Imitation #1

Today, I’ve decided to start on a new habit. It’s called Imitation. Every day, I will copy an excerpt from a collection I found on the net, earnestly called, “The Enormous Pile of Cool Sentences“, and then I will rewrite this sentence while trying to imitate its form or structure. I’ve decided to go on this new “adventure”, because this is an activity that I’m having my students do, and it doesn’t seem quite right to have them do it without at least testing it out myself. I also want to see how long I can do this activity for. My target is a month, at least.

What do I hope to get out of this? Well, I’m hoping to have a better command of the written word by the end of the month. Apparently, that’s what Imitation does. By copying, and then rewriting, while trying to hold true to the structure, you somehow absorb the author’s style into yourself.

But don’t just take my word for it. Read these two articles I found on the net which explain the whole concept of Imitation a lot better than I ever could. One is from the Art of Manliness (A really good site, I must say!) and the other is from Style Academy (An English teacher’s salvation!).

And now, let’s start!

Error, superstition, dread, devout submission, hypocrisy, self-imposed silence, and theological mystification, a towering and colossal edifice of imposture and false doctrine, as Meslier saw it, formed an all-embracing system reaching everywhere, powerfully bolstering the supremacy of tyranny, abuse, exploitation, and vice throughout our world, a labyrinth of error so great that it appeared an all but impossible task to undermine or break it down. (Jonathan Israel, Enlightenment Reconsidered)

Imitation #1: In this one, I’m just replacing as many words or concepts as possible with a similar thought. It could turn into a synonym exercise for my students.

Flawed, mixed in pagan ritual, a gnawing reluctance, fanatic loyalty, belief without act, purposeful apathy, and the religious run-around, a Babel of arrogance and systematized lies, as Meslier saw it, formed an all-encompassing system reaching in all directions, greatly enhancing the hierarchy of domination, punishment, unchecked resource use, and the obsession with satisfying rapacious appetites all throughout our world, a maze of mistakes so great that it appeared an all but unimaginable task to undermine or break it down.

I’m looking at my work and I know it’s not perfect. Some concepts don’t quite fit. But after having done it, I feel like I accomplished something, and in a surprisingly fun way.

Try it.