The Paperbook Blog

That is one of the most highly contested, controversial pieces of advice a writer can be given.

That and don’t make you sentences too long.

This latter piece of advice was given to me by my university lecturer on a recent assignment, in a unit laughingly entitled ‘Introduction to Writing. She marked me down for using ‘run-on’ sentences. Actually deductedmarks for this apparent literary faux pas. In response, I would like to turn her attention to the following sentence.

Hopping a freight out of Los Angeles at high noon one day in late September 1955 I got on a gondola and lay down with my duffel bag under my head and my knees crossed and contemplated the clouds as we rolled north to Santa Barbara. 

That’s a long sentence if I’ve ever seen one. I wonder if she would mark Jack Kerouac down for his inability to properly punctuate?


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