Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Ode To Virginia Woolf Writing Prompt

Yesterday in class, we studied the first sentence in Virginia Woolf's essay "On Being Ill" by way of Francine Prose's book Reading Like A Writer.
181 words. 
One sentence.

Maureen suggested we give it a try.

This seems impossible. In my mind. The shorter the sentence. The better.

But it sounds like an interesting challenge. Plus I already have a theme. I'll post mine next time I blog.

Writing Prompt Assignment: Pick a theme. Write an 181 word sentence.

You may start it off in the style of Virginia Woolf by writing: "Considering how ________   ________ is, how __________ the _________  _________ that it  ___________...."

or do your own thing.

Here's the excerpt from Virgina Woolf's essay "On Being Ill" for inspirational and educational purposes.

Considering how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings, how astonishing, when the lights of health go down, the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed, what wastes and deserts of the soul a slight attack of influenza brings to view, what precipices and lawns sprinkled with bright flowers a little rise of temperature reveals, what ancient and obdurate oaks are uprooted in us by the act of sickness, how we go down into the pit of death and feel the waters of annihilation close above our heads and wake thinking to find ourselves in the presence of the angels and the harpers when we have a tooth out and come to the surface in the dentist's arm-chair and confuse his "Rinse the mouth—rinse the mouth" with the greeting of the Deity stooping from the floor of Heavens to welcome—when we think of this, as we are so frequently forced to think of it, it becomes strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love and battle and jealousy among the prime themes of literature.

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