I'll schedule a post for tomorrow, since I may be up north or at the very least in a non-Internet access zone.
Today? Today you get some more rambling. And maybe some poetry, since there's something stirring about in there. I'm not sure what it is. That's how poetry is with me--it tends to erupt without much advance planning, if any. I do tweak and edit, though.
It's a little odd, I suppose, that I break rules with my writing here on my blog. I don't use quotation marks for speech; I use italics instead. I don't use capitalization or punctuation at all in my poetry. I make up words. I use cuz instead of because or 'cause. I use fragments and run-on sentences and all sorts of grammar violations.
And it works. Or at least I think it does. (Does it? Feel free to tell me how awesome I am. Or how horrible, though then I might have to block you.) We're talking about the difference between formal and informal writing; personal narrative versus literary analysis, poetry versus academic prose, style versus standardization. The key to being allowed to break the rules, I tell my students, is knowing the rules in the first place and then knowing how and when to break them.
One of my favorite poets is e. e. cummings, bless his uncapitalized heart. His poetry is a constant experiment with language, a game with words and sounds and meanings. Every time I read one of his poems, I feel like I'm entering a playground filled with the English language, and I feel like giggling and diving into the fun. Some of them are even visual puzzles, like one of my favorites:
Can you figure out what he's describing? You have to see the poem as a picture, as a description in its form of what is happening.(im) c-a-t(mo)
& & &
ly; as if
hing had, ever happ
And others speak to my soul:
since feeling is firstHow beautiful is that? And how can I not adore a poet who compares Life in terms of grammar and punctuation and syntax?
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world
my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
- the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says
we are for each other; then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph
And death i think is no parenthesis
Perhaps the poem stirring inside me will figure itself out later. For now, I'll leave you with cummings' wisdom.
Live outside the paragraph today; dare to change your syntax.