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No Adjectives

Posted on:May 1, 2023 at 08:00 PM

Sometimes I find myself wondering to what length of a sentence can I reach if I try to write without the use of adjectives. They help a lot in my manner of writing, and I have to maneuver my way around in their absence. The question is the extent of possibility to which I can retain my style, my voice, my distinctiveness and distinction, with this one exclusion.

One of the motivations for this exercise is the hope that this reduction will lead to writing that can be read and understood more easily. With sentences that are not as long. But the fact is, that this makes them even longer. All adjectives have to be replaced by adverbs, which does not feel like it flows as well.

I like writing about ideas that have truth to them, to try to bring that truth to the surface. The format and structure of the prose comes mainly from years of practice, and I don’t think about it often. Here, where I have to pay attention to the style so explicitly, I find that I cannot think of the ideas at all. My mind is engaged at the surface, and cannot go to the depths of thought which otherwise are always within reach.

Every sentence is revised again and again, a battle of will against instinct. There is no hope of victory, there is no end at which this problem is solved and the task is done. It is a matter of attrition and abrasion, of pushing like Sisyphus this weight up the mountain only to come down again, of flying like Icarus until the wings of wax melt under the sun, of trying to keep going as long as I can until I give up, finally, exhausted.