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Responses to Naomi Rose's Challenge to Write Long(er) Sentences
Challenge to Write Long Entries : Response by Margo Roby

Challenge to Write Long: Response by Margo Roby

Atlanta, Georgia / USA

Naomi Rose comments:
A poetic prose piece that really opens up into the experience through its length and breadth of the sentences. It could have been treated dramatically — a fire in the woods — but the focus is more internal than that, and the very seeing and moving towards is what's closest at hand. The last line is the poetry, and it soars.
Writer's process notes:
I was a HS English teacher for twenty years and before my 11th grade Faulkner unit, I would set an exercise for my students where I gave them a six word sentence and asked them to explode it into one hundred words. I forbade listing of adjectives and adverbs and told them much what you told us. I loved reading their work and they appreciated Faulkner much more.

I retired to focus on my writing, but my genre is poetry, so when I saw your exercise I jumped at the chance to put into practice what I set for my students. The process that informed my piece was to start with a six word sentence and explode it into a mini-story. I think that my writing poetry helped me to feel the rhythm and pacing of the piece. I also stopped to read and reread the piece, so I could feel it as I wrote it.

Thank you for the opportunity

Pausing in her morning meditations, the woman set her coffee mug on the low table to her side and stood, glancing out the window, as she did so, at the still dark ridge line a couple of miles away, before tilting her head — in a gesture all her friends would have recognised — to take in the blaze in the stand of trees to the left, wondering, as she did so, whether she could walk to the location of the blaze before the stormy weather she could see to her right overtook her; and at that thought she swiveled, walked over to the closet, opened the door and pulled out her windbreaker, before moving over to the chest of drawers and taking out her favourite wooly grey scarf and leather gloves, shifting back to the window for one last look at the lowering grey clouds moving rapidly from west to east, before heading for her front door, opening, closing, and locking it behind her and striking out for the ridge line — her pace one all her friends were familiar with — and the red blaze which she used as her marker, never letting it completely out of her sight, despite the occasional obstacle, such as an apartment tower, and reaching the bottom of the ridge after a brisk thirty minute walk; she caught her breath and began to climb, no longer needing the glow to light her way, as she moved up the dirt path through shrubs, low bushes, and finally the initial tree line, her stride lengthening as she sighted the break in the trees ahead and made for it, almost bursting through, in time to watch the red glow break free of the tree line as it began its ascent into the sky. •


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