Exercise Day 2

The Passage:

I had gone to no such place but to the smoke of cafes and nights when the room whirled and you needed to look at the wall to make it stop, nights in bed, drunk, when you knew that that was all there was, and the strange excitement of waking up and not knowing who it was with you, and the world all unreal in the dark and so exciting that you must resume again unknowing and not caring in the night, sure that this was all and all and all and not caring. — Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

Analysis: long, messy (although still balanced), flowing . . . something akin to sloppy, but not quite — more like something that’s free-moving, with the usual boundaries taken away (as alcohol takes away inhibitions — a perfect mirror). A steady sense of flow, interplay between the words. They build off of each other but never get tangled.


He went to the bar in town in the evening and parked his truck outside and sat on a bar stool and drank whiskey and smoked a cigarette, breathed stale bar air, felt the burning in his throat, watched the men come in and out as outside it got dark and the world shrank, and as it closed in it amplified the things inside of him that he’d prefer to keep quiet, made them flare up, and he ordered more alcohol to stifle them, nursed his shots, watched the other men’s forms slowly blur, felt the world shrinking and shrinking around him, tasted the burning of the whiskey, and then felt what was inside blurring too, until he reached the point where he was over the ledge and he no longer cared.

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