Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An introduction of sorts

To start, I’d like to reassure you that I’m more skeptical of this endeavor than you are. More words? On the internet? At all my jobs (one regular, eleventy-seven freelance and counting), I come into contact with all sorts of words. Some of them are quite useful in facilitating the safe passage of readers, documents, criminals, etc. etc. Others are, to be polite, appalling. I recently received a request from some poor fellow who believed that apostrophes were meant to be demoted to commas and strange abbreviations were best rendered offset by "quotation marks." He did me the favor of surrounding all this bounty with a flock of ambient parentheses. And then there are the hours I recently spent for one job (guess which!) poring through correspondence so conspiracy-theoristic that I looked up after a while afraid that the Martians were coming for me, or maybe the punk rockers. And, lest you wonder, published authors can fill me with a similar sense of dread and awe at the ingenious number of ways in which we can and do abuse words. I’m sick of books where the author confides in you on page one that most of his sentences should have been edited out. And, conversely, sick of authors who have charged themselves with the heroic mission to excise as many words as possible, leaving you with a lumpy subject-verb pudding. So I’m only going to write the words I want. No more, no less.

Please understand that I’m not a language prescriptivist, at least not entirely. I don’t think that everything out there has to be grammatically correct (though everything of mine does, goddammit!) or that some sorts of experimental work aren’t quite lovely, not to mention distinguished. I don’t want to suggest that my esteemed correspondents don’t deserve the things they convolutedly request, or that I’m drawn to well-worded rants from psychokillers any more than the rest of you.

All this being the case, you may ask, what makes the words I want to write worthwhile? First, let’s remember a dear supporter of many of us, one Dean Bob Gross, who made a class of nervous overachieving freshmen recite in unison, “No matter what you say or do to me, I’m still a worthwhile person.” I would like to extend this blessing to my words—on the internet, they’re my proxy, and you can’t unworthwhile ’em. Second, I like to think I’m pretty entertaining. People have been known to laugh at my jokes. Or at least to laugh nervously at the fact that I’ve said something rude about their mom (I’m sorry! She’s a really nice lady!), or called a senior member of the office “dude” without thinking. Still, that’s good enough for me. I’m not really sure what my mission statement is here. Something to entertain me, entertain you, and make you think a little differently about some tiny random topic.* What else does a writer do, for good or ill? After all, my reading material has me thinking way more about the Martians than ever before.*Please feel free to drop in with your own thoughts as well, in this handy-dandy comments section. Despite what I say about too many words, I am happy to hear any (preferably entertaining) feedback/know someone is reading this besides me and the three people I have harangued incessantly about it. (Hi guys!)


  1. Ha! Brilliant. There is no world in which quoting Bob Gross ≠ auspicious beginning. Also, I have come to the conclusion that more things in "life" should be inappropriately offset by quotation marks. Or action lines!

  2. I'm glad that Bob Gross lives on here. Good way to intro. yay