Tooling along the main drag on a Saturday night in Las Vegas, two good old boys in a fireapple-red convertible… stoned, ripped, twisted…Good People.
–Hunter Thompson, from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
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
Thompson stacks the prepositions (along, on, in) in the initial phrase, and follows with repetitions of the ‘ng’ and ‘n’ sounds, with the gerunds 'tooling,' and 'along,' then 'on' and 'in.' He drives deeper into the greasy 'oo', moving from tooling to 'two good.' This sonic quality sets us behind the wheel on a Las Vegas night. The image of the convertible is chiefly American and iconic. We are, ourselves, relaxed now, and cruising along inside this sentence, that is, until the pause of the first ellipsis that prepares us for what will be three surprising participles. They alter what we thought we knew about our main characters. This is our blind curve, our tension, the narrative interruption in the middle of the music! Thompson knows this, and in the second ellipsis, smacks us with the final surprise of the sentence, an attempt to cool our suspicions: these drunk, stoned drivers are still, despite all, 'Good People.'
—Ephraim Scott Sommers is the author of The Night We Set the Dead Kid on Fire