A Brief Statement on the Comma

The comma, which gives one pause; the comma which does not give one pause; the comma, at which point one pauses; the comma, a cockroach in the corner of the closet after all the clothes are cleaned out and the conversations are forgotten, hollow and cold; the comma that defies erasure, the comma that sticks;…

Two Hep Cats and the Cool Comma

Scamble: I met a comma at the bus stop this morning. … Did you hear what I said? I said, I met a comma, at the bus stop, this morning. Cramble: Be wary of commas. They’ll be on you like fleas. -Did you know the apostrophe is the feminine form of comma? -Band of punctuation…

Verlyn Klinkenborg: “Several short sentences about writing”

In the beginning was the word, and the word was a sentence. And the sentence was an assignment. And the assignment broiled in the brain, that alchemical brewpub of doubt. A devil came near, cooing, “Plagiarize, my dear; allow me to serve the sentence for you.” A good angel appeared: “Depart, ye fiends of papers…

A Lot Ado About Nothing

I once spent a lot of time going to a lot of meetings where I took a lot of notes but also doodled a lot. Sometimes my neighbors showed an interest in my doodles, but not often. Over time I developed a disregard for the term a lot. A lot is used a lot as…

As You Like It: Rules for Writing

Back in February 2010, the Guardian posted an article titled “Ten rules for writing fiction.” Celebrated authors had been invited to submit ten of their writing rules. But rules often break down under pressure, we might find writers breaking their own, or the examples held up for adulation contain so many exceptions that the rule is…

On Words

“Overrated and abused, underrated and reused, hyperbolized and underused, understated and overstated, restated and retracted, excused and double-downed, drowned and rusticated, nailed to a wall and drawn on a scroll, ignored and explored, welcomed and turned away, painted and scrawled, yelled and whispered, tattooed and erased, written down and written up, spelled out in the…

Four Short Statements on the Sentence

Entering the sentence, one feels caught in a trap, a cage, punctuation the catches and latches of entrance and exit that clamps down on our heads and tails, our arms or legs, fingers – when we let out an exclamation point, holding swelling finger up. Returning to the three persons (me, you, and the other:…

Ticker Tape Sentence

A new sentence, ahoy, begins to move along the horizon, words crossing on the horizon like ticker tape, words like ships at sea, ship-sat sea, a sentence a fleet of words, but quiet, so far out, out to sea, but futile, our following them, their passage, so why not just limit the sentence to one…

Rows sans end

A sentence, this one, for example (though another might do), the one you are now reading, backlit, for some purpose, presumably (your body like a house in disrepair, suit fraying, limbs sagging, glasses missing one temple, pads bent, joints crooked, hair crinkled dry moss, green going grey, a bird’s nest), late summer as the sentence…

Cuff Links, Tie Clips, and Semicolons

Ian Frazier’s “Hungry Minds” concerns three themes: a writer’s workshop, the participants guests of a soup kitchen; the soup kitchen, the largest in the US, intertwined with the history of The Church of the Holy Apostles, in Chelsea, where the article takes place; and three types of hunger: physical, intellectual, and spiritual. The punctuation format for…