In-Sentence Suspense

This is from the first exercise Matt Bell has posted on his “Writing Exercises” emails about creating an “in-sentence” suspension.

To briefly, and poorly, explain it’s about creating a simple sentence and then delaying the ending by using prepositions but you can also use a whole slew of other techniques. I realise I’m not explaining this well but…

Matt explains it much, MUCH better in his exercise emails which you can sign up for here.

My sentence was originally –

I have seen many places, but none of them like this, and I smile.

I liked what came out after about twenty minutes of writing, even though I didn’t really stick perfectly to the instructions given. Anyway, here it is in case anyone would like to read a very long sentence.

I have seen many places, from the safety of my head, beneath the twilight of an ocean sky, bouncing past deserts inside a broken and comically packed van where bad breath and B.O. reigned supreme, or ferried over water with sunburned skin alive and itching, accompanied by the monologue within, that spoke at length about things I don’t remember, with friends, lovers, companions, coworkers, guides, people I hardly knew at all or ever would again who spoke in languages and cadences once readily understood but now simply forgotten, steered to view the world from someone else’s vantage because the view was better or they told you that’s how it’s supposed to be seen, where obligingly you might capture the tired eyes and shining teeth of strangers, through variations of heat and darkness, constricted by limits of vision, or a willingness to witness (often, but not always, one and the same), from such great heights where cities look like galaxies or deep caverns where stalactites look like the distant skyscrapers on an absurd, forgotten, rusted planet, and the thought of a familiar blanket was not far away, but none of them like this, like you, and I smile.