Exercise Day 9

The Excerpt: "The following morning Bida went carousing. He smashed Saint Valentine's shrine in the church and tried to play the organ. He was wearing a jacket that had been cut from a blue carpet and had an embroidered lily on its back, and he had combed his sweat-drenched forelock over his gouged-out eye." -- Isaac Babel, Afonka Bida (Red Cavalry Stories) Analysis: Solid imagery. Starts with something reckless, then something solid, and then the…

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Exercise Day 8

The Excerpt: "This happened not too long ago. A British flag was hoisted above the Paris. The Paris was the Russian steamer Juliet, abducted by the Whites in 1919. Juliet sailed the Mediterranean and the Sea of Marmara for four years, and then joined the Anatolian Line. Last December, she sailed from Constantinople to Zunguldak for coal. In Zunguldak her first officer went to the maritime agent." -- Isaac Babel, Paris and Juliet Analysis: short…

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Exercise Day 7

The Excerpt: The face of an old gypsy woman looks out from inside a covered wagon facing the campfire. The reflection of a new moon ripples in a puddle of rainwater in the forest near the camp. On the floor, mountains of worn-out village shoes need mending. A dim oil lamp lights the cobbler's hovel. -- Isaac Babel Analysis: paced. Sparse. Strong images, but few. Very physically-based descriptions. Settled, but not fulfilled or happy --…

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Exercise Day 6

The Excerpt: I gave the old man some money and went out into the street. Gedali and I parted, and I went back to the railroad station. There at the station, on the propaganda train of the First Cavalry, I was greeted by the sparkle of hundreds of lights, the enchanted glitter of the radio transmitter, the stubborn rolling of the printing presses, and my unfinished article for the Krasny Kavalerist. -- Isaac Babel, The…

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Exercise Day 5

The Passage: "I could!" Mendel shouted, and banged his fist against his head. "I could, Benchik!" he yelled with all his might, staggering like an epileptic. "This courtyard around me, in which I have served a sentence for the first half my life. This courtyard has seen me be the father of my children, the husband of my wife, the master of my horses. It has seen my glory, that of my twenty stallions and…

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Exercise Day 4

The Example: David drove up from Cannes in the dusk. The wind had fallen and he left the car in the usual place and walked up the path to where the light came out onto the patio and the garden. Marita came out of the doorway and walked toward him. -- Ernest Hemingway Analysis: Such an interesting syntax. It's a run-on sentence, and yet it feels simple and clean. The progression of events and the…

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