Those red markers that teachers are so fond of? I know two people who have received emails from me and told me that they realize I write quickly, sometimes stream of conscience style; so they let it go because it’s just my deal. I like to read, I’ll read just about anything you put in front of me if you suggest it. (This is not a time for Elements of Style offering!) But as you can see from just this little sampling of sentences, I love to use commas.
I wish my hands could keep up with the crazy that comes to my mind, but that doesn’t work very well. All these ideas that come streaming forth, need to be broken up with some type of punctuation. Thanks for spell checker as well when it comes to personal communication. When I was in the mood to write to close friends, my words come out as if they were sitting in the chair across from me. So I pause for reaction, insert the comma! Okay maybe I’m a fan of exclamation points as well. not just for the emphasis on the statement, but because I want someone to realize I know the absurdity behind my collection of words and phrases.
In economics I spend way too much time writing long string of numbers and abbreviations for other items. So the keyboard and a whole swath of other symbols that require a crib sheet for me to remember the shortcuts sits on the table next to me. I honestly don’t even know some of their proper names! Which is amusing when you consider that I learned Latin in high school and as a unrepentant former Frat Boy I also had to learn the Greek alphabet. Number are fine, the overuse of parenthesis is common; but the whole rash of dyslexia inducing symbols? That’s why economists as a collective need reading glasses at some point.
When I read “The Martian” last spring I was in heaven. A book that was constructed in the same manner in which I speak and think put down into the written form. I learned later it had been a labor multiple chapters posted one at a time on the internet and later bound into a single form. It became easier to imagine because at the time I also knew it was shortly to be a movie, so inserting Matt Damon’s voice into the character was fun.
Writing for me used to be hard. The form always was more important then the words. But that is the case for many people who just didn’t enjoy the way things were taught to them. Later, I had an instructor in college who encouraged me to write just stupid stuff for fun. Even if that was what I turned in, just write my way. The dissertation was just a collection of opinion and hard fact that had to be presented in the most formal of ways. (Now we can offer Elements of Style!)
While there are days what my words talk about some painful stuff, I hope that every so often a little bit of the humor comes through. That my collections of dots and dashes, curved lines and random pauses lets people know that at one point I had a pretty good sense of myself. Those collection of three dots showing there is more to the thought, but not enough courage to finish it on the page.
So I’m going to keep incorporating as many symbols as I can find. Put them out there for the world to see. You should do the same!
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “By the Dots.”