Monday, February 17, 2014

Here, Profound Appropriately Title Themed Insert



Writing, for me, is simply a way to empty the trash in my brain.  And I have many wonderful professors who guided me to the refined style I currently use.  Each teacher or professor had specific guidelines to follow, and here, I fondly remember and forsake them.  The rules, I mean.  Not the teachers.  It’s a wonder I ever passed English in the first place… 

Thanks to my ninth grade teacher, Mrs. Gerhardt, I still know all of my pronouns.  She made us learn them to the tune of “Mamma’s Little Baby Loves Shortenin’ Bread.”  And that little song has stayed with me.  Here, for your reference and entertainment, I shall enumerate all of them.  In, on, into, over, under, to, at, by, for, from, off, of.  Up, down, near, past, outside, inside, toward, around, about, across.  Against, upon, after, along, among, until, between before.  Beside, below, behind, beyond, beneath, above, during, and like.  Through, except, with, without, within (mamma’s little baby loves shortenin' bread).  I did that without the aid of any reference guide (insert grandiose bow here).  I will be tirelessly impressed with myself for the rest of the day.

There are many general rules that remain etched in my rusty steel trap of a brain.  Slang is wholly inappropriate.  It simply ain’t proper to use such colloquial terms, and it makes y’all sound somewhat uneducated.  Proper structure is essential to the continuity and strength of your piece.  An essay, for example, must contain an introduction (with the thesis as the last sentence), several paragraphs supporting the thesis, and a conclusion. In formal writing, don’t directly refer to your audience: hence, you should not use the word “you.”  Yes, in case you’re wondering, I am a literary rebel of the worst kind.  I hope you didn’t come here actually looking for advice about writing, because if so, you’ve come to the wrong place.  Insert maniacal laugh here…This brings me to another rule.  Ellipses are not something teachers or professors really care for.  But I love ellipses…in fact, I think I may run away with an ellipsis one day and raise a family…

One of my high school teachers had an interesting rule about the forms of “is.”  He considered our writing weak if we used this evil word or any of its forms (is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been).  We could only use these words three times in any given assignment.  The consequence of disobeying this rule was death (or, if he was feeling merciful, he would simply penalize us a whole grade).  This rule did curb overuse of the offensive words.  But instead of saying something simple, such as “This rule is asinine,” you would have to reform your thought: “This rule seems asinine.” To me, this process often diluted the statement I was trying to make.  Such forced word usage also makes one sound a bit haughty and superficial in certain instances.  In other words, it was pretty dumb.

Yet another rule I am notorious for abandoning: one must always stay focused on a specific subject, because there’s nothing worse than reading someone else’s inane ramblings.  Did you hear about the recent Mattel toy recall?  It scared me because Violet has some Sesame Street toys, but then I checked out the website and she didn’t have any affected items.  Whew!  Oh, and the toilet upstairs is running again like there’s a ghost depositing an otherworldly turd every once in a while.  But I digress…

In addition to the multitude of rules already enumerated, one simply must avoid sentences consisting of more than twenty-five words, because otherwise your writing becomes convoluted, and the average reader, being the over-caffeinated, over stimulated, cell-phone texting, I-pod user that he is, simply cannot follow your crashing train of thought.  I agree with this statement, since I hate having to re-read sentences just to understand them.  Don’t you?

Though these rules might be valuable, I think equal emphasis should have been placed on not letting rules confine your style or your voice.  In fact, these endless rules have held sway over me for far too long.  I hereby throw them out the proverbial window.  And syntax screw!!!