It happened naturally, a wise crack here and a little snort there. Now every time I am online I find my grammar snobbery creeping in. It might begin with a gasp at a run-on sentence, then a common word spelled with extra letters but once it begins I find my editing nature takes over and I just want to start writing on my screen.
My commentary is often ignited by an excess or absence of the beautiful little commas or upper case letters I have come to love and miss like friends from my childhood. I tell myself it is my background in communication and the English degree asserting itself, trying to find use in my stay-at-home mom world. My red pen sits dusty and neglected in my bedside drawer. Yet, as I sit here I realize the more likely story is that I am neurotic and hopelessly nostalgic.
At this very moment I am obsessing about the many possible errors I will make in composing a commentary on grammar. This is where the nostalgia wins out. I’ll take this risk for the precious wistful feeling I get when someone takes the time to write a note, put it in an envelope and actually mail it to me. I ask you, is there any greater surprise on an otherwise ordinary day than to receive a personalized card from a friend or loved one? When we put the pen to paper, I believe we are more concerned with correct grammar, spelling and punctuation. I would never write a card to my mother with nothing but lowercase letters, but I cannot tell you that my texts or emails always get the same attention.
All these thoughts made finding Beck McDowell’s blog, feel like a breath of the freshest air. Not only does this wonderful author blog about writing, she does so with wit and grace. She also offers advice to hone your own writing skills. The first post that jumped out at me was “Dashes Are Not Your Playthings” and I was drawn to it because I’ve been known to sling a dash here and there.
I always need reminders of the rules that seem to be quickly fading from common knowledge. Those rules were carved in our brains when we were young, but with every text I send and status I post I see my own grasp on them diminishing. Blogs like Beck’s are a great place to revisit the foundation of how to communicate effectively. Then you can put that knowledge to good use in a handwritten card you actually have to put a stamp on and mail.