A shared language so why can’t we communicate adequately?

A letter from Jack Lincoln-Palmistry to Maude Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh

My spelling and punctuation are good enough if people can read my poetry. As far as I am concerned, that will do.

Is that enough of an answer?

Anyway it’s all covered in my book.

Jack L-P

Source

All very well, Mr Lincoln-Palmistry - Poet Laureate (Retired), but it doesn’t satisfy where a reply or response from your Good Self is required. Would it be churlish of me to point out that I have sent you many e-mails and letters over the last couple of weeks, and you have not responded with more than a very few poorly chosen words, and yet you now batter me with the above?

I must admit that I like the look of your lovely book, but this all goes to prove that “One can’t judge a book by its cover”.

It’s all a matter of correct punctuation.

I hope you don’t mind my asking, but did you mean to say:

“My spelling and punctuation are good enough if people can read my poetry. As far as I am concerned, that will do”.

Or did you mean to say:

“My spelling and punctuation are good enough. If people can read my poetry, as far as I am concerned, that will do.”

You have a habit, I have observed, in writing a few disjointed sentences and then, almost as an afterthought, flinging a handful of commas at it as you depart.

Don’t you see that by throwing that comma in as you left the room, you confused me?

The only thing that I find vaguely interesting in this exchange, is that it reminds me that, some years ago, when preparing a brochure for Twilight Lawns plc, I made a mistake in the spelling of the word ”pastime” and you picked me up on it. I had written passtime. Would it be correct for me to admit that I will never forget that incident... nor forgive myself?

Probably.

There are several words... No...There are many words that I have difficulty in spelling. Or have had. But that’s what intellect and education is all about... not spurious education or whatever La di da, limpwristed term that has been levelled at my honest attempts to follow basic rules, and to realise that there are rules to be adhered to if one requires clarity.

When the Oiks of this world take over, and your philosophy of “That will do” becomes prevalent, then aspiration and a desire to reach a higher plane will be stifled.

I have never at any stage maintained that my spelling is wonderful, nor even very good, but, when I require help, I do take advantage of all the crutches that are available to the average man or woman, and I almost invariably check my spelling on the computer where and when I can, or use the facilities offered by the OED… One copy of which lies beside my bed, and the other in the sitting room. I refer to it more regularly than many others because I have need of them.

If you may remember, from your brief stay at Twilight Lawns plc, there is also a copy of the OED in the Queen Alexandra Day Drawing Room and Recreation Area, and another in the Princess Margaret-Rose Library which is adjacent to the Princess Margaret-Rose Cocktail Bar and Lounge. I believe, but I am not too sure, that there is also a copy of Webster’s Dictionary in the house; mainly for the use of our dear Transatlantic Cousins.

It is the attitude of “That will do”… or worse, “It doesn’t matter”, which horrifies me. Maybe it is because, in a former life, I was a teacher and also a Brown Owl in the Girl Guides Movement; maybe it was because I majored in English when I was at my finishing school, Saint Barbara-the Confused, in Switzerland; maybe it was because I was brought up in a household, in a family, and a society which respects our Mother Tongue. Maybe they all contribute. I really hope, and believe, so.

And to this, if I am at all lucky, I will receive a reply of maybe a couple of dozen words.

Mr Lincoln-Palmistry - Poet Laureate (Retired), you have enormous capabilities and talents in prose writing. Your whimsical anecdotes are frequently charming and amusing. Why don’s you hone your skills in that sphere and perhaps make something of them?

Your most obedient servant,

Maude Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh

From JL-P

I’m not going to bother answering your last letter to me because its got to many words and it makes my head spin. You all ways write to much.

That's all I have to say for now.

As I have heard someone has already said about you, “You are the most rudest person I have ever met.”

All I can say is that I can see the subjectivity in the use of the comma. It is, kind of please yourself and upset someone, somewhere along the line. Is that not the case? Howard Spring was a master of the comma, the semi colan and the full colan.

Your’s sincerely,

Jack Lincoln-Palmistry.

Did he, by any chance mean colon and semicolon?

Dear Mr Lincoln-Palmistry,

Do you, by any chance mean colon and semicolon? One wonders what goes on in Lincoln-Palmistry world.

And what on earth do you mean by “subjectivity in the use of the comma”? I know we use the same words, in the same language, Mr Lincoln-Palmistry, but sometimes you leave my mind spinning.

Without being too rude, Sir, and Heaven knows, I have never been guilty of being so to any man, woman or beast, may I point out that, once again, you have made a few punctuation errors in your last little missive?

I’m not going to bother answering your last letter to me because its (its should have been it’s -the abbreviation of it has) got to (to should have been too) many words and it makes my head spin. You all ways (all ways should have been always) write to (to should have been too) much.

Thats (Thats should have been that’s - the abbreviated form of that is) all I have to say for now.

As I have heard (Shouldn’t there have been a comma here?) someone has already said about you: “You are the most rudest (one must never use most with rudest, as most modifies a word to make it the superlative, whereas rudest is already the superlative adjective modifying the word person) person I have ever met.”

And finally, you ended your letter to me with “Your’s sincerely”.

There is nothing in the OED or even Webster’s even remotely like Your’s. Did you, perchance, mean Yours?

Reading letters from your good self, Mr Lincoln-Palmistry, can be very confusing. I can only use the analogy of it being similar to attending a dinner party whilst listening to my Auntie Angela (the Mrs Malaprop of the late twentieth century) rambling on in a quasi intellectual manner; and I, meanwhile, trying to find a deeper meaning in her words; if such deeper meaning there be.

Your most obedient servant,

Maude Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh

"Subjectivity" - What on earth does that mean?

Dear Maude,

Subjectivity - I wish it to be this way. Within the context of what was said, it means, I like to portray it this way.

Your narrow and anal interpretations leave your kind bones standing. The comma does not always conform to rigid rules and the author does get, quite some leeway about its use.

Jack Lincoln-Palmistry

Commas? Brackets? Nuns? Do they always travel around in pairs?

Dear Mr Lincoln-Palmistry ,

I agree that the comma does not always conform to rigid rules, but it does have a function: namely to show where one may “draw breath” or to make a situation clear. Incorrect usage of commas can be confusing and clumsy, and worse, produce nonsensical written language. For example, look at the following which might have been written by someone who has a poor understanding of the use of the comma:

The comma does not always conform to rigid rules and the author does get, quite some leeway about its use.

The comma that follows get has absolutely no function at all. Commas, Mr Lincoln-Palmistry, tend to come in pairs, but this is not absolute, as with brackets. Or, as I have noticed, Nuns. Seldom do they wander around singly.

Your most obedient servant,

Maude Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh

on behalf of

Mrs Hilda Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh (Matron)

‘Things To Do on Wet Afternoons’, ‘Social Clubs’, ‘Occupations’ and ‘Games’

Incidentally, Sir, you may be interested in the following.

I was looking in the records of Twilight Lawns plc -

‘Things To Do on Wet Afternoons’, ‘Social Clubs’, ‘Occupations’ and ‘Games’ when I found the following note:

Dear Mr Lincoln-Palmistry (Poet Laureate, formerly of Halstead, Essex),

We have been looking in the

Twilight Lawns,

Diary of Events,

September – October, 2008

We have been unable to discover when the last day for submissions to the Poetry Competition might be. We’ve all heard about it at breakfast time, luncheon, dinner and supper time, but nobody seems to have the same details. For some reason, all the pamphlets which were available in the Princess Margaret-Rose Library, and even those pinned up on the notice boards, have either been scribbled on so that they are indecipherable, or have been removed by some naughty person.

Maude thinks that the last day for entry is September, 14th, 2008; that the subject is Fluffy Bunnies; to be handed in to Charge Nurse Smythe in the Dispensary; hand written on Twilight Lawns notepaper, to be purchased at the Kiosk near the front door.

Cissie thinks that the last day for entry is November, 12th, 2008; that the subject is Sunsets and/or Shopping; to be handed in to Hilda on her days in the Office (Tuesdays and Thursdays); hand written or typed on the back of a postcard, to be purchased at the Kiosk near the front door.

Gertrude Number Two thinks that the last day for entry is October, 30th, 2008; that the subject is My Life is Rock and Roll; to be handed in to Matron in her Room; hand written on Twilight Lawns Lavatory Paper (Grade A+), obtainable from Charge Nurse Smythe at a nominal price.

Elspeth thinks that the last day for entry is Christmas Day, 2008; that the subject is Baby Jesus is My Friend; to be handed in to anyone who may be passing; hand written on notepaper, to be purchased at the Bookshop at Saint Anselm’s Streatham Common,

Sharon thinks that the last day for entry is tonight; that the subject is I Love Paki Boys or Boys or My favourite Lipstick or I’m a Disco Bunny; to be handed in to Raj, in his room, after twelve o’clock tonight; hand written on her knickers, to be purchased at the Kiosk at the Odeon All Male Cinema, Sleaze Street, Soho.

Raj thinks that the last day for entry is whenever you like that the subject is Skunk or Pakistan or Gardens Can be Profitable, Innit; to be texted to Dil se Radio from his mobile phone

Hermione thinks that the last day for entry is any Friday after afternoon tea; that the subject is Cuddles; to be handed in to Cook or any of the Kitchen Staff; typed on recipe blanks provided by Cook, at a small charge, if Matron isn’t around.

Phoebe thinks that the last day for entry is September, 14th, 1945; that the subject is Puddles or Being a Land Army Girl; to be handed in to the Ministry of Defence, Whitehall; hand written in code on recycled paper.

Mrs Eulalia Hawkins thinks that the last day for entry is August, 12th, 2008; that the subject is Mary Jane or Kingston or Rum and Coca-Cola; to be handed in to the Jamaican High Commissioner, wherever he may be; typed on A4 paper, from whatever source available.

The only thing that we seem to remember conclusively is that the poem must have between four and six verses. Each verse must have a rhyming pattern of ABCB or will be disqualified.

Yours sincerely,

Maude, Cissie, Mrs Eulalia Hawkins, Hermione, Cook, Gertrude Number Two, Phoebe, Hilda, Elspeth and Sharon

Perhaps you may recall the furore that followed your judging of the poems.

Perhaps you may recall the furore that followed your judging of the poems offered in that competition, but more to the point: Did you realise that in the two poems that most drew your attention, Mr Jack Lincoln-Palmistry, there were one of two punctuation and grammar errors. As a gentleman who maintains that the English Language constitute his tools of craft, you seem to need quite a lot of help. And being the supportive and helpful soul that I am, I am ready and willing to provide that help right here.

Yours Maude Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh (Please, Mr Lincoln-Palmistry, I would appreciate it if you would refrain from addressing me by only using my Christian name)

I stand by my choice.




I stand by my choice. This poem, by dear Raj, shows and enthusiasm and love of the English language far beyond many more traditional works. It has a vitality and bravado that I have never seen or experienced outside my own lovely verses.

Yours faithfully,

J L-P

For those of you who would find the technology of the Mobile or Smartphone a little beyond them, and would like to read Raj’s lovely poem in a more familiar format, it is here produced in the adjacent box.

Dis pome’s took me more dan a minit

Im not sure how to start it or end it

But dere’s no 1 more better to send it

Cos Im wicked wiv mobile fones, Innit.

Raj

A lovely gift for People of Taste and Education.

This lovely book readily available from Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Amazon and at all reputable purveyors of quality reading materials.
This lovely book readily available from Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Amazon and at all reputable purveyors of quality reading materials.

The poem below is perfect, as it is in the best possible format, as you will see.


And as you will, no doubt agree, this lovely and very moving poem, by Cissie, follows all the suggestions in my book. The book with which you are, no doubt, acquainted.

Cuddles

by

Cissie

Cuddles is a word that we know,

We’ve heard it a thousand times,

From our earliest childhood,

We’ve heard it in songs and in rhymes.


Cuddles is when your Mummy,

Cuddles you from behind,

Cuddles is best unexpected,

It’s Cuddlier then, you will find.


Cuddles can make you so happy

If you are terribly sad,

But Cuddles from perfect strangers,

Aren’t real Cuddles then; 'cause they’re bad.


Cuddles is a kind of protection,

When you’re having trouble at school,

Cuddles can make you feel better,

When your teacher calls you a fool.


Cuddles might help if your speling

And punctuation gets worses

But I ain't got no room to continue,

‘Cause my poems don’t have more than five verses.

The Princess Margaret-Rose Library: Notice for Relatives, Friends and Residents

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Comments 17 comments

annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England

Another clever exchange between these eminent persons!

'Twilight Lawns' always makes me think of the comedy series 'Waiting for God' in a retirement home. It's full of batty people and is hilarious.

Thanks for the smile on a Sunday evening.

Ann


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 22 months ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Ann, thanks for the visit. If you like this sort of thing you would be most welcome at Twilight Lawns pic.

Please visit her there. We are on the Internet, whatever that is. just put the name above preceded by some Ws and end it with a.co.uk

thanks for the visit

Ian


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 22 months ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Hello, again, Ann.

How do you manage to be the first to view my scribblings? Do you burn the midnight oil, hunched over you computer, or are you just unlucky? Ha ha.

I just revisited this Hub to see if I had managed to say what I had meant to say. Texting on my Smartphone is easy, but commenting on stuff on HubPages is pretty stressful. Half the time, I can’t read what I have written.

What I meant to say, but I lost the lot first time, was that I know HP do not allow personal stuff and URLs in Comments, so I couldn’t formally invite you to step through the portals of Twilight Lawns plc.

I note that you enjoyed “the comedy series 'Waiting for God' (which takes place) in a retirement home”.

I’ve not seen it, but Horrors! Have I been pre-empted?

As I said, however, you are most welcome, and if you put the name of the institution and perhaps add a “welcome”, the doors will be, figuratively speaking, flung wide open for you.

Then again, this might already have occurred, and perhaps you have signed in already.


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England

I don't burn the midnight oil. Just happened to be on my computer yesterday evening. Sheer luck that you happened to appear whilst I was at my desk!

Thanks for the invitation. I hope I'm not ready for Twilight Lawns yet! BTW, that tv programme was made at least 20 years ago and they re-run it from time to time. Stephanie Coles is in it.

Have a great evening!

Ann


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 22 months ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

One is sure that you aren't old enough yet, Ann, but one should always be ready for any eventuality.

You must agree that it is a good idea to have as many irons in the fire as possible.

Goodness, woman, imagine have spawned a reasonable little Caroline or George, and then, when the time came to send one or the other off to school, one found that one had not put the little soul's name on the books of a decent school. Imagine the shame if one's offspring were to go to a Comprehensive full of Poor People or Foreigners... when one’s friends had managed to get their little George or Caroline into Eton or Wycombe Abbey.

The shame of it all.

Yours faithfully,

Hilda Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England

You're right, of course, both times! One should always be prepared.

LOL!

Ann


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 22 months ago from Canada

Dear Ian, Your poet laureate (retired) is not going to convince the immaculately concise Mrs. Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh to loosen her strict rules of grammar, and no way is she going to convince him to tighten up his doggerel, it just ain't going to happen. Meanwhile what a funny, silly way to share your cast of colourful characters at the home. I am starting to sympathize with the old girl, I hope she's feeling better.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 22 months ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Snakeslane, my highly respected friend, I love your comment here. You've really tapped into that Good Lady's character, and the ethos of the Home.

When she first stepped onto the world's stage, I felt ambivalent about her and her character, but now, although I quite despise her selfishness and dreadful snobbery, I find that I quite admire her for her integrity, inasmuch as she really sticks to her principles.

Strange, isn't it, that one creates a character, and then that person takes on a personality of her own; an immovable outlook on life.

Hey ho! The end of me trying to sound intelligent!

And please, my friend, rest assured that Mrs Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh is bearing up under the strain. As you will be aware, dear Maude has taken over the written communication between her good self and Mr Lincoln-Palmistry, so that our beloved Matron has now been able to take a well deserved rest.

She has prolonged her stay at Maison Plantagenet, Vallauris, in the company of Francis, Bishop of Crawley and Raj, who drove her there.

So all, as I am sure you are happy to hear, is well.


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 22 months ago from Toronto, Canada

Dear Ian:

I was going to reply about the terrible fate of you know who ... and the role of punctuation in it on your previous article, but when I read this part, I thought it is more relevant here.

The comma and all what have you

semicolans

semicolanders

semiconcaves

semiconclaves

semiconslaves

I think the book should be called "Why Bother? Ink"

(What book? The one that I am so NOT writing!)

I remembered how punctuation became a matter of life and death (not that I could ever manage Russian punctuation for the life of me, with all the help from those willing and unwilling! persons of dubious ancestry).

There was a short animation film about a boy, Victor, who wasn't very well or wasn't very good and somehow he ended up in the Land of Lessons Never Learned.

==============================

It's in Russian, but it's very short and I provided the explanation below

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMoPVzGMkVU

==============================

He and his cat approach a man on a throne and ask

"Who is that? Santa Clause?"

"No, no, it's the King of the Verb in the Imperative Mood!"

Victor approaches and the King begins his interrogation

- What kind of marks do you get in Russian?

- Well, you know... Different ones...

Someone brings Victor's notebook and the only "different" marks he had were

"2" which is on our former scale Failed.

"1" is not as much as a mark as "Failed with an Emphasis from the Teacher!!! The mix of indignation, contempt, disbelief and such...

After having examined "the evidence", the King declares the sentence

and it contains three words only

Execute (negation) pardon

Negation is not easily and so neatly translated into English, I would have to change the wording depending on the context,

but in Russian, the point and the joke is that depending on where you put the comma, the result is either to execute or pardon

So, the Comma that is dancing around and saying that Victor "HAS NEVER EVER put me in my place YET!" (which honestly also sounds funny) is expecting some BLOOD!

But Victor, even though he is not very well or not very good, still manages to to escape by reasoning.

So, my point would be, as long as we understand each other...

Because I'm sure I made a ton of mistakes here.

Your piece is charming,

"But that’s what intellect and education is all about... not spurious education or whatever La di da, limpwristed term that has been levelled at my honest attempts to follow basic rules, and to realise that there are rules to be adhered to if one requires clarity."

Clarity, Ian, by definition is elusive. Only by now I have realized that I talk first, think later and there is always a chance that I won't understand what I say or what I think. (50% chance - a realistic estimation).

I managed so unexpectedly for myself to announce to someone who did not even ask what I did for a living (luckily for me), "I am a writer!"

I didn't not know how to backpedal out of that situation. But I will never forget that moment. And some writer I am - selective vocabulary, approximate grammar and creative punctuation, and yet...

Do you see now, the point of

"Why Bother? Ink"

because I don't.

By the way, I voted in your poll on the poetry. I chose the first one. I can identify.

I hope you have a wonderful "The Time of the Day That You Are Having at the Moment".

Certain incoherence of my comment is intentional - we were talking about clarity, weren't we?


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 22 months ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Svetlana, your comment: “And some writer I am - selective vocabulary, approximate grammar and creative punctuation, and yet...” needs some addressing.

I can’t imagine what your writing, grammar, “selective” vocabulary and “creative” punctuation might be like in your Mother tongue, as I have no way of ascertaining it, but if it bordering on your use of English, or better (How should I know?) then it must be magnificent.

You constantly amaze, entertain and charm me with your written English, and I know very, very few people who have your capabilities in deciphering and analysing thoughts, situations and philosophies. You leave me standing; gasping for air, at times, when I read your comments and your hubs.

You have a capacity to play with English that is beyond those who have it as their mother tongue, and I have frequently sat and chuckled when I have read the like of the above:

“semicolans

“semicolanders

“semiconcaves

“semiconclaves

“semiconslaves”

It just made me smile and then I was tempted to start playing along in your game.

Tell me, why is it that the Little Russian Boy in every Russian Cautionary Tale is known as Victor? Or is he Viktor?

Or even Виктор

Maybe I have been unlucky in always being introduced to him by that name... but not nearly as any Russian lad given that name. How the poor little soul must look forward with dread when opening up another manual on “THINGS NOT TO DO IF YOU WANT TO SUCCEED” Russian version.

I liked the little cartoon; although not being able to understand the language used. Arrogant little sod when he entered, and I must say Little Miss Comma was a patronising little smart-arse. But beautifully produced, nonetheless.


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 21 months ago from Toronto, Canada

Dear Ian:

I am sorry I did not respond to your comment promptly (there was a reason, it always is). But I have read it and wrote a response which is "slightly" incoherent.

I also paid attention to your comments about the saddest songs and I listened.

So, not being able to things properly, I would just do them improperly and send you my response via e-mail and you will understand why I have so much trouble with time and organization.

Fondest regards,

Svetlana

P.S. I hate appearing rude and inconsiderate! (Here I have not hesitated with the punctuation.)


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 21 months ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Svetlana, you have never been rude and inconsiderate as far as I can remember. I received your e-mail and answered it. Hope you got it and can unravel my meanderings.

Fondest regards to you, too.

Ian


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 21 months ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Alejandra, that comma at the end of a letter has always phased me also.

Sometimes I put it in and sometimes I don't.


Eldon Arsenaux profile image

Eldon Arsenaux 14 months ago from Cooley, Texas

I once met a hostile man at a hostel in Brighton. His name was Diggs. Now, who knows what he calls himself, if he lives?

Diggs smoked cheap, dildo-sized cigars behind his foggy words, words which were wonderful when I was fifteen. "Kid, don't no one care what you say. It's not even how you say it. It's how ya make em feeeel." He's not the first fiery-headed sack of fart to say this. Nor shall he be the last.

I had professors in college who spoke professorially on the matter. But I dug Diggs' style better.

I thought he was going to punch me squarely on the nose with his nail-sharp knuckles. He certainly made me 'feeeel' that way.

His name was Diggs. I don't know if that was his real name. But it was the name he told me. He had a wife named Tabitha who looked like Winston Churchill. She too, smoked cheap, dildo-sized cigars. Lovely couple- of crazies.

Perhaps, this story is beside the point.

You hit the proverbial nail on the head with your grammar hammer. Sometimes I splice sentences unnecessarily with commas. My defensive reasoning is that I'm trying to display breath. To stagger the reader's tempo internally. But we both know it isn't (AIN'T!) proper.

"Subjectivity - I wish it to be this way. Within the context of what was said, it means, I like to portray it this way." -JL-P

P.s. Here's what some dandified big wig across the atlantic pond had to say about Mr. Palmistry:

"Jack Lincoln-Palmistry's newest book-blockbuster "Writing Meaningful (But Not Too Lengthy) Poems For Friends And The Marketplace" is surely the superbest read of the summer. Friends and foes alike call it "superb", "my most new favoritest cyclopedia", and "breath-stealing." Other backward-cap reviewers did not make mention of the book itself, but flippantly referred to its author as a "robin's-egg-snatcher", for reasons currently unknown."

-Eustace Krump of The New York Times.

My point is this: or, rather, my original point that somehow took me this long to get to was: I wish you the best Ian, in all literary endeavors, or otherwise. As always, there is lucidity in your language. Lucidity like lanterns, strung amongst the dim echoes of insane speech.

-E.G.A.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 14 months ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Eldon, my highly revered friend, I love reading your comments. You have a way with the English language which is absolutely awe inspiring.

Enough hyperbole?

Maybe, but I am constantly amazed and seduced; intoxicated and reverential towards, and by, your talents.

You seem to have the capacity of drawing the most unlikely and new adjectives and adverbs out of the air, and present them to an often unprepared world, with the ability of a necromancer - if necromancy is ever possible in the written or spoken word.

Bravo, Sir.

I can see future generations opening books of your written works and looking up, eagerly, into the faces if future scholars and dons, who will enthusiastically tell them that “Here, along with Saki and Oscar Wilde, are the collected epigrams of Eldon Arsenaux. Read them and despair, for few will write this way again”.

And while you may say that you “Sometimes splice sentences unnecessarily with commas,” one of my failings is to do just that. I love the Oxford Comma and use it at every opportunity. In fact, I have been accused of “over-punctuating” my writing, but my critics have maintained that that is due to my early education having taken place in West Australia. I cannot see the connection, but there you go (as they say).

Worse crimes have been committed in the punctuation sphere; notably by Mr Jack Lincoln-Palmistry who has been known to leave a room in which he has been composing some literary composition or another, and flinging a handful of commas over his shoulder, onto his unfinished work in the hope that one or two should land in the correct space.

Violetta Valery, that well known courtesan of the Demi-monde, was known to have acted just as cavalierly with handfuls of camellias; and certainly more effectively - but that is another story.


Eldon Arsenaux profile image

Eldon Arsenaux 14 months ago from Cooley, Texas

I will read some Saki. I recently read Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray and Lady Windermere's Fan for a fiction course at college. I wrote a paper that received low marks. My academic writing was never acute enough. It always sounded like a shrill stream-of-consciousness style. The professor was a Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad scholar. I don't know what part that played, but the professor was a dour man.

If you want an example of under-punctuated writing (or no punctuation at all, for that matter), look no further than one of my favorite American authors, Mr. Cormac McCarthy. (I'm not proposing you disregard the rules. I just prefer to bend them back a bit. That's not too barbarous is it Mr. Orwell?)

For my part I prefer the Oxford Mississippi comma of Mr. William Faulkner who found he could pound words onto the page without separation and deliver a deadly affect:

Can I ask you a question about the bumblebee that stung you this flattened mango of a morning on the veranda covered in jimsonweed and oriental bittersweet vines it was there and large and pollinating doing its god given duty, yet you took recourse to kill the damned bug without remorse but why was it doing any mortal harm to you or the order of things no you should know the world does not conspire to follow without fail your every desire Mrs. Kay Braxberry so you killed it and that stings me.

As always, readers are desirous of direct diction, and you deliver Ian!

Hope to hear from you again soon. (I'll be off of Hubpages for a while- won't have any internet access where I'm headed)

-E.G.A


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 14 months ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Wonderful.

Faulkner had me reeling. I thought I had read some, but I think I would have remembered.

I'll try Mr. Cormac McCarthy.

Thanks for making me laugh. I had the worserest birthday EVER yesterday, and your mind makes me think there is a reasonable reason to imagine that the whole world isn't going to hell in a handcart... whatever that may mean.

Cheers, my friend.

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