Sunday, May 1, 2011

This Ended Up Being About Grammar. I'm Not Sure Why.

Today really was a good day, though I'd have trouble explaining why.  I worked for most of it, and there was definitely the (perhaps even worse than) usual group of bizarre and demanding people, but the point is that I was able to cope with it, which is both new and exciting.  More often than not I am completely unable to gracefully withstand the odd and slightly cruel way sales people are treated.  Of course, I am slowly becoming notorious for relapses, so I'm not expecting myself to respond this well every time, but knowing that I'm capable of doing so will certainly help me along.

If I haven't mentioned this before, I work in a department store now.  In the shoe department, to be exact, which is pretty much what I did back in high school, though I'm not at the same store.  It's a little bit sad to have gone through so much schooling, to have had as many good experiences and opportunities as I've had, just to end up right back where I started.  I'm trying to treat this like a launching point, like a return to zero before going off in a whole new (and hopefully more successful) direction.  In any case, this job is reintroducing me to the non-academic world, which I had almost forgotten existed, and giving me enough funds to keep from defaulting on my student loans.  I'm content with that for now.

Every sentence in that paragraph begins with the letter "I".  A couple of them also begin with the same word, which is somewhat bothersome.  Around 6th or 7th grade, I was told by my English teacher not to start multiple sentences with the same word in the same paragraph.  I'm sure she said this only to prevent the "This happened.  Then this happened.  Then this happened," style that many youngsters are prone to, but this rule had lorded over my writing forever since.  In academic papers, in poetry, even in my own head, I am always aware of what words I'm starting off with and how often they're being used.

I have a similar issue with commas.  If I write a sentence with one comma, or maybe two, the sentences both before and after it must have some other amount of commas.  The sentence structures must be appropriately varied within a given paragraph, so as not to sound monotonous.  Each paragraph would also ideally have at least five sentences.

That one does not.

On one level these rules have done a lot of good for me.  They've forced me to think carefully about what I write and how I write it, which has probably helped make me into a better writer.  However, I know full well that most people do not notice or care about all these little details, and I'm starting to feel like I'm holding myself back by sticking to them so strictly.  In any case, this nothing-alike-too-close-together way of writing is so ingrained in my system that I have to make a conscious effort to go against it.  Maybe someday I'll be able to just type and not over think so much, but for now all I can do is just be aware of my over thinking and over think about it.

Did you count the commas in those last two sentences?  I know I did.

You know, I always start out these blog entries with one idea in mind, only to wander off on some crazy tangent.  This was originally supposed to be about the Jung/Meyers-Briggs personality types, can you believe that?  I've spent so long on this other stuff, though, that I'm not sure I still feel like talking about what I meant to, or that I even remember what I wanted to say.  Maybe next time?

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