Learning Curves Are Exhausting

Haven’t been writing much here because I am apparently in one of those learning cycles where I’m the one doing all the learning, and sometimes it’s a bit chaotic in my head until I get things all sorted out.  Of course, once it’s all sorted out, I get handed another bunch of things to sort out.  Toss in the mundane life I lead (children, pets, laundry) and I can understand why the famous artsy types often resorted to absinthe.  I’ve never had absinthe but if someone put a bottle on my desk I might be tempted.

This week’s lessons involve writing of the creative sort.  I haven’t had a whole lot of work in the past couple of months, so I’ve been puttering away at some stories.  The TDot workshops (I gave up the meetups, ’cause they were just about socialising and why would I work on useful things like social skills when I found a group of people who indulge my inclination to isolate myself and play with words?) have been life-savers.  I traded stories with one person who has this absolutely… purified voice.  Not a word is wasted; no word could be replaced by a synonym.  Even though he writes on subject matter I wouldn’t usually choose, I love reading his stuff just because he can put together the clearest, most concise paragraphs I’ve ever seen.  He went through my latest stories, and this morning I was sitting in front of my computer repeating, “Oh, yeah, that’s what I meant to say.”  I’m gonna have to give him co-authorship if I ever get published….

This guy has one fault, though: he writes in American English.  I know, I’m being ridiculous.  One language is as relevant and acceptable as the other.  However, one is certainly more beautiful.  Yes, John Dewey had a point regarding the lunacy of British spelling but what about the elegance of the spelling?  When one is reading, would one rather read dialog or dialogue?  It’s the difference between sack cloth and silk.

I also have a problem with American punctuation because it leaves no room for self-expression.  What if the sentence really needs a pause before a conjunction?  Why would I put a period inside the quotation marks when the end of the sentence is outside the quotation marks? Punctuation should be used to communicate voice, not to standardise sentences on a page.  I think we should all learn punctuation from Virginia Woolf.

So, it’s 11 o’clock on a Saturday morning, and I’m still in my pyjamas, and I think I’ll go immerse myself in a fantasy world for another little bit before I face reality.  Dishes?  What dishes?  Dishes are better with absinthe.

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