Imitation Practice: Model 10
Passage 10, “Tangier? It is two days by boat from Marseille, a charming trip that takes you along the coast of Spain, and if you are someone escaping from the police, or merely someone escaping, then by all means come here: hemmed with hills, comforted by the sea, and looking like a white cape draped on the shores of Africa, it is an international city with an excellent climate eight months of the year, roughly March to November. There are magnificent beaches, really extraordinary stretches of sugar-soft sand and surf; and if you have a mind for that sort of thing, the nightlife, though neither particularly innocent nor especially varies is dark to dawn, which, when you consider that most people nap all afternoon, and that very few dine before ten or eleven, is not too unusual. Almost everything else in Tangier is unusual, however, and before coming here you should do three things: be inoculated for typhoid, withdraw your savings from the bank, say goodbye to your friends—heaven knows you may never see them again. This advice is quite serious, for it is alarming, and the number of travelers who have landed here for brief holiday, then settled down and let the years go by. Because Tangier is a basin that holds you, a timeless place; the days slide by less noticed than foam in a waterfall; this, I imagine, is the way time passes in a monastery, unobtrusive and on slippered feet; for that matter, these two institutions, a monastery and Tangier, have another common denominator: self-containment. The average Arab, for example, thinks Europe and America are the same thing and in the same place, wherever that may be—in any event, he doesn’t care; and frequently Europeans hypnotized by the tinkling of an oud and the swarming drama around them, come to agree.”
by Truman Capote, “Tangier”
Ghana? It is a 45 hour flight from America’s West Coast, a delirious flight that takes you over a few oceans, and if you are someone who can’t sleep on planes, or someone who can’t sleep in general, you can stare out into the blackness and have the satisfaction of knowing you are flying over Mecca: a dot appears over your complimentary computer, tempting your interest, and the staff dressed up like a circus comes to tap you the minute you drift to sleep, especially when you really need the sleep, to slap some plastic food on your tray. There are a few good airlines, Emirates I recommend because of the twinkly-tiny stars on the ceiling; and if you are not going to be sleeping anyways, the movie selection, though neither really interesting nor trashy has several attractive options, which, when you compare it to your typical free selections, or even the trivia games, is very generous of the airline. If it isn’t the airline it is the airports that are the thrill, of course, and before reaching Ghana you can sit in three of them: Atlanta or JFK if you are lucky because you might see the skyline, Heathrow which is a city in itself, and Dubai—because there is nothing more exciting than seeing the tallest building in the world than looking at it behind Plexiglas. This journey, though extensive, is not the kind of thing I should be complaining about, because going by a ship is not my thing. Because Ghana isn’t the sort of place most people go, an out there place; the hours go by less painful than most flights; this, I suspect, is the only way I could have endured it and high school, half awake but mostly not; for that matter; the two places, high school and the voyage to Ghana, are both endurable with a certain something: anticipation. The average senior, for example, believes that maturity begins the day after graduation, which is never the case—or any I have heard of, but it doesn’t matter; and when most people hear of Ghana they aren’t quite sure if that is around the corner of Europe or what continent the destination is, and even knowing the truth the travelers pretend it is, because we have to get there somehow.
Nathan Dunes? He is the middle child of a middle class family, son of a lovely mother who makes great zucchini bread, and if you are someone who wants to get married tomorrow, or merely someone wanting to marry, then by all means look him up: returned with honor, tall enough for heels, and a one way ticket to a picture perfect average life, he is a good boy and a sweet spirit, whatever that means. He is quite the charmer, really great with kids and slurring slippery sweet-nothings; and if you are in to the romantic thing, he fancies red roses, though if you prefer silver to plated grandma gold then he forgets that sort of thing, which, when put into perspective to the worst thing in relationships, can’t possibly be worth mentioning, and he would never forget your birthday. Almost everything about Nathan is typical, however, and before consenting you should not be three things: someone drawn to blue hair dye, a person with a drop of anxiety in your blood, or an unconventional world traveler—hell knows he won’t come with you. This last point is rather important, for it can dismantle everything, and the number of positives will always outweigh the negatives of any adventures, to say nothing of dangers. Because Nathan is a boy that will adore you, a priceless quality; the sooner he can slap a ring on your finger the quicker he can forever secure that position; this, I suppose, is what you are supposed to want in a husband, unbearably protective and quick to get jealous; come to think of it, the institution a marriage, between any man or Nathan, require a certain prerequisite: desire to be married. The girls I’ve known, for example, believe that an RM and a good person are the same thing, whoever that may be—and in any event, a temple marriage secures eternal love and loyalty; and no doubt I’m wrong in my cynicism but I’ve been to too many counselors and courts and written too many affidavits as homage to my crumbling family to believe in marriage, let alone willfully marry Nathan.
Two days out of Marseille lies Tangier, land of escape with a great climate, magnificent beaches, a wild nightlife, and a great place to dump your hard earned savings into. Say goodbye to your friends—heaven knows you will never see them again.
Inversion of Parts:
Many Europeans hypnotized have come to agree in any event—wherever that may be—that like the Arabs, Europe and America have come to be the same if they get caught in Tangier. On slippered feet, unobtrusive, the foamy waterfalls, and the timeless place of Tangier is a basin that holds you. People go for a brief holiday, then settle down, and let the years go by. It is alarming, and quite serious. Say goodbye to your friends—heaven knows you may never see them again, and withdraw all your savings after being inoculated for typhoid. Almost everything else in Tangier is usual, however. People nap all afternoon and rarely dine before ten or eleven. The nightlife, though neither particularly innocent nor especially varied is dark to dawn, and there are magnificent beaches, if you have a mind for that sort of thing, with really extraordinary stretches of sugar-soft sand and surf. An international city with an excellent climate (March to November), draped on the shores of Africa, comforted by the sea, and hemmed with hills has come be to a place of escape. Whether you are escaping from the police, or just escaping, Tangier is the place for you. Off the coast of Spain, a charming two-day boat trip from Marseille will take you there.
Tangier? It is a whole two days by boat ride from Marseille, a treacherous trip for those with a weak stomach, beginning off the coast of Spain. If you are an escaping convict, or someone just escaping, then by all means gravitate here with the rest of the escaped convicts. Bumpy, guarded by the sea, and nestled on the edge of Africa, it is a semi-international city with mostly an excellent climate (not advised to come from December to February). There are almost magnificent beaches, almost extraordinary stretches of sugar-soft sand with a few rocks, and if you have a mind for this sort of a thing, a nightlife, but nothing extraordinary when you consider that most people nap too much and dine at bizarre hours, but that is not too unusual. Almost everything about Tangier is unusual, however, and before coming here do three things: be inoculated for typhoid (1/3 of victims die from it), withdraw your savings from the bank (as if you had any), and say goodbye to the people you may like or not because you probably won’t be seeing them again. Serious advice, sure, and maybe alarming, but the number of travelers who have landed her for a quick holiday and then got stuck and let the years roll by are not a few. Because Tangier is a basin that traps you, a timeless place; the days slink by less noticed than the foam in a waterfall or something like that; maybe like a monastery. Self-containment. Or self-restrainment depending on how you look at it. The average Arab, for example, thinks Europe and America are the same thing and in the same place, wherever that may be—in any event, he does not care. And why should he? But here in Tangier, even the Europeans are coming to agree with them.
This one was a lot trickier than some of the others. A lot of that is due to the length, but I think this kind of lengthy description requires something that you could say a lot about. Something that has a lot of depth on one side or the other. Big things like people and places, but trying to describe someone’s shirt or some other small detail would make this form exhaustive. I think this is something I would like to incorporate into my writing, but only selectively when an overview point of view is required. I definitely had a harder time with keeping the feel in the abbreviation variation as well as the understatement (probably because it was already kind of an understatement to begin with).