Tuesday, September 04, 2007

comma, The

My frame of mind at the moment doesn't really deserve the friendly, boxy appellation "frame". That would be something you could hang on the wall, maybe in the bathroom or the dark part of the hall, or in a pinch you could stack it in the attic next to the other crap in dubious taste. Because it's handy and oblongish and flat, you see. Which is not the current state of my mental. Another thing which is friendly and boxy is grammar and syntax. No wonder we understand one another. Sustained prose, however, is another matter altogether, so while I spool up something to say later, six observations:

(1) Many odd juxtapositions work brilliantly and make, like bringing something out of solution, a very particular kind of satisfaction unique to the combination of things that ought not to go together---an unexpected scent of bread in a library; Gill Sans with overwrought gothic drop-caps. However, my 1792 edition of Hume's History of England (13 vols.) sitting next to my collection of Ravilious' interwar period Persephone dinnerware is not one of these.

(2) Which is annoying me to an extent wildly disproportionate to its relative importance, which is surely microscopic bordering on negligible.

(3) My prose style is utterly fucked by trying to write my thesis. Are you hearing this stuff that is coming off my keys? What the hell was that last thing I said? Could I possibly sound any more pretentious, uncomfortable and over-sub-claused?

(4) The convention of alphabetically listing entries beginning "The" under the initial letter of the following word instead of under "T" has apparently died.

(5) I would be outraged.

(6) Except that I am a command-F whore who still has to sing the alphabet song under her breath in the library.


Heidi the Hick said...


It's okay. I do too.

Xtin said...

Thanks Heidi. The bird loves it when I sing it to him, too.

Yay the alphabet song, nursery rhyme for the aged.

Scrivener said...

I wish my prose style were as "utterly fucked" as yours. That said, I think my dissertation did real and lasting damage to my own prose style, too. Fucking dissertations.

Xtin said...

Thanks Scriv. I'm not too worried about real and lasting damage, either to my writing or to yours, for that matter. I think recovery will be swift once I am back on to a good diet of the outdoors and Auden rather than my desk and Laudan. And your prose is gorgeous, if shot through with sharp loss and frustration at the moment.

In truth, I am spending a little time wondering whither the "style" that governs my dissertation. Where did that come from? Is it really necessary? Could it not be more like my ... erm ... natural style?

Well, I'll see how I go today.