American Sentence

sen·tence
ˈsen(t)əns/
noun
1.
a set of words that is complete in itself, typically containing a subject and predicate, conveying a statement, question, exclamation, or command, and consisting of a main clause and sometimes one or more subordinate clauses.

2.
the punishment assigned to a defendant found guilty by a court, or fixed by law for a particular offense.
“her husband is serving a three-year sentence for fraud”
synonyms:
judgment, ruling, decision, verdict, punishment More

verb
1.
declare the punishment decided for (an offender).
“ten army officers were sentenced to death”
synonyms:
pass judgment on, punish, convict; condemn, doom
“they were sentenced to death”

What is an American Sentence? Created by beat poet Allen Ginsberg, it’s a seventeen-syllable sentence.

For example, I wrote this 17-syllable sentence when I was trying to comprehend the fact that Donald Trump in the President of the United States of America :

When I think about America today – man, like I have no words.

I never imagined in my worst nightmares Donald Trump would become President of the United States. I’m amazed that a three-time-divorced-six-time-bankrupt-possible-pedophile-rapist-racist-con-man who can barely string a comprehensible sentence together is President of the United States. It’s devastating to me as a woman that half of America thinks that’s ok. Just saying his name is a trigger for me.

As time goes on with America in the time of Trump, I see that the gift of his presidency is the exposure of wrongness within our political system. Exposure needed to happen. (On both sides, too. The DNC and the electoral college both proved to be corrupt as well – it should have been Sanders vs. Trump, not Clinton).

What does it mean to be American? I’ve wondered that my whole life. As a kid, I didn’t fit in, and realized pretty early on, I didn’t want to fit in. I wasn’t into conforming, and my interpretation of the Constitution was that it was my right not to conform.

When I was 11 years-old, the principal of my school told me I would have an easier life if I “stopped striving for excellence and just looked pretty, sat down, and stayed quiet – after all – the world caters to the lowest common denominator. It’s too bad that smart kids get left out.” His advice to me has been the advice to my generation – and it’s only gotten worse! (Look what we have ended up with)!

A Cult of Ignorance is the sentence to America for 30+ years of catering to the lowest common denominator.

American Sentence began in February, 2017, shortly after Trump took office. I intended to finish the project in 108 days and then more unthinkable things happened. Two days after I began the project, my partner had an aneurysm and needed open heart surgery. The situation was traumatic for both of us, and made worse by his mother’s open hostility toward me. I poured so much love and care into his recovery – writing and art took a back seat. Sleep took a back seat. I took a back seat.

By the fall of 2017, our relationship fell apart. Looking back, I was a walking raw nerve for over a year – completely stripped and vulnerable. The anniversary of his surgery (February 2018), I broke down crying in yoga class, and that was the beginning of healing for me.

Creative play is reentering my life! I am back to writing and painting and playing and creating workshops. I am making 17-syllable sentences again. The American Sentence Project is proving to be a small step in honoring my own humanity as I navigate my own life and the implications of so much corruption in American politics. (updated February 5th, 2019)

Below are links to every sentence:

American Sentence – Day 1: My Best Friend’s New Boyfriend

American Sentence – Day 2: Worrying News

American Sentence – Day 3: Upside Down

American Sentence – Day 4: In Front of the Children

American Sentence – Day 5: Leaving

American Sentence – Day 6: This isn’t supposed to happen

American Sentence – Day 7: Chop Wood Carry Water

American Sentence – Day 8: Diffused Longing

American Sentence – Day 9: Arms Wrap Around Me

American Sentence – Day 10: Snowing Melting

American Sentence – Day 11: And the Sun Sets

American Sentence – Day 12: Judgment

American Sentence – Day 13: Spring is Coming

American Sentence – Day 14: Deep Roots and Falling Apples

American Sentence – Day 15: Upon Awakening . . .

American Sentence – Day 16: why are you here?

American Sentence – Day 17: Such a Gamble when you get a Face

American Sentence – Day 18: So Cold

American Sentence – Day 19: New Rhythm

American Sentence – Day 20: Your mother needs to go

American Sentence – Day 21: You, Jane

American Sentence – Day 22: So serious it’s funny

American Sentence – Day 23: Sometimes the Moment

American Sentence – Day 24: White Pony

American Sentence – Day 25: Look up! Beauty has no borders

American Sentence – Day 26: Sunset Messenger

American Sentence – Day 27: Sweet Fox Face

American Sentence – Day 28: PSA – There is no “they”

American Sentence – Day 29: Fickle

American Sentence – Day 30: Walk Away

American Sentence – Day 31: Blood Thicker than Sun Thicker than Love

American Sentence – Day 32: Frightened Fox

American Sentence – Day 33: Here for a Reason

American Sentence – Day 34: Warm Winter Blue

American Sentence – Day 35: Salt and Dust

American Sentence – Day 36: Sweet Habit

American Sentence – Day 37: Grace

American Sentence – Day 38: Perfect Ride

American Sentence – Day 39: Clues from a Friend

American Sentence – Day 40: How to Mountain Bike

American Sentence – Day 41: Dream Whisper

American Sentence – Day 42: After Durga Embodiment

American Sentence – Day 43: fox on the Run

American Sentence – Day 44: Slow Fade Out

American Sentence – Day 45: Sunny Joy

American Sentence – Day 46: Love for the Taking

American Sentence – Day 47: Small Gifts

American Sentence – Day 48: Dreaming of Trees

American Sentence – Day 49: If I can’t Dance, I don’t want to be part of your Revolution

American Sentence – Day 50: Learning to Fly Again

American Sentence – Day 51: Springtime Flirt

American Sentence – Day 52: Illumination Unsatisfied

American Sentence – Day 53: Three Men Under a Bridge

American Sentence – Day 54: Open Heart Shining Skull

American Sentence – Day 55: This ain’t no foolin’ around

American Sentence – Day 56: When the Mirror Breaks

American Sentence – Day 57: sugar and spice

American Sentence – Day 58: Another Day in the U.S.A.

American Sentence – Day 59: primitive time travel

American Sentence – Day 60 – Let the Sunshine In

American Sentence – Day 61 – Bliss Body Dynamics

American Sentence – Day 62 – Bliss Madness

American Sentence – Day 63 – Deep Summer Nights

American Sentence – Day 64 – the day is full of possibility

American Sentence – Day 65 – sultry summer night

American Sentence – Day 66 – house dreaming

American Sentence – Day 67 – Icarus Redux

American Sentence – Day 68 – Look at Me

American Sentence – Day 69 – Finding Home

American Sentence – Day 70 – Harmony

American Sentence – Day 71 – In the Meantime, Flash Dance

American Sentence – Day 72 – Perfect November Day

American Sentence – Day 73 – astrology of potential

American Sentence – Day 74 – Dreaming of the Future

American Sentence – Day 75 – letting go, then, not letting go

American Sentence – Day 76: Holding Hands

American Sentence – Day 77: Essay on Labels

American Sentence – Day 78: Moving

American Sentence – Day 79: Sweet Air

American Sentence – Day 80: Eclipse

American Sentence – Day 81: More Light than You Know

American Sentence – Day 82: I am Open to Miracles

American Sentence – Day 83: Tales From the Ledge

American Sentence – Day 84: For Your Love

American Sentence – Day 85: AFP Breaks My Heart

American Sentence – Day 86: Warm Face

American Sentence – Day 87: Unexpected Rendezvous

American Sentence – Day 88: Empty Your Mind

American Sentence – Day 89: Prostrate Undulation

American Sentence – Day 90: Waking Up

American Sentence – Day 91: At the Sprouts Parking Lot

American Sentence – Day 92: What my Ex-Husband Told Me

American Sentence – Day 93: Minding My Own Business at the Natural Grocers

American Sentence – Day 94: Early Morning Fire

American Sentence – Day 95: New Path

American Sentence – Day 96: Swept Away

American Sentence – Day 97: Love Letter to America

American Sentence – Day 98: Wildflower Overflow

American Sentence – Day 99: Turning Doubt Around

American Sentence – Day 100: All My Love

American Sentence – Day 101: Twilight Flight

American Sentence – Day 102: Rugged Narcissism

American Sentence – Day 103: Inklings of Life (on Mars?)

American Sentence – Day 104: Nothing is Solid

American Sentence – Day 105: Music is Medicine

American Sentence – Day 106: If I Could Drive Away With You

American Sentence – Day 107: When the World Becomes a Box

American Sentence – Day 108: Never Forget – People Have the Power