Note: this post is not meant to shake the tree or ruffle feathers – it’s just a different perspective on grammar and words. :-) Please realize I wrote all of this with a smile on my face and lighthearted intentions.
Well, what a turn out huh? Bet you never thought you’d ever see me finally pick up my pen (or keyboard as it is…) and devote an hour or so to a blog post. As you see, I am now. I know, it is long over due. I apologize immensely and could spend my time convincing you that I am truly sorry or we could just accept it as understood and move on.
There are two reasons for my lack of effort on the posting side of things – the first is simply that for quite a long time I was running my own blog elsewhere on the internet that demanded much of my creative attention. As it is, I kind of pushed the self destruct button a few months ago and it has ceased to exist.
The second is that when this blog started I was faced with a rather interesting predicament. The tagline for this blog is “A Tale of Word Nerds” (very cute and clever by the way, Cara). As I created my profile and geared up for posting, I realized that I don’t really consider myself a “word nerd”. As I wrestled with this dilemma, I put off posting till it seemed that I had missed the boat.
Now before you all get up in arms and tell me how I am most definitely a nerd with an affinity for books and writing and words, breathe. Allow me to explain myself.
When I write it’s not because I enjoy stringing words together in proper grammatical structure. It’s (most often) because I am seized by a spontaneous obsession with a story and writing it down is the only way to get it out of my head. I am not functional when I write. I become dazed and neglectful. I forget to do things like eat and pick up the dirty laundry and dishes littered all over my bedroom floor. Truthfully, my life would probably be easier without it.
Writing isn’t something I chose to do. It just kind of happened. I know it sounds weird but insanity is probably the best way to describe it.
I don’t love words. If I did, I would be able to read essays and textbooks and still appreciate the way with which they were carefully crafted (I don’t). Words can do horrible damage just as easily as they can be beautiful. Words in themselves are not my thing. I don’t enjoy furthering my vocabulary. I don’t look up words I don’t know when I’m reading old books – I guess the meaning, accept it as correct and move on. I simply don’t care to know if I’m right. The same goes for grammar – I disliked it in school and I dislike it now.
Though I recognize that it would make me seem smarter to say I love all of these things, I cannot honestly join the ranks of grammar Nazism. Spoiler alert, I’m not as “enlightened” as you would like to believe. *shrugs* Does that make me a bad author? Does it make me less brilliant than someone who does devote energy to these things? I don’t think so.
I love the art of storytelling. I am fully capable of recognizing talent with words when I see it. I am particularly fond of F. Scott Fitzgerald who was nothing less than a wordsmith. However, I don’t respect him because he was a master at stringing words together. I respect him because he managed to do so in such a way that made a vividly gorgeous painting of a story. I don’t care how he got there – I just know that he did. I don’t love the words – I love the intention behind them.
Creativity and perfection are two very different things. I will never be able to perfect my manuscripts grammatically and I’m not concerned about it. My job is to be creative. My job is to see a story so vividly in my mind that I’m able to make it just as vivid in my reader’s mind. Whether or not I use the correct words or punctuation is irrelevant to me. Not to sound impertinent, but that’s what an editor is for. I know enough to get me by, but I’m not going to kid myself into thinking I will ever have a talent for grammar. I’m simply not hardwired for things like that. (My editor will be gifted with chocolates and cupcakes on a regular basis so they will continue to put up with my haphazard ways.)
In short, this is not a rant about how anyone with that affinity for grammatical correction is wrong – if you are blessed with being able to tell the difference between “lay” and “lie” and have a love for knowing the definitions of complicated words, then more power to you. There is definitely a need for people who care about the correctness of our language. I’m simply sharing that I don’t and have never felt that way.
I’m also sharing that I do not consider it a bad thing that I don’t care to know the intricate details of the language I speak. Rather, it’s just something that makes us different. It’s just another color to add to the tapestry of the world.
Therefore dear reader, yes, my semicolons are misplaced and my words are incorrectly used – don’t let it distract you from what I have to say for my words are well meant.
~ Aloisa Quintal