I love writing.
I love the swirl and swing of words
as they tangle with human emotions.
– James A. Michener
Reading too, for the same reason 🙂
Of late, I keep coming up against the language divide. On the one hand, we have the language hippies. They’re cool with any kind of expression – grammatical or not. They tend to shrug off any suggestion that there are things it is wrong to say or write. Down with Skool!
But the idea that something “means” whatever most speakers think it means, is a slippery slope. Most people don’t know the difference between unexceptional and unexceptionable, or unconscious, unconscientious, and unconscionable. So maybe we don’t really need these words. But you’re/your, I/me/mine, accept/except? Do we really want our expressive abilities to erode to a selection of emoticons?
On the other hand, we have the grammar gorillas. If they were politely improving other people’s speech or writing, they might even be useful. But not only do they tear a strip off anyone making a mistake, they are surprisingly often WRONG. Ironically, their crusades are often (mis-)guided by a lack of knowledge and feeling for language, and worse, they are completely impervious to evidence.
Give a grammar gorilla a link to the Cambridge Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, or the OED, and they will fanatically persist in their errors as, obviously, the editors of said volumes cannot be trusted. They object to sentences ending in prepositions, or beginning with conjunctions. And if they think “liberal” means generous, anyone who uses the word in politics leaves them frothing at the mouth.
So where does that leave us, the middle-of-the-roaders?
Now, I confess I have a secret failing. I sometimes politely point out to people on the internet that they’re wrong. Only when people want to learn. Or when they’re being really, really nasty. I keep thinking, when they realise they are wrong themselves, this will make them a bit kinder to the people they go around “correcting”. Foolish of me, I know. People who ridicule others for making mistakes do this because they can’t accept their own. And the more vicious their attack, the deeper the fall if they admit they were mistaken or misguided. Oops.
So I should stop, right? And join the silent majority that allows
obnoxious troubled individuals to jeer mercilessly at others. Or maybe I’ll go on patiently pointing out the gorillas’ own errors. Because letting their vicious intolerance go unchallenged, makes the gorillas believe they speak for us all.
I don’t know. What do you do?
What is the use of a fine house
if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on.
–Henry David Thoreau*
A daily one word writing prompt. You have sixty seconds to write. No hovering or hesitating, the clock is ticking. I won’t spoil it for you by giving away today’s prompt, so here’s an earlier effort, warts and all, just to prove I usually do edit.
to cap it all another thing went wrong. like it had been going all day. there are just days you wish you could start over. or scratch out. but they too are a part of life. and everyone experiences them. you’re not alone in this.
* * *
This week’s DP writing challenge is to do “something completely different”.
* The quote comes from a word a day, another quirky and charming site.
If you were or are a writer do you prefer writing short stories, poems or novels?
Short stories. I’ve come to enjoy the 100-word-genre both as a reader and writer. Novels are too much like work and I know I’m no poet.
If you had only one book you could write what would it be about?
I’d write Heresy. Why a lot of what we unthinkingly believe is wrong & how if we challenge some of that, we can make the world a better place.
Did you watch the opening of the Olympics in London? What was your favorite part of the opening?
Bits of it. Rowan Atkinson on the piano. Lol.
What is your favorite summer Olympic event or events?
All this youthful enthusiasm and dedication is very impressive, but I’ve grown cynical about the Olympic oath. I believe that in many events noone has a chance of even qualifying without doping. And I’m not sure if we’re doing young people a favour by collectively pretending we don’t know that. So I feel ambivalent about the whole thing…
Cee Neuner’s Share your world #34 .
Alwase cheque speling. Two meny mistaks our unprofesionnel end heartoo reed.
Stop writing before your readers stop rea.
Don’t brainwash your readers. Don’t brainwash your readers. Don’t brainwash your readers. Don’t brainwash your readers.
Metaphors are dust in the wind.*
The probability of a considerable percentage of those individuals perusing your fabrications being enlightened or entertained is habitually inversely proportional to your loquaciousness and polysyllabicity: be short to be clear.
Amazing your readers can backfire: widened pupils make it hard to read.
More rulz here.
* They often obscure rather than elucidate. (Apt. But did you get it?)
Inspired by Tobias Mastgrave’s story challenge: brainwash / pupil / apt.