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long sentences

After writing ‘use shorter sentences’ on 65 essays, the majority of which try to prove that grand and monumental planning is autocratic (and in doing so tilt perilously close to outright defining spatial planning as a failed endeavour despite their authors paying tens of thousands of dollars to become masters of planning themselves), a conversation with my boss about his thin knowledge of the first three pages of a book by Proust reminded me that I should try to use longer sentences myself, not for the delightful reason of dwelling on and discovering connections between ideas, but, deferring to the base reason for trying anything new (beyond Maslow’s even baser reasons), that is simply to see if I could do it. It is harder than I imagined and even that one, which is not at all long compared to Proust’s first three pages – or at least my boss’s distant memory of those first three pages, read in the sunshine on holiday where the words and their meaning, beyond the achievement of long sentences, are immediately bleached by the heat and evaporate right there and then instead of being stored and taken home – takes on the tone of an annoying butterfly and makes me think that, although the exercise has helped me to string some random thoughts together – the history and future of planning, the motivation to try new things, the futility of reading in the sunshine – maybe those connections are deceptive, describing the random movements of an unreliable narrator’s brain and coercing you to think that butterflies, a pyramid of need and expensive useless educations are part of a bigger more complex degustation of meaning, rather than allowing you to define your own relationships between separate and discrete short sentences that hover without shadows like lonely lengths of wood placed on a gallery floor in an unforgivable display of contemporary art that shouts ‘nothing is connected’, ‘you are all alone’, and no number of sentence connectors and semi-colons – used incorrectly for sure – can make me feel that this proximity is anything more than momentary chance.

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