Last Friday morning I woke up at 4 AM to write. But when I opened up the manuscript, I came across the following sentence, “If Mary Jane thought her life would get easier when she married Godwin, she was in for a rude awakening.” A rude awakening. I was distressed. How could I have used such boring language? It was time to jazz things up, make the sentence come alive, just like I tell my students to do. I began to tinker: “If Mary Jane thought her life would get easier when she married Godwin, she was soon to wake up.” No, She would soon wake up. She was soon to be startled. She would soon be as surprised as a child on his birthday when a clown jumps out of a cake, or a pony neighs from the barn. She would be overturned. Her expectations would be, that is. Overturned, just like an apple cart. When Mary Jane woke up to life with Godwin, her expectations would be overturned like an apple cart. Like that Weimar apple cart. She would be overturned like Germany after World War I. Her life would be overturned, like a pony overturning a cart and eating the apples. It was now 4:30 and all I had done was snarl up a sentence. This is when I gave up and went to the gym. But I was haunted by rude awakening all day. I saw my students through a haze of rude awakening. And now, today, I have arrived at the same spot in the manuscript, and although I was tempted to re-tinker, I am proud to say I let it go. Mary Jane is just going to have to have a rude awakening. There have to be some phrases, some sentences that are easy, that don’t sparkle, that don’t call attention to themselves.