February 21, 2008


This Pause Brought to You By...

It seems a New York subway worker in the marketing and information department is responsible for the phrasing of a sign, and at the same time reminding me that I have a dorky kind of love for strange things.

Neil Neches inserted a semi colon in a public service sign. I love this. Apparently, Americans are not so enamoured of semi colons as the more staunchly British-based Canadians. We fling them about with abandon; Americans simply abandon them as ridiculous speedbumps in their narrative.

I don't mind a certain amount of short, stocky sentences, but they soon become punches that after awhile fail to deliver. Too many writers invest in a single form, or style, and after not-too-long, it just gets boring. Some sound like some silly 40's detective novel, shooting out sentences like bullets from a .44. I don't even know what a .44 is, but I figure it'll work for this. It worked for Earnest, because it didn't sound like he was scowling the whole time he wrote. Drunk maybe, but not scowling.

Semi colons are kind of grace notes, those black keys on the piano. They extend a hand over an idea, like a small suspension bridge. I like that idea. I have the time for that idea. I have my foibles as a writer, and each night I say a little thank you to the editors who save me from myself. There is even someone who has the codes to go into this blog and tidy it up - she swears she leaves the words alone and just dusts up my apostrophes - but I have a little parcel of words I always always always hestitate over, and have forever. I can't spell (I'm going to leave them in wrong, for your viewing pleasure) 'seperate', 'reccommendation', 'accommoddation', 'niave', 'ryhththym', 'wear/where' (apparently, I was recently told), and the all- time award winning gaff, 'breaks'. I write for the auto section, and I swear, every time I use the word 'brakes', I put in 'breaks'. One time it got by three auto editors. I of course blamed them.

But this is about semi colons, not a numb-brained writer. Thanks to Neil for the tiny pause in a busy sign. We have a very cool language. We should use more of it, though the very suggestion of that would just make my sons LOL.

Sigh.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your anonymous editor just went in to change your "that" (coordinating conjunction) to "who", in order to provide the correct subject for your subordinate clause (in two instances). I swear that's the only change I made. You're welcome.

February 21, 2008 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that Arlene posting as an Anonymous commenter? I can tell her stuff a million miles away.

I can't spell weird. It doesn't even look wierd to me spelled the wrong way.

Sunshine.

February 22, 2008 10:32 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

What? Someone else has access to your blog? I thought I was the only one who could turn the other key...

February 22, 2008 11:37 PM  

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