Literary Resuscitation

“Words create sentences; sentences create paragraphs; sometimes paragraphs quicken and begin to breathe.”

Stephen King, On Writing.

Annie Dillard says that she goes to her writing daily, as one would go to sit with a dying friend. Dillard won a Pulitzer prize, so I guess her dying friend recovered.

My writing, however, is so near death’s door that I am performing CPR, trying to get some air into his lungs, pumping hard to get some rhythm going, all the while shouting, “Breathe man! Breathe! What’s wrong with you?”

He gasps, and wheezes, ‘Too much purple prose.’

And he passes out again.

I take out my knife and slash away at the purple prose. I toss it into the fire before I have a chance to get sentimental and lament, ‘But those were my cleverest phrases!’

Slash and burn. Slash and burn.

The writing rallies, colour is returning to his cheeks; it’s working. Now without a second thought I delete phrases and paragraphs whole. Whilst hope remains, no price is too high.

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