Thursday, March 5, 2009

B. Summy's Ostrich Farmer

If Microsoft Word’s thick menu bar gives you grief or if you want an all black Word workspace, check out yesterday’s LifeHacker blog. It provides tips to turn Word distraction free.

Time for a bit of Thesaurus Thursday. Today, in honor of the leader of yesterday’s Book Review Club, I’ve selected at random a sentence from Barrie Summy’s fun new mystery book, “I So Don’t Do Mysteries.”

The farmer plucks his straw hat off his head and runs his fingers through thinning, greasy hair.

This is the point in Barrie’s book where the heroine (Sherry) tracks a clue to an ostrich farm. Sherry, an 8th grade sleuth, wants to learn about one of the farm’s employees and has to cajole the facts out of this farmer. Sherry’s point of view is conveyed in the sentence.

Like last week, this is just a fun exercise that I do to help develop my writing skills. Here’s my re-draft (attempting to maintain Sherry’s POV):

The old farmer picks at his straw hat, lifts it, and reveals hair as oily as an ostrich feather.

Yikes, that was a tough one! I feel like I butchered Barrie’s beautiful sentence (sorry, Barrie!). Like with last time, type out your version in the comments section. Let’s see how many new versions we can end up with.

[Subliminal message – Order one of Barrie’s books … Do so now …]


  1. Already have it!

    OK, let's see:

    His hair looks like he's dipped it in an oil well. That is if you could call what little he has left hair. Maybe he should have kept his strawberry-picking hat on.

  2. That's a good one, PJ. An oil well, huh? You're definitely a Texan!

  3. Oh wow! How fun is this! Thanks!!!

  4. Hi Barrie! I just couldn't resist. I must add that your sentence has a very sing-song quality to it, a good rhythm, which is great because I just picked a page at random.

  5. I just happened to think. If anyone hasn't done so already, reset your clocks as it is daylight savings time change Sunday.

    Aargh, we lose an hour!