Saturday, 26 January 2013

Dickens - Oliver Twist - 2006

Before reading it, I somehow thought it’s a children book. But it is oh so good: amazing, involving, colourful in tis language. Dickens paints pictures, surprises you, knocks you out. You name it.

So it is not single ideas, but the sheer power of language, that makes this book such a treat. 

„Although I am not disposed to maintain that the being born in a workhouse, is in itself the most fortunate and enviable circumstance that can possibly befall a human being, I do mea nto say that in this particular instance, it was the best thing for Oliver Twist that could by possibility occurred. The fact is, that there was considerable difficulty in inducing Oliver to take upon himself the office of respiration – a troublesom practice, but one which custom has rendered necessary to our easy existence; and for some time he lay gasping on a little flock mattress, rather unequally poised between this world and the next: the balance being decidedly in favour oft he latter. Now, if, during this brief period, Oliver had been surrounded by careful grandmothers, anxious aunts, experioences nursesm and doctors of profound wisdom, he would inevitably and undubitable have been killed in no time. There being nobofy by, however, but a pauper pöd woman, who was rendered rather musty by an unwonted allowance of beer; and a parish surgeon who did such matters bny contract; Oliver and Nature fought out the point between them. The result was, that, after a few struggles, Oliver breahed, sneezed, and proceeded to advertise tot he inmates oft he workhouse the fact of a new burden having been imposed upon the parish, by setting up as loud a cry as could reasonably have been expected from a male infant who had not been possessed of that very useful appendage, a voice, for a much longer space of time than three minutes and a quarter.“ (Dickens, 2006).

„But nature or inheritance had implanted a good sturdy spirit in Oliver’s breast. It had had plenty of room to expand, thanks to the spare diet of the establishment.“ (Dickens, 2006, p.14).

„Morning drew on apace. The air become sharp and piercing, as its first dull hue – the death of night, rather than the birth of day – glimmered faintyl in the sky.“ (Dickens, 2006, p.146).

„“The gallows,“ continued Fagin, „the gallows, my dear, is an ugly finger-post, which points out a very short and sharp turning that has stopped many a bold fellow’s career on the broad highway. To keep in the easy road, and keep it at a distance, is object number one with you.“
„Of course it is,“ replied Mr. Bolter. „What do yer talk such things for?“
„Only to show you my meaning clearly,“ said the Jew, raising his eyebrows. „To be able to do that, you depend upon me. To keep my little business all snug, I depend uponyou. The first is your number one, the second my number one. The more you value your number one, the more careful you must be of mine; so we come at last to what I told you at first – that a regard for number one holds us all together, and must do so, unless we would all go to pieces in company.“ (Dickens, 2006, p.227).

„Of all bad deeds that, under cover oft he darkness , had been committed within wide London’s bounds since nighthung over it, that was the worst. Of all the horrors that rose with an ill scent upon the morning air, that was the foulest and most cruel.
The sun – the bright sun, that brings back, not light alone, but new life, and hope, and freshness to man – burst upon the crowded city in clear and radiant glory. Through costly-coloured glass and paper-mended window, through cathedral dome and rotten crevice, it shed ist equal ray. It lighted up the room where the murdered woamn lay. It did. He tried to shut it out, but it would stream in. If the sight had been a ghastly one in the dull morning, what was it, now, in all that brilliant light!“ (Dickens, 2006, p.250).

Several short sentences on writing – Verlyn Klinkenborg 2012

This is a very interesting book that eliminates the fear of writing. Klinkenborg writes elegantly simple and urges the reader not to focus on meaning, style and structure but helps her on writing sentence by sentence. And all his tips will make you write better brief. Even just reading his style, will do so.

„One by one, each sentence takes the stage.
It says the yery thing it comes into existence to say.
Then it leaves the stage.
It doesn’t help the next one up or the previous one down,
It doesn’t wave to ist friends in the audience
Or pause to be acknowledged or applauded.“ (Klinkenborg, 2012, p.3).

„Many people assume there’s a correlation between the reader’s experience while reading and the writer’s experiencve while writing – her state of mind, her ease or difficulty in putting words together.
There isn’t.“ (Klinkenborg, 2012, p.8).

„Why short sentences? (...)they carry you back to a prose you can control. (...) Short sentences make it easier to examine the properties oft he sentence. (...) They help eliminate transitions. They make ambiguity less likely and easier to detect.“ (Klinkenborg, 2012, p.9).

„The obsession with transition negates a basic truth about writing,
A magical truth.
You can get anywhere from anywhere,
Always almost instantly.“ (Klinkenborg, 2012, p.26).

„The idea of a writer’s block, in ist ordinary sense,
Exists largely becaus oft he notion that wirting could flow.“ (Klinkenborg, 2012, p.69).

„Pursue clarity instead.
In the pursuit of clarity, style reveals itself.“ (Klinkenborg, 2012, p.85).

„We assume that thought shapes the sentence.
But thought and sentence are always a collaboration.“ (Klinkenborg, 2012, p.92).

„Try this:
No outline.
Research, reading, noticing, interviewing, traveling, paying attention, note taking – all the work you do to understand the subject, whatever it is, whatever kind of piece you’re writing.
Reread your notes, and take notes on them.
And again.
Take notes on your thoughts.
Most of all, take notes on what interests you.
Be certain you’ve makred out what interests you.
Don’t make an outline from your notes.“ (Klinkenborg, 2012, p.97).

„Sit back from the keyboard.
Sit back, and continue to think.
That’s where the work gets done.“ (Klinkenborg, 2012, p.105).

„The assumption that logic persuades the reader
Instead of the clarity of what you’re saying.
There’s little actual logic in good writing.“ (Klinkenborg, 2012, p.117).

„Writing doesn’t prove anything,
And it only rarely persuades.
It does something much better.
It attests.
It witnesses.
It shares your interest in what you’ve noticed.“ (Klinkenborg, 2012, p.117).

„And the scattering of rethorical tics – overused, nearly meaningless words and phrases.
In fact.
On the one hand.
On the other hand.
In one respect.
Of course.
Thus.“ (Klinkenborg, 2012, p.118).
„These words take the reader’s head between their hands and force her to look where they want her to.
Imagine how obnoxious that is,
That persistent effort to predetermine and overgovern the reader’s response.“ (Klinkenborg, 2012, p.119).
„The false belief (...) That persuasion is just a „thus“ away.“ (Klinkenborg, 2012, p.119).

„If it doesn’t interest you, how could it possibly interest anyone else?“ (Klinkenborg, 2012, p.135).

„How else to explain our love of even difficult writers?
Their agility evokes our agility.
We move at their speed, elliptically, obliquely,
However they move.“ (Klinkenborg, 2012, p.141).