novel, writing, writing process

In Love with Sentences

I’m a spiritual person, but not a religious one. That’s why I was surprised by how much I loved this book, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. The story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob from the Book of Genesis. From page one this book enthralled me. It’s not for everyone, as it’s quite violent in sections.

When I have a visceral reaction to a book- positive or negative- I find it fascinating to try to figure out why. I want to learn as much as I can from authors whose stories ensnare me in their spell, to the point that I must find out what happens to these characters. I may put the book down, but it’s like a neodymium magnet: I’m pulled back almost without any ability to resist. I might have to complete other tasks, but the story is always exerting its lure until I am reunited with it. A fine story is like favorite music; it becomes part of your soul.

I’m in love with sentences. I love to study what sparks them alive. They are the workhorses, the silken thread, the clay. I love their rhythm when reading them aloud. Sentences open doors, leading us into the rooms of the story. We weave sentences into vibrant paragraphs to form the living tapestry of story. Ha! I’m mixing all kinds of metaphors here with the fun of exploring this idea.

Here are five glorious sentences from The Red Tent, as an appetizer, if you decide to treat yourself to this book someday: “But best of all were the cucumbers, the most delicious food I could imagine, green and sweet. Even in the heat of the sun, a cucumber kissed the tongue with the cool of the moon. I could eat them endlessly and never get full or sick. My mother would love this fruit, I thought the first time I bit into its watery heart.”

So, I’ll leave it there today. I’d love your thoughts on books you’ve been captivated by– the ones that, like your favorite music, have become part of your soul.

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