28.3.11

andrew worthington reviewed PERSON.

at the end, he asks about the use of sentence by sentence formatting. here is an attempt at an answer.

the first time i saw one sentence formatting, was in "thus spoke zarathustra." i liked it, because it looked nice (it's a little different though because the sentences were longer and still looked like paragraphs). also, it emphasized that each line was important on it's own, yet still attached to the line above it. separating a line, emphasizes it.

the next time i saw it done, was in noah cicero's books. the difference in noah's books, was that each line was a short sentence, and usually spaced from the one above and below it. i liked the effect. the effect was that, each line was an atom, and each line easily passed into the next one, making the reading fast but still easy to fully understand.

the next example was "tractatus logicus philosophicus." i havent' read the book since last year, so i might be a little wrong, but the first sentence is something like "the world is everything that is the case." each line is numbered, and sub-numbered in the "tractatus" almost like an outline. the importance of line by line formatting here, is one that highlights the form and the content as interrelated. wittgenstein says that "the world is everything that is the case" and then goes on to break down "the case" as atoms. anything that you can say, can be said clearly, and in a fundamental way. which, to me, means that every paragraph can be broken down even further into one line statements.

so while writing "person" i had it in paragraphs. and then during the last stage of editing, i formatted it line by line, to "test" or examine each line. it seemed to me, like lines could hide in a paragraph, but setting them on top of each other, it called out the weaker/less sensible lines. after editing it like this, i liked it much more than in paragraph form. to explain it in terms of an image, changing the book from paragraph form to single sentence form, is like pulling a telephone cord straight.

another reason is one of pace. paragraphs, to me, read more slowly. line by line reads faster. "person" is in first person present, with a lot of "interior" dialogue. so to write that the right way, it seemed like a faster paced formatting would help. going line by line lets you read and understand each line, and then move nicely into the next line. everybody lives in first person present, so the experience is familiar. speaking for myself, i don't experience my life, or any situation, in paragraph form. a paragraph is more fabricated to me. sentences are too, but less so, to me.

lastly, i dont know how to write a paragraph. every time i look at a paragraph i have written, i think "why not move the next line into it too" and then eventually it's all just a block. inability/lack of understanding leads to inventions too. sometimes, people do interesting things because they don't know how to do other things. much like all time great Roy Jones Jr., whose boxing style was/is wildly flawed compared to convention, but it worked.

in conclusion, i think i primarily use line by line formatting at the end, as a way to complete the thoughts/things i've written down. i don't use it to begin with, because that would inhibit.

uptown, blood alley, chicago, 773, wilson yard

3 comments:

stephen said...

thanks, sam

andrew said...

yeah, i thought "tractus" might be an influence..."zarathustra" slipped my mind...thanks for this sam

DeWitt said...

Whitman too.