Writing 101: Death to Adverbs

Sitting cross-legged in my old brown armchair in early Fall, I glance out the glass storm door, which, facing west, admits the evening light.  The setting sun strews wisps of gold across the cobalt sky, behind tall trees that stretch green leafy branches toward the dying light.  Tiny brown birds, chirping and chittering, flit from branch to branch, zoom toward the grass to pick up worms and crumbs, spiral back upwards.

Inside my living room a house fly circulates, buzzing and banging into walls, seeking an escape route.  The fan whirrs and the water heater cycles on with a chuffing sound.

The sky darkens, visibility decreases.  The leaves of the trees show black against the indigo sky.  No late pedestrians meander by and fewer cars shoot past.  The homing birds nestle in the tree branches.

I close the front door, switch on lights, eat my black bean soup and rice.  A comfortable silence settles in…….until my hard-of-hearing neighbor blasts his stereo.  Bereft of the silence, I wash the dishes, pondering on the insipidness of a world without adverbs, lacking the descriptive how’s, where’s, and when’s of existence.


One Comment on “Writing 101: Death to Adverbs”

  1. mamaemme says:

    I remember an assignment in Creative Writing class in college. We had to do a detailed description of something, but I don’t remember whether we all had to do the deserted old shed or whether that was what I chose. I did miserably. There was so much that I missed, in observation and in description. It made me wonder whether I was really a writer after all.

    When Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek became a sensation, I felt even worse.
    Not only did I not write like that, I sometimes did not have the patience to read her writing through, word by beautifully descriptive word.

    I started writing again for other people as well as myself when we moved to NC from OH. I sent group email letters telling friends and family about our new life and experiences in the South. Then a friend’s mother started blogging memories of her life, and I decided to try my hand at a blog. I rarely feel quite satisfied with what I write, but I express myself best in writing and value it as a means of communication. I have come to terms with the fact that there are different kinds of writers, and that each kind of writing has its validity.

    All of this to explain my short post above, and to protest that adverbs, correctly used,
    have a legitimate place in good writing.

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