Making the Sausage (Revisited)

by Steve MacDonald

Grammar Obi Wan KenobiEllen Kolb shared this on Facebook because Facebook not only never forgets, it reminds you. It’s a post I wrote in November of 2010, about my blogging process from “idea to digital page.” The opening paragraph reveals the thrust of the piece.

One of my readers did me the honor of pointing out a grammatical error I had made in a post, not once, but four times. He politely explained the issue, while pointing out that he still appreciates my work. For my part, I knew the rule, but sometimes it’s not quite that simple.

What follows is a ride I enjoy every time I read it. An expression of a process burdened by the limitations I’d like to think I have since (mostly) overcome. And while it may not be the best thing I’ve ever written, anyone who has ever thought themselves a blogger or a writer could enjoy it. So here it is, in its entirety, because I need to post something today and haven’t anything else ready to share.

One of my readers did me the honor of pointing out a grammatical error I had made in a post, not once, but four times. He politely explained the issue, while pointing out that he still appreciates my work. For my part, I knew the rule, but sometimes it’s not quite that simple.

First, I do not know how to type. My not knowing how to type in no way prevents me from doing it as fast as I possibly can, using one of the most dangerous forms of hunt-and-peck imagined, where several fingers are hunting and pecking, usually on the keys next to those the words actually require.

I exacerbate this handicap with a well worn lesson, learned after several decades of doing it the other way, that it is best to just get the ideas out and then go back and edit it after–rather than stopping to fix every little thing, which endangers the life of whatever was large enough to get trapped in the sieve I call my brain–the result of which is not much different than a drunk six-year-old driving a convertible in a rainstorm with the top down.

Needless to say, (though how needless because here I am saying it), there is always a good deal of editing because the force is not with me.

My style is of little help either. I am a huge fan of run-on sentences piled high with one parenthetical after another–forever seeking ways to adequately translate machine-gun verbiage (rattled off Dennis Leary like) into text–in an effort meant to cause an aneurysm in the modern-day amalgamation of English teachers past–found in varying degrees in my readers.

All of this is aggravated further by an instinctual urge to “write it now,” (whatever ‘it’ is) as if I am some mongrel-wordsmith and the blank page is a bitch in heat teasing a carnal, unromantic urge which I cannot control.

The result can be a first draft that is a sloppy mess.

Add the technical interface, editing the HTML, sorting links, crediting sources, and making sure you’ve not accidentally said something horrid, often orchestrated in less time than the average lunch break, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Yet somehow, despite my contortions (or perhaps torture), it all works out. So far.

So, I thank you for your patience, and to each and every one of you, my apologies for anything I have or will do in the course of my hobby that you see as nothing short of waterboarding the language to make a point. It is not all intentional. And I am a work in progress, only to be completed upon my timely demise.

With any luck, my final judgment will not include a section on grammar.

 

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