nefhiriel: (Insane Mind)

My last rant bout punctuation reminded me of a ridiculous (but, in my opinion, hilarious) song. I heard it a number of years ago, but every once in a while when I’m struggling with punctuation, the chorus to this song will come popping into my head. To get its true effect, you really have to hear this one sung, but I thought I’d post the lyrics anyways. ;D Runs as follows:

Well, come along boys and have a glass of cider,
I’ll tell you what it’s like to be a freelance writer.

Comma tie yie yippy
yippy yay yippy yay
comma tie yie yippy semi-colon.

Well, writing is easy and the money is great,
But it’s hard to know how to punctuate.

Comma tie yie comma
yippy quote yippy quote
comma tie yie parenthesis yippy parenthesis.

Well, I’ve written great stuff, editors reject,
Brilliant work, but it wasn’t correct.

Comma tie yie comma
dash yippie yippy dash
yippie tie yie comma yippy period.

 -         Garrison Keillor

 As much as I love that song, I really don’t quite get the middle section: “…writing is easy and the money is great…” Am I missing out on some widely known writer’s trade-secret? For me, writing is a love-hate relationship. I love it too much to give it up, but spend most of my time wondering WHY ON EARTH I keep doing this to myself—voluntarily, no less! Maybe Mr. Keillor never truly experienced the agony of being a Starving Artist, eh? Being the renowned comedian he is, I can see how he’d be under the impression that “the money is great”… I’m have yet to get there, myself. *grumble grumble* :)    

nefhiriel: (Default)

Punctuation never ceases to confuse me. Colons and semi-colons, ellipses... And then, of course, there are dashes--as apposed to captions (sometimes  I  just can't make my mind up). And don't even get me started on exclamation point abuse!!!

My ever-patient sister/editor has explained all these concepts to me on more than one occasion, and I think I've made some progress with commas--and even begun to get my dashes sorted out--but the concept of the semi-colon still eludes me. 

However, I think I may have found the solution to end all my punctuation problems once and for all. I'm tempted to use this solution on this very post, and thus avoid any embarrassing fumbles. Hmm...maybe an explanation first, would be better.

Our family loves to read together at night. We pick out a good book, start a fire in the fireplace (now that we have one), and dad reads aloud while we work on various art projects. The other night, we started reading a book called "American Eccentrics" by Carl Sifakis. It’s really quite fascinating, though my brother and sister do tend to smirk and cast side-long glances at me every time we start reading it. It’s like they think I belong in there somewhere with all those odd-balls. Go figure.

Anyways, on with my solution… In a recent chapter, we were introduced to a man named Timothy Dexter, who lived from 1747 to 1806. I won’t go over most of his very bizarre and eccentric life, but there was a section at the end that caught my interest. Everyone else laughed, but actually…I think he might there might be something to his idea. You see he wrote a book, but his punctuation (among other things) was atrocious—practically non-existent. His solution? Let me quote it for you from the book: “Dexter answered complaints about his lack of punctuation by appending to the second edition a full page of commas, periods, question marks, and exclamation point for his critics so ‘they may peper and solt it as they plese.’”

Ingenious, don’t you think? I wonder what my readers would think if I tried that out on my next fanfic post. I’m guessing either they’ll agree that Dexter’s idea was brilliant…or maybe they’ll just agree that I do belong in that book along with the other “eccentrics”.

- Nef

(Note: For anyone interested in reading “American Eccentrics”, I would add a note that there are some sections that we’ve skipped due to content ;-) )


nefhiriel: (Default)

April 2011

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