the sewer of Armageddon

My fear of heights began when I climbed down the sewer of Armageddon during a thunderstorm.

Every language user has the ability to create sentences which have never before been spoken or written in that language, and every other user of that language has the ability to understand them (assuming linguistic competence, performance and cooperation by all).

Yesterday, one of my nieces, who is studying linguistics, wrote the sentence above as part of a Facebook post about the pipe organ she’s practicing on. Yes, she really did visit Israel, yes, she really did visit Tel Megiddo, yes, she really did climb down the former sewer/emergency escape route / current alternative route (with metal steps) for tourists, yes, there really was a thunderstorm at the time.

This sentence could possibly be the first sentence in a religious mystery/thriller novel. The first part might lead up to the heroine’s first confrontation with the Big Bad during a thunderstorm at Tel Megiddo. The second part might see her overcome her new fear of heights in order to vanquish the Big Bad on the roof of some historical and conspiracy-theory-related church building.

Actually, she wrote, in full,

I can’t be certain, but I think my fear of heights began when I climbed down the sewer of Armageddon during a thunderstorm last January

but I think the truncated version is more dramatic.

(I asked for her permission to quote her, and whether she wanted me to use her name, ‘one of my nieces’ or ‘a Facebook friend’.)

(My very first post on this blog was about a unique sentence created by a student in Korea.)


6 thoughts on “the sewer of Armageddon

  1. Pingback: farnarkeling | Never Pure and Rarely Simple

  2. …the sewer of Armageddon…, both in full and as truncated by you, is a simply fabulous sentence. The mental images brought to mind by each version were immediate, complex, and quite terrifying.


    • Thanks! As I said to a couple of people after the sentence attracted attention, I had considered clearer and more literal ways of putting it, but I liked the drama of the phrasing my uncle is now obsessed with.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It certainly didn’t need to be literal to be clear!
        For several years I worked for an organization called Mystery Writers of America, Southern California division. I worked with a number of well known mystery writers, doing first line edits as well as setting up publicity events for the authors. A well turned sentence is always exciting and rewarding.
        Excellent work, Rachel.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s