Saturday, 19 September 2015

Pedantic Idol

I am not a grammar Nazi.
Nor am I one of those language Luddites who think the 'rules' they parroted at school ... the ones their parents had their knuckles rapped over ... the same rules the nuns used to pull their grandfather's ear for forgetting...  I don't believe those rules should never change. 
I believe language is organic.
And while I'll confess to being a complete and hopeless David Crystal groupie, I'll shout from the rooftops that I have zero-tolerance for Lynn Truss and her stick-up-her-arse zero-tolerance approach to English grammar and punctuation. Nobody else would get a look in if she entered Pedantic Idol.

I'm also willing to testify that I'm just a bit fond of Constance Hale, who...shriek ugh omagod... is American.  Worse yet... She's Californian... 
Surely this zee-saying interloper can have nothing valuable to offer on the sanctity of the grammar of the Queen's English..
I mean...
American English?
Is that even a thing?

Well... cop this. I totally love the smell of this quotation from Ms Hale's Sin and Syntax in the morning:

The flesh of prose gets its shape and strength from the bones of grammar.

Amen to that!


Friday, 18 September 2015

To quote my hero...

If you are a regular visitor to The Rock, you will know that in November 2014, I had a stab at my first blogging challenge, during the course of which, I met my best blogging buddies Mary-Anne up there in Canada 'Breathing Life' and Judy over in England at 'Edwina's Episodes'. 

Well, Judy is something of a crazy blog-aholic; she'll chug-a-lug down any writing challenge as if it was a tepid cup of tea.

The last challenge she passed on to Mary-Anne and me was to write at least a paragraph without using the letter e. This time it's to post three quotations that mean something to us over the next three days.

So I'm going to start with an extract from the novel I go to whenever I want to be inspired. Or moved. Or to remind myself that I'm not a writer's bootlace: Tim Winton's Cloudstreet. 
Will you look at us by the river! The whole restless mob of us on spread blankets in the dreamy briny sunshine skylarking and chiacking about for one day, one clear, clean, sweet day in a good world in the midst of our living. Yachts run before an unfelt gust with bagnecked pelicans riding above them, the city their twitching backdrop, all blocks and points of mirror light down to the water's edge.
His shameless Australian diction. 
His unique ability to use the wrong adjective to create an exact image, or to invent the perfect word where none existed before. 
How he breaks the rules of punctuation so carefully that all meaning is possible and positions a word as an unfamiliar part of speech to build a sentence that sings. Or cries. 
Art with words.
Poetry in prose.
Tim Winton is my hero.
What would Cortazar say that reveals about me?