The Cog was chopping down a dissertation chapter to send out, and sought out advice.
"Why would you cut Part Five? Leave it in; it's your whole point," said Not My Advisor.
"Because a chapter is too long to be an article and getting rid of Part Five brings it under the word limit," said the Cog reasonably.
"No; boil down each section to its main point individually. You really need to condense your language anyway. Cut down all these long sentences, with their clauses heaped one upon the other,” Not My Advisor said to the Cog. “Be a wee bit less Joycean in your prose.”
Usually the Cog leaves no adjective unturned. In an effort to soak in streamlined clarity, the Cog opens Hemingway’s short stories and reads. Time passes. The light picks out the edges of the trees’ leaves in piercing detail. The wind surges, slackens, picks up again. A fat black cat dozes on the side table.
“Another drink?” The woman offers.
The Cog looks at the bright smooth hills and says nothing. Outside the light is dying.
Fuck! You cannot write in this voice without reproducing the gender divisions that are structured in it. Women blabber and cling, men are strong and silent --- it just does not sound Hemingway-esque (if that's a word) otherwise.
It is a fascinating exercise though.
I found it beautiful and yet stark, as if the people are empty, which is basically what I think of Hemingway. So great job!
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