Beautiful Sentences: Victor LaValle

He wasn’t about to be that black guy. (You know, the one who scouts ahead and gets his ass sliced in two. Somewhere near the first ten minutes of the horror movie. Although, to be fair, moviemakers have largely stopped that practice. Now there’s usually one amiable but forgettable white person who dies first, and then they kill off all the nonwhite cast members.)

Victor LaValle, The Devil in Silver.

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Beautiful Sentences: Christopher Isherwood

But we, most of us, lose our sense of proportion in the presence of a nun; and George, thus exposed at short range to this bride of Christ in her uncompromising medieval habit, finds himself becoming flustered, defensive.

Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man.

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Beautiful Sentences: Brenda Peynado

We knew full well that hate did not require an initial offense. Only original sin, only being born.

Brenda Peynado, “The Whitest Girl.”

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Beautiful Sentences: Louis Erdrich

Mine is not a church of the saved, but a church of the lost.

Louise Erdrich, Future Home of the Living God.

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Beautiful Sentences: Pascal Mercier

Of the thousand experiences we have, we find language for one at most and even then this was merely by chance and without the care it deserves. Buried under all the mute experiences are those unseen ones that give our life its form, its color, and its melody.

Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon.

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The Big Countdown

This year’s life expectancy number is 85 which is down from last year but up from two years ago. 

As I think about the last year, I note that I’ve had a lot of fiction acceptances and a poetry acceptance. I’m beginning to feel like I’ve hit my stride as a writer, although there is, of course, still room for growth. It doesn’t help that right now bedtime with my kids consumes pretty much from 6p until 8 or 8.30 which doesn’t leave me a lot of writing time.

Beautiful Sentences: Siel Ju

We listened to the teenager next door with his basketball in the driveway, two quick bounces each time, followed by a lonely thump off the backboard.

Siel Ju, Cake Time.

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Beautiful Sentences: Pascal Mercier

And the words have to have a rhythm. A rhythm as the words have in Saint John, for example. Only then, only when they are poetry, do they really shed light on things.

Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon.

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Beautiful Sentences: Tadeusz Borowski

Only now do I realize what price was paid for building the ancient civilizations. The Egyptian pyramids, the temples, and Greek statues—what a hideous crime they were! How much blood must have poured on to the Roman roads, the bulwarks, and the city walls. Antiquity—the tremendous concentration camp where the slave was branded on the forehead by his master, and crucified for trying to escape! Antiquity—the conspiracy of free men against slaves!

Tadeusz Borowski, “Auschwitz, Our Home (A Letter)”

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Beautiful Sentences: Gerda Weissmann Klein

Why? Why did we walk like meek sheep to the slaughterhouse? Why did we not fight back? What had we to lose? Nothing but our lives. Why did we not un away and hide? We might have had a chance to survive. Why did we walk deliberately and obediently into their clutches?

I know why. Because we had faith in humanity. Because we did not really think that human beings were capable of committing such crimes.

Gerda Weissmann Klein, All But My Life: A Memoir.

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