunces
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
Sometimes writers accidentally predict their futures, if not conjure them. The “them” in the sentence refers to the protagonist Ignatius Reilly’s “notes and jottings.” The sentences that follow are: “She may make a fortune from them. It would be too ironic.” In real life, Toole couldn’t get his novel published and committed suicide. His mother took his manuscript and didn’t stop until she got it sold. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize and she made a fortune from it.
So, somehow, Toole wrote a whole sequel in this sentence, and each time I read it, I feel him winking at me from his typewriter, somewhere.
—Jennifer Belle is the author of Going Down, High Maintenance, Little Stalker, and The Seven Year Bitch