If you’re looking for something to read over the weekend, I sincerely recommend the book my uncle just put out, I Killed JFK, by Rex Rasor. It’s what would happen if Back to the Future had been directed by Rob Reiner, working from a script by Oliver Stone. Among other things, it accurately captures the feel of old Oak Cliff, the neighborhood of Dallas where I grew up. Here’s a sample paragraph:
Without being told, I crossed the alley and took up my position. Looking over, the Lone Ranger put his gloved index finger to his lips and then pointed up-alley. There in the full noon-light stood Daytime Wolfman. Not hiding and skulking like Wolfman does. Banker’s Hours Wolfman was walking right up the middle of the alley like Marshal Dillon. Bold as brass — or in this case, silver. An old lady stepped out from behind a tree, and he howled so loudly I almost fell down. He moved toward her and growled that trademark greeting that normally precedes a tender throat tearing.
I’ve been editing a manuscript (somebody else’s), which means it’s my job to be a tremendous stickler and point out anything that could possibly bother or confuse anybody. Which is all well and good – but it does mean I have to suppress my personal preferences as an absurdist poet who is delighted and energized by oxymorons and stark illogic.
Last night, I ran across this particularly lovely bit of unintentional nonsense. The narrator is seated, but in a moment of surprise says: “I fell to my feet.”
I’m fairly certain the author originally wrote “I fell to my knees” and then revised to “I leapt to my feet” (or vice versa) but accidentally left half the old sentence in.
Despite knowing that, “I fell to my feet” derailed me and Ciro for at least three minutes as we tried to re-enact the movement (including Ciro’s interpretation that this could describe a fall of one’s entire body into a prone position, where “my feet” is a way to indicate the relative location of the ground at the beginning of the fall). We tried a few different ways of saying or singing the sentence. We raised our eyebrows and waved our hands around.
It is with a heavy heart that I recommend revision. It’s a wonderful sentence.