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THE WEBLOG ARCHIVE: The Perfect Sentence

June 07, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #26 | 05:53 PM
—Being the first attempt in some time to craft The Perfect Sentence—

Between memory and forgetting, there is a place known as "sort-of-remembering-something."

wvg comments: "Clearly the writer's skills have declined in the long layoff. God, I thought we were done with all this."

April 26, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #25 | 12:44 AM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

Recently, some have complained about the lack of attempts to craft the perfect sentence; others have not.

jba comments: "Please, let's settle this, once and for all. It's time to vote!"

wvg comments: "Complaints, if they existed, did not originate in this quarter. The complainers must be silenced, and this futile quest abandoned."

Tokyo Sexwale comments: "I've enjoyed many of the 'Perfect Sentence' attempts; however, I can't help but wonder whether the greatest joy is to be found in the attempt, rather than the result. Also. The Perfect Sentence #0 (I will be posting attempts here for your perusal; feel free to leave your impressions.) is actually one of my favorites so far. It's simple, error-free, and it means something. It contains a fair amount of concinnity without over-reaching or being too obvious. A winner?"

Tokyo Sexwale comments: "Oh, one more thing. An entry, via IM: I am less odd, no? ..."

April 04, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #24 | 12:00 AM

He had the grace of a gazelle, and the body of a gazelle; he was, in point of fact, a gazelle.

neilfred comments: "I just found out that gazelles are within the family of antelopes. As are wildebeests and gnus. Weird. As for the sentence... Well, it's cute, but I think you'll only reach perfection when you stop trying to be clever. -neilfred"

wvg comments: "Oh my god, he was trying to be clever ?"

March 30, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #23 | 11:52 PM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

She had the body of a woman half her size, only larger.

Lock comments: "Stop the monorail, I want to get off. "

wvg comments: "How much longer, Oh Lord, must we endure the torture, this must end. Give us Andrew Snail twice a week instead, it's gone too far, I can't stand it. The sentence sucks too. Happy Birthday !!!"

jba comments: "Write more sentences! Write four, five, a hundred a day if you have to. Don't give up. Don't ever give up. P.S. This last effort does suck."

March 29, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #22 | 12:37 PM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

Pretty, tiny little forthright fish giraffe and sing.

wvg comments: "Having achieved near perfection (in #21), the author returns to the silliness of several previous efforts, while plagiarizing the spirit of a Creedence Clearwater Revival song.("Lookin' Out My Backdoor"). I wish now we'd have told him he reached his goal with #21."

neilfred comments: "Personally, I was not impressed with #21, so I'm glad our fearless writer has persevered. As for this new rubbish... Well, keep trying."

Lebowitz comments: "ENOUGH WITH THE PERFECT SENTENCES ALREADY!! You made your point: you can craft a mighty good sentence. Now, can we move on and get back to your more interesting entries??? Thanks, Lebowitz "

March 26, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #21 | 12:41 AM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

His was a soul of pudding, and a heart of flan.

wvg comments: "He HAD a soul of pudding, and a heart of flan. Now that would have been perfect, but alas, another case of just not making the grade."

jba comments: "I think we have a winner! Flan! Ha!"

aeu comments: "I don't know what it means, but I like it! Though I prefer the phrase, "heart of pudding.""

March 23, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #20 | 06:46 PM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—
Perhaps one of these sentences pulled at random from the project I should be working on even as I write this will be the perfect one.

Hareton shuffles through papers until he finds the envelope Heath was using to blackmail Hindley, who is so stupid he’s left it on his desk for the past several months.

The audience can now see that the next item is “Seduce Cathy”.

It’s the wrong boy, but what the hell.

UPDATE: Due to lack of reader response, all of the above sentences have been cut from the latest draft.

March 21, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #19 | 04:10 AM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—
He was born, since you ask, in a hospital, a small hospital now defunct or at least renamed, somewhere in Manhattan, I'm tempted to say in the upper regions but I have no firm evidence to substantiate that assertion, born naked and bright red, screaming, furious at the state of the thing, this unwarranted eviction from the residence to which he had become accustomed (an eviction, it would turn out, to be replayed some forty years later in a slightly different form, but that's another story), this breach of contract, this untimely ripping, not in the Shakespearean sense, he was no Macduff, but untimely in his own barely-formed mind, this propulsion into a cold world of lights and doctors and confused parents who, in their haste to progenate, had failed to consider the subtleties of infant nomenclature, a substantial oversight as it turned out, considering the consequences, considering the fact that the title, the designation assigned to the birth certificate in the absence of naming was something that, in one way or another, he would — consciously or not — spend his whole life attempting to embody, so much so that when his sister, cleaning out his parents' attic after the accident, had found the document, she had laughed so hard and so long that he had considered calling an ambulance, but then had laughed too when he saw what the nurse had so haphazardly scribbled on the piece of paper that defined his entry into the world, they had laughed together not at the irony but at the appropriateness, the foresight of the words printed in block letters above two tiny black footprints, the name that, even now, at middle age, would fit him better than his own: "Baby Boy."
wvg comments: "I am forced to challenge, with as much rightous anger as I can muster, the writer of this so-called 'sentence', whose ambitions have now become as monstrous as those of some of the later writers of our generation, to provide, in the appropriate and correct format(which, by the way is probably not something he can produce with any accuracy), and as soon as possible, a reasonable,correct, and complete diagram of this purported 'sentence' which is, of course, not a sentence but a blatant attempt to cheat abominably by replacing periods, which, as we all know end sentences, with commas, which as each of us has learned through the ages in very basic and simplistic education, do not. Long, but not perfect, and beginning to show a hint of desperation."

mike comments: "Jeez, take it easy, Professor. I mean, sure, this one over-reached- a lot. But still, I like this new direction. Bulwer-Lytton contest, here you come!"

neilfred comments: "Having whole-heartedly applauded my esteemed colleague's previous "attempt at a longer sentence", I must now equally whole-heartedly condemn this, his even-longer next attempt. This new body of text not only fails to meet the rigorous standards of perfection, it even fails to meet the most basic requirements of sentencehood; a run-on sentence is no sentence at all. On a personal level, it is with heavy heart that I report my disappointment. The author's judgment was clearly twice impaired: first allowing him to produce this dreck, and then again allowing him to subject his readership to it. I humbly submit that Mr. Vee Gee would do well to return to the minimalistic simplicity which in his youth manifested in a fine work titled "The Adventures of Andrew Snail". -neilfred"

aeu comments: "Who do you think you are, Jonanthan Franzen?"

wvg comments: "One can only applaud the reference to 'ANDREW SNAIL', a work of minimalist brilliance, sadly neglected by the author as his fame increased. It is time to return to those days of innocence and abandon these futile bursts of grandiousity.(Is that a word ?)"

March 19, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #18 | 06:31 PM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—
"Enjoy the farm," said farmer Farmington, gesturing with one gnarled hand, his right hand, his good hand, his only remaining hand, to the silo which (much to his surprise, discomfort, and chagrin, though he was careful not to let the emotion creep into his expression, as his guests, according to his wife, were Very Important People from the United States Government, though given their haggard appearance and foreign accents he was beginning to have creeping doubts as to the veracity of this information) he now saw — damn those revolutionary bovines — was on fire.
neilfred comments: "Aha, now that's what I'm talking about! I applaud thee."

aeu comments: "Who are you, Jonathan Franzen?"

mike comments: "nice one."

wvg comments: "This sentence, while skillful, and full of words which flow trippingly, if not off the tongue, certainly from the keyboard, does not, however attain the heights of perfection the writer, (whose lofty goals we should all work toward) in his own unforgivable and pretentious way, has set for himself and for each and every one of us, is severly flawed(one might even say scarred) by the inclusion of a rather long,tedious, and irrelevant parenthetical remark (Joyce Carol Oates rears her head again) which adds little, subtracts much and multiplies the difficulty of evaluation by dividing our attention between what's between the parenthesis and outside them (not to say that either of those things is perfect either). Not perfect, but a noble try."

March 18, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #17 | 05:33 AM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

In my opinion, the capital of Michigan is Spain.

wvg comments: "Passable? Perhaps. Amusing? Doubtful. Perfect? See, change the name of Arkansas."

aeu comments: "Nonsense! Nonsense! Thwap!"

neilfred comments: "I like it. I think you're getting somewhere... Perfection? No, but perhaps you're on the verge of a breakthrough."

aeu comments: "Or a breakdown!"

StephanieKlein comments: "It left me with a wrinkled forehead, yet I kept re-reading it. I dig it, my friend, whomever you are."

March 15, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #16 | 02:19 PM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

Perhaps the act of trying to create the perfect sentence prevents me from doing so. Perhaps I simply must relax and let it flow. Perhaps I have written the perfect sentence already and unwittingly sent it to somone else. Just in case, a random samping of sentences from recent emails, verbatim as they appeared.

• There were things I wanted to change about this, what did you?
• Slightly around the ears.
• Still ha'int paid their bill.
• Some of them seem to have gotten lost in the web ether.
• Plus, send all graphics.
• I'll just be crying in my wife's garters.
• Was looking forward to having you over, in addition to the 1am striptease.
• What a jackass you am.
• Makes sense to swap them this afternoon, so we can arrive having read, and possibly commented on, them.
• Remind me to reward you with a hearty handshake.
• Well, you didn't gay happen to gay be there on that gay night.

Lock comments: "Selected others from my personal JVG email archives: "God, I'm bored today." "I had a similar encounter, later on." "Lemmie know if you wants to eat, or if you wants to dance." "So young, so innocent, so un-indicted." "Oh, you have no idea.""

wvg comments: " Following are my impressions of the current submissions (in letter grade format, as is appropriate) C D F B D X X F INCOMPLETE C C and from the archives above: D C D C D These grades have no numeric values, nor should they, as they have no value in real life. This should not be taken to imply that the sentences have a value, or a real life. Really, jvg should take a week off, go to the country and write the sentence, possibly then we might see a noble, if imperfect effort. Recycling old email sentences to avoid doing any work is such a Steven King thing to do. If jvg wants to be taken seriously, he should produce volumes of new sentences completely without meaning, like Norman Mailer or Neal Stephenson."

March 11, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #15 | 10:34 PM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

His hyperlink was unrepentant.

aeu comments: "Well, this made me giggle. "

Lock comments: "Damn straight, biatch. "

wvg comments: "No, no, no. This only continues the last entry's blatant grab for immediacy. It has no texture and it's flavor is flat and uninspiring. It's also very short."

neilfred comments: "I think I'm with wvg on the shortness. More long sentences, I say. Maybe go for even longer than you have yet attempted!"

jba comments: "More spelling errors."

jvg comments: "Wei? His hyperlink was unrepentant."

aeu comments: "Shortness can be a virture. Look at Lock's comments, above?"

jba comments: "This sentence (fragment really) from a current jvg writing project is hereby submitted for review: "Pretty good for a man with his hand up a frog’s ass.""

wvg comments: "Unless this is a religious project, I would have to tone the sentence down a bit."

March 10, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #14 | 12:33 PM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

"FROG you, MacRib," enthused Detritus.

wvg comments: "Now,here I thought you were taking this seriously, and you prostitute your emerging art with this blatant grab for commercial success. Well, enjoy your fame, sell out. I am ashamed to have encouraged you. Write a sitcom why don't you ?"

aeu comments: "Plus it just doesn't make any froggin' sense."

March 09, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #13 | 01:06 PM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

I began and ended in a strange place, where there were neither lies told nor promises made.

wvg comments: "I must say, quite a long wait, quite a long sentence, but still, not perfect, not close. However, quite interesting, in a somewhat amusing way. It's pretentions are amusing."

aeu comments: "Rather like the sentence-man himself."

Sterling comments: "I ain't much for fancy writin', but I'm pretty sure the perfect sentence will include the word "chimp"."

February 24, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #12 | 11:16 AM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

Her every word was flatulence.

wvg comments: "There seems to be an obsession with gaseous emissions today. This does not bode well for the future quest for perfection. Dare I say it ? This one stinks. Was that too much, I wonder ?"

aeu comments: "thhhhhhhhpt."

jba comments: "jvg, thank you for not wasting any good sentences on non-paying gigs. carry on."

neilfred comments: "Okay, I know I'm a little late in commenting on this one, but really, resorting to fart jokes is pretty far from perfection."

The Perfect Sentence #11 | 03:31 AM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

Furtively, he blossomed.

wvg comments: "any sentence created at 3:45am cannot ever be perfect. This one is just silly, and not perfect."

aeu comments: "Though wvg is getting closer to perfection with each critique."

February 22, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #10 | 01:31 PM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

When in doubt, do as the doubters do.

wvg comments: "This is not a sentence, it's a proverb in the form of a sentence, and a bit of a boring one at that. I begin to despair of ever seeing anything like the perfect sentence here. This project is a sentence, or a curse. You really have to work with a bit more imagination. I'm getting depressed."

aeu comments: "Now, really, there you were, justly scolding me for harshness, and yet here, you have attacked not just the sentence, but the sentencer. And I worry about despair. Though perhaps when we strive for perfection, our only end will be despair. But go outside. Smell the birds. Listen to the flowers. There is life outside the endless imperfection of JVG's sentences. I promise."

jvg comments: "Its status as proverb does not nullify its simultaneous existence as sentence. A sentence, of any sort, is still a sentence, and thereby will be elegible for consideration in this exercize. Your anti-proverb agenda has been clear for some time, sir, and it will not stand. It will not stand. As for the rest, the endless imperfection of my sentences IS life."

February 20, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #9 | 02:29 PM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

The sign read "Book Repair call for an appointment," and on the door of the brownstone, silver, green, and seasonally anachronous, hung a Christmas wreath.

aeu comments: "Holy crap! Where to begin? What's with all the commas? Except where you need them? And your adjectives are modifying what? You're striving for perfection, not ass-ness."

wvg comments: "A little harsh on the part of aeu, as if it all mattered, as if anything did. The sentence just sucks, that's all, it's not a big thing. Well, it's a big sentence, so I guess it is a big thing, but not a good thing. It sucks. I wish I could be more succinct."

aeu comments: "My esteemed colleague urges temperance. I must agree. Forgive me. Ass-ness is so harsh. Especially when one is striving for perfection. Shouldn't the striving itself be cause for acclaim? Shouldn't we stand up and applaud and cheer--finally, someone who eschews mediocrity, who surveys humankind and sentence-kind and says, "We can do better. Nay, we must do better.""

February 19, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #8 | 10:15 AM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

My lack of enthusiasm could not be contained.

wvg comments: "Here we go, this is more like it. A clear and precise attempt to provide excitement and ennui in the same sentence. The brilliantly oxymoronic concept of a lack being uncontained, like a vacuum being full of hot air, just makes my senses tingle. Still not perfect,though, still rather badly wrinkled. Continue your efforts."

aeu comments: "I don't know. I mean, we;re striving for perfection here. And a lack simply can't be uncontained, though JVG can be full of hot air."

February 18, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #7 | 04:03 PM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

It was fourteen years to the day since she had met Martine, that tramp, on a southbound trek across the northern midwest.

aeu comments: "You're the tramp."

wvg comments: "Once again filled with ambiguity. We are left to wonder about the word 'tramp', and the 'northern midwest' what ? what ? needless to say, far from perfect. nice mixed use of 'trek' and 'tramp' though. '...met Martine, that trek on a southbound tramp across the northern midwest'. might have been better."

February 16, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #6 | 06:32 PM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

He was known as behemoth, and he was angry.

wvg comments: "Sounds more like a movie promo than a sentence. A 50's movie promo."

aeu comments: "I'm not sure the weights match. "Behemoth" is a very weighty thing, and "Angry" isn't. I should prefer, He was known as Behemoth. And he was pissed."

wvg comments: "that would make it a 60's blacksloitation movie."

aeu comments: "I don't know. More like... He was known as Behemoth. And he was a bad motherf*cker. "

JVG comments: "Shut your mouth!"

Frankenstein comments: "Maybe... "He was known as Ron Jeremy, and it was angry.""

aeu comments: "He was known as Ron Jeremy, and he'd had a long night."

wvg comments: "He was known as behemoth and he was an embarrassment."

February 13, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #5 | 11:13 AM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

As she cut the strap — the tear in its journey from her cheek to the parachute catching just for a moment the sunlight — she wondered if this, finally, would be the deed that would tip the scales against her.

wvg comments: "To understand this it needs to be read aloud. Is the 'tear' a drippy wet thing, or a great big rip ? Keep trying."

aeu comments: "Huh? I do like the phrase, "great big rip, though." I think wvg is on to something."

neilfred comments: "I do like this one, but if you're going for "beauty and incisiveness", I think you've got a ways to go. For example, I think you'll agree that any sentence involving the phrase "talentless assclown" would be superior."

aeu comments: "I have to agree with neilfred. Perhaps he and wvg should collaborate?"

February 12, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #4 | 10:26 PM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

The yellow sang to him like an unfortunate canary.

wvg comments: "Oh no, not even close, oh my god, that is just not right !"

February 11, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #3 | 11:15 AM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

His grocery list read as follows: eggs (dozen); milk (pint); ice cream (chocolate); beer (case); cereal (in memory of); fruit (pomegranate); bacon; sausage; pain; suffering; anguish; steak (porterhouse).

aeu comments: "Interesting and artisitic, I'd say. But not perfect. The balance is off. But what is perfection, really?"

wvg comments: "A little forced, I would say. But then what is forced ? There are no parenthesis in the perfect sentence. (You should know that). Who are you freaking Joyce Carol Oates ?"

wvg comments: "I misspelled parentheses didn't I ? Or did I ? I did. So much for the perfect analysis."

KDunk comments: "she really shouldn't talk about her boyfriend like that. "

February 10, 2004

The Perfect Sentence #2 | 02:49 PM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

Her expression, though perplexed, was not perplexing.

Lockhart Steele comments: "Very, very nice work. "

wvg comments: "Not at all perfect, in fact, somewhat imperfect, as is this."

The Perfect Sentence #1 | 02:48 PM
—Being an attempt to craft The Perfect Sentence—

If anything, thought Tom, as he slid his foot into the pant leg, my opinion of myself has been slightly lowered.

wvg comments: "Who is Tom ? Why should I care ? Why does he ?"

February 09, 2004

The Perfect Sentence | 09:36 AM

I have decided that 2004 will be the year that I write the Perfect Sentence, the sentence of such beauty and incisiveness that all sentences that have come before it, and will come after, are obsolete. Will this sentence be crafted as the lead-in to a novel? Haven forfend — no, this sentence will be a sentence for its own sake, standing alone against the world, independent in its resplendence.

I will be posting attempts here for your perusal; feel free to leave your impressions.

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