There are sentences. Sentences that start like this.

As someone who works in publishing, I periodically trip over clunky writing.  It interrupts my thoughts, upsets my zen, and just generally makes me feel like I have once again failed at embracing the Matthew McConaughey way.  Just how does one cope with bad writing?  One mocks it, of course.

Penelope Prudence: Writing habits I hate: “She gets a call. It’s from…”

Lovely Editor: you mean breaking it up like that?

Penelope Prudence: Yes. How about “She gets a call from…” Especially if it is a summary, I don’t need 16 extra sentences.

Lovely Editor: I know. It’s supposed to sound intriguing but it’s just stupid

Penelope Prudence: It really is.

Lovely Editor: someone’s at the door. It’s Charles. Charles from down the street. Charles, who went to Vietnam and was never the same. Charles, who once was your blood-brother, back when you were twelve.

Penelope Prudence: Charles who knew secrets. Secrets you couldn’t share. Secrets that belonged in attics and basements.  Secrets that did not belong in minds.

Lovely Editor: Secrets that only a mother should know. Only a mother who hates her children. Only a mother whose child, Charles, is her worst nightmare.

Penelope Prudence: But she didn’t know.  She didn’t know because it would kill her. She didn’t know because she would kill him. Kill him in the same way that she killed their daddy.

Lovely Editor: Their daddy, who lies in the dark. Who lies in the dark backyard. Who was still breathing when the last shovelful of dirt was shoveled onto him. Shoveled onto him by Charles, who did not know his father was gagged and still breathing. Charles, whose mother never told him that he, along with her, killed his own Daddy.

Charles didn’t look well. He didn’t look well, as in he’s been an another bender.

Penelope Prudence: And benders were Charles’ specialty.

Lovely Editor: Specialty meaning an every night affair. Every night, that is, until tonight. What is Charles doing at my door?


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